Families with children who have food allergies, intolerances, and sensitivities are everywhere. Most families either have a child with food allergies or have a family member or know of friends that are walking this daunting path. When Cooper our oldest son went through testing and was diagnosed with quite a few food allergies and intolerances, it was overwhelming for us. I wasn’t quite sure and was still fairly blissfully ignorant of what it meant for Cooper to be allergic to corn as well as sensitive to milk, beef, honey and about ten other things. It is still a trial and error three years later to create a safe, healthy and happy world of food for him. My husband and I have slowly but surely gained confidence -with the help of an awesome pediatric allergist- in what is best for Cooper to eat as well as learned the hard way the cause and effects of him eating something that includes one of his allergens.
Milt and I are surrounded with amazingly supportive friends and family who want nothing but the best for our son and we love them deeply for that. There are a few statements that I wished I would have offered up earlier in our path to educating and involving the people who are in Cooper’s daily life. What is it about us as parents that we feel high maintenance, ashamed or annoying when we advocate for our children. Let me just say this to you if this is your mindset right now, STOP IT!” Your child needs you now more than ever and you will be surprised how those closest to you will back you up and make your world that much easier and calm. For the small group of questioners and challengers of your child’s allergies and intolerances, these statements may need to be shared a little more often!
- We aren’t making the allergy up or making something from nothing because we didn’t have him tested as a baby.
Food allergies and intolerances aren’t always something you are born with and can begin at any age.
2. Just because he acts fine right after eating one of his allergens doesn’t mean he’s “just fine”
Allergic reactions aren’t always immediate or anaphylactic. Symptoms can show up as late as a day later and can include digestive issues, muscles cramps hives, skin and face redness, even mood changes to name just a few.
3. It’s not just the raw or single form of the food that can cause a reaction.
There can be hundreds of derivatives or hidden ingredients that are made from that specific allergen in food that your he may need to stay away from.
4. Please ask me anything, everything and all the time about his allergies and the foods he can and cant eat. Having family and friends that care need to be praised, kissed, loved and held on to forever!!
5. We are tired and broke!! We need hugs, encouragement, and community.
Buying organic, non-gmo, corn free, dairy free, grass fed, gluten free and so on takes quite the toll on our bank account. Searching for places that we can eat out is a laughing matter and getting our children to eat the few foods they are safe to eat can be quite the event. We love it when friends send us recipes or new food products they find and think to tell us about them. It’s also amazing to have friends ask us what our son’s favorite foods are so they can have it for him at dinner and playdates. Awesome community is a must!
Our family has found our tribe and Cooper can mostly live life like a normal six year old boy. There will always be hiccups along the way, but hey, that’s parenting! I wish that I would have had the foresight to open up myself and our story sooner to those closest to us and I would have realized the tribe of parenting allies we had.