Hello IHeart-Motherhood readers! Betty & Baby here, thrilled to be joining you today. As a mother and young professional, I'm passionate about spreading the word on motherhood, organic living, style, and perhaps most important, allergy awareness. Today I thought I'd share some personal tips on infant/child food allergies:
- our experience
- how to be prepared to introduce solids to infants or add to a varied diet for children
- what to do in an allergy-related emergency.
Something I never expected to deal with as a first time mom was food allergy. I have no food allergies, nor does my husband or anyone in either of our families. My son was only 7 months old when he had his anaphylactic reaction. It was one of the most difficult experiences I've ever faced as a young woman, let alone a new mom. I talk in depth about the experience on my blog here. In short, I was alone, I was terrified, and I new nothing about food allergies. Thankfully I reacted quickly, my babe was alright, and we haven't had an issue since. That's not to say that we haven't made a great deal of changes in terms of elimination diets, careful food introduction, intense label reading, and of course, seeing a registered allergist. To this day, I still have a fear of discovering more potential allergens, but I've found several ways to safely prepare and test new foods without putting baby at risk.
Start by avoiding the 8 major allergens until you're in a safe place to test (with another adult with access to vehicle) and have talked it over with baby's ped. This is not to say delay introduction, but educate yourself on up to date research. The common 8 allergens are:
- egg-not just egg white, my experience was with yolk so it really is tough to separate the white from the yolk
- tree nut
- soy-keep an eye out for soy in baby formula, additives in jarred baby food/meltables. Soy is also not the healthiest choice for kids (much of U.S. soy is GMO, and has been linked as a potential endocrine disruptor)
- fish/shellfish-obviously you don't want to test fish or shellfish with baby for some time anyway, but the first time you do, be cautious and educate yourself
- labored breathing/wheezing
- reduced blood pressure/fainting
- swelling of face (particularly lips, eyes, nose) or limbs-in our case, I knew right away when baby J had got some on his finger and rubbed his eye which swelled up instantly
- raised red rash, typically on cheeks or around mouth
- raised rash on bottom, or circular red rash around baby's anus
- Check to make sure baby's airway is clear and you can hear clear breathing sounds
- Assess situation, if baby has a single hive and/or appears to be themselves, calm, happy, consider calling pediatrician and making a plan
- If baby clearly has a rash or multiple hives/swelling-
- use epi pen if have one
- call 9-1-1 and immediately tell them you suspect anaphylaxis to food
- be prepared to give CPR
*I am not a licensed medical professional. For medical advice regarding your child, refer to your chosen medical professional and seek out allergy education from trusted sources, such as the FARE website linked above. And of course, in any medical emergency, always contact 9-1-1 or your local on call provider.