I'm suspecting that Michael might have a soy allergy.
He is a big time spitter. I tell people this and they don't believe me because the kid is so big... YES, he is big, because he eats ALL THE TIME. I complained about the spitting to the pediatrician who said, "Well, what ever he's spitting up he doesn't need." Ok, fine, he doesn't need it, but my breasts would like a break now and then. But daycare made me feel like I wasn't so crazy, they confirmed to me that he does have exceptional regurgitation abilities (I like to think of it as his super power). But spitting up is pretty normal, that didn't trigger any suspicion of allergies. (And FYI, the spitting doesn't seem to irritate him, he smiles and laughs when he does it.)
Since having M, I have taken a lot of shortcuts, particularly in the diet department. I have been eating several granola bars a day because they are convenient and easy to eat one handed... since I've constantly got the other hand busy breastfeeding him. I started with FiberOne bars but I quickly realized that both of us got terrible gas from them and switched to the candy bar-like Sunbelts. I know they are bad for me, but I'm lazy and they are tasty!
Then when I went back to work, I didn't have time to make myself a decent lunch, so I took a favorite of mine with me everyday, Green Giant Steamers: Healthy Weight. The Healthy Weight is a blend of black beans, edamame (immature soy beans), peas in the pod, and carrots in a 'buttery' sauce. They are tasty! And pretty good for you! But looking back, I noticed that M's eczema picked up about this time. He also started having more constipation.
I was starting to get burnt out on my Healthy Weight steamers and while pushing peas around my plate the other day, the dots started to connect. So I quit eating them for a couple of days and his eczema looks better and he's more regular. And both me and his daycare workers think he is spitting up less too! But if it is soy, I have a little bit of a problem, because soy is in nearly all processed foods... including my granola bars, my breakfast oatmeal, and about everything else that comes out of a package. I put peanut butter on a piece of bread to have instead of a granola bar and realized that soy bean oil was in the peanut butter AND THE BREAD, sigh. I will be trying Celia's granola bar recipe asap.
So I'm going to try to eliminate nearly all soy sources over the next week or so and see if it makes a difference. At least I have lots of practice reading labels since I'm a paranoid vegetarian. I'm feeling like even if he does have an allergy, it's not severe, so I can still eat a meal with unknown ingredients without a ton of guilt, but I should have the motivation and will power to avoid what I can.
M doesn't have bad eczema... a little on his cheeks, elbows and a larger patch on his tummy. It doesn't appear to be itchy or bothersome to him in any way. I think it bothers me more. We have been treating it with CJ's BUTTer. It cleared up his face in a couple of days, but his tummy is less responsive to it. And we avoid all petroleum, artificially preserved lotions/creams, and scented products on skin and with his laundry. I mentioned to my husband about bleach baths, and he freaked out... my husband is sensitive to bleach and gets a rash from it. (My in-laws use bleach baths for their kid, who has terrible eczema and it has helped him a lot!) So for now, we will keep plugging away with the current treatment.
I'm very, very glad that whatever the cause of the problem is, it seems to be rather mild. I'm going to do my best, but if it's not soy, or if I have to go crazy and do a total elimination diet, things may get a bit overwhelming. I'm already a vegetarian... I feel like I have less that I can cut out and still get by. If I let myself obsess about it I'd probably have to get rid of a bunch of my vitamins and maybe give up dairy since most cows are fed soy (and if he can get soy from my milk, can't I get soy from cow's milk?)... and what if he is sensitive to other legumes like peanuts and chickpeas! Ok, must stop thinking the worst before I explode. But what I do know is that just eliminating a few of the items that I normally eat for the last couple of days has made a big difference, so that is encouraging.
But on the bright side, I think this might motivate me to eat less processed food.