So I mentioned in an early post that the baby had been reacting to pretty much all the major allergens as they were introduced. I had recorded reactions from sesame seeds, wheat, oats, fish, and shellfish, yet the allergy test came back consistently negative for those things. Not only that, but the baby had had two different reactions in public spaces when she had eaten only small amounts of store-bought pouches that she had eaten before. Hives, vomitting, the works. The only thing I could think of was that she had been exposed to something residual on a change table or highchair.
Talk about nerve-wracking. Imagine not knowing if you could put your kid on a public change table without her getting sick. Did I mention that we always wipe down every surface with lysol wipes and we use liners for her highchair and the change tables? And still we find ourselves in the middle of the mall with a vomiting infant who is rapidly breaking out into hives. We gave Benadryl (again, CALL 911) and luckily the reaction subsided both times but we were bundles of anxiety whenever we left the house with our baby.
Not to mention the fact that we are meticulous label readers when it comes to our baby's foods. In fact, most of the food I gave her in the beginning was homemade. I made it! Fat lot of good that did me, but hey. It was pretty cool while it lasted. Now I find that having a label to revisit is actually one of the things that helps me manage my anxiety, and here's why:
after the second negative allergy tests for most of the allergens above, our baby had a small amount of a smoothie at lunch to which I tossed in a handful of raw oats for good measure, and about ten minutes later we found ourselves in the triage line at the emergency room with a baby who was soon to experience her first shot of epinephrine. Yet, when we kicked our way into an urgent appointment with the allergist a week later, the test for oats was negative. So was wheat. So was sesame. So was fish.
I started to think I was going nuts. I poured over months worth of notes on the baby's foods, the early things she seemed fine with and the times she had suffered reactions. Like the mystery with the dairy allergy, I knew I had overlooked something. A key element.
It was staring me in the face the entire time.
The mall incidents, I noted the baby had eaten one or two bites of store bought pouches one, containing green peas, which she had eaten before and the other containing turkey, which she had not. I googled the nutrition labels and then returned to my notes, ending on the day of our trip to the ER.
Beans. Peas. Lentils. Chickpeas. Peanuts, did I mention peanuts?
I had been trying to introduce legumes for some time now in an effort to pump up the protein in the baby's diet in the absence of diary and egg. Turns out that every time the baby had a severe reaction to an allergen that showed negative to on the skin test, she had eaten some kind of bean. To introduce sesame, I mixed tahini with chickpea puree and when I saw a reaction, assumed it was to the sesame and removed that from her diet. The turkey pouch from the mall? Red lentils. The smoothie that sent us to the emergency room? Turns out it was nothing. The baby had eaten a mixture of chickpeas and vegan yogurt (which also has pea protein in it, btw) just before she drank the smoothie.
Armed with my notes, we marched back to the allergist who took a look at what we had and agreed that legumes needed to be removed from the baby's diet. Even the peanut butter, which she had been eating pretty much all the time because of a mild reaction to it. See, the legume allergy had become so severe that it was now too much of a gamble to expose her to anything in the legume family. Out goes the peanut butter, out goes the hummus, out goes the haricot verts. Did I mention chilli? Enchilladas? French lentils with citrus dressing? All out the door.
At least we know. I guess...