Tips For New Allergy Moms
Guest Blog By Lyndsay Edwards of Living With CMPA
Today, I want to share my tips for new allergy mums:
- Keep a food/symptom diary - this will help pin point any trigger foods and be useful to show medical professionals when they ask for more info.
- Take photos of any nappy reactions - yes it’s not nice to look at but it may help in getting a diagnosis.
- Videos may also help the medical professionals, it’s heartbreaking to watch I know but if you’re struggling to get a diagnosis then having video footage of the back arching/refusing feeds etc., may help.
- Do your own research and know your rights, when I first arrived at the Children’s hospital the assessment nurse said to me “we don’t even stock formula so I don’t know why you’ve come here” - I could have left at that point but I politely asked to see a doctor and a few hours later I left with a 400g tin of the formula they didn’t stock there!
- Don’t give up - your baby needs you and you’re the only voice they have.
- Mum knows best - no really you do! You are with your baby 24/7 so YOU know and if you think something isn’t right then don’t give up and keep pushing doctors.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for a second opinion - all GP’s can’t know everything so maybe yours doesn’t know about certain allergy symptoms and how to spot a suspected allergy.
- When weaning only introduce one new food at a time and wait at least 3 days before introducing a new food, if baby has an allergic reaction this will make it easier to pin point the trigger food.
- Join an online support group - there are many online support groups now, mine is on Facebook ‘Allergy Support Group’ we currently have over 2,000 members all supporting each other on their allergy journey’s.
- Learn how to cook ‘free from’ it may take a bit of practice with a few failed attempts but it can be done and you’ll surprise yourself at just how many dishes can be adapted to be made allergy friendly.
- Take your time going around the supermarket and don’t rush reading ingredient labels.
- Don’t assume because a food item was once allergy safe that it still is, manufacturers can change the ingredients at any time so you need to check the ingredient labels every time you purchase.
- Get comfortable in being the awkward customer, if you’re anything like me you’ll hate making a fuss in restaurants but now you’ll have to so get confident in asking lots of questions and quizzing the chef about the food menu to find out what will be suitable. If in doubt - don’t eat there!
- Don’t let allergies hold you back, your children will grow up and be able to advocate for themselves, they will fully understand their allergies and be confident in avoiding trigger foods.
- Accidents happen so don’t beat yourself up about it, we are human and we make mistakes it’s just what we do so if you do have a ‘slip up’ learn from it and carry on, don’t waste time mentally punishing yourself for it. Keeping a baby/toddler allergy free is no easy task so slip ups are likely.
- Constantly remind friends and family about your child’s allergies, I discovered that people including total strangers LOVE to feed kids - I don’t know why but they do so you may need to constantly remind people and never turn your back not even for a second until the child is older and understands not to accept food unless it’s been checked by mummy first.
- Discuss allergies with your child on a regular basis and remind them why they can’t eat certain foods, this chat should be a positive one - we don’t want our children to feel like they’re missing out. I talk about it with my son as just something we do but I never make it a big deal.
- Focus on what your child can have and do rather than what they can’t eat.
- Always try and use non food rewards so for example if your child wins at sports day instead of lets go out for food to celebrate - lets go to the cinema as a treat or swimming etc…
- Discuss how fun birthday parties are and talk about them spending time with their friends, playing games etc - don’t make it all about the food. Food shouldn’t be the focus of a birthday party.
- And finally - easier said than done (I know) but get your emotions in check, children pick up on their parents energy and copy pretty much everything you do so if you’re sad about their allergies - they’ll be sad about their allergies. If you are cautious but don’t let it consume your life then your child will be cautious but not let it consume their whole life.