I totally love junk food, street food. Burgers, Pizzas, Pani Puri, Bhel...I could live on it. When preg, every week I had to have Pani puri's at the near by stall. All this came to an end when I had my baby, with confinement and a strict diet. During my pregnancy, Uncle Jag had told me repeatedly, good quality breast milk is best for the baby, and breastfeed till 3 years max, this will build the baby's resistance power and he/she will rarely fall sick. I could only drop my jaw at the thought of breastfeeding till 3 years. Little did I realize, how close I would come to actually doing it.
When the first rashes started appearing I dismissed them as air borne an air borne allergy(using my new found intelligence form the books that I read) as a new born child does get affected by it. At 10 days old one does not expect something drastic. And the pediatrician wasn't worried either. 15 days old and it gets worse. The rashes have distinctive characteristics. There we 2 kinds of rashes. The first on her front(upper torso) and back, small transparent ones. From far they looked like water droplets. The second kind were scary. Boil like in clusters in folds of her skin. The pediatrician dismissed them as air borne rashes or due to the washing soap and detergent. And prescribed Neosporin, the surgical ointment. He also instructed us to stop her oil massages, as it could become worse. We started washing her clothes with reetha, still no change. And there was no way I was going to use surgical ointment on my baby.
Respite came in the form of Uncle Jag. He was not in Mysore. He did not see her when he made his diagnosis, but he was bang on target. He described the second type of a rash when I described the first over the phone. Lactose Intolerant. To say I was shattered is putting it mildly. I was having 3 glasses of milk in a day, as supposedly having fluids increases the breast milk. Immediately stopped having all milk products. Detoxification of my body for 10 days, and Entorps application for my imp. Took another 15 days for the rashes to clear out.
Lactose intolerance is the impaired ability to digest lactose (the naturally occurring sugar in milk). The enzyme lactase is needed to digest lactose, and a few children and many adults do not produce sufficient lactase to digest the milk sugar.
Curds is safe to have, because the lactose in the milk precursor is converted to lactic acid by the bacterial culture. The reduction of lactose bypasses the affected individuals' need to process the milk sugar themselves.
I started having LactoBascillius Acidophilus supplements and increased my intake of curds. Curds made from organic milk( milk from cows untouched by hormones or pesticides induced food) only. The packet milk/curds are terrible and worsened her condition. Switched to Soy milk and Ensure to ensure I get my required nutrients. To reconfirm the diagnosis, I tried half a glass of coffee, when she was 5 months old, the rashes started appearing again. Curds also has a higher content of calcium and today she loves her curds..
Every evening around 6 pm, my imp would start crying like clock work. And the crying would continue till next morning 6 AM. Only when held in the position of burping would she stop crying. The pediatrician prescribed colic drops, saying all babies get colicy, its natural. I didn't want to give her drops, and went back to Uncle Jag, who asked me to stop having wheat. Anything with wheat was out. Daliya, Laddoos, rotis, parathas, upma. I had to rethink my whole diet. My baby was diagnosed having Wheat/Gluten Intolerance. This happens when the intestines cannot digest the components of wheat. And with all the wheat I was eating, the gluten was solidifying in her intestines causing her pain & constipation. Uncle Jag had to manipulate & move the gluten further down her intestines. Watching this being done on a 3month baby is painful. Another thing that we did was Beetle Leaf compress. Take a leaf, heat the smoother side on a lit diya and apply on the stomach. Leave it overnight. We did this for about a month. And detoxified my body again. I became gluten intolerant too, just never realized it. So all products that contained wheat and gluten were removed from my diet.
We made a lot of diet and lifestyle changes. Wheat could not be cooked at home, since the fumes also created the same reaction in her. Switched to black tea and coffee. I breastfeed her for 2 years. Would have continued had my back not become an issue. I don't understand how doctors can say a child is allergic to breast milk. Its simply logically not possible. If the mother makes changes in her diet, and sticks with it, then the child will stay healthy. The babies react to foods eaten by the mother. Read the benefits here ( thanks to Sujatha for providing the link)
Its been 2 years now, and the lactose intolerance has gone down. I could take a cup of coffee and not be worried about my baby breaking out into hives or any other new reaction. I have not introduced wheat or milk products yet, and will not do so till she turns 7 years. According to Dr. Jag, it takes 5-7 years for a child's intestine to develop fully. And Wheat is best avoided, especially the ones available in India. They are Genetically Modified and infused with excess gluten. Wheat & Cows Milk are the main factor for asthma in children and adults as they are mucus inducing foods. My homeopath says that as a child I was lactose and gluten intolerant too, my parents don't remember. Earlier days parents would just take the medicines given by the doc and not many would have readily accepted a child being intolerant. Although my parents remember I had to be put on a certain diet. But he remembers and today he is the doc I turn to for my kiddo too.
Today she eats everything except those products that contain cows milk, wheat and gluten. I do not know if these intolerance's are life threatening, I am not willing to test it out. I will much rather wait till 7 years. People ask how we manage. Its by checking everything. Labels , ingredients and asking questions. Anything with wheat flour, milk solids, corn syrup, permitted artificial flavors are out. Bread, cakes, biscuits all contain wheat and milk solids. And where we are unsure we ask, pointed questions.
We are fortunate that Mysore is waking up to a healthy lifestyle, primarily thanks to Dr. Jagdish of Jag Therapy. Organic foods, Soy & Rice based food, Dietary Supplements, all are available though a lot of wheat flour substitutes are not easily available.
Selecting a day care & school was very difficult. I needed one where the teachers and helpers have had experience in taking care of children with intolerance's and allergies. Strict instructions with a list of things that imp can and cannot have. She has a helper who looks after her primarily, & the staff ensure that she does not eat other children food. she is naturally curios and wants to try new things. But I'd rather that she try them with me than at her day care. The day care also does not encourage cakes and chocolates for birthdays, a major plus point. Imp is yet too young to understand that she cannot eat certain foods. But have taught her to eat the foods that I eat. So if there are snacks or foods that she would like to have but I'm not eating them, she will not ask to eat, will be quiet content with what I give her.
I have become more vocal and shameless. I ask for the menu before any social commitment. If the menu is not friendly I either carry imp's food or ask for fruits. Close friends and relatives now know and are prepared with friendly food. Its not an easy journey. Every place we visit or plan to visit happens only if friendly food is available.
So what does she eat?
- Flours - Soy, Rice, Buckwheat, Amaranth
- All vegetables, fruits and greens.
- Par- boiled Rice/Red rice
- Whole Grams
- Dry Fruits - Almonds, Figs, Raisin, Walnuts. (Cashew should be avoided as it is high in cholesterol and damages a child's liver. The baby hungrily absorbs and stores up all the nutrients from the mother when it is in the womb in its liver. And uses it when in no mood to eat. :-) )
- Soy Milk and Pediasure
Worth Mentioning, is the list of dos and don'ts put up by Dot Mom.