Thanks to everyone for your support and advice. Our son’s food challenge for milk was held yesterday at a nearby hospital. We had mixed results, but we’re choosing to focus on the good news, including the small changes we’ll be making to our son’s diet.
Unfortunately, the little guy had an allergic reaction to milk. While this was uncomfortable for him—his face, neck, stomach and back became and red and covered in itchy hives—a small dose of antihistamine eventually cleared up his reaction.
Now for the good news… During the food challenge, our son consumed a relatively large quantity of milk: approximately 280 mL. While he experienced an allergic reaction, it did not occur until late into the test. Therefore, our allergist wants us to begin introducing a very small amount of cow’s milk every day for the next month, and to continue increasing it over time. If all goes well, we’ll repeat the food challenge in one year.
Our Morning at the Hospital
For those looking for a more detailed account of our son’s food challenge for milk, here’s a breakdown of our morning:
7:55 AM – Our son vomits in his carseat about a block or two from the hospital! It sounds like I’m making this up, doesn’t it? He only had water to drink that morning. I handed him a water bottle when we left home, and he may have had too much on an empty stomach? At this point, I thought our allergist would reschedule the test. You have to be healthy for a food challenge. No sick kids allowed.
8:05 AM – We arrived a little late. I explained my son’s vomiting to the nurse and doctor. They checked him out, and he seemed fine. The test is still on!
My son began the food challenge with a small dose of cold milk. About 10-15 minutes later, we noticed two small red patches below his bottom lip.
I mistakenly thought the test would be stopped, but we kept going. Our allergist said that the redness could indicate a contact reaction and not an allergic reaction. As such, the test should continue.
So, he received another larger dose of cold milk, and then three doses of petit suisse with fruit. After he finished his final dose, the red patches remained around his mouth where he had contact with the milk.
A potential hive also appeared on his stomach. He has such sensitive skin, red patches are not uncommon. It was difficult knowing for sure whether it was connected to the milk.
To clear up any uncertainty, our allergist recommended we give our son another large dose of milk—an entire pot of petit suisse (50 mL). He gladly gobbled it up. I felt very uncomfortable feeding him so much, but hopeful at the same time.
11:15 AM – I noticed a more pronounced hive on my son’s stomach. Not long after, he started scratching around his armpit. Then, his entire stomach broke out in red patches and a few raised hives. His back started in next. At some point, his ears turned bright red. The red patches around his face became more pronounced.
After chasing around all morning, at this point in the test our little guy was uncomfortable and happy to lie down. When the allergist asked if he was okay, he quietly said, “No.” The nurse gave him an antihistamine, and we waited another hour before the redness finally cleared up.
Test Results and Next Steps
We are so thankful he did not have an anaphylactic reaction. When I asked, our allergist said she could not rule out the possibility of anaphylaxis for our son. We still need to keep EpiPens (epinephrine auto-injectors) on hand at all times, just in case.
The good news is that because his reaction did not occur until late in the test, after he had consumed a relatively large dose of milk, our allergist said we could start introducing a daily dose of milk at home. For the next month, and every day, he can have either:
- 10 mL (2 teaspoons) of cow’s milk;
- 4 grams of petit suisse; OR
- 10 grams of yogurt.
He can also have real butter on bread or in vegetables, as butter apparently contains a small amount of milk protein (see the description for “Dairy Butter” from Go Dairy-Free). In addition, product labels that read “may contain traces of milk” are now okay.
12:45 PM – We strapped everyone into the car and drove home. The boys slept in the backseat.
Today, my son will have 2 teaspoons of cow’s milk for breakfast. While it’s not an omelet with cheese just yet, I will rejoice in this small victory. Bon week-end everyone, and thanks again for your support.