Monday, January 24, 2011

Food Allergies

My oldest daughter has multiple food allergies: dairy, eggs, and bananas. It was quite a challenge as I learned to deal with these allergies. We discovered her dairy allergy when she was only three weeks old. I was breastfeeding her, and she was having horrible constipation issues, had a horrible rash all over her body, and was having acid reflux. The first thing the lactation consultants suggested was to remove dairy from my diet. I did, and with a few days she was pooping more easily and had no acid reflux issues. It took a little over a week for the rash to clear up. After a while, I slowly worked dairy back into my diet. As long as I didn't eat large amounts, it didn't seem to phase her--unless I ate cream cheese. I don't know what's in cream cheese that's so different from other dairy, but if I only had a little bit, she broke out and became fitful.
Banana we noticed when she was around eight months old. You know how you mix fruits into their cereals when they're babies? Well, I put a little banana into her cereal, and as I moved the spoon toward her she became instantly congested. I didn't really notice it then, but it was something I realized upon reflection. When she took a bite she started gagging and it seemed she couldn't swallow--as if her throat had swollen shut. So, I scooped it out of her mouth and I didn't feed her any more. I asked her pediatrician about it at her next appointment. The pediatrician said it was highly unlikely that she was allergic to bananas, but if it seemed to happen again, then just don't feed her bananas anymore. So, I tried again and we had the same reaction. Thankfully, removing the bananas from her seemed to be enough to clear her up. We did not have to make an ER visit.
We discovered her egg allergy just before her first birthday. I was making some cookies and let her lick the beater. I have a Kitchen Aid mixer, so I have that funny, mushroom shaped beater. Well, anywhere that the beater touch her face her skin broke out in hives. So along with her routine twelve-month blood work, we also had blood drawn to test her sensitivities to the dairy and egg.
Needless to say, I now always have Benedryl with me as well as an EpiPen.
I have learned that many people do not truly understand what a dairy allergy is, and what it is like to cook for someone with a dairy allergy. When you mention to someone that your child is allergic to dairy, the first thing they think of is milk. Some people go beyond that and think cheese and yogurt. But for those of you who haven't really had to think about this, let me add in some things that, to me, were essentials in the kitchen that I have had to learn to live without: cream cheese, butter, sour cream, cream of mushroom soup, cream of chicken soup (and any other cream soup). And no, Lactaid can not be served to someone with a dairy allergy. It is still milk.
I have found numerous recipes through the blogs of other mothers trying to help their children eat a balanced and healthy diet while trying to work around allergies and the natural tendency of children to have picky eating habits. I wanted to join the ranks and share recipes that I have found or come up with to help other mothers. I will do my best to site where I have found the recipe, but some may be recipes that I wrote down, but don't remember where it came from.

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