Dear Food Allergy Researchers/Medical Professionals:
Let me start by saying I appreciate all of the work you do. I don't know where we would be without you. I am so glad you are trying to find cures for food allergies. I try to follow your advice as closely as possible. You're the experts, right? But here's the sad truth: you are killing me.
Oh, I don't mean you are literally killing me. But part of my heart dies a little death each time the advice you give changes or the research you do produces a different result. I know we're all grasping at straws in the dark (or something) here. And I'm willing to take on some of the responsibility. But good lord, could I do with some consistency right now, not to mention a little less mommy guilt. Let's recap.
My thoughts, circa 2002-3, based on your research and advice:
Did I cause or exacerbate my eldest child's dairy allergy by eating large amounts of dairy while I was pregnant? Was her "colic" really a reaction to the dairy I ate while nursing? Did I seal the food allergy deal by feeding her solids too early? How the holy heck am I supposed to introduce one food at a time when so many baby foods are mixed or have fillers like CORNSTARCH*?
My thoughts, circa 2006-7, based on your research and advice:
Will my son have a food allergy too? Is it true that 60% of siblings of a food-allergic child have a food allergy--not necessarily the same one? Ok, I can feed him only breast milk for the first six months of his life if this means he won't have allergies. I'll wait to introduce the family's allergens (wheat, dairy) until he is 9 months old and a year old, respectively. Other common allergens can wait till he's 12-months old, too. Sure, that will be a challenge, but whatever helps him avoid allergies--even though no two experts/resources will give me exactly the same answer--is worth it.
My thoughts, circa 2008:
Well, our self-made allergen-avoidance plan seems to have worked with my son, who is 2 1/2 and appears to be food allergy free. I guess we'll just follow the same plan with his baby sister, who is nearing her six-month bir--WHAT?!
I have to go lie down. Call me when you have this all figured out, and I'll figure out who's to blame.
*Corn is a very common allergen.