Catherine (Little Brownie) has food allergies. Multiple food allergies. I often feel sad, overwhelmed and confused. How did this happen? Did I do something wrong?
Being a first time mother, I did all of the research and followed my pediatrician's recommendations when it was time to introduce my girl to solid foods. I knew there was a risk for allergies due to a family history (my husbands sister has food allergies) and the fact that Catherine has eczema. During my pregnancy I ate a varied diet and vowed to breastfeed exclusively. I am proud to say that Catherine and I have been breastfeeding exclusively now for fourteen months, however this was not enough to keep the allergies at bay.
On Monday, December 3,2012, I gave Catherine peanut butter for the first time. Within minutes, Catherine had red hives around her mouth and her lips began to swell. I gave her 1/4 teaspoon of Children's Benadryl, called the pediatrician, and closely monitored her all day.
Two days later Catherine was tested for allergies. Not only did she test positive for peanuts, but Catherine also tested positive for eggs,milk,soy, and wheat.
I left the doctor's office in tears. Filled with fear. While I worked at the preschool, I remember seeing kids who had food allergies. I saw the struggle their families faced trying to keep them safe. I often felt sorry for them and was thankful no one in my family had to deal with food allergies. Now I had to deal with it. Following the doctors recommendation, I threw out most of the things in our house that contained egg,peanuts,wheat,milk,and soy and gave away the rest to friends. I quickly realized we were going to have to drastically change the way we eat. Traces of wheat, milk, and soy were in everything! Not to mention I could no longer indulge in one of my favorite passions,baking.
In the weeks since Catherin's diagnosis, I have become an expert in reading labels and what to look for if I think Catherine is having a reaction. Slowly but surely, I have began the transition to a gluten-free,dairy-free,egg-free, peanut-free and soy-free lifestyle.
I keep wondering if I did something wrong. Why is it that food allergies are so prevalent these days? Do you have food allergies or a child that does? If so, how do you cope?