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What You Need to Know About Your Baby's Poop and Food Allergies

baby having his nappy changed
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.

RELATED: 10 Things Not to Say To an Allergy Mom

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.

RELATED: Finally, a Cure for Colic and Reflux!

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.

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