When my now twelve year old daughter was a month old she broke out in hives and had difficulty breathing after I nursed her. That was when our food allergy adventure began.
Severe allergic reactions from breastfeeding aren’t common. Typically, when an infant shows signs of a food allergy it’s when solids are introduced.
Food allergies are common in my family. I did my research and prepared myself with a system of introducing solids, with pre-printed charts and I planned to make all the baby food myself when she would turn six months. Yeah, I was one of those first time Moms.
What I didn’t expect or prepare for was to go on an elimination diet, discover that she had over twenty food allergies and discover how severe “contact” sensitivities could be starting when she was a month old. Hands had to be washed thoroughly and certain foods could not be cooked in the house.
It wasn’t easy. It was a huge adjustment. Most people who should have been supportive were being downright dicks about it. The more severe her food allergies became the more I saw a judgmental and selfish side of people that I will never understand. I refused to accept a life of isolation for her like so many often wish on kids with food allergies. Again, there are some things that I will never understand about people.
Those people are filtered out and don’t become a major part of our lives. It took me awhile but I learned to not waste time with negativity. Thankfully, over the years we have made some amazing friends that we appreciate.
All the modifications and food allergy management was challenge to figure out in the beginning. I made a lot of mistakes. That was the hardest part… knowing a mistake could potentially be life threatening. That part never gets easier. But, every mistake no matter how small helped me learn.
Now, all the ways I have modified our lifestyle to keep my daughter safe has become part of the routine. It’s our normal. It’s how we roll. It keeps her safe, alive and living an almost typical life. It is so easy now that I don’t even have to stress over the constantly evolving changes. When my now seven year old son was born his minor food allergies weren’t even a hurdle because we were already living without.
When we made the decision to try for “just one more” I knew that there was a possibility we could have another child with similar or worse health hurdles. It made me apprehensive for a long time. I took comfort in the fact knowing the hardest part is behind us because I’ve done all the research, I’m happy to live without and I know the routine to keep a child safe who has life threatening allergies.
When our baby was born, after a complicated pregnancy with bedrest, I immediately started to look for the signs. At first it seemed all was well.
Then all those familiar signs started surfacing.
It’s so hard to see your child in pain especially an infant. I’ve eliminated milks, eggs, nuts and salmon since those are major triggers for my baby girl. Her eczema and reflux is under control. I hope those are the only ones that we have to manage for her, but at only seven months old I know better than to focus on the what ifs. If the food allergy signs don’t improve then I will go on a full elimination diet.
I’ve been asked often if she is showing any signs of food allergies and how that’s going. Her nut allergy seems to be the worst of them. Despite how much food allergies suck I just don’t feel stressed about it. Maybe it’s because I’m a veteran at this and that I’m just so much more informed.
I’m not taking it lightly, but I’m not freaking out either.
About Leila DontSpeakWhinese
Leila, aka The Ninja, is the advocate for all things not whining. Parenting is fun when everyone stops b*tching! She is the Mom of a big blended family of five awesome kids. They ninja kick through life together. Oh and she is a total jackass.