When it comes to pregnancy, delivery, and raising children, everyone has their share of joys and challenges. I was so very blessed to have a smooth and enjoyable pregnancy and a relatively “easy” birthing experience. Rylan tolerated labor like a champ and came out healthy at 6 pounds 13.5 oz.
Our major challenge began when we came home and Rylan went through episodes of pain and screaming after each feeding. Call it colic, gas, or whatever… he was hurting. I was encouraged to try cutting out dairy products as dairy is the leading cause of allergies and sensitivities in babies. I first cut out the major things like milk and ice-cream, but kept eating small amounts of cheese and products made with dairy. When that didn’t make much of a difference, I cut all dairy out completely. Completely. That meant no yogurt or cottage cheese which were my lunchtime staples. No protein shakes (at least the pre-made kind). No pizza. No baked goods with dairy products- think about everything that has butter in it. As hard as it was for me, I immediately saw a big difference in Rylan.
He was feeling noticeably better, although still not great, so I tried the second leading allergy and sensitivity-causing ingredient: soy. I was surprised to find out that many if not most babies that have milk sensitivities also have soy sensitivities. This sounded odd to me because soy has become today’s popular alternative to milk. I could leave the soy milk just fine, but was disheartened when I found out just how many things are made with soy. Breads. Hot dogs. Sauces. Pretty much any prepackaged meal (we used to love Trader Joe’s frozen section). Even chocolate!! After I cut out all dairy and soy, Rylan started to thrive. He started gaining weight at a normal rate, and the screaming after feeding stopped. He was so much happier, so I just continued on with the modified diet.
While it definitely wasn’t easy, 8 months has actually flown by, and Rylan is doing so well. He is still small for his age as he didn’t gain weight properly in the beginning, but he is learning and growing every day. There have been ups (discovering coconut milk ice-cream and gluten-free chocolate zucchini muffins that also happen to be dairy and soy free) and downs (going out to dinner is difficult and our grocery bill has definitely gone up), but overall, it hasn’t been bad. There are actually a lot of great alternatives out there (hello rice milk and almond milk). I get so excited when I find out about something new that I can actually have. We’ve cooked more meals from scratch rather than relying on pre-made or take-out. I’ve also learned a lot about health and nutrition in my quest to find out about food sensitivities and allergy-free recipes. True, I am looking forward to the day when I can order pizza with cheese on it, but I’ve already been doing this for 8 months…what’s a few more?
I’m not sure what to expect when we do -to quote the pediatric gastroenterologist- “challenge” Rylan with dairy and soy products, but we’ll cross that bridge when we get there. Right now, I am just so blessed to have a wonderful, healthy, happy little boy. I know that God doesn’t give you more than you can handle, so as much as I am hoping that Rylan grows out of these sensitivities, we’ll deal with whatever new challenges life brings. Just remind me to come back and read this post when that day comes….