Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Killing Me Softly

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.


  1. I can't imagine how hard it is for you. My kids are spaced 2.5 years apart and the "conventional wisdom" for things like the introduction of food, timing of immunizations, etc. changed from my first to my second, then again from my second to my third. I don't know which end is up most of the time, and I have few food allery concerns.

  2. That is truly infuriating. I guess we just have to jump in the deep end and hope for the best.

  3. You're joking, right? You made up that article, right? How crazy is that!?! Ugh. Now what? I'm at least fortunate enough to be on the last child and he's the only one with allergies and strict avoidance. Then again, maybe they'll be telling me to give him small doses soon. Ha! How frustrating...

  4. Oh my goodness. I worry about these things too, and we don't even have a history of allergies. I did introduce solids to my son at about 5 months, but I was so particular as to what I gave him. And I avoided many allergens until he was a year old. And then he still hadn't tried several high allergens too. The pediatrician practically laughed at me when I asked her opinion of how much longer I should hold off on Peanut Butter to avoid an allergy. She didn't see any reason to wait since there was no problems in our family. Still, I have a friend who's son has horrible food allergies, and it scared me. Wow! I can't believe the stress on you.

  5. Mommy Daisy~

    It's also frustrating to hear that pediatricians give differing advice as well. Ours told me that the new recommendation is to hold off until the child is 3 years old. He did, however, say that is difficult to do (especially here in the south)... but still. To hear that your's laughed and mine is more strict just goes to show that nobody has the right answer and we're all just muddling through this big question.

    Ok, now I'm off my soapbox. Thanks for letting me have another say Nowheymama! :)

  6. Go right ahead, Becky!

    The pediatrician thing is irritating to me, too. Everything you read says to be so careful, and then you get teased for being an overly cautious parent! Our pediatrician said (about Eli), "Well, he either is allergic or he isn't. You might as well find out."

    I still waited to give him certain foods because, hello! HISTORY OF FOOD ALLERGIES IN HIS IMMEDIATE FAMILY. I wanted to give him every chance to NOT have allergies.

  7. My sympathies. I think pretty regularly about how we'll handle a baby, if we have a biological one, in terms of foods, in the hopes that we can keep him/her from having some of my restrictions.