My first guest post in this new series is by Katy at katykicker.com. Who has shared her family’s experience about managing food allergies at home. Please take a moment to check out her blog, and follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Managing Food Allergies at Home
In March 2016 we became parents to our daughter, Daisy. Daisy was born underweight, as she had growth restriction in the womb. We were so grateful that she had made it out alive and that we had survived a difficult time in the theatre during my c-section. For the first week at home we were walking on air. Then the sickness began. Daisy started vomiting after every single feed, projectile vomiting, and it was getting worse and worse.
For several weeks Daisy continued vomiting. Daisy’s weight gain was slowing down and the GP just kept advising that she had colic or reflux. Eventually, after 5 weeks, we took Daisy to hospital. There she was kept in with dehydration and we received prescription formula for CMPA and an official diagnosis of reflux.
For a couple of months we plodded along, moving on to a different milk eventually, and Daisy started to have omeprazole for her reflux. Then I realised – we would be weaning soon. That is when the worrying began for me. I used to lay awake at night researching how I could get sufficient calcium in to Daisy. I worried; what if she did not like the alternative dairy free milk options? What if she didn’t get enough calories to grow? What if she had further allergies? Would other people listen?
Some of my fears were unfounded, some weren’t. Some people have fed her foods that have made her ill. Some people think we are over cautious when we ask how they cooked something. My daughter does have other allergies. She does not like alternative milk options (yet!). However, she is on the 75th centile and is growing really well.
As a family we have had to make some changes to ensure that Daisy is safe at home. For example we now all eat dairy free spread in sandwiches, when cooking and for spreading on toast. You can find allergy medicines on HealthCareWell pharmacy. This ensures that Daisy is not accidentally given a product she is allergic too. It also means I can share some of my food with her if she is hungry or interested in trying something new.
I have begun to prepare lots of dairy free meals. It is surprisingly easy to adapt a lot of the meals that we enjoy. I love using my slow cooker and Daisy, at 9 months old, enjoys curry, bolognese, casserole, chicken fajitas and much more! If we have a dinner where we want to use cheese I will just use it at the end, and Daisy has coconut based cheese.
Our routine has definitely changed now we have Daisy and she has CMPA. I have to put more thought in to our meals, however, this is making us healthier in the process. We are eating less dairy as a result and cutting calories in the process. As Daisy is still on prescription formula we drink dairy based milk still, and really enjoy it. Daisy has tried a few dairy free milks but is not a fan yet – despite drinking awful tasty prescription milk!
Overall I have found it much easier to cope with having a child with allergies than I imagined it would be. I tend to take things in my stride in life and haven’t really changed in this instance. With careful planning Daisy is able to enjoy most of the meals that we enjoy. I am still able to cook from scratch and actually this works better for us as I know what goes in to every meal we eat. Plus, there are lots of dairy free products on the market now if I need something ready made in a hurry.
Being a parent to a child with allergies can take its toll on you. Every day you have to worry that you child may eat something they are allergic to and end up ill or even in hospital. It can be hard to trust people but over time you will learn who is best to care for your child. Trust your own instincts and you’ll have the hang of everything in no time! Also, slip ups happen, such is this life, but tomorrow is another day and you can comfort your little one and get it right next time.