Confessions of a Food Allergy Mom

food allergy mom confession 2I am a food allergy mom. I have two sons who couldn’t be more different from each other. The oldest is a sensitive, introspective, timid soul, while the youngest is an outgoing rough-and-tumble kid. The oldest has been relatively healthy so far, while the youngest has dealt with severe eczema, food allergies and bouts of asthma.

This week is Food Allergy Awareness Week, and although we’ve known about my son’s food allergies for three and half years now, my Mom Confession #1 is that I didn’t know about food allergy week, or even about the Food Allergy Research and Education organization until I started working here at American Medical ID.

I know, as a mother of a child with food allergies, I should be knee-deep in research about what to avoid, how to do it, how to handle his life in school, at daycare, and birthday parties. But guess what? Having a child with food allergies is hard work.

When he was a baby, he was a bit fussy all the time, especially when he had to go to daycare and leave my side. I thought it was trouble transitioning from nursing to bottle feeding. I thought that his constantly red skin was “baby acne.” I was naïve to the signs and symptoms of food allergies.

By the time he was six months old, our pediatrician suggested he be tested. We did bloodwork to find out if he showed an allergic reaction to the major food and environmental allergens.

His results looked something like this:

  • Peanuts? Yes
  • Eggs? Yes
  • Milk? Yes
  • Wheat? Yes
  • Soy? Yes
  • Cats? Yes
  • Dogs? Yes

No wonder the kid was fussy! Not only did we live in a house with cats and dogs, but he had ingested, by way of breastmilk, all the above. At that point, both he and I went on an avoidance diet. Mom Confession #2: I stopped nursing him because I had trouble avoiding, so he went on fancy (expensive) formula.

food allergy mom confession1After that for about two years it was a constant struggle to keep his skin in good health. When he was two, he had a major infection on his leg and spent the five days around Christmas in the hospital.

Then we moved cities and saw a new pediatric allergist and dermatologist. He was old enough to do the skin test, and I’m so happy we did because his new results looked something like this:

  • Peanuts? Yes
  • Eggs? Yes
  • Milk? Yes
  • Tree Nuts? Yes
  • Garlic? Yes
  • Cats? Yes
  • Dogs? Yes
  • Wheat? No
  • Soy? No

Mom Confession #3: I was relieved we could all eat pasta together again! This pediatrician was the first to tell me that I should really have an Epi-Pen for him (even if he’s never shown any respiratory reactions) and that he should also wear a medical ID.

Mom Confession #4: a doctor’s appointment that consisted of me holding my son still while they scraped allergens on his back and then gave me the Epi-Pen “talk” was one of the scariest moments, ever.

Now that my son is prepping to enter kindergarten and life as a school-aged kid, we’re settling into a routine. We use dye and fragrance-free everything, spend the extra money on Enjoy Life cookies and bars, and practically own stock in Aquaphor lotion for the amount we use. But Mom Confession #5: even though I secretly freak out about his health, I know we have a plan and we’ll be ok.

 

Written by Guest Blogger Amanda Beck

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