This week's maternal reflections post is all about my youngest son, Jonathan and how we have adjusted to a strict dairy free diet for him; and how we find balance between what he can't eat and what he won't eat. Jonathan was diagnosed with Eosinophilic Esophagitis approximately 18 months ago. The awareness about EOE is relatively new among pediatricians and gastroenterologists, allergist and internists. There is more research and readings available about the disease such as this article here.
We were referred to a pediatric gastroenterologist who took about 10 minutes to diagnose him with EOE and suggested an upper endoscopy in order to get an actual count of the eosinophils he suspected were lingering in his esophagus. In laymen's terms he explained to us that EOE is like having eczema on the inside of your throat and that it is typically the result of an allergy to the proteins found in cow's milk.
|Dairy Free Waffles made with Log Cabin|
Natural Pancake Mix and Almond Milk
We have definitely had to make a lot of adjustments since Jonathan is a child that doesn't really like meat and vegetables but loves milk, cheese and fruit. Being able to keep the fruit in his diet has really helped; and we have just found ways to accommodate his other likings as best we can with dairy free alternatives. I have pictured a few small samples of his favorite things throughout the post. The top collage includes Tostito chips (he refers to them as "party chips") and hummus. Peanut Butter (actually has no butter in it...) and allows him to get the protein he needs. He enjoys PB&J Ritz crackers a lot. Being able to find a way to make him a pizza he could eat was HUGE because this boy LOVES cheese pizza. Is it the same? No...but he likes it and this way he doesn't feel left out of Friday Night "Movie and Pizza Night"
He loves chocolate soy milk and drinks it everyday. He also discovered that he can still eat cereal for breakfast in the morning if he put Rice Milk on it because the rice milk doesn't really taste like anything. Again, this was a monumental discovery because it makes school mornings so much less stressful! I keep a small thing of almond milk to use in baked goods and pancakes etc as needed.
Preparing food for him often means I'm quite busy in the kitchen at dinner time, because I have to make certain adjustments and modifications for him; but that is OK. His third upper endoscopy revealed only 13 eosinophils per high power field. Our road paved with tears, frustration, being left out of pizza parties and not being allowed birthday cake and so much more had FINALLY led us to the results we wanted. To go from 85-13 was the best news ever!
My purpose in sharing this with you today was to perhaps educate you a bit if you are noticing any of these signs in your child with their eating habits and weight gain etc. If you do, I highly encourage you to speak to your doctor. For those who have already had this diagnosis, I hope perhaps this eases your mind a bit so that you can see that you can make the adjustments necessary to ensure your child is still getting both what he wants and what he needs.
Have a great day. Thanks for visiting with me and I'll see you all again soon!
Thanks for this post. My baby is also dairy-free, and it is HARD! :)
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