As an adult you have your struggles with food allergies. The countless family gathering events where you take your own food, the million questions you ask at a restaurant, and the endless battle of craving those “off limit” foods. You take each of these struggles in strides, with a smile on your face.
However, when you have a child with food allergies, its a whole NEW GAME!!!
Right off the bat I learned the best thing is to have your eyes open and your voice heard!
Any event outside your home, or where there are other people and food is a war zone. I learned early on, with the help of my mom, you have to go on the defense.
Specially with a toddler, everyone wants to ‘feed the baby’. Many people just don’t know better, and others need a reminder. I found great stickers on Amazon.com to stop people from offer my daughter food that might harm her at family events such as weddings, or graduation parties.
We also run defense at these events. We always have our daughter next to us, or my parents. Someone always in arms reach to run interception between her and the food.
Since our daughter is only a toddler, we have not had a ton of experience with this yet. However, she does attend a Early Childhood Family Education class once a week. Its just a Pre-preschool class, through a local elementary school. It’s a peanut free school, so nothing processed in a nut facility is allowed and the child can’t have peanuts (or peanut butter toast) before school.
Since our daughter can’t have milk or gluten, I have to bring her own snack each week. I know she is young and doesn’t know the difference yet. However, as a mom it breaks my heart that she has to eat a different snack than the other kids. Also, because of her age and she just doesn’t know any better not to take other kids snacks. She sits at a table alone behind where the other kids are eating. Know she doesn’t care, but as a mom it breaks your heart!
We have tried to educate our families. Many people try to understand the struggle we have, and other just don’t seem to get the fact that ‘yes, one bite of your ice cream will make her sick.’
We are extremely thankful that my parents have been here and done this before. My brother has a milk allergy, so my mom has been down this road before. She quickly adapted I was diagnosed and had to become gluten free at age 26. Since than my sister has also had to become gluten free. So my family is well educated in the matter.
You need to spread the word, make sure your family and friends are aware of the allergy.
When you have a child with a food allergy, the best thing you can
do is be understanding and protective. Watch their back and try your best to make things as normal as possible for them.