I hadn't ever thought about reintroducing dairy to Patrick, certainly not this soon after we took him off it altogether. I knew he had an intolerance but I'd never really thought about the fact that the intolerance could be temporary, only when speaking to other people who had been through similar did I start to believe this was exactly what had happened to Patrick. He had been poorly with a bug, and this could have more likely than not, triggered his intolerance to dairy, he needed it out of his system before he could properly recover. Simple enough, though it caused weeks of hell for everyone. Now that Patrick has been well for some considerable time, it's time to bring back the dairy.

I have to say I would be completely clueless on how to do this if I hadn't seen the milk ladder before. It's become our guide over the last couple of weeks in weaning Patrick slowly back onto dairy products, it's gentle, meaning that we'll instantly pick up if he has any kind of adverse reaction as he has in the past. We're keeping his food much of the same lately, again to help with the immediate detection of illness so we can link it to something straight away. I thought things were going to go a little bit tits up straight away, as only a fortnight into trialling the milk ladder, he contracted hand foot and mouth, but thank goodness no sickness or loose bowel movements accompanied it otherwise we'd have been struggling to distinguish between what was the cause.

As I've mentioned in previous Patrick updates, he did tolerate dairy previously. He had yoghurts, cheese and lots of other dairy products during his weaning months and just before the problems began, it only seemed to coincide with the move from formula to cows milk after he turned one, but with a move to soya not showing any improvement, dairy had to be cut completely. So far, Patricks reintroduction is going really well and he's steadily moving to the halfway point on the ladder - obviously this coincides with me having spent a pretty penny on a whole host of dairy free Christmas goodies for him, advent calendars, selection boxes, chocolate coins. You name it and I've found a dairy free alternative. But, that doesn't really matter, what's important is his health and I'm not quite confident that Patrick will settle onto dairy quite well, but we'll probably avoid cows milk and favour soya for a while. It does mean that if Patrick gets poorly in the future, we will remove dairy from his diet until he is better, just to avoid the vicious cycle as it appears to only aggravate his sickness symptoms, as it is known to in a lot of people. I thought I'd share a few tips that we've learnt along the way, or that have simply been passed on by others that we have found really useful.

1) Consult a professional - It's always wise to check it through with your doctor first, they might want to monitor it closely too, like weighing your child before you make any changes or even offer up some of their own tips to help the transition. It doesn't always have to be a visit to their clinic,  a quick phone call might be sufficient.

2) Take it slowly - The last thing you want to do is set yourselves back to the start by rushing ahead, just because something doesn't cause a reaction once, doesn't mean higher doses of it won't. Always try things a few times before marking it off as tolerable. Remember you can also do things in halves, and quarters if you're worried about going all in.

3) Don't be afraid to start from the beginning - If you feel your child is starting to react again to something, don't feel defeated if you have to go right back to the start and take a break from dairy again. I know it can be frustrating, but it might be what is needed.

4) Trust your instincts - You know your child best, and even if a reaction isn't what is a 'typical reaction', you'll know if something is playing havoc with them. Avoid it for a while and try it again when your child is completely well. Tummy aches, head aches, temperatures and cramps are all invisible so trust your parental instincts.

No comments