A Story with Vitamin L
We all look forward to Baby’s First Foods – it’s a fun next step in development. Thank you Fiona for sharing your story – allergies are a concern during this step and this family demonstrates that with time, education, and creativity you adjust and create your own family traditions.
About 2 weeks before I headed back to work from mat leave I received news that my little one was allergic to wheat, eggs, milk and nuts. With these results I was also handed a prescription for EpiPens because her allergies could cause anaphylaxis.
How was I going to feed my 1 year old? How was I going to keep her safe as she begins daycare and I head back to work?
Fast forward to today, my little one is now 3 years old and she still has all of her allergies; however we are now in a routine, have found resources and brands that help, we are creative with food, we are organized (for the most part) and are much more comfortable when dealing with these restrictions.
The challenges that come with these allergies, were actually far more in depth then we first thought. Wheat for example is in almost everything right from the powdered spices in the grocery store to creams and play doh. The good thing is it is about an 80% chance that she will grow out of these allergies (wheat, milk, eggs) by the time she reaches adolescence, however there’s only a 20% chance with nuts. Delaney’s diet is made up of soya, vegetables, fruits, fresh herbs and meats and we have been able to supplement with allergen-free
brand products such as “Enjoy Life
” that help when convenience food/snacks are needed like granola bars, cookies and treats like chocolate. One hundred percent of all Delaney’s food comes out of our home kitchen. Eating out with Delaney at this time is not possible and I provide her daycare with a cooler full of Delaney’s food and safe food list on a daily basis. This is where planning, preparations and organization is a must, and Sundays are usually the cooking day preparing for week ahead.
Her daycare (Peterborough YMCA) has been great. It is impossible for any daycare to eliminate foods that Delaney is allergic to from their premises
. So we worked together to figure this out, right down to having a special table for Delaney to sit at with her friends and the children have all learned to keep the table safe for Delaney. They even make homemade play doh from rice flour in order for Delaney to play too. This past Thanksgiving, I teared up when the daycare cook told me that she made an allergy free Turkey dinner for Delaney to enjoy with the kids. I was overwhelmed with gratitude, and to a tired mom it was like she lifted a huge weight from me. Mom’s don’t realize sometimes the pressures they deal with until someone surprisingly makes a gesture to help and we turn to emotional mush with gratitude.
Regularly we add a new food item to Delaney’s diet, however this is a slow process. I complete a daily food diary for her and only 1 food over 3 days can be introduced at a time in order to monitor any potential allergy symptoms. You are unable to introduce a new food if she has any other symptoms i.e. stuffy nose for example. When doesn’t a toddler not have any cold symptoms, especially in a daycare setting? Not to mention a child with allergies often has asthma or a weaker immune system
. This year Delaney enjoyed her first cake, a Chocolate (Allergen-free) cake for her 3rd Birthday. This was the first year where all the ingredients in the cake were all on Delaney’s food safe list.
I know we all want and try hard for our kids to be healthy, but life is for enjoyment, so treats and sweets are a must on occasion. Things like Trick or Treating and an Easter Egg Hunt is just not the same. But like all mom’s, you get creative and figure it out. I pre-wrap Delaney’s allergy free treats and give them to the neighbours secretly to give to her when she comes to the door, and of course the Easter Bunny puts a special “D” on her treats.
I also have a 9 year old in all this and thankfully she eats well and does not have any allergies. Does she love vegetables? No, but she likes a few good ones, so can’t complain. The challenges feeding a 9 year old are challenges we all face with our growing kids — How can we all eat healthier and sneak in more veggies and prepare healthy meals on those busy days. No solution here except we do our best.
My husband and I involve them in the cooking and showing them how to make things from scratch with Vitamin L (love) from my baking to my husband’s homemade pasta and pizza. Cooking and baking are important to teach, as it teaches tradition, culture, appreciation and love for good food and family time.
Yes, I kick myself regularly to eat healthier and ensure my kids eat healthy, and yes, there are days when I don’t. I believe in enjoying cake and chocolate every once in a while (life just wouldn’t be as sweet without them). And finally as a mom (like many moms) I need to remind myself I am doing the best job I can.