I remember how it felt starting out on the food allergy journey. I felt that the guessing game of trying to pinpoint allergies was by far the hardest part. The painful trial and error of testing with food and the unexpected silent shock I went into during my baby’s first blood test.
I remember feeling way out of my depth, like I had no control over my child’s wellness and I felt like I was drowing desperately trying to find a life raft to cling onto. When my first child not only had multiple food allergies but severe eczema too, I had no idea how to tackle it and the well intentioned but totally wrong ideas from relatives were not at all helpful. So I did some modern parenting (google) where I learned a little bit here and learned a little bit there until the baby steps turned into a path which in turn became a journey we’ll forever be on.
This is what allergy friendly packet food can look like. I am in a lot of online allergy support groups where I see Mums starting out on their allergy journey, often breastfeeding a baby with food sensitivities. I remember those days of “WTAF can I eat!?” And “What do you snack on?”.
My son is nearly 3 now and I have learned so much, gaining certificates and diplomas on the subjects of food and allergies (and still studying for a full degree now), I have articles published on eczema, allergies, breastfeeding and am a recipe producer/food author, I speak with groups of Mums about starting solids for babies and am a baby led weaning advocate. I now have two children both with multiple food allergies and I feel confident that I can manage food allergies whilst teaching my kids how to manage themselves in an age appropriate way.
We beat infant eczema twice. The first time around my baby boy was so severe he was covered from head to toe, weeping and infected, oozing and crying all the time. I had strangers stop me in the street to ask what was wrong with my baby. We got zero sleep, I was washing blood out of baby clothes and wishing that I could be a regular Mum who only had pumpkin stains to worry about.
We have come such a long way and I am forever grateful for choosing to go down the natural, diet and gut health based route when it became evident that steroid creams etc. were not a solution, they only ever acted as a superficial mask.
I feel like my first child missed out on being a baby because all he did was scratch and cry. I lost a year to being the 24/7 scratch police. So when my second child broke out in eczema, we nipped it in the bud. She has had a wonderful quality of life as a result.
So now I spend a lot of time answering PMs and staying up until 2am sharing what I have learned in the hopes that it might help someone else.
In the case of convenience food, it may commonly be thought of as yogurt or cheesesticks, maybe a muffin from a cafe or a fluffy shared with Grandma.. but change that thinking and see that it is also a packet of blueberries, an apple/banana, pumpkin seeds, rice crackers, vege chips, deli meats, coconut yogurt, popcorn, rice thins, an avocado off the spoon etc.
Starting out is the hardest and most overwhelming part of learning to live with food allergies and eczema. It gets easier with every meal, with every day and every year.