I’m one of those moms–the one at a kid-friendly cookout or potluck that asks what you put in your food and reads the ingredients on food packaging. It’s something I have to do now that I have a child with a food allergy.
This world still feels pretty new to me. I entered it about a year ago shortly after taking Baby Sis to her first dermatology appointment for her eczema. The physician assistant recommended allergy testing since eczema is often caused by an allergy.
I was thinking she would be allergic to something in the environment since she had a few cases of hives after being outside with her big sister. When the blood work came back, the results were positive for egg white and egg yolk. I was surprised.
A Change in Diet
Baby Sis was still on breast milk at the time so her allergy meant I had to adjust my diet. No more scrambled eggs, pancakes, waffles and omelets. No foods with eggs baked in them, so that eliminated most cakes and cookies. I even had to pass on some holiday favorites like sweet potato soufflé because eggs were whipped in with the sweet potatoes. To top things off, eating out now meant searching out and reviewing restaurant menus online before walking through their doors.
It’s amazing how many foods have eggs in them when you start reading labels. I was even careful about foods made in factories that process foods with eggs. You can’t be too careful.
One of my big concerns was what she eats when I’m not around. I discussed her new allergy with the administrator at her daycare and made sure her teachers understood what she could and couldn’t eat. Fortunately, they listened to my concerns and adjusted the menu for the infant room to make sure my child didn’t accidentally eat something with egg in it.
When Baby Sis hit the one year mark, her allergist recommended more blood work to see if her egg sensitivity had changed. The results indicated she may be able to eat eggs if they were baked into foods.
We scheduled a baked egg challenge to check. I prepared muffins from a recipe the doctor’s office provided and brought a few to the appointment. Baby Sis ate measured portions and was monitored closely for reactions over a two hour period. The test was negative, opening up more foods she is able to eat.
A few months later, she had a scrambled egg challenge appointment. That one didn’t go so well. Baby Sis didn’t want to eat the eggs. I was finally able to coax her to eat some but she eventually threw up and started scratching at her throat. With a positive test, she was prescribed an epinephrine auto-injector and advised not to eat scrambled eggs, omelets, quiche, etc.
So I went back to her daycare to update her care and diet plans as well as make sure the staff members were trained to use her epinephrine auto-injector, if needed. I also shared the news with family and friends.
While it’s comforting to have a better understanding of the severity of her food allergy and to have medication to treat her in the case of an emergency, it can still be a little nerve racking. I try not to be obnoxious but I need to know what my child is eating. I want to go out and enjoy the company of friends and family but sometimes it’s just easier to eat at home.
Does your child have a food allergy? How do you navigate social gatherings where foods they may be allergic to are present? Let us know in the comments below.
Serena Smith is a senior marketing communications specialist at ProMedica. Click here to read more posts from Serena’s monthly series, Working Mommyhood.