Having a young child is a blessing. It’s a miracle. It’s amazing. Truly incredible! And truly mind-blowing confusing sometimes…
Colds, vaccinations, fussy periods, developmental phases, sleeping issues, picky eating, hunger strikes, and the list goes on and on. Once we figure out how to best handle one issue, we are welcomed by yet another situation, oops I meant, learning experience.
These little guys and gals like to keep things interesting for sure!
And for some of us, food allergies, eczema and other conditions are thrown into the mix of variables.
With or without food allergies, I have found myself playing detective with my husband, trying to determine the root of a fussy moment, day, or phase aka endless month!
Is it the start of a cold or virus?
Is it an ear infection?
Is it a reaction to a shot? Lord knows there’s a ton of vaccinations in those first years.
Is it a stomach ache?
Wait, why does he have a stomach ache?
Is it that he isn’t getting enough breast milk or formula? Is he hungry?
Maybe it is a growth spurt?
Oh wait, maybe he ate too much?
Is it “just a phase?”
Is it teething?
Is it a wonder week? Yes, I totally believe in them.
Is it sleep regression?
Are we using the wrong method of feeding? Of sleep training? Of parenting? Are we even parenting yet?
Did I put the diaper on wrong or uncomfortably?
Is it his clothing? The detergent?
Is it an allergic reaction? Is it an environmental factor? A new food allergy? An issue of cross contamination? Cross-reactivity? Our dog?
Is it something we don’t even know about yet?
Quick, let’s search on google….(You know you’ve done it!)
On today’s Tbt, let’s reflect back to a few of these incidences.
1) When my son was just weeks old, we experienced one of our first scares. After giving him a bath, he started to make a strange wheezing noise. We panicked! We called our pediatrician’s office and spoke to the urgent care staff since it was a Saturday night. They instructed us to take him to the emergency room. It turned out to be nothing but probably a reaction to being cold. We were relieved and felt slightly silly for “overreacting.” But, I believe overcautious is better than any regret after the fact.
What was the verdict? – Being cold +being a newborn that will sometimes make silly, random noises + being worried first-time parents doing a better job than we thought + sleep deprivation
2) At 4 months, my son stopped sleeping through the night for almost a month. For three weeks, we lost more than our sleep, we lost our minds coming up with different theories and trying out different solutions.
What was the verdict? – Teething + a wonder week/developmental leap + 4 month sleep regression + transitioning to the crib
3) Red rashes and hives on Saturday and Sunday mornings from October to December. This was before we knew my son was allergic to anything. While it wasn’t every morning after, looking back at it, it happened often after I ate cheese pizza.
What was the verdict? – Milk Allergy (Food allergies)
4) An overall eczema flare up happened in April. In addition to this, my son’s lip would get red when eating apples. Like that wasn’t confusing enough, it was also accompanied by a nursing strike which also added a whole other level of emotions and required even more time pumping. We started to worry. Was he allergic to apples now? He couldn’t be allergic to apples. He had eaten them safely every day for months. Right? Teething again? Early molars at 11 months? Ahhhhh…..
What was the verdict? – A virus causing his body to react strangely to apples for a week + seasonal allergies + cross-reactivity with pollen + sure enough, teething of the first two molars
These are just four of the many, many, MANY confusing moments, days, or phases. Looking back at them today has made me smile, knowing that we have learned so much throughout these times. It’s funny how even some of the most stressful times in life can bring us joy and knowledge when they become memories.
After my little guy’s initial allergic reaction, the most difficult thing to do as detective mom and dad was to distinguish an allergic reaction from cold symptoms or even teething. We are on guard all the time with food and even with skin contact. Despite the difficulty, I have been reminded that every baby…every toddler…every person is different. Therefore, with the guidance of your doctors of course, it is important to become the expert of your child or children.
For example in the course of these 17 months we have learned the following about my son:
- When teething, his eczema flares up and he may even get some random hives. Teething also causes his lip to get irritated when he eats berries even though he is not allergic to them. Actually, teething causes a lot of drama over here from eczema flare ups to barely eating.
- Sometimes, seasonal allergies will cause his skin to react to different foods even though he is not allergic to them. Apples and bananas have both had times of irritating his lip. We just take a brief break from them during these times.
- Right before my son is going to get sick, his skin has a day of being almost completely clear of any eczema.The first time this happened we were ecstatic, thinking that maybe he had outgrown it. Wishful thinking… It usually lasts a day then gets so much worse as the cold or infection emerges.
- Most viruses and infections also cause my son’s skin to become more irritated. In addition to that, some of these viruses cause his lip to get irritated by apples and bananas.
- And we continue to learn much more every day…
Although I find this added confusion to be one of the more difficult parts of food allergies, we have accepted it and already learned so much from it. Therefore, the final verdict is that even with its challenges, this journey of motherhood is truly amazing, so we smile on…