The effect of phosphates on my son, even through breastmilk, is just incredible!
Beckie, a mum from the US, writes about her experience with the low phosphate diet:
I have hesitated in replying as per your request to share with you my experience because I am embarrassed that I have not been following the diet very well. It is really hard for me! I have struggled mainly because quite simply, I feel very alone in all of this! No one has any idea what phosphates are and I think that deep down everyone thinks I'm crazy! I'm sure that you understand what I mean. The effect of phosphates on my son, even through breastmilk, is just incredible!! How could this not be more known about in the world? Especially in the U.S. where food is such a huge part of our culture and education is so readily available.
I have also struggled because I miss the familiar foods that I have grown up eating and sort of just hope deep down that my son will "grow out of it" as everyone says. When we get together with family, it is usually for a meal and so that is hard, too, to be the one who can't eat because of the way the foods were prepared or what not. I apologize for complaining! Really, I do have so much to be thankful for! For example, the knowledge of the effect of phosphates on my son and that we discovered it when he was about 8 months old. We could have been in the dark for a long time like many other parents.
Since my son was born he could never sleep. Imagine! A newborn who was too uncomfortable to sleep! He would grunt and move and as he got a little older we realized he just could not sleep on his back. He still can't and we think it's because of the pressure on his tummy makes it too uncomfortable as he has so many gastrointestinal discomforts. He also could hardly eat while nursing. He constantly pulled off the breast, because he was too uncomfortable. He still does this! He generally eats a little all day long. At about 2 months old we discovered what we know now as eczema on his arms. As he got older, I found that if I ate wheat products, he was up for 24 hours without rest. He was in agony! Not just with gas pains, but I'm sure with cramping, too. Since he was 3 months old I have experimented with my diet and some days he would do better than others but I didn't know why. Everyone has said that he'd grow out of it, etc. but I noticed that the older he got, the less he could tolerate and the worse his reactions were. He was allergy tested at 6 months when he broke out on his skin after we introduced him to peas. The testing came back negative. As each door closed, I became more determined and just tried a different direction. Recently, we had the internet installed and I stumbled upon the Phosadd website and to my amazement I saw a list of all the foods I had suspected were triggers for my son! I actually cried!
I began to follow the guidelines for avoiding the high phosphate foods and incredibly my son began to sleep through the night and his eczema disappeared. He was also more content during the day, not as uncomfortable and he nursed so much more calmly with few interruptions. It is so simple: I eat the right foods, and my son is great - "normal". If I stray from the diet, he goes right back to his usual discomforts. That is our story. I don't know if my son has or will have ADD - he's too little to tell, but at least I know how to help him now. I have the book by Hertha Hafer and that has helped so much to understand more about my son's physical reactions to the suspect foods. I have found though, that because I am in the U.S., I don't have the same foods available to me that are recommended on the 4 day diet. I'm still working on it! (For example: What is wholemeal bread?) I thank Hertha and you for all that you have done in bringing this subject to light in the world. I know that the low-phosphate diet works and for that, I know that my son will lead a healthy, "normal" life!
You asked about some of the things that I ate growing up. We ate a lot of fast food and junk food (yikes!) and when we'd cook at home it was never from "scratch". I got married thinking that brownies from scratch meant that you opened a box of Betty Crocker brownie mix! Not from scratch meant that you bought them already made at from the bakery at the store!! Silly, I know! I truly believe that most Americans eat this way!
One of the things that caused me to think that my son had a wheat allergy was when I ate pancakes made from Bisquik mix. Now I look at the ingredients on the box and can't believe all the stuff they put in there!! I pretty much make everything from scratch now. And now I have a wonderful idea of what that means! One of the great things that has come from this phosphate intolerance that my son has is that we have all become the healthiest eaters!!
I've never thought that he had or would develop ADD but I always knew that he was extremely sensitive to anything I ate! We always went to the doctor for help because I desperately wanted for him to get the sleep that he needed. He was sooo tired, but was too uncomfortable to sleep for a prolonged period of time. As I discovered the low-phosphate diet and altered my lifestyle a little bit more to fit it, I saw dramatic results. He actually slept through the night! I was so happy! Any time I splurge and eat something I shouldn't, he breaks out in eczema and his tummy gets so gassy that it sounds like popcorn popping in his belly.
We have seen just how sensitive he is becoming as he gets older. Since it is summer time, his eczema has been aggravated by heat and humidity as well as the sunscreen we put on him. Poor little guy! We've been keeping him out of the sun and keeping strict with the diet and we also purchased a cream and finally he is healing! Because it has been almost a year, people are finally starting to believe me and see the effects of high phosphate food and his eczema and tummy problems. It's nice! You know, people always asked me in response to telling them what my son was sensitive to, " Oh, did the doctor diagnose that?", or " is that what the doctor said?". Why is it that people will believe a doctor who sees the child for all of a few minutes and not believe the mother who deals with the child 24/7? Strange. Aren't we the ones who tell the doctor what's going on anyway? I think it's kind of funny! Thank goodness for you and Hertha and all of the people in the book who've shared their experiences. You have all given me the confidence to believe in my own intuition and findings. And my son is so much happier because of it.
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