Updated: Oct 9, 2020
I was desperate to find answers for why my baby was having constant diarrhea and not gaining weight as a nursing infant. So I started eliminating foods from my diet and found that my baby had put me on an "Anti-Candida," gut-healing diet!
I'm not a doctor, just an observant mama who has learned a lot through my own chronic illness and the challenge of raising sick kids. Please don't consider this "medical advice" - I'm just sharing my experience, theories and suggestions - things I wish had been available when I was desperately seeking answers on my journey. I pray this blog gives you ideas to help you heal, but always get medical counsel from your doctor and remember you are your family's greatest advocate when pursuing true health, the way God designed! Also I would love to pray for you - just send me a message below.
Elimination Diet while Breastfeeding an Allergic Baby
My two-month-old baby had been given a Failure to Thrive diagnosis - he had fallen off the weight chart because of his constant watery diarrhea. His pediatrician said she was diagnosing it as "milk intolerance," not a real "food allergy" at this point, causing these reactions in his body. But all she could tell me was that his constant black liquid poop (it looked more like putrification than digestion was occurring in his little system) was somehow affected or even caused by foods I was eating! Yet she had no theory to explain the underlying mechanism. I was in disbelief. How could this happen? I was healthy according to all medical measures! And he was born healthy too.
Where was the breakdown in the perfect system God designed? Why was my baby unable to tolerate my milk - the most easily digestible, perfect food for him on the planet?
At this point, I had no idea the underlying mechanism or pathology, but as I started taking foods out of my diet I saw immediately the relationship between what I ate and my baby's gassiness, fussiness, crying, colic, sleeplessness...soon even the diarrhea started to slow, as long as I was religious in removing foods I knew bothered him. But it was all so confusing; everything I ate seemed to hurt him!
You find you do things for your children that you never would have had the strength to do for yourself.
So I went down to eating only chicken, potatoes and rice for a couple of days, which really helped ease his symptoms. And as I started to build back up from there, I began to learn what I should no longer eat.
The First Foods to Remove on an Elimination Diet for your Allergic Baby:
- Wheat and gluten
- Tree Nuts and Peanuts
- Peppers and anything spicy
My list grew as I started to recognize I had my own plethora of symptoms as well! Yet these were definitely connected to the food I ate. I started with the elimination list above, because removing these foods religiously caused the most immediate changes in my baby's digestive health.
The more I researched our symptoms and the holistic medical world's recommendations on truly healing the digestive system, the more I realized that both of our problems seemed to be eased by an "Anti-Candida" diet.
So I took the plunge and decided to heal our bodies. I removed all sugar from my diet as well. Many of my symptoms started to drastically improve.
I spent a couple of months on an Anti-Candida protocol, which did not include any of the foods above and was strictly no-sugar (including no fruit). But it was essentially vegan (because before this I preferred eating mostly vegetarian) and relied heavily on pseudo-grains, starches like sweet potatoes, and beans. It was very hard to do without eating nuts, and I was physically exhausted much of the time. My body was at the end of its resources, because I was also nursing an infant who was not yet eating any solid food.
But my little one was healing and started to gain weight, no formula necessary!
I took the next step, recognizing the critical importance of meat in my diet to get the nutrients I needed and allow my gut to heal, and started on the GAPS (Gut and Psychology Syndrome) Diet to truly heal our digestive systems. We finally started see symptoms disappear, and even to thrive. It has been a journey of setbacks and challenges. And even now, because of my little one's continued food sensitivities and ongoing issues, GAPS is impossible due to its reliance on eggs, dairy, and fruits. But we have modified as we go, and I am certain that careful manipulation of my diet and now his has protected him from a myriad of much worse problems such as autism, failure to thrive malnourishment issues, and anaphylactic allergies (so far...though this could always change), as we continue to heal. I will explain my thoughts about these in other posts.
Now that I am much further on my journey, I understand how important a gut-healing probiotic is at this stage as well, for mama and baby, to heal and seal the gut and encourage the growth of the right bacteria in the right places. (Of course, check with your doctor first!) I wish I had known about the probiotic that saved my life years earlier, but God has His ways and His timing for everything. See my post about the Probiotic that Saved my Life for more info.