My 16-month old toddler has a soy allergy. As a vegan, soy was always a big part of my diet. I’d have soymilk in my daily coffee, in cold cereal, in my smoothies, and in any recipe that called for milk. I’ve been fortunate to successfully breastfeed my baby for well over a year. But that soy I was eating was in my breastmilk.
The baby always seemed to have a rash on her face. She’d rub her chin fiercely on her crib sheets and against my shoulder. She always seemed to be teething. She also had eczema behind her knees, behind her elbows, ankles, wrist, and sometimes even her armpits. Even her older sister gets eczema. I attributed the rash to her fair skin, teething, and genetics.
At her 12-month checkup, they had to draw blood to check for lead paint. My husband and I asked if they could do an allergy test too, since they were already pricking her with a needle. The test results showed a mild to moderate allergy to soy. It also showed very low levels to oat, wheat, and peanut.
But it all came down to the soy. Since I was still nursing, I eliminated soy completely from my diet. I found a creamy almond milk I loved (Califa) and started to read labels even more closely. We met with an allergist who said she could eat products with soybean oil or soy lecithin (which appears to be in everything). My toddler’s face cleared up. She was no longer rubbing and scratching her chin. When I stopped pumping, I replaced the breastmilk with fortified coconut milk for her at daycare.
Last week, she needed more coconut milk at school. I still had frozen breastmilk in our freezer, so I sent that to school instead. Well, by the end of the school day, she had her rash back. She rubbed her chin so hard that it was bleeding. And she had small hives on her back. The breastmilk I sent to school was from before we knew about her allergy when I was regularly consuming soy.
Breastmilk has been described as “liquid gold.” And I’ve spent quite a substantial amount of time pumping and saving breastmilk for my baby. I had a vested interest in using it. But after her latest allergic reaction, it is inevitable. All my frozen breastmilk has to be tossed.
Now I can be upset or sad at all that wasted time and effort I took in pumping and saving the breastmilk. But I’ve decided to make peace with my decision to get rid of it. It’s not worth keeping and using if it’s going to hurt my toddler. And I forgive myself for feeding her food that she was allergic to. I didn’t know she had the allergy at the time. So I’m not going to carry around resentment or guilt. I was doing what I felt was best for her at that moment.
Is there something you’ve made peace with that you want to share? I’d love to hear your comments below.