Finding a formula for success

2012-10-09 16:22:05 by Sarah Plant, Patient Family, as posted on the inside.akronchildrens.org blog.

In the midst of our other September activities, we did still have to do the more mundane things, like go to appointments. Last month, Bekah decided to make even those exciting.

A few weeks after open heart surgery (on the advice of Dr. VandeKappelle, Bekah’s cardiologist) we took Bekah to see Dr. Haddad, a pediatric gastroenterologist.

Bekah had been having some problems with bloody stools, and her pediatrician had already ruled out any infections and switched Bekah from breastmilk to soy formula to Alimentum (milk and soy free), so we needed another route to see if we could identify a cause, or at least a cure.

He informed us that some babies develop a milk and soy allergy that they can then grow out of.  We prepared to wait it out, or deal with it if she didn’t grow out of it.

Dr. Haddad quickly put her on a pre-digested formula called EleCare. (I always tell people that I’m not sure where they keep all the babies they make eat and regurgitate…it’s funny to watch their faces, especially if they’ve already been asking all sorts of prying questions).

She spent a few months on Ele-Care, and we spent a few months endlessly trying to buy cases of it off the Internet and from our local specialty pharmacy. We were overwhelmingly relieved when after a few months Dr. Haddad switched her back to the less intense Alimentum.

Then, two weeks ago he suggested that we try going back to breastmilk (we’ve got a freezer full…yikes!) and see how she tolerates it. She’s doing great, and we’ve been slowly adding foods with milk proteins to her diet.

With only a month and a half to go until she turns 1, Dr. Haddad decided that if it is close to her birthday when the freezer runs dry we should just switch her to regular whole milk.

After months of watching what she and I ate and drank, and then even more months of making sure that no one ever tried to slip her the things that people are always trying to sneak to babies—ice cream, cake, pretzels, ANYTHING—we can relax even more (not that I want people feeding my child whatever they feel like—I’m still the food police around here).

Bekah is becoming more and more like an allergy-free child, and for that we’re incredibly grateful. But I for one have a newfound compassion for the parents of children with food allergies. I can’t imagine how hard it is for them to send a child to school, or a birthday party, or even feed them at home sometimes without worrying about the safety of their child.

It’s something that I now feel incredibly blessed to be able to take for granted.

Read the rest of Sarah and Rebekah’s story through her blog, Following Your Heart.

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