I’m often asked by other parents how we knew Finn had allergies. It’s a story I realize hasn’t been shared in this format, so I will briefly share our journey.
I worked through my pregnancy and full-time for a portion of Finn’s first year. Like any nursing and pumping mom, you always worry you aren’t “keeping up.” At different times when I thought I might not be providing enough we tried supplementing, but each attempt quickly halted when Finn would become terribly upset, blotchy or barfy.
After his first exposure to organic whole milk around his first birthday, he broke out in a welt-like, red, white bump, blotchy rash – head to toe. (We also tried raw milk – same reaction.) We knew then something was terribly wrong. It slowly started making his first year make sense… his reaction to anything other than breastmilk.
In fact, looking back, there were times he reacted like this when he hadn’t ate anything, simply nursed, such as this reaction…
In hindsight, I suspect he was reacting to something I ate or we had dairy residue on our skin that touched him. (Another reason I have stopped consuming dairy while nursing Evie.) But at the time we were so confused. Had he been bit? Was he reacting to soap/detergent? The size of these marks would vary without reason – large, small, groupings, etc. Sometimes he was totally unfazed by them and other times he would scratch and cry, clearly uncomfortable. Again, looking back, this all makes sense.
He had a peanut reaction (no pictures) to a Trader Joe’s pretzel filled with PB. This was our fault. He was given this and started coughing, gagging, wheezing, losing color in his face, becoming lethargic. Thankfully, he threw up. Most kids do not throw up. Anaphylaxis was beginning, but thankfully he was able to eliminate the allergen from his system and his system calmed down.
We did not know about his egg allergy until we went to see a pediatric allergist for testing. He was tested on the most common allergens and came back positive for eggs – both the yoke and the white. He’d never had egg at this point, even cooked in a dish, so it was good to know moving forward.
The allergist appointment was awful. Because of his age they draw blood as opposed to the “prick” test some people go through when they are older. It took two nurses and myself holding him down the get the necessary blood. Traumatizing for both Finn and me.
Fast forward to today, we continue working through the process of keeping a dairy-, egg-, and peanut-free life for Finn. More importantly, we have moved from focusing on what we can’t eat to the things we can, focusing on eating real food. We suspect Evie will have the same allergies and plan to maintain a dairy-free and peanut-free home long-term. My hope is he will outgrow the plain cooked egg allergy but only time will tell. I now don’t care about dairy or peanuts.
As such, I’ll continue to share what I learn about food and allergies, and offer what we are making in our kitchen that might help you if you are in the same situation. I remember being so overwhelmed when I first learned about Finn’s allergies. Now, I think little of them and am actually incredibly thankful for what I have learned as a result. In fact, this video is what really put me in high gear. Please take the time to watch it!
Do you or your kids have food allergies? I’d love to hear how you found out and what you’ve learned.