Everyday Parenting · Food Allergies · Mental Health · Parenting · Wellness

My son was diagnosed with food allergies

I was never one to give food allergies much thought, as no one in my family was faced with them. Recently, my son Will was diagnosed with several food allergies – and I wanted to talk about it, not only because we live through this every single day at home, but because there are a lot of parents out there who are struggling with how to cope, how to explain their feelings, fears and reasons, but also because there are other parents who aren’t. Hopefully this can help put some perspective on it.

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In early 2016 when Will was starting solid foods, we noticed a couple of incidents (“Was that spit up or vomit?”) that were questionable and considered them to be related to an intolerance to certain foods, but as he started trying more foods and on occasion would start showing various symptoms, I was becoming increasingly cautious towards every meal time. The first time he had a full blown reaction, I didn’t even realise how serious it could have been.

This was around the same time I started on treatment for my postpartum anxiety. Meal times were incredibly stressful for me (as well as many other things as a parent), and after finally building up confidence again with reassurance from my doctor, I tried giving Will some peanut butter. And 30 seconds later, we called an ambulance.

We decided it might be best to get a referral for a pediatric allergist. This was an important step for us, and confirmed what we suspected was true. Since then, we have already had several visits with our PA, including one very full afternoon where we conducted a food challenge. A food challenge is done in a supervised environment, and a child who has shown a mild reaction to a certain food is exposed in doses over an extended period of time, completely monitored by professionals, including symptoms and vitals (blood pressure, heart rate, oxygen levels). In these situations, they are fully prepared in case of an emergency.

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At Will’s first paediatric allergist appointment – I was a mess!

When Will was first diagnosed with his food allergies, at first I felt sad and terrified. How was this little guy going to learn to navigate this world around him, when something so simple could kill him? Where going out for dinner at a restaurant could potentially end his life? It took me a few days of deep guilt and grief to really get a grasp on all of it, including a small break down into tears one day while at the grocery store. Since then, we’ve been through many ups and downs on facing the reality of our situation. I have taken it upon myself to ensure that I am his advocate and need to help him navigate through this. Looking back, I realise how dramatic it all felt, but since then we’ve really grown to accept it and are learning every day how to live with it.

Have you experienced food allergies at home with your little ones?

I’m a mom and wife who loves carpentry and at-home DIY. I work on a freelance basis in theatre and opera, and these days I’m navigating life with my son’s food allergies, as well as my postpartum anxiety. I live in the east end with my husband Brad, my son Will, and a Golden Retriever named Obie.

5 thoughts on “My son was diagnosed with food allergies

  1. My one-year-old has a severe peanut allergy as well as a dairy and egg allergy. It’s not only scary, but it’s so difficult. I try to put a positive spin on it–I get to try new things, and my daughter has never known anything else so she doesn’t really know what she’s missing. I’m grateful we have an Epi-Pen in the event she needs it, and that in this day and age there are so many alternatives for the foods she’s allergic to.

  2. It’s true! That is a great way of looking at it, that we as a family all get to try new things. There are lots of alternatives out there, and many companies are recognising this and starting to make allergy-friendly foods. Eventually, I’m hoping to post about some of our favourite safe snacks for on-the-go, so I’d be happy to hear if you have any that you and your daughter enjoy. Thanks for reading!

  3. Pingback: Egg-free pancakes
  4. Our youngest child, 9 mths tomorrow, is severely allergic to dairy. It is so severe that anything with cows milk protein that makes it into my breastmilk causes his eyes to swell and hives cover him head to toe. I ate a steak last weekend for the first time in months, only to have him react 6 hrs after I ate it. We joke that we’re due for a discount in Benadryl by now. We have suspicions that he’s also allergic to almond but that’s next on our list to try. We’ve tried peanut butter and eggs in the hospital parking lot, hoping and praying for no reaction as we shakingly fed it to him (so far, so good.). We have an Epipen and Benadryl with us always.

    1. Hi Ash, Ohh it is SO hard to watch our little ones react, isn’t it? Thanks so much for sharing your experience here. Hugs to you, mama! We’re in this together! xo Wendy

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