My baby has a food allergy. This finding is both scary and confusing. It also evokes tons of questions. What am I going to do? What will I give her to eat? How will I protect her? What else does it mean? Will she be sick for the rest of her life? How will I get all the vitamins & minerals into her if she’s off the entire food group?
I’m trying to go back in time in my memory and remember all the feelings I had when I found out that there was something “wrong” with my baby for the first time. My baby girl was a little less than 6 months old and we’ve just started introducing solids. She’s been exclusively breastfed until then and had no health problems other than occasional eczema on her skin. We’ve started off with blended carrot puree which she enjoyed very much and was eating away. Few days later, I gave her a baby porridge…
After no more than 3 or 4 spoons of baby porridge, she started screaming like if she was in terrible pain. I took her out of a high chair, l laid her down on a changing mat and took off her clothes & nappy to see if it was her tummy bothering her. That’s when I noticed blisters around her lips. I was so scared as I didn’t know what’s going on. Her tummy and everything else looked fine but she was still crying and I didn’t know what to do. I breastfed her and eventually she calmed down. I put her in a car seat and drove to the doctor – that’s exactly what I shouldn’t have done.
Never strap your baby into a car seat and drive to hospital in case of severe allergic reaction. If you think she needs a medical attention, call an ambulance.
Luckily, my baby girl was fine. I don’t want to think of what might have happened if her reaction wouldn’t fade away on its own… She only had relatively small amount of allergen and reaction was local, not overall. Doctor gave her a checkup and recommended allergy testing.
Still, I had no idea what caused the reaction. And she wasn’t tested until 2 months later. I was so afraid to give her anything to eat. But she needed and wanted solid food. I tried to give her milk too, as I didn’t know it was a milk allergy she had. I tried small amounts of formula milk of different brands. She reacted to all of them. After some she’s had reaction as soon as the milk touched her lips. From some others, she was able to take in 30-60ml without blisters on her face or any swelling. But 30mins after consumption she got a tummy ache and vomited. She refused yogurt right away after first tasting. So by the time we went for allergy testing, I “suspected” that it was MILK what was causing the most of a trouble.
My babygirl was referred to a specialized doctor, immuno-allergist who took a blood sample and send it to a lab. The results came in 3 weeks later. She tested highly positive to all of different milk proteins, egg (both yolk and white), nuts; and slightly positive to soya, potatoes and wheat.
OMG, what is she going to eat?!?
Everything in front of my eyes blurred and I couldn’t think clearly. All I’ve seen was milk. Milk, milk, milk, milk, milk milk. Suddenly, milk was everywhere and in everything. It appeared like there was no other food in this world… And eggs? I didn’t realized at that time that all birthday cakes are baked with eggs…
It’s so scary
I was confused and I didn’t know what to do or where to look for advice. I wish someone has told me back then that everything was going to be alright and guided me through.
I wish someone had told me back then: “Everything will be alright. I’ve been through it and it’s manageable. You’ll be OK, it’s just an allergy, not the end of the world.”
Health is all that matters
It was while back when we first found out that our daughter had food allergy. Now, my baby girl has celebrated her sixth birthday this January (with a lovely “vegan” birthday cake) and she’s perfectly healthy. Her doctor told me that my daughter was her healthiest patient of the year as she’s only seen her for developmental check-up and the vaccination.
We’ve been through a lot. Several A&E visits (accident & emergency department) for problems with breathing, ambulance calling for face swelling… She’s still allergic to milk, eggs and nuts, but is not reacting at all to potatoes and wheat and has no health problems at all. Her skin is beautiful, soft and healthy (no eczema). She’s been prescribed epi-pen to have at hand in case of an emergency so I carry it in my handbag all the time.
But as I said, for the past year she’s been very healthy. She’s a happy little girl who’s well aware of her allergies & they don’t bother her at all. There’s so many healthy food options for her to choose from. She can have all the fruits & veggies, potatoes, rice, egg-free pasta, cous-cous, beans, cereals, meat, fish… We’ve learnt how to order food for her in a restaurant, have had a great sea-side holidays several times. She loves swimming (can swim by herself since 5yo)… I could go on forever about how perfect she is. I’m one lucky mum with 3 great, very healthy and happy children and I thank God for that everyday.