Both my girls have allergies, multiple food allergies and some animals. This is probably something i will blog about a LOT mainly because it is probably THE most restricting factor of my girls lives. No matter where we go, what we do, who they are with, who i trust to look after them i have to be 100% certain that i am prepared as a parent to provide for their dietary needs. For them it is not a case of ‘we’ll get lunch, a snack, something to eat, while we are out,’ i have to be prepared to take enough food for them or research everywhere before we go to ensure their allergen foods are suitable.
I dont want to sound sorry for us as a family or them because it is what it is at the end of the day, and we deal with it and it is our way of life now. My goodness I am eternally thankful the allergies are not lifethreatening, my heart goes out to all those affected by anaphalaxis, those people deserve a medal!! There are two types of allergic response to foods, IGE (anaphalaxis) and non IGE. My girls are non IGE to Dairy, Egg, Gluten, Citrus and my smallest also to Beef, Potato and Brocolli. Being non IGE is difficult to diagnose and affects systems of the body such as digestive, respiratory, behavioural etc…..
Food allergies and intolerances are a whole different world and not something you can explain in one blog, its not until you are faced with them that you actually begin to realise the extent as to which they can affect lives.
So anyway, i digress! This blog is meant to be about our most recent food trial fail….egg!!! Food trials are when you try and reintroduce an allergen into a diet to see if you still react. As a parent its extremely hard emotionally to start a food trial, you are going to introduce a food that you know potentially will cause upset and harm to your child!! Pretty selfish really, infact why do we even bother, just to make our lives easier?! Hmmmm!! Oh no its because the ‘professionals’ tell us its the right thing to do.
Introducing a food generally takes a ladder type form, you start of with tiny tiny amounts of the allergen baked to oblivion in a form that normally resembles a biscuit or cake and if u pass that ‘step’ of the ladder you then move onto the next which is less baked. You keep going until you fail (react) or basically eat the allergen raw with no reaction. Easy hey!!
Well not so easy as it appears when babies and children are involved. You see a reaction could be something such as a runny nose, cough, grumpiness, upset tummy, etc etc the list is endless. So i will give a million pounds to any baby/small child who has gone a week without any reaction type symptoms from other causes, colds, teething, growing, generally being a baby. (Just for the record i dont have/have never/ will never have a million pounds) So you get my gist……before you start a food trial you have to be 100% sure that the symptoms are a result of a reaction to the food and not due to any other factor which it appears is blatantly impossible in babies and children.
It is because of this insane factor that i have waited so long to start food trials. Both my girls attended nursery and so were constantly ill from there and teething was not easy for either of them. My youngest has got all her teeth now and has been (dare i say it) relatively germ free for a while. What with it obviously heading into warmer sunny (germ free) months i bit the bullet and said to myself ‘right then kiddos im Gonna poison u with egg!!!’ Not quite like that but actually that is what your doing!
So day 1. A quarter of a free from pancake which contained egg powder! Easy right? Who doesnt love a pancake…..err well that will be my 2 year old! Pancake dropped on floor, ‘no mummy, dont like that!’. 4 year old wolfed it down like all her christmasses had come at once…..result. No reaction. Yay!!
Day 2. More pancake, this time a half. 2 year old launched it in disgust, 4 year old couldnt get enough!! No reaction. Yay!!
Day 3. Half a crumpet (lets mix this up a bit!) Launched again by smallest, loved by oldest. Slight upset tummy….however child fine in herself….hmmmmm what to do? Contact a bestie, also allergy parent, ask her what to do…..we both agree….carry on!
Day 4. Given up trialing 2 year old, might as well trial the cat!! Treated 4 year old to half a free from angel cake slice…..no increase in reaction. Yay!!
Day 5. Half a crumpet again. Send kiddo off to school and after school nursery…….HIVES!!!!! FFS!!!! DAY 5!! I honestly thought we were onto a winner!! And why has this bloody happened on the day she goes to two potential poison venues!! Dose her up on piriton and frantically call school and nursery for EXCACT ingrediants of things she has eaten….back to square one!!
So we have failed the egg ladder…..or have we?, despite having a bit of a poorly tummy and hives my little girly is actually fine in herself. What to do??….call up bestie (other allergy mummy) again for advice. We agree to maybe reintroduce again in two days…..if the same happens then stop for 6 months as the ‘professionals’ say (We r not professionals so they must know what they are doing!?) Today was the start of trial 2………its ongoing!!
Another issue with allergy babies/children is food aversions. Babies are actually pretty intelligent and they soon realise that some foods make them poorly and some dont. Therefore they only eat the foods they know wont upset them. In some cases this can be so extreme that babies wont wean onto solids food or textures for fear of how it will make them feel. My 2 year old has developed food aversions. Not anything drastic thank god but enough to make food trials a challenge. She will refuse point blankly to attempt to try the ‘unknown!’ So with her we almost fall at the first hurdle before we have begun!!! Although she did inform us the other day that she only eats cucumber at nursery, not at home!! Hmmmmm. She is still young and her systems still have a long way to develop so im not overly fussed about pushing her to eat new stuff. Id rather she was happy with the foods she eats than begins to question them as well because we are pressurising her so much!
So there it is really, my first blog about being an allergy mum. It is a mind numbing subject and to be honest i wouldnt be surprised if you are neck deep in a box of wine after reading this one! I might crack on myself!
Being an allergy parent is hard, as being any parent is. I absolutely salute all parents of kids with allergies and intolerances, the struggle is very real. However it is also a topic that the general public are much more aware of and keen to learn about. So hopefully we can raise more awareness to help our mini me’s for their future.
Peace and Love and plenty of vino