Our food allergy journey began around January of 2010. Our son, Nathan, was just 6 months old and had begun to eat solid foods. He was a typical baby, except for the mysterious rash on his belly. After a doctor visit for what we first thought was a heat rash or virus, a prescription for steroid cream, and a few weeks worth of oat baths, the rash was still there. Our pediatrician was unsure of the cause of the rash so I began scouring the Internet to find some answers. We began to think it might be food related, and after many late nights of Googling, I finally found one website that said an oat allergy will present itself with a rash on the belly. Back to the pediatrician we go, requesting food allergy testing. Along with oat, we tested soy and wheat. Oat and soy tested positive and wheat was also very low, but most likely a sensitivity. Oat allergy?! Who in the world is allergic to oat?! This just baffled me, but we dealt with it.
Fast forward to April of 2010, Good Friday to be exact. I was so excited to try yogurt with Nathan, but knew to only give him a little bit at first. He loved it! After Nathan devoured about a quarter of the container, I put it in the fridge…..and there it was. A hive. And another. And then another. What was happening? His lips began to swell. I was getting nervous. His cheeks became red and puffy. I called for my mom. Moms can fix anything, right?! We began frantically wiping his face, tongue and hands. I began to cry. What was going on? Mom suggested we might go to Urgent Care, just down the road. I was panicking. My palms were sweating. Nathan seemed so calm. He seemed happy, his breathing never changing. We monitored him closely, and by the grace of God the hives began to subside. About 45 minutes after his first bite of yogurt the hives were nearly gone and all the swelling was just a blur in my mind. Knowing what I know now, we should have called 911. This was just the beginning. The picture below doesn’t show just how bad his hives and swelling were, but you can definitely see the redness and swollen lips. It got worse from this point before it got better.
Our pediatrician referred us to a local allergist, who, through blood work, confirmed his dairy, oat & soy allergy, as well as identified an allergy to eggs. I remember barely making it through the phone call with the nurse with his test results, breaking down in tears as the phone call ended. We were dealing with full blown food allergies, strictly avoiding all allergens as well as tree nuts and strawberries. When I was pregnant with Nathan, I worried about everything except food allergies. It never occurred to me that he would have food allergies. I had planned on feeding him a wide variety of foods from the very beginning. I had no idea what was going to be thrown at me.
Now what? What do I do? Where do I turn? What do we eat? So many thoughts clouded my thoughts. The positive thing was that Nathan was still only 9 months old and didn’t know what he’d be giving up. Finger food was easy, for the most part. And so our food allergy journey began. We began researching recipes, books, websites-anything we could get our hands on. “I can’t do this”, I thought. But, I can. And, we do. I’m going to tell you how we manage, cook, play, socialize, travel, and EAT!
To Be Continued…..