When my youngest daughter, Bella, was born, she had a milk allergy. I guess it was fairly common for newborns to be allergic to milk based formula. I believe we then tried a soy based formula to see if that would solve our problems. Unfortunately, that new soy formula still made her sick. I was at a loss – what was I going to give her now? The doctor gave us some samples of a Similac Alimentum formula. Finally! There was a formula that my daughter could keep down. I was thrilled! Little did I know, this was only my first experience with food allergies.
As we neared the 1 year mark, which is the normal transition time from formula to milk, I again was at a loss of what she could drink. Her pediatrician said that since she already had milk and soy allergies, she was probably also allergic to almonds, which eliminated almond milk as an option. We began giving her rice milk, but needed something with more calcium and vitamin D. Enter Bella’s first allergy test.
I took her to the allergist and they tested her for allergies across the board. She came back with positive allergies to milk, eggs, soy, tree nuts and a very high allergy to peanuts. I was shocked. I had literally eaten a bagel with peanut butter on it almost every morning while I was pregnant and since Bella was born. I was absolutely terrified by the thought of what could have happened had she come in contact with peanuts. I had always been careful to wash my hands because I had heard that babies shouldn’t have peanuts due to potential allergies. That diagnosis completely changed our lives.
Bella is now 4 years old and still has most of her food allergies. The only real differences are that she has outgrown her soy allergy and can now have eggs that are baked at 350 degrees for at least 20 minutes. Her allergen levels have dropped over time and we hope to be able to do a baked milk challenge this year. I look around my kitchen and take note of all the allergy friendly offerings. We now use sun butter, enjoy life products, SO delicious coconut milk, yogurt and frozen dessert products and have recently started using Daiya dairy free products. I am so glad there are so many available options for people with food allergies.
I had zero experience with food allergies until Bella was born. I can’t recall even knowing anyone with food allergies. It has had such a huge impact on my life. I cook differently, buy different food products and we do not eat out as often for fear of allergens in the food. I also spend a lot more time reading food ingredient labels as I stand in the grocery store aisle!