What I Ate: Dr. Sear’s Elimination Diet

Well, this is one day of meals that you guys certainly won’t be jealous of.

Up to this point, I have been taking a gradual approach to an elimination diet, eliminating just one to two allergens each week to see if we saw any improvements with our baby’s symptoms. I mostly did it this way because I love eating a variety of foods, and I didn’t want to cut out more than I had to! However, I haven’t seen any major improvements since the very first week that I cut out wheat and dairy– even after progressively cutting out other common allergens like soy, corn, peanuts, eggs, tree nuts and chocolate.

Luckily, we have really seen some positive changes since I cut out all traces of wheat and dairy in my diet. (I’m not sure if both were necessary, but we’ll deal with introducing them separately later.) Our baby is no longer vomiting or showing any signs of acid reflux, and he’s sleeping well at night. We’re up to 5-6 hour stretches! Woo-hoo!

The only nagging symptom that he can’t seem to overcome is consistently producing “slimy” diapers (sorry, TMI). Our doctor isn’t concerned, because our little guy is growing perfectly and has no fever, so he’s left the decision up to me– I can continue the elimination diet to see if his diapers improve, or I can throw in the towel and wait for my baby to grow out of it, which he most likely will in the next few months, regardless. The doctor also mentioned that there’s a chance our baby isn’t intolerant to any other foods in my diet, and that his abundant drooling may actually be causing the diaper issues at this point. So, it’s anyone’s guess!

Rather than continuing to eliminate one thing at a time, which could take forever, I’ve decided to dive into the elimination diet that Dr. Sear’s recommends for breastfeeding moms. It’s much more strict than I would like, but it’s probably the fastest way to deduce if anything else in my diet is affecting our baby. Plus, it’s only two weeks long. If after the next two weeks nothing changes, we’ll be more certain that nothing else in my diet is irritating him!

You can read more about Dr. Sear’s elimination diet here, but the basic idea is that you eat the most hypoallergenic foods from each food group. These foods include:

  • Range-fed turkey or lamb
  • Baked or boiled white or sweet potatoes
  • Rice or Millet
  • Cooked green and yellow squash
  • Pears or fresh pear juice

Yep, that’s it. I can add salt and pepper to my meals, but no other oils or seasonings are included until I’m ready to start adding foods back into my diet. After the initial two weeks, or sooner if we see improvement, I’ll add back one food every four days to find out which foods might negatively affect our little guy. This way we’ll find out if a random food, like bananas or mushrooms, might be upsetting his digestion! It’s not fun, but I figure it’s the most conclusive way to figure this stuff out– and as quickly as possible, too.

So, here’s what my meals have been looking like these days:

elimination diet meals

Most of my meals these days are pretty sporadic– I just choose whichever food sounds most appealing at the moment, and eat until I am satisfied. This might mean a couple fresh pears for breakfast, followed by a steamed sweet potato as a late-morning snack, and a bowl of plain millet after that.

At first, I tried to keep my meals properly combined, making a “soup” out of lamb steaks (cooked with the bone-in for a nutrient-rich bone broth) and zucchini squash, but the lamb is really unappealing to my palate. So, I’ve been adding sweet potatoes to my soup to make it easier to enjoy. I’ve been having several bowls of this soup throughout the day, since it’s my only source of dietary fat until I can start including more foods back into my diet!

Oh, the things we will do for our children.

Reader Feedback: What are YOU eating this week? (I’m going to be jealous!)

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Comments

Jenny

Good luck with this! Does not sound like a fun diet but gotta do what you gotta do right?? ๐Ÿ™‚

Emmalee

Good luck, Megan! What a good mom. Hopefully there aren’t anymore allergens so you can go ahead and enjoy the food you like more often. Two weeks isn’t a long time in the big scheme of things but when you’re palette is limited and you only have a few things to choose from I’m sure it’s difficult. Happy holidays!

Niccole

I these same diaper issues with my little guy! Hang in there! It does take gluten and dairy about 2 weeks to get out of your system completely so if it only one of those you might see improvement soon! My little guy did eventually grow out of it and remains only slightly intolerant to dairy. Best of luck!

Katie

Good luck! Wow what a great mom you are! The next two weeks will be tough I’m sure, but it’ll pay off! I’ll be cheering you on!

Darla

I can’t tell you how refreshing it is to see a Mom go to this extent to help her child. A two week period on this diet (plus the extra time for a slow reintroduction of foods)would be mundane, and somewhat difficult, but it is such an unselfish approach. Kudos to you for all you post–I enjoy reading your posts, and for going the extra mile for your little one ๐Ÿ™‚ Take care !!

Morgan

I’m sorry you have so many restrictions. I hate lamb and turkey so that sounds awfull. Look at the positives though, 5-6 hours is awesome. My 10 month old is still only up to 2-4 hours. I noticed his diapers would be slimy if my milk was extra full and he just got the more watery milk. I would have to express some of it off so he could get the fattier stuff, that seemed to be better on his tummy. It was almost 6 months till my milk leveled off. Keep up the good work momma!

Natalie

You are a wonderful Mother!

Mae

I remember those days! All four of my children required me to eliminate dairy while nursing. It wasn’t too difficult since I don’t like dairy. 3 out of 4 were improved with the dairy elimination but none of them slept for that long of a stretch until they were 2! My 2nd child had digestive issues until he was about 5. He was a colicky cranky baby but now he is a happy sweet 8 year old boy with a great appetitie! All this to say keep up the good work momma, your dedication to your baby is wonderful and inspiring!

Kelly

You can do it!!!

Do keep in mind that it’s possible that something in your TED rotation may be the culprit. I started a TED back in Feb/Mar when my daughter was about 2 months old due to “diaperโ€ issues to hopefully yield faster results than eliminating one thing at a time. We never had weight, skin or any of the other issues that go along with food intolerances โ€“ just GI issues. I was already completely dairy and soy free. It’s not easy- especially socially and incredibly frustrating at times (is it food, is it not food, is my baby just being a baby, etcโ€ฆ), but I think as moms we will do anything to possibly benefit our babies. I am happy to say that in time things for us got a lot better. I am still nursing, and we are a few days shy of her first birthday!

    Dee

    Dear kelly,
    I know this has been a while ago but I would like to know more as we are going through something similar.

    Dee

    I know this has been a while ago but my LO has GI issues only. Did your baby outgrow her allergies? How old was she when she did? Did the elimination diet help?

Lizabeth

My daughter was intolerant to dairy and soy. She had had eczema on her cheeks too which is a sign of dairy intolerance. It took a while to get her on track, and I never could get my supply up with much work, which was absolutely devastating. (Thats a whole another story) Anyways I put her on neocate, after research since I was told she would grow out of her intolerance if there was one, the rash wasn’t connected and it was just colic and acid reflux. Within 24 hrs her rash was gone, and I had a new baby. She’s 19 months now, and is wonderful, lively, funny and smart. She has a great appetite, but we stay dairy free. It manifests as asthma like symptoms now, and plus I’m not convinced we should consume another mammals milk. Anyways I have been in your place, and its tough. It will be all worth it ๐Ÿ™‚

Claudia

This is just the beginning of a looooooong journey! Our kids make us do more than we ever thought we could do. It’s an amazing transformation of ourselves. It’s not easy and it comes with a huge roller coaster of emotions but worth it of course! My best advice is to remember that everything passes, even weird diapers….hopefully it’s nothing serious. Best of luck, you are an amazing mom!

Kimmy

Oh I’ve been where you’re at right now. I did two weeks of elimination diet and figured out dairy, chocolate (big sob) & berries (sob) affected my little man. Since then I’ve been able to reintroduce berries and small amounts of chocolate in dairy free cakes but he still reacts badly to dairy in my diet at 4 months old. So I’ve been dairy free & minimal chocolate since he was 3 weeks old. Best of luck I know how hard the elimination diet is but it’s well worth it for a happier healthier bubba.

Laura

Megan you are doing a great job! Good luck!
Hey, what is the password to your belly bandit review? I clicked on it and it asked for a password… Thx

    Megan

    The Belly Bandit review will be up tomorrow! ๐Ÿ™‚

Courtney

Hey Meghan,
Just an FYI, I went through this with my daughter while breastfeeding and finally. Became so discouraged, went to an allergist locally when she was only 2 months old (thankfully, local for us was Boston Children’s Hospital). I thought I would mention the information we got. He told me wheat is extremely rare. As for dairy, he said the more likely symptoms would be things like generalized rash, breathing troubles, guiac + diapers, so on. My daughter had slimy diapers until she began on solids, even after I reintroduced wheat and dairy. She is fine now, she just grow out of it, hang in there though, I remember the countless hours I spent researching and trying new things. Good luck.

    Megan

    Thanks for sharing! I have a feeling we might be dealing with them until he starts eating solids, too. After all of this elimination dieting, at least I’ll feel like I tried everything!

Keri

I went through similar problems with my daughter. The mucus in the diapers – not cool. I got tired of eliminating a few foods at a time, so I did the full elimination diet. It is worth it. Dairy, soy, citric acid preservative, and MSG were the culprits for me. I have a calm, happy, healthy baby. Follow your instincts and ignore the critics, remember mom knows best.

Suz

Hi Megan, just want to say good on you for sticking it out as alot of mums would have probably just given up and put their baby straight on formula! Good luck with it all, it will all work out ok ๐Ÿ™‚

allegro

You guys are actually fortunate that there is so much info about elimination diets out now! Our son is 13 years old this week, and I was just told to eliminate dairy to solve his issues. When that did not work, there was no other info out there.

Actually, once we moved back to sea level (we were living at high altitude), ALL his health problems resolved!

Lauri

I had to do the exact same thing when nursing my little one (the diaper issues ;), vomiting, painful hour long sessions of crying!) It is not fun but totally worth it. My son would wake up every 20 minutes through out the night! (super painful~like water torture!)After 2 years of this “minimal diet” he finally stopped having adverse reactions. Dairy was the biggy. Now nine years late (I can’t believe it!) it seems like a distant dream. One thing I would recommend is keeping a journal. Now, I can look back on my journal and remember the craziness and know that if I could do that ~ I can do anything! Good luck and may full nights of sleep and flavorful meals come soon!

bree

It took eight weeks of full elimination for my daughter to get better, as well. My drs said the same thing…. They werent worried about her gross diapers since she was happy and growing. Im not sure if I commented befire about enzymes. But, I read that they can be beneficial for infant colitis. Ive been on them almost two months and have reintroduced all the allergens, successfully. She is 8 months today, so either the enzymes work or she grew out of it. Hang in there. There were times I felt very discouraged…. And starving.

Joanell

Don’t forget that a breastfed baby’s diapers will always be slimy and yellow! Not to mention copious. Try not to worry too much about that if your doctor is not concerned. Making the adjustment to life outside the womb is difficult… you are obviously doing everything possible to make that transition a comfortable one for your son. Getting five hour stretches at night at only three months old is remarkable. Try not to be too hard on yourself. EACH of you need to be healthy and happy in order to thrive.

Emma

Hey! I read your blog all the time and I am currently a student at the Ayurvedic Institute, learning about holistic health and traditional Indian medicine. I would HIGHLY recommend looking into seeing an Ayurvedic Practitioner or reading more about Ayurveda in general concerning some symptoms your baby is showing. If it is excessive drooling and mucousy poop exhibiting it may not be a food allergy but a response to the different characteristics of the food (and lifestyle) choices. Anyway, just a tip (as if you’re not getting enough of those already!). Good luck!

Penny OLeary

What a good mommy for sticking in there and providing the BEST nutrition for your baby: the milk you make!!!

Hang in there!!

Living Outside of the Box

I have to agree with what someone said above. I’ve been thinking about this…
Infant diapers (breastfed) really are kinda slimy, in general. As a mother of 4 (so far)…I would suggest that maybe the diapers you’re seeing are normal, after all. Want to send me a picture to see if it matches my home life? ๐Ÿ˜‰ I’m happy to evaluate that!! Hahaaa!!

Of course…Mama usually knows best. But infant diapers are WAY different than what they look like when they start eating solids or having formula, etc.

Mommie of 4

I nursed all four of mine now 11, 7, 4 and my two year old had the slimy diaper experience. The plant Alfalfa is great for cleaning out anything (just a thought) it’s the father of all herbs. We don’t eat meat, dairy , but we do eat eggs in our pancakes and wheat. Remember even though you don’t eat certain allergens, they may be included as an ingredient in your meals. The homemade pancakes with real butter and eggs had to be put to rest for a while. My son, as I said, is two now and we have been giving him our awesome pancakes for about six months. He is doing great.

I would just eliminate all those allergens, dairy, soy, wheat, meat, poultry, eggs, immunizations (Hint, hint) and so fourth. And most certainly no fast or processed food. Those things are not food. No Atlantic salmon either.
Always remember that we are living and must eat live foods as much as possible. I’m sure most of you give your infants live food through out the day. Keep doing this and their systems will be cleaned of all things bad. And the slime in diapers, hey it’s a great thing that whatever it is, it’s leaving baby’s system.

mary

Hi there. I know you get probably too many suggestions but just had to chime in… since I also had to do what you are going through. Two suggestions… Have you tried giving probiotics… a baby dose of course and of course you’d have to research (or maybe you know) which one. If its truly a digestive thing its only going to help. Also, I’ve been through this with two babies and have learned so much about food intolerances and links to behavior, etc. Anyway if something is unpalatable to you (lamb) I found you could quit eating or should quit eating. Your body is great at telling you what it needs/does not need. Just a thought. Good luck with the little one and congratulations!

Gloria

Good for you! We moms do what we have to – been there done (18 months of vomitting several times per day, slimmy diapers, not sleeping longer than 3 hours at a time, and the list goes on) unfortunately back when this happened I didn’t have the support of online anything. Docs were no help to me at all but another mom suggested lactose intolerance. Took her off dairy and the very next day we had a completely different person, no more vomitting, diaper situation improved, slept through the night (and none to soon since I was 7.5 motnhs pregnant with #3)!

Keep up the good work it will pay off.

Emily

I had to do the Dr Sears diet for my daughter (now 19 months) as well. It REALLY helped. And although it was hard, it was very worth it. And I felt better too. I, like you, was quite healthy beforehand, but I learned through the diet that traces of soy in my diet were bothering not only my baby, but me as well. We gradually added things back in over the first year, for a very long time I had to stay away from eggs, wheat, soy, and dairy. I was happy that nuts were totally fine.
Hang in there!
We also see an Integrative pediatrician, and she was extremely helpful throughout the process.
My understanding now is that it’s not always JUST the allergen, but also how the mother’s body processes proteins that can cause infants to react. Some women tend to leak larger (more undigested proteins) into their milk, and this upsets the baby (since the whole purpose of breastmilk is that it’s pre-digested food). Often strengthening the mother’s digestion can help with this- and so the Sears diet can heal both Mom and Babe.

Good Luck!

Ana

The things we do for our children indeed! My l year old is simply refusing all food at the moment so I am wondering what might be the cause. This post and the comments have given me plenty to ponder. The best of luck with the approach you are taking, I think it is wonderful.

G

Ooh how is it going? A dear friend is about to try this due to reflux in her 19wl daughter (third, all of whom have had allergies/ intolerances) and i’m going to do ot or at least the first two weeks with her for solidarity. Any recipe or combination ideas?

Baylee

My little boy is 4 months old and I am beginning my elimination diet journey. I have cut out dairy so far which has been our main culprit but now we are seeing that his symptoms are not going completely away…. ๐Ÿ™
Do you have the recipe for that stew??

Michele

Hi Megan-

I’m about to embark on this. I’m so overwhelmed by what I can / can’t eat. Curious, did you see results?

    Anika

    I’m doing it right now as well, I’m about 5 days in. It’s tough and I’m losing a lot of weight. I’m also taking a multivitamin and a calcium supplement. My son has had so many issues and he’s six months old this week. I’ve conclusively determined that Dairy and soy and caffeine really upset his tummy. Now I’m just trying to take out everything else so that hopefully his ongoing diarrhea stops.

Sarah

Hi! Did you figure out what food(s) your son wasn’t tolerating well? I have a 4 month old and we are having very similar problems. Curious! Thanks ๐Ÿ™‚

    Megan Gilmore

    His biggest triggers were dairy and soy. Whenever I ate soy he quickly developed a terrible diaper rash, and the dairy seemed to cause especially painful gas. The slimy diaper thing turns out to have been pretty normal, though. He did grow out of it!

Dee

I starting the diet tomorrow. When did he outgrow the mucus? Did he outgrow his allergies??

    Megan Gilmore

    I can’t remember exactly now– it seems like forever ago! I believe it was around 6 or 8 months.

Melissa

Hi Megan. Thanks so much this. I’m going through similar problems with my 1 month old. She has yellowish poop sometimes very mucousy and at times they have some green mucous or are completely green. A few times they have been explosive and gotten all over her legs and even gone up her back. At 1 week old I eliminated dairy because she had a string of blood one time and the doctor said it might be due to a milk allergy. However, things haven’t gotten better. There was blood only once in her stool but she has trouble sleeping. She seems to sleep longer when I’m holding her upright and I let her sleep in my arms but that prevents me from doing anything. It’s been really hard for me. Also, she spits up a lot if I put her down, even after 1/2 hour of holding her in an upright position. I held her last night for about an hour and put her down. And about 1/2 hr later she woke up very fussy. She kept squirming around and making sounds with her mouth as if something didn’t taste right. I picked her up and felt her tummy was upset and making sounds. I haven’t taken her to the doctor as she does have a lot of wet diapers and I weigh her at home and she has been gaining weight. Not sure if it’s as much as she should be gaining every day but she is gaining. I don’t know what else to do but this total elimination diet to see if it helps. I cut out eggs a few weeks ago too but still ate corn, wheat and nuts. So it could be one of those? I hope I find out what’s going on with my little one. But did want to ask you how you made that turkey stew where you added the potatoes. I don’t eat lamb because there are certain animals I refuse to eat and I’m not a fan of turkey but will eat it so I can get my protein. Can you please share how you made that? Or maybe email it to me at meliespinal@gmail.com. Also, you only ate pears for breakfast for the entire time you were on this diet? And you only seasoned with salt and pepper? I want to make sure I do this correctly.

Anika

I’m going through this right now… and it’s tough. My poor guy is 6 months old and has had a ton of different symptoms indicating food allergies. He has had diarrhea every single day for over 6 weeks now. Some days I would notice mucus, which was very concerning to the doctor and indicates that there is inflammation in the body, likely from a food allergy. Like you, I had been journaling and slowly taking out foods that I suspected where allergenic. I’ve now been reduced down to the Elimination Diet and have been on it for 5 days. I’m calorie deficient, nutrient deficient and I’m seeing no improvement in his diarrhea or his eczema. His crazy big spit ups seem to have gone away after eliminating Dairy. I also made a direct connection from his terrible crying spells to soy products, so probably not touching dairy or soy for a very long time. I’d connected his skin issues to *possibly* berries or maybe citrus.
Hoping things improve.

    A

    Anika
    Did things get any better for you ? Going through the same thing and my babe is 8 months old today … May just give up the tED I’m on..

      Hannah

      Hello – abt to start all this myself with my 5mo who has terrible eczema. Any results ?

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