I'm the mama of a beautiful 18-month old boy who is allergic to wheat, eggs, milk, sesame, and tree nuts. He also has eczema. I have hesitated to start a blog about allergies, because I don't want his allergies to define him. We have a book blog called Chronicle of an Infant Bibliophile focused on his love of books. But, I finally gave in to the lure of creating a new blog, and we'll give this a try and see how it works out.
I've rewritten this first post a few times. I don't want to be negative and harp on his early months of discomfort, but I would like to share his story so that parents of babies with similar symptoms might find some guidance. Nearly everyone that learns of his allergies asks how we first discovered them.
So, here is the short version of our story:
Our son cried and spit up a lot when he was very young. His doctor said we needed to burp him better. When he was approximately three months old (those first few months are a blur), he developed cradle cap, which spread to his face and eventually the rest of his body as eczema. When it didn't clear up with hydrocortisone, and some other mysterious symptoms appeared (related to diaper contents), we insisted on referrals to a pediatric allergist and dermatologist. Testing at around 5 months of age revealed allergies to four different tree nuts and wheat. Since I was nursing him, I eliminated these from my diet (he was being exposed to them through my breastmilk). It took a few visits to the dermatologist, and escalatingly stronger creams, but we got his eczema under control. He still had flare-ups, and occasional hives, but he gained weight well, and has grown into a charming, happy toddler. We moved across country when he was approximately one year old and just had our first allergy appointment in awhile at age 18 months. Skin testing has revealed allergies to wheat, egg, dairy, and sesame, in addition to his existing nut allergies. (We're waiting on the blood test results to see if they match the skin testing).
I had suspected some of these allergies for awhile, so had eliminated them from his diet, along with many other foods out of just plain fear and nervousness. After his latest results, I decided that if he is going to live on a wheat-, egg-, dairy-, nut-, sesame-free diet, then I can't be further limiting him through my own fear of trying new foods.
I started this blog to keep myself motivated to try one new food with him every week (this week is "apple week"), to get support from other allergy moms, and to share the bits of wisdom I've built up so far. "Crazy Allergy Mama" comes from the hat I wear when quizzing waiters at restaurants about food ingredients, scrutinizing box labels for cross-contamination warnings, and running around after him at playgroups to make sure he doesn't put other kids' food in his mouth. I suspect it's a label that many moms of children with allergies can relate to.
This morning my son nibbled on corn flakes and raisins out of my breakfast bowl (I never liked milk in my cereal), had a breakfast of pancakes (gluten-free, egg-free, dairy-free) and freeze dried blueberries, fussed for a few bites of chicken at the market (Whole Foods lemon grilled chicken), came home and had cookies (Enjoy Life "no-oats oatmeal") and a glass of milk (Silk brand vanilla soy). And I couldn't help smiling as he ate. Pancakes. Cookies and milk. I'm getting the hang of this.