I am incredibly grateful to Zoe at Mummy & Liss for sharing her family’s story with us. Please do pop over and take a look at her fantastic blog. I know many of you will relate to this story.
When did you first realise that your child had a medical condition?
From birth Alyssia had eczema but I didn’t notice that it was a big problem until she was around 4 weeks old. For the first 2 weeks of Alyssia’s life she was breastfed, as a first time mum I didn’t know anything about allergies in babies or what to expect. I stopped breastfeeding at 2 weeks because it hurt so bad, but after we switched Alyssia to formula she started to get really unsettled and started to wake up screaming in pain. After speaking to a health visitor, they suggested changing her onto comfort milk as this was known to be easier to digest however that didn’t work for her and if anything, made things worse. At 6 weeks old we made the decision that enough was enough, I hadn’t slept a full nights sleep in what felt like forever and I needed some answers. We went to the doctors who suggested that we used Gripe water & infacol which again, did nothing.
What were your biggest worries in those early days?
Luckily we found out that Alyssia had a dairy allergy when she was just 3 months old, however I didn’t yet know that she was also allergic to soya products. When Alyssia was around 8 months old, she had an alpro soya yoghurt for pudding – she only had a few mouthfuls and within minutes her face and eyes had swollen up. It was so scary and since, we have noticed that with each reaction she has, not only does she get an eczema rash but the main symptom for her having a reaction is the swelling of her eyes.
Does you child have a formal diagnosis?
Yes, at 3 months old we took Alyssia back to the GP who then diagnosed her with CMPA (Cows Milk Protein Allergy). After changing over to a specialist milk, she was like a different baby – much happier and more content. Until at 5 & half months old, Alyssia started to refuse her milk and was going to sleep hungry. I couldn’t help but feel like an awful parent, so again I took her back to the GP for some advice.
What kind of support did/ does your child receive?
We got lots of support from the Health Visitors, GP’s and were then referred to a paediatric dietician who then gave us a step by step plan as to what to do to start introducing cows milk and soya into her diet. We saw the dietician when Alyssia was around 10 months old I think. We were advised to wait until she hit 1 years old and then to introduce dairy into her diet however due to her being so poorly after her 1 year jabs, and her reacting to different foods, she is now 16 months old and we still haven’t taken the big leap. If I’m honest, I’m quite scared but I know she’ll be fine.
What accomplishment of your child’s are you most proud of?
I am so proud of how far Alyssia has come, she has taught me how to be strong and I have learnt so much about CMPA since having A. I am so proud of the fact that at birth up until 10 months old – Alyssia had awful eczema and was very unsettled. At 1 years old, we swapped her formula for Goats Milk and although she hated the change at first – she is now 16 months old and has a full bottle of warm goats milk before bed every night. She very rarely suffers from eczema now and although we haven’t yet challenged her on anything more than a biscuit with dairy in, she has come so far and achieved so much already.
What do you know now that you wish you had known in the early days?
I wish I had known more about it, if I’m completely honest with you.. before having Alyssia I didn’t even know what CMPA even meant. I wish I had known what to look out for and what to do if it does happen to you. When Alyssia was newborn I didn’t even notice her eczema but looking back – the difference in her skin is incredible and if she has ever eaten anything that she shouldn’t have – I know straight away. Another thing I wish I had known about, was how hard it would be to wean a baby with CMPA. It is always scary taking Alyssia out for lunch anywhere, because it is guaranteed that almost everything will have milk in and I’ll have to take my own food for her.
What advice would you have for a parent whose child has just received a new diagnosis?
My advice to new parents would be to trust your instincts.. if you think something is wrong – don’t let the doctors turn you away until you get an answer. It took 3 months to finally get a diagnosis and it was later confirmed for sure at 8 months old when she reacted so badly to a soya yoghurt. Trust your instincts and remember that you’re not alone, there are so many people out there who can help you. We met with a dietician when Alyssia was 10 months old and she was incredibly helpful alongside our HV’s.
Where can people find out more about you and your story?