Like I have mentioned before, I am a natural worrier. I over-think, over-analyze, over-everything when it comes to almost everything in life. Therefore, when taking on motherhood I did the same. However, since I did not understand food allergies and that TJ was considered ” high-risk” for having them since his father has some and a history of others, I did not over-think what I ate from months 1-5. Tj was growing and gaining nicely so the fact that he frequently spit up was not a concern to his his doctor or us. I was breastfeeding and always hungry and thirsty. So, I took advantage and ate whatever and whenever. Many times that meant eating my meals while holding or breastfeeding TJ. Scary thought now that I look back to some of my favorite, frequent meals:
BREAKFAST: Honey Bunches of Oats with cow’s milk
LUNCH: Peanut butter and banana sandwiches
Looking back, I cannot believe how lucky we were. I especially remember one afternoon after I had just ate a peanut butter and banana sandwich in the kitchen as TJ sat in his bouncer. It was September or October so TJ was 4-5 months old. This was right before he started to have random hive outbreaks. After devouring my sandwich, I could not help his cuteness so I kissed him up. I kissed his face, cheeks and head a bunch of times. Then, strangely enough, I had a random worry. “What if TJ is allergic to peanuts? Could he have a reaction?”
At the time, he was due for a nap. I was panicked. I really have no clue as to where this fear came from because I had eaten peanut butter about 3 times a week since he was born, many times while he was right by or on me. Since I believe in signs, I think that voice in my head was God telling me to be careful.
I contacted my sister who is a nurse and my go-to person for health concerns. I asked her for her thoughts about it all. She made me feel better, but also told me that maybe I shouldn’t kiss him right after eating peanut butter until we know he can eat it. Because I wanted to watch him for a bit, I kept him up from his nap longer than normal. He had no reaction at all; however, I never ate peanut butter around him again. Although I had no idea whatsoever about any of his food allergies at that point, I stopped eating peanut butter until he was napping. Somehow I knew what was in the near future for us and once again my mother’s intuition kicked in right when I needed it.
In December, after we learned of all of TJ’s allergies including a peanut allergy, I completely stopped eating peanuts and everything else he was allergic to to continue breastfeeding. In June, when he was 13.5 months, I stopped breastfeeding since he could drink soy. While I started to eat most of the foods again, I still continue to be tree nut and peanut free. In addition to this, I limit my dairy intake, only drinking creamer in my morning coffee before he wakes and cheese on a turkey burger or pizza after he goes to bed at night. Even though I take this precautions for TJ’s safety, I do also make sure to brush my teeth always before kissing him. We also ask everyone who is with TJ, (friends, family, daycare, etc.) to not kiss him on the face or lips if they have just eaten and especially if they have not brushed their teeth.
I struggle with this because I know TJ deserves a million kisses every day and trust me, I want to be able to give him everything in life. However, right now, this is what we must do to ensure his safety, his health, his life. He is still too little to speak and therefore, it is even more critical. We show TJ love in soooo many other ways in addition to giving him lots of hugs. And of course we kiss him, when we know it is truly safe to do so.
Today as I look back to those early months, I am so beyond thankful that despite my lack of knowledge, TJ was always safe. Because TJ is one of the happiest little guys I have ever met despite all of his limitations, I feel extra blessed and smile on…
Here is an informational article about the peanut allergy and kissing. It is definitely worth the read. Please check it out.