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Living with a Dairy & Soya Allergy

When your kid develops a food allergy at a young age, it can often be quite tricky trying to understand what food groups are causing the symptoms. My youngest child developed a dairy allergy after just 6 months (or so we think, it could have been sometime before then but we just didn’t see all the signs). When your child is so young, there are many variables that can affect their behaviour, sleep patterns and appetite, and when they can’t tell you what’s wrong, you can often overlook an allergy.

 

Once we discovered he had a dairy allergy, we quickly changed his diet and saw an improvement in his overall well-being. My biggest priority was ensuring he got all the nutrients he needed, and we started feeding him fortified soya milk. I was unaware that it’s common to suffer from both a cows milk allergy and a soya allergy- nobody had ever mentioned it. However it wasn’t long before new symptoms started developing, we could see he was in pain, and soon discovered that he also has a soya allergy.

 

I’m the U.K. between 2-4% of children develop cow’s milk allergy, and many children with a cow’s milk allergy will also have a soya allergy. It occurs when the body’s immune system reacts to proteins found in milk and soya. Allergic reactions can be immediate (within minutes to two hours of taking milk or soya containing products) or delayed (between 2-48 hours or longer).

 

Symptoms of cow’s milk and soya allergy

 

  • diarrhoea or constipation often with a sore, red bottom (nappy rash)
  • nausea
  • reflux or vomiting
  • colicky stomach pain with constant screaming and back arching
  • abdominal bloating or distension
  • wind/excess gas
  • blood or mucus in stools
  • itchy skin rashes (redness or hives)
  • swelling of the face, eyes or lips
  • eczema flares (also called atopic der-matitis)
  • difficulty feeding or food refusal
  • poor appetite and slow growth
  • runny or blocked nose
  • wheeziness or coughing
  • swallowing or breathing difficulties

 

(source- Allergy UK)

 

The only way to treat a soya and dairy allergy is by following a strict cows milk and soya free diet.

I really struggled for the first few months and found shopping to be a real challenge. Every time I reached for a dairy free product, it contained soya, and vice versa. So few products are free from both soya and dairy, and there’s such a limited choice on the shelves. When I find treats that he can have and enjoys, I stack up the cupboards!! Luckily he loves our Angelic cookies…

 

I opted for Oat milk as an alternative, however there are other suitable options including coconut, pea, hemp and quinoa. It takes a bit of trial and error, and for some children, they discover that they have additional allergies.  There are many dieticians on hand, and if you think your child might have a food allergy, you should speak to your doctor and they may refer you to a dietitian. Dieticians can offer plenty of useful advice about ensuring that your child gets a good source of calcium. Allergy U.K. is a great resource, and if you’re unsure whether your child has a dairy and soya allergy, their website is definitely worth a visit- https://www.allergyuk.org.

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