Although I didn’t realise at the time, Isabelle had classic allergy symptoms as a baby, and these got progressively worse until she was diagnosed with various food allergies at 6 months old. She had dry skin from birth and although she was generally a very happy baby, she did have a lot of reflux. She also had explosive bowel movements, and they were very frequent and mucousy (TMI – sorry!). Her skin continued to be dry, despite me moisturising her daily.
Could it be dairy?
I had no knowledge of allergies at this time but I took her to the doctor on multiple occasions about her dry skin. I felt I was made to feel like I was being an over protective parent, and was prescribed many different over-the-counter moisturising creams. One GP did say to me that Isabelle might have a dairy intolerance, so I should try and cut that out of my diet to see if her skin improved.
I had friend who had a baby with non-ige dairy allergy, and so I thought Isabelle might have the same thing. I cut dairy out of my diet and within a week or so her skin seemed clearer. However, at around 4 or 5 months of age Isabelle started breaking out in hives. She would have these episodes more and more frequently where hives would appear over her whole body and she would frantically scratch.
My GP was again unconcerned by this even though I was beside myself with worry. They said it was her eczema and gave me a referral to see a general paediatrician at our local hospital which was going to be in 6 months’ time. There was no way I was going to wait that long with Isabelle is such obvious discomfort.
Because of the suspicion of dairy intolerance I decided to book an appointment with a private allergist (Michael Perkins), although I still wasn’t 100% sure she had food allergies, but I wanted her to be checked before I started to wean her onto solid food.
Finally a diagnosis!
At this appointment Isabelle had about 12 skin prick tests and she came out as highly allergic to dairy, egg, peanuts and sesame. Since then she has been tested again and is now allergic to tree nuts and legumes (peas, chickpeas and lentils) too. We have been prescribed epi pens and we are learning to manage her allergies as best we can.
She recently started nursery and this gave me massive anxiety, however they have been brilliant with her and I can see the obvious developmental benefits.