A cow’s what? Yeph that’s what I said when Little A was diagnosed with it. I’d heard of children being lactose intolerant, but never this. What was is, what did it mean for him?
The journey to diagnosis started when he was nearly seven weeks old. As I’d previously documented, breastfeeding did not work for us, so we moved to exclusively formula feeding. We’d had our six week check up and both of us were doing great. A few days later, I returned, quite panicked with my newborn, who was having bloody nappies. Obviously something was wrong, yet he was still a happy little baby boy, who was thriving but this was not something that should be happening. A quick rush to Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital, Crumlin and they made the diagnosis that he had a cow’s milk allergy and the best thing to do would be to move him to specialist formula. So naturally that’s what we did.
So in a nutshell, what is a Cow’s Milk Allergy. While not claiming to be an expert here’s the information I’ve come across:
Cows’ milk allergy (CMA) is the most common food allergy in infants and young children – up to 7.5% of all children suffer from this condition. CMA occurs when the immune system reacts to one or more of the proteins contained in cows’ milk.
The symptoms caused by CMA are varied and may include a rash, eczema, vomiting, diarrhoea, colic, or wheezing. The allergic reactions can set in very rapidly but they can also be delayed. Complete avoidance of cows’ milk is the only treatment for CMA.
As CMA is an allergy most children grow out of, many health care professionals recommend that you introduce cow’s milk slowly into their diet to see if there is a reaction. Similar to starting weaning, keep a diary and see for any changes. Luckily, or unluckily, depending on the way you look at it, Little A’s reactions are rapid so we know within half and hour if something has agreed with him!
For the first few months it was plain sailing, well as plain sailing as having a young baby can be! Aside from needing to buy the formula at twice the price for half the amount only in certain pharmacies meant we had to be organised, but that said, generally it wasn’t a big deal. We still had the usual stuff to deal with, wind, crying, trying to figure out what’s wrong, getting it somewhat right, surviving on little sleep because the baby won’t sleep then the baby does sleep and you don’t because you’re wondering why they are sleeping so long. The anxiety never goes, the things to be anxious over just change! Time flew by and I was feeling confident. And then it was time for weaning.
Little A was dying to start weaning, and the early days were so much fun. But once we’d mastered the fruit and veg, looking to move onto meat I realised nearly everything contained some element of dairy. Want to make risotto, oh there’s cheese in that, he can’t have it; what about oh no, there’s milk in that. It was a minefield and lead me to spend hours, internet dependent trying to find easy variations of recipes. I wanted Little A to love food as much as we both do, so I was trying to introduce him to as much variety as possible. I didn’t want this scuppered by CMA.
Over the next while I’ll share some of our favourite recipes suitable for the whole family.