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Both the ankle biters have milk allergies. Archie is lactose intolerant and had mostly outgrown this at 15 months old. The only thing he can't have now is an actual glass of milk but can eat all foods containing milk and lactose, which is amazing. Frankie is lactose intolerant and has cows' milk protein allergy. She has not yet grown out of her allergies.
Having a child with allergies is one of most heart breaking things I've ever had to deal with.
Doctors do not like to diagnose milk allergies and palm you off with their favourite phrase "it's colic they will be fine by the time they reach four months old".
So you wait and count down every day until your baby is four months old, wishing the time away when you should be enjoying and embracing every second. I remember Archie hitting four months old and me naively thinking oh thank god my baby is going to be ok now. This didn't happen he was not "ok".
You see them screaming in pain every day and night and it's always worst between 5-8pm as they now have horrendous colic caused by the lactose build up all on top of the crippling pain of the allergy. You keep pumping them with something they are so allergic to they are miserable 80% of the time and so are you. Archie would just cry for the majority of the day and night, he wouldn't sleep or feed properly, he used to projectile vomit and choke after nearly every feed.
I felt like such a failure for not being able to make my baby happy. For not knowing what was wrong with him. I started to blame myself and think I was the worst mother in the world and that everyone could see it and was judging me.
You go to the doctors for the 10th time and tell them you strongly believe your child is lactose intolerant as there is also a family history of it, you describe their symptoms again for the umpteenth time. Then the doctor finally listens to you and agrees to trial a lacto free milk or do they just do it to shut you up.
I used to dread feeding time with both babies as I knew what was coming. I felt like an awful mum for not enjoying feeding my babies. My tummy would flip and I would get so anxious and upset when they wouldn't feed.
The joy and happiness when within 48 hours your baby is a completely different baby. He's smiling more, engaging in play , enjoying his milk and being able to go to toilet without screaming in pain, they sleep contently. That minute you know mothers always know best it's the most amazing feeling.
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Then we had Frankie I felt prepared and ready if she was to have an allergy. I was clued up this time and doctors would listen to me having had one baby with this. How wrong was I? How naïve was I Very!! By the time Frankie was three weeks old I knew too that she had an allergy the same as Archie.
Off to the doctors I went, I was firm and dismissive of their colic theory. They agreed to prescribe some lacto free milk. I waited for that magic 48 hour mark to have a happy baby that didn't cry and writhe in pain. That didn't happen. So back to the doctors and we were given a different milk. Again this didn't work if anything it made her worse.
She cried and cried, she drank the milk it went straight through her before she even got to finish the bottle. She began breaking out in eczema all over her head and back of the legs and arms which was so severe it was oozing puss. Another trip to the doctors and I had done some research on different milks and come to the conclusion Frankie needed an amino acid based milk with no cows milk proteins or lactose.
So I asked the doctor to prescribe this and was told we couldn't have this as it as £30 a tin and that the eczema was cradle cap! I pleaded with the doctor to let me try the milk but she refused and sent me away in tears.
That afternoon was the worst I've ever had during my whole time as a mum. Frankie screamed and screamed, she was bright red all over and the eczema was getting worse every time I tried to feed her she would choke and scream even more. Archie also screamed as this little person we brought home from the hospital cried all day and in his eyes made mummy sad and cry.
I couldn't take anymore I rang my health visitor in floods of tears she was standing at my door within 10 minutes. Within 20 she had got us admitted to the hospital on the paediatric ward. I will never forget this wonderful lady. She was amazing.
We saw the doctor who confirmed she did have eczema which in fact was severely infected and that she needed an amino based acid milk. She was given antibiotics, steroid creams and ointments for the eczema and prescribed a new milk.
Within 24 hours we had a happy and settled baby who didn't cry all day and night. It was amazing , I cried tears of joy the first time she was able to drink a bottle to the end with no choking or it going straight through her.
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It's still hard at times with Frankie not being able to have dairy. My heart sinks and I feel for her at parties when everyone is eating chocolate or certain biscuits she can't have as she's still so young she doesn't understand why she can't have the same as her brother.
I have amazing friends who always ensure she is never left out at parties and is given an alternative. The free from ranges in the supermarkets are just amazing too. She was able to have chocolate coins and a selection box in her stocking just like her big brother and she was delighted with this.
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To anyone reading this mothers instinct is always right , put up a fight and don't back down or suffer in silence.