Tuesday, 29 September 2015

What happens when your dairy free kiddo starts taking risks...???

Well I never thought I'd compare my daughter to a recovering alcoholic - well definitely not at the age of five anyway, but there you go...

It's not that she has developed a chemical dependency exactly, but she's suddenly developed a bit of a devious streak - that is rather out of character with her usually honest little self. Normally, she can't keep a secret from Mummy, but now she is also showing signs of denial and of course, it's all related to her milk allergy!

I find myself a bit bewildered, really, as I've tried to be open with her about her milk allergy and explain things as much as I can, so I thought, that for her age, she was kinda clued-up - as much as she could be - but recent events have proved me wrong!

'Mummy,' she said to me the other day, 'I had a dairy free custard cream at school today. It was nice!'

My ears pricked up a bit. 'Oh,' I said, 'really, are you sure? I've not come across any dairy free custard creams,' I said. Actually, I'd forgotten that the Lovemore Custard Creams are dairy free -also gluten free, egg free and nut free - but I always forget about them because they're made of soya flour (which I can't have) and also because they aren't that easy to get hold of (except via Holland and Barrett online, see here).

'Oh yes!' she replied airily, 'it was! And I really, really liked it!'

'Hmm!' Thought I. 'I don't think so!' Suspicious? Moi??

'How has your tummy been?' I asked. This, I thought, might help me understand a bit more about what's going on here. 

'Well,' she replied, 'I had a bit of a tummy ache, but...' she recovered herself most adroitly, 'it was because I was too hot, and I always get a tummy ache when I get too hot.'

GRRR!!! Too hot!! No!! Being too hot has never caused her a problem like this before!! 

I realise that she's on to me and lying to cover herself!! She knows I'm likely to start say the biscuit can't have been dairy free and that I'm likely to take some form of action to prevent her having one again. Having clearly enjoyed the biscuit, she's trying to head me off at the pass - 'cos although it may have caused her discomfort, as far as she's concerned, it was worth it!

This isn't the first time this kind of thing has happened - the most notable occurrence to date was the result of her having tried 'real'  pizza with 'real' cheese at school last year. Watching her friend's enjoy 'real' pizza had prompted her to ask for some. Somehow, someone in their wisdom thought that, even at the age of five, she must know what she's allowed to have (or not have) and therefore gave it to her!!

Well, theoretically, she probably did know, but chose not to - if you get my drift!

Cheese being much further up the milk ladder than a well-cooked biscuit, the resulting tummy cramps were far more severe than we've experienced in quite some while. Confusingly for me, instead of the usual diarrhea, she was constipated for several days. I suspected milk, but could prove nothing. 

The true cause only came to light because eventually kiddo complained to me, most indignantly, that someone had prevented her from having pizza for lunch... 


Good job, she's got a Non-Ige mediated allergy and is not anaphylactic, then!!!! Even though she'd experienced crippling stomach pains (that were strong enough to cause her to cry out involuntarily and double up with pain in Waitrose) she was in denial and was desperate to have more pizza - simply because she liked the taste of it! 

This pizza's dairy free!

'Well,' you might say, 'so all that happens is she gets a tummy ache, it's not going to kill her, what's the problem?'

Thing is, the first noticeable reaction (to a small amount, processed and cooked - we're not talking a full-on uncooked milk exposure here) is the tummy ache, followed now, it seems by constipation, rather than diarrhea, BUT unchecked I've noticed (as I watched helplessly through most of last year, when school said she wasn't having dairy at school, even though I knew she must be having some somewhere) that let alone the fact that it causes extreme discomfort, her immunity drops, she looks kind of greyish, tired, washed out and starts catching every little bug that comes her way - meaning she's not on form. Basically it detracts from her well-being and constrains our movements (you can't go anywhere/do anything when she's crippled up with pain). 

Now obviously, this has all been discussed with school, and I think I've communicated with them as carefully as I can, about it all, but what I find tricky is that I'm still relying on staff who don't live with this on a daily basis - staff whose knowledge, understanding and experience of this is therefore somewhat more limited than mine. If their knowledge fails, I really can't rely on her (at the age of five) either to know the difference or even now to keep asking the right question - 'Is it dairy free?' Because now, she has begun to realise that by being dairy free she may be missing out.

DOH!!! That wasn't part of the plan! 

I've heard of allergic teenagers taking risks - due to peer pressure and the like, but a five year old?!? Not for the first time, am I hugely grateful that her Non-Ige milk allergy is non life-threatening!! If they were, I suspect I'd be withdrawing her from school!!

However, at the end of the day, the good news is that her reactions are not as strong as they used to be, so onwards and upwards! Cue a new milk challenge - she was due one anyway - well once her stomach has been given the time to recover a bit!!

Related Posts:

Is this an allergic reaction?

Living with Cow's Milk Allergy - how I try to keep the 'Dairy Free Baby' milk free!

Challenging Baby


  1. My nearly 3yr old has just started doing this. Even though i explain that things have cows milk and will make her feel poorly It's so hard at times keep having to say no when she can clearly see others enjoying foods. I felt like an awful mum after but she pleads with me so politely " just try little bit mummy, just try " that I gave in twice so far. First a tiny piece of daddy's milk chocolate, which surprisingly gave no sign of reaction (now attempting milk ladder again) and then cream cheese icing on top of a delicious looking piece of carrot cake "just lick bit mummy", this did give a very clear and quite quick reaction, felt so guilty for allowing it but after some piriton and lots of rest she now knows she does not like to try that cake!!! I'm dreading her starting nursery school next year. Nice to read others working through same journey :-)

    1. Oh bless! I don't think there's a complete answer to dealing with it - sometimes children have to learn things the hard way, even though we'd like to protect them. xx