Cathy wrote to me the other day about her six-year old son's newly-diagnosed food allergies. She is, understandably, overwhelmed and could use whatever advice you have to share:
I have always had an idea my son had a dairy allergy that manifested itself through chronic constipation. I nursed him for 10 months (I do not drink milk myself). He was a colicky baby though. Once I weaned him and put him on regular milk-based formula the constipation began. He started on whole milk at 12 months and holy cow! He has been on Miralax off and on since then. He ended up needing surgery for a hernia caused by the chronic constipation last August. My pediatrician assured me over and over again that its a boy thing (the constipation). She said with a true milk allergy the symptoms are usually diarrhea.
Fast forward to now: his seasonal allergies were out of control. We had him on so many medications I was very uncomfortable. My pediatrician FINALLY recommended allergy testing. We did the skin test on April 8, and sure enough his list of allergies was quite long. All outdoors basically (trees, grasses, weeds), dogs & cats, dust, mold, and a host of food allergies which include:
MILK, SOY, CITRUS, TOMATOES and CORN (all his foods scored a 3 on a level of 1-4 with 4 being the worst). He was also found to have a pretty bad sinus infection. The treatment plan so far is to fix the sinus problems with an antibiotic and a decongestant and nasal spray. He is on a 100% milk free diet. The allergist wants to see if his constipation improves once the milk is out of his diet. If not, then we will start eliminating the rest of the foods. The hardest is going to be soy and corn. We have already cut out tomatoes and citrus.
My son is almost 6 so obviously he knows he is missing out on stuff. I have been able to find yummy treats for him that are dairy free. What do you do about birthday cakes? Do you feed all your kids the same stuff or do your non-allergic children eat "regular" food? Where do you grocery shop? What about eating out? I just feel very lost and confused. I am reaching out to anyone who can guide me. When I got home from the doctor I was so overwhelmed. There was so much information I heard from the doctor that my head was literally spinning. I felt like for four years I had failed my son. I called his office the next day and asked where to begin shopping and the receptionist pulled his chart and laughed and said "Oh he can have jello I guess...no wait that has high fructose corn syrup"-- the nurse I spoke to later was kind and told me nothing he has will cause him life threatening injuries/illnesses and that I need to take a deep breath (I definitely did!).
Anyways, if you read all this ...thanks! I am just looking for some guidance.
I have already given Cathy a few suggestions. I have also told her NOT to listen to the nurse who said "nothing he has will cause him life threatening injuries/illnesses" because sadly we all know that isn't true. Her son's next appointment is in May, and she is compiling a list of questions for the doctor.
Now it's your turn! Please help this new allergy mama with whatever information and support you can share in the comments below. Thank you.