Trust No One and Plan Ahead

By Guest Blogger Marci Rubin
Family Allergies: Milk, Eggs, Other

How did you first learn about your family's allergies? My daughter vomited so much from her first bottle of milk formula, we ended up in the ER. She had a taste of hummus at 9 months and her face swelled from a reaction to sesame. She sadly also had an allergic reaction to the egg white frosting on her 'dairy free' birthday cake on her first birthday. It took three foods for her to referred to an allergist.

What's the worst part of having food allergies in your family? Is there more than one? We have adjusted pretty well when we can prepare and control what Rachael eats at home. I hate eating out or going to parties or family gatherings. There are so many potential possibilities for her to eat or be fed the wrong thing away from home. But, I have learned a few lessons over the years: Trust no one and plan ahead. Most friends, caregivers, and family members are not as versed at reading labels! Bring your own food and keep it simple. Don't apologize for controlling what your child eats. It is for health and safety. Be prepared for sympathy that makes things worse, "Oh, I couldn't live without ice cream or pizza. How terrible!" Have a positive response like, "We can enjoy soy ice cream, and Rachael's food allergies are one way that God made her unique and special".

For us, food allergies has lead to many unexpected joys. Can you share one positive thing that you've learned or something good that's happened because of food allergies? I think I spent my life with a milk sensitivity without being aware of it. Going dairy in our home free helps me feel happier and healthier as well as giving support to our daughter. I think learning about food allergies has made us more aware of what we put into our bodies as a family. We eat healthier and read labels. We eat more fruits and vegetables because they are allergen free! My daughter is only three, but she already has a lot of maturity in choosing what to eat and communicating her food allergies. It makes me very proud. Also, baking "vegan" cookies and cupcakes has been a challenge and joy. I love finding and sharing recipes. And it is perfectly safe to eat the batter or cookie dough! What fun!

If you could travel back in time, to when you first learned about your child's food allergies, what advice would you give yourself? Listen to my instincts and educate myself more from the start. When my daughter was a baby, she didn't want the milk formula I tried to give her. I had a feeling she refused it because it was cows milk. My husband said it was probably because it wasn't breast milk. I should have trusted my instinct. Also, sesame is a growing allergy, but I wasn't aware of it until my daughter had a reaction. I would have educated myself to avoid sesame. I didn't even know hummus had sesame (tahini) in it. Hummus just seemed like a perfect soft baby food to try. Now, I tell lots of new moms about the rising sesame allergy just to spread some awareness because hummus seems so simple but can be dangerous.

Do you have any additional comments or questions you'd like to see posted? Love your blog. Thanks for creating a space for families to share the positive side of food allergies.

Note from Tiffany: Marci ~ Thank you for sharing your story! I hope another mom out there, struggling with the same situation in their newborn, will find your story and gain insights and courage from you. I can relate to wishing I had more knowledge about food allergies in the beginning, because figuring out the cause of the problems was the first step to a happy baby (and happy family) for us. Also, it's wonderful to hear your confidence when faced with the common, "Oh! Food Allergies? How terrible?". I totally agree with you, children are each special and unique, with potential for happiness well beyond cheese pizza. You're an inspiration to me, and other moms who struggle with our common challenge. Thank you!