November 20, 2017 was the best day of my life thus far.
It was the day my son Quinn was born. As a mother, I was gun ho on breastfeeding my son. I wanted that experience not only for the bonding but for the satisfaction of being able to provide nutrients for my son.
To my unpleasant surprise, those first few days in the hospital proved that my son was having issues with my breast milk. He wasn’t gaining weight and he was spitting up quite often. I had to supplement with formula only to see the problems continue. After testing many different types and talking with doctors, it was ultimately determined that my son was allergic to both milk and soy.
When it came time for him to start eating solid foods, we began noticing some eczema and rashes on his body and puffiness in his face. After speaking with his doctor, we ended up performing a blood test to discover if he had other allergies.
Quinn was also allergic to:
- peanut butter
- casein (an ingredient found in cheese)
We were heartbroken. We had been feeding Quinn oatmeal for a while and he loved it! But- that was what was causing his rashes and puffiness. I hated that my poor little boy had to deal with so many allergies, but was told that the likelihood he would grow out of them was high.
Quinn is now 18 months old and we’re still waiting on him to grow out of these allergies (hopefully). But learning how to feed Quinn as he grew older and could tolerate more table foods was not an easy transition.
Truthfully, I wasn’t even sure what a baby’s diet should look like.
What kinds of foods was he supposed to be eating? I tried doing research online and found some bloggers who gave menu options. All of them contained foods my son couldn’t eat. I felt sort of lost.
Ultimately as mothers – we often have to take things into our own hands and trust our gut. I had to become skillful at reading food labels. Luckily, his allergies fall into the top 8 common allergens, which means that I don’t always need to read through the ingredients to find my answer. If the food contains wheat, for example, it will be written in bold right underneath the list of ingredients. Makes things a tad easier!
This is all so new for me. I’ve never been an extremely health-conscious person. I’ve never really thought about what is in my food before. I never realized how many foods contained soy before! But now, it’s all I think about it.
As a mom, worrying is in my nature.
Managing my son’s allergies makes me worry even more. Concerned he will accidentally be exposed to a food he’s allergic to! Worried someone will feed him something without realizing an ingredient in it could harm him. Constantly watching him when we’re at a party or with friends to ensure he doesn’t get his hands on something he shouldn’t. (Ah, the life of a toddler mom!).
With time has come knowledge. We’re finally at a place where we have a solid foundation for his meals and can add in new things here and there. I’ve discovered brands that make foods that identify the top allergens and eliminate them from their products. I’ve found blogs with recipes dedicated to foods for kids with allergies.
Looking back, it’s kind of been a blessing in disguise.
Quinn is my first child and I have no idea how I would have fed him if he didn’t have allergies. But with these allergies, he’s eating a fairly healthy diet! No junk foods. No fast food. Tons of fruits, vegetables, whole grain and yogurts made with almond or coconut milk.
Even if he does eventually grow out of these allergies, he’s starting off his life on a solid healthy basis for eating. I’m definitely proud of that, even though it was something that was thrust upon us. I feel confident that his allergies have actually been instrumental in teaching him healthy habits on eating that he can carry with him throughout his life.
Kate Fann Bio:
Kate Fann is a work-at-home writer and mom. She lives in East TN with her husband Casey and son Quinn. She loves to share her story with other moms to kids with allergies to help provide support and guidance to know they aren’t alone. Everything she does, she does for her son. Kate is currently pursuing her dream of becoming a published author to show her son that he can achieve whatever dream he has for himself.