We Hate Soya

We hate soya, we love sand.

I don’t think I’ve updated about Max’s allergies in a while and everything is sort of whizzing by in a big fog of crazy days and nights, so I thought I’d better commit pen to paper – or hand to keyboard – before he’s 30 and I’ve forgotten all about food trials and nappies and all that faff.

Super quick summary for the uninitiated: Max was diagnosed with FPIES at six weeks old, a condition in which there’s a delayed internal reaction to food proteins. His initial trigger was dairy which caused us a five-day hospital stay. We were also advised to avoid soya. I stopped eating both while I expressed for him – he was combi fed so he also had special formula. When we began weaning after a while we were advised to do food trials where one new food is introduced each week. Thankfully we had lots of passes so while there are a few things he hasn’t tried, we haven’t been trialling for a couple of months as he eats a fairly ‘normal’ diet aside from soya and dairy.

We had two goes when he was first weaning of introducing soya, both unsuccessful, so we decided to hold off a bit and then the time came when everyone was happy for us to begin trialling again. The idea was to use a ‘soya ladder’ where you begin with foods which have a small amount in, building up to soya yoghurt/milk. First time of doing this was around three months ago perhaps and resulted in some horrendous, horrendous poos and disrupted sleep. Fine said the dietician, try him every other month with it.

I have been putting this off and putting it off. Partially because he went through a huge phase of not sleeping so we wouldn’t have been able to tell if he was reacting or just going through this leap he had been going through anyway. Anyway we bit the bullet last week and bought some Pom-bear type crisps which are step one of the ladder.

Day one there was a weird poo, which happens with babies from time to time so we didn’t think much of it. Day two he slept appallingly – again it’s been known to happen without any cause so we kept on. Day three and as soon as a horrible poo happened, we called off the trial straightaway (and whaddya know he slept terribly again that night! Slept isn’t even the word for it. He was thrashing around all night next to me on the sofa like an eel being tortured). The constant crying, moaning, being grumpy and clingy was also not a great side effect.

So for now we want to say ‘enough’. He has such a varied diet because he’s got so many safes that we don’t feel there’s much, if anything, to gain from him being able to eat soya – and if the professionals want to contradict that then they should find ways to give him whatever magic nutrients soya is supposed to give without him having to suffer going through trials. Now we want to wait until he’s at least two (end of next March) before we try again – at least then he might be able to give us an idea of whether his tummy hurts if it does.

We often follow health professionals’ advice because they do know best in a lot of situations. But I really struggle with the idea that he’s going to be magically ‘cured’ and be downing soya milk by the pint in two months. If he starts doing well with step one of the ladder when we try again next year then great! Fab! We’ll be chuffed. Avoiding soya as well as dairy is awkward so it’d obviously be happy days if he gets over these reactions. But when your child is screaming at 2 in the morning because they’re uncomfortable it’s not hard to see why you wouldn’t be keen to repeat the process in eight weeks’ time!

Harriet, Alexandra and Max x

Weaning – Dairy And Soya Free Baby

We like ironic outfits.

Well hello there. Things have been, shall we say, patchy when it comes to blog posts lately. In the past, I probably would have apologised but I’ve been thinking about it recently and actually I create content here for myself and for my children to look at when they’re older, so if I miss a few Tuesdays or Thursday here and there, it really isn’t a big deal! There are a million ways I could be kinder to myself, and not beating myself up about doing something entirely optional is one of them.

Anyway…on to the actual post.

Weaning. 

We are now a few weeks into the weaning process, which began the day Max turned six months. I wasn’t 100 per cent sure he was ready as he’s still not sitting up independently and he hasn’t yet got the pincer grip necessary to pick up smaller items, but he’s actually taken to eating very well. We decided to give purees rather than go down the baby led weaning route, mostly because that’s what we did with Alexandra so we stuck to what we knew, but also partially because I wanted to know he was having a consistent amount of food when we started trialling soya.

For the first two weeks, Max just had pureed vegetables twice a day at lunch and dinner. He got on great with those, and there was only really parsnip which he didn’t seem to enjoy. Then we introduced fruit which he absolutely loves. As soon as you give him fruit he’s wolfing it at great speed. He’s now having three meals a day – a couple of times he’s tried pureed versions of what we’re eating but mostly he’s having separate meals, although eventually all his dinners will be the same as ours (blended less over time until he’s eating it in the form we do).

We then started to introduce soya, which is what had been advised by the paediatrician. The aim was to give soya every day for a month, at which point we could say with certainty that Max wasn’t allergic to it (when he was diagnosed with his dairy allergy, we were told there was a one in three chance soya would also affect him. At that point, we were advised to cut out soya as well as dairy to allow him to get well again). The first three days were fine and then on the third day, he started being sick a little more than usual. It wasn’t a horrific amount, but then on the fourth day he seemed a bit lethargic and his poo also started changing (sorry for TMI). This continued on the fifth day so we stopped soya altogether. The plan in that scenario was for Max to be soya-free for four weeks and then we can try again, just in case the initial reaction was actually down to something else.

I feel like it’s pretty inevitable that he’s going to start showing symptoms when we re-introduce, which is a shame as I was really hoping he could have soya. There are so, so many dairy-free alternatives out there but a vast proportion of them contain soya. So if he reacts again and doesn’t grow out of the allergy (which his doctor doesn’t think is likely), then it’s really going to narrow down his options when it comes to food – and to eating out especially. It’s a real shame for him. Food is so integral in our society: birthday parties, Christmas, family meals, sleepovers at friends’ houses. Having never had allergies myself, it wasn’t until I had to go dairy and soya free to continue expressing for Max that I realised how lovely it is to be able to go to a supermarket and have your pick of anything on the shelves, rather than scouring through the ingredients of everything, double checking just in case, and then basically eating whatever you can rather than what you want.

I’m going to update on his weaning journey next week probably, as we have had more ups and downs this week already and I think there will be more to report by then!

Harriet, Alexandra and Max x