What You Need to Know About Your Baby's Poop and Food Allergies
byMaggie May EthridgeFeb 06, 2017
Photograph by Getty Images
Baby poop issues: Every parent deals with it.
During my job as an infant teacher at a preschool, I spoke with
many new mothers whose babies were having serious problems with pooping due to
constipation, whose children had large patches of itchy, miserable eczema or
whose babies were diagnosed with acid reflux. Chronic diarrhea was less
common but also occurred. All of these moms were taking their babies to the
pediatrician, urgently hoping to find an answer for their babies, and shockingly, none were directed to the most likely cause of their child's suffering: food.
Both poop and the skin express
reactions to food, and if you have a child who is routinely constipated, has diarrhea, reflux, eczema or colic, a food allergy or intolerance is likely the
culprit. Unfortunately, both are incredibly difficult to nail down—even with tests.
But why aren't more doctors warning parents about this? Instead, they often tell worried parents that it's just "toddler diarrhea" and leave it at that, or worse, reach for a prescription pad. And by now, most moms know someone whose baby has had a dairy intolerance—whether they were formula-fed or breastfed—so its clearly more common than previously thought.
I figured it couldn't hurt to try, right?
My own son was colicky and cried
relentlessly and intensely in his first months of life. I had no idea about
food intolerance or allergies and none of my doctors mentioned these. He grew
into a beautiful little boy with eczema and eventually, serious intestinal
pain and random bouts of enormous red hives. When I took him to the
pediatrician, he was diagnosed with constipation and exercise-induced asthma
and we were told to give him Miralax and steroids.
It was around this time that I began eliminating
things from his diet. We eliminated dairy and then
gluten, introducing them back in slowly and never again in large amounts. I also put my son on a gut-healing program, because children
who have had ongoing issues with food allergies or intolerances often have
issues with their gut health, such as damage to the lining of the gut from
inflammation. I started giving him probiotics and plain
yogurt with a little honey. I figured it couldn't hurt to try, right?
Then a miracle happened: All of his stomach problems
disappeared within months.
The asthma they wanted him to take
steroids for, the itchy miserable skin we used special lotion for, the stomach
pain and digestive issues ... were all gone. The circles under his eyes
disappeared, and he regained health.
If your baby is colicky, has skin problems, is constipated, has diarrhea regularly or is having breathing issues like reactive airway disease (RAD), you might want to look
into food allergies and intolerances. Your doctor probably won't tell you, but
another mom would—and just did.