The following guide to hosting parties with food allergies was too amazing not to share. Smiling on to a safe and special holiday for everyone…
The following guide to hosting parties with food allergies was too amazing not to share. Smiling on to a safe and special holiday for everyone…
Due to my son’s multiple food allergies, finding breakfast foods that he can and WILL eat has been difficult. However, this week we took a huge step in the right direction. After trying to give my son allergen-free waffles several times, last weekend he started to eat them!
With this new favorite find, we smile on and wish everyone an amazing weekend…
My favorite find for this week is TJ’s second real cereal, Rice Chex. Like I have posted many times, because of TJ’s multiple food allergies, finding breakfast foods that he can and WILL eat has been the most challenging. While it continues to be his least favorite meal, Rice Chex has given us another option to offer.
Like usual, before introducing every new food or product, there are steps that we take to try to ensure TJ’s utmost safety. So once again we play detective …
Step 1) We did our own initial research about the ingredients. After reading the label, it appeared that it did not contain anything he was allergic to.
Step 2) Back in May, we checked with both our pediatrician and allergist and asked if it was a safe food for him. Both approved!
Step 3) Spoke to other parents who have kids with multiple food allergies. Many of their children were able to eat Rice Chex and some of the other gluten-free varieties. Knowing every person is different, like usual, we introduced slowly and cautiously.
Step 4) When my son first turned 13 months, we had him try the cereal. However, he has always been sensitive to new textures. After giving him a couple small pieces, he gagged it up. So we took a break from this, feeling like he wasn’t ready yet.
Over four months later…
Step 5) Since we believed that spitting the Chex up was initially due to a texture sensitivity, we decided to try it again four month later. So, we introduced slowly, being optimistically cautious. The first day I gave TJ four of the Rice Chex. Then, watched him. Then, we continued this introduction for a total of five days. It was a success!
To conclude, thank you General Mills for your creating Gluten Free Rice Chex. Because I know God is working within TJ and guiding our steps, we are beyond thankful for this product and continue to smile on…
When I have the chance to, I like to plan a bit ahead with my posts. As of yesterday morning, I had planned to post the following…
Worry-Free Wednesday could not have fallen on a more perfect day. Today, TJ will go to his allergist for an oral food challenge to wheat. Because there is no way of truly predicting the outcome of how his body will react to wheat, we must put our trust in God. With that being said, I cannot entertain fear for a second. It takes over too quickly. Instead, I trust that through our doctors and prayer, God is guiding our steps.
Say an extra prayer or two for my little guy today as we walk by faith and smile on…
“I will WALK BY FAITH even when I cannot see…” – 2 Corinthians 5:7
Walking by faith is exactly what we did. However, the last 24 hours have changed our course a bit without us steering the wheel…
Since my son woke up with a deeper cough and still battling this persistent cold for almost two weeks now, we called the doctor again yesterday. They asked us to come in and sure enough, he has the start of an ear infection. Poor guy!
Our allergist happened to be in the same office at the time of our appointment and informed us that due to the cold and infection, his oral food challenge would need to be postponed until the next available date. It makes total sense to be as healthy as possible when participating in a food challenge. Sickness just complicates matters on many different levels.
When I asked the receptionist when the next available opening was, she searched her computer and informed me, “February 3 is the next available opening.”
Initially, I panicked. It’s only the beginning of October! This was far from what we had planned. Passing a wheat challenge would open up TJ’s diet soooooo much! Now, we would need to wait for four months.Our plan needed a lot of revising now….
Then as a tear or two started streaming down my cheek, I stopped myself and looked at my son who was drinking his water sippy cup, sick and still smiling away. For sure, time in every sense of the word is important. However, it’s not about my timing.
On the car ride home, I explained to TJ (more as a reminder to myself), “It is not the right time yet to try wheat. We prayed for this protection and God answered. He always does. Sometimes, we just need to open our hearts so that our ears actually hear it over the static of life.”
On this Worry-Free Wednesday you get two quotes for the “price” of reading one post! My frustration and fear have both turned into praise and a greater faith that this was all God’s work. After all, it’s all about His timing. Therefore, we smile on without wheat but walk in faith knowing that it’ll be worth the wait.
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From food to non-food products, it is extremely crucial to be on the look out for hidden allergens. Reading food labels and learning about ingredients becomes second nature when living with food allergies. However, even when you are comfortable with a product, it is important still double check the label especially since companies can change the makeup of their products. In addition, the ingredients in many everyday items will amaze you at times. I know that I continue to be surprised by many of the components of common foods and non-food products.
Here is some of the information about WHEAT that I have learned throughout the course of this journey so far. (It does NOT include every location of these allergens as we are still learning.)
1) WHEAT ALLERGY
In the United States, wheat is one of the top 8 most common food allergies, most commonly found in children. Many children outgrow this allergy by the age of 3 though. Like any allergy, it is important to once again read all labels, checking for any ingredients that may contain wheat. According to the Food Allergen Labeling Consumer Protection Act (FALCPA), companies are required to label their products for the presence of wheat. However, there are some products that are not covered by these FDA allergen labeling laws and therefore, are exempt.
For more information about product labeling, click here.
To read the complete law, click here.
WHEAT ALLERGY AVOIDANCE LIST & RESOURCE
The following link is an amazing resource for those with a wheat allergy. The link contains a wheat allergy avoidance list and travel-size cards. It also includes the hidden places where wheat can be found and some hidden names for it.
Even more information:
This third link contains food avoidance lists for the top 8 allergens.
Wheat in My Soy Sauce?!?!?
Here is an example of just how important it is to read every single label.
Many sauces and dressings contain wheat. An example of this is the following soy sauce…
“Contains soy and wheat”
Wheat in Art?!?!?
At times, allergens such as wheat can be found in art supplies. This gives us even more reason to read labels and contact companies to check or double check when needed. Play-Doh is just one example of this…
Despite its name, buckwheat is not related to wheat. Since my son is allergic to many grains such as rye, barley, wheat, and oat, buckwheat was the first grain our allergist recommended adding to his diet. We used the following Bio Kinetics baby buckwheat cereal for many months.
Since we want to educate others on the world of food allergies and believe sharing is caring, we continue to smile on wheat free…at least for now…
Disclaimer: This blog is a personal blog and used as a way of sharing and connecting with other readers. The posts, articles, and stories shared on the site are meant as a source of encouragement. In this challenging world of food allergies, I have found reaching out to other parents and people in my shoes to be extremely resourceful and inspiring. Therefore, I want to give back and do the same. The information on my blog is not intended as medical advice so as always, please consult with your doctor.
While TJ has only tried corn pasta so far, I find comfort in knowing there are a bunch of different options for someone with his allergies. Therefore, I wanted to share the following resource as we smile on…
(Source: Allergic LIving )
It has been almost a month since we started back at work and daycare after having off for the summer. Therefore, I wanted to give an update on how everything is going with TJ being back at daycare as an active toddler with his eczema and multiple food allergies. While there have been some challenges, we are blessed because he has been safe. So let me recap week by week the challenges while also counting our blessings.
For more background information on the safety plan we put together for TJ’s utmost safety, check out these two previous posts:
Leading up to that first week back, I experienced major anxiety, worrying about all the “what ifs” and horrible possibilities that could happen. I even reached out to different moms through other allergy sites about sending their toddlers with multiple food allergies to daycare. After the first few people responded to my post, I started to get even more upset. They were mostly all suggesting not to send TJ to a daycare at all and offering other options that they themselves took. While I appreciated all the suggestions especially since I had been the one who asked, I grew even more anxious. That’s when I realized that I was not looking for suggestions. Instead I was hunting for confirmation from everyone and anyone that we were making the right decision for TJ. Asking others on other allergy sites for suggestions is one thing and a great resource to have. However, searching for confirmation all over the place is the same exact reason that complicated and frustrated me last winter when TJ’s allergies were first discovered. I reminded myself that I do NOT need confirmation from everyone and anyone who will listen. Therefore, I stopped reading the other posts and suggestions, and shifted my focus to trusting our detailed plan, my mother’s intuition and most importantly, God. Repeating to myself over and over again every single time a worry comes to mind… “I trust you God.”
Therefore, with the start of the new school year, TJ started back at the daycare facility that is a block from my work and has been working with us since he started at 6 months. This staff has been working more closely with us since his initial allergic reaction in December. (Read more about that experience here.) And even more closely now that he is a very active toddler among many other active toddlers.
So, let’s get back to the actual update:
In addition to the screaming that happened and broke my heart every morning when I dropped him off, TJ would not eat much at daycare that first week, and even had two days of total refusal. Thankfully, he would drink his soy toddler formula. However, we were panicked since he was losing weight in only 4 days being at daycare. He would, however, eat his dinner at home on those days.
Was it just the transition back to daycare?
Was it our fault for allowing and using Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and music videos (ha) during mealtimes at home to get him to eat? (At the start of the summer since TJ’s iron levels were slightly low, we were following our pediatrician’s advice to not give a supplement yet and try different iron-rich foods. Therefore, we gave into the television and it worked! ) However, was it causing a problem now?
Was teething not helping the situation?
Or, a thought that crossed my mind which several others Including my hubby may think I’m crazy for …
Even though TJ was only 16 months, did he somehow already understand that only food from Mommy and Daddy was safe? Was God protecting him with this strike?
Counting our blessings: The hunger strike then continued over that weekend at home. All of the sudden, TJ wanted to feed himself the specific foods that he wanted. So, after emailing our pediatrician, we followed TJ’s lead and also avoided watching Mickey. By the end of that weekend, he was eating and much more independent with it. And, two new teeth had cut through … the upper canines. Ouch!
If you ask me, these new teeth and independent phase ( hunger strike and all) could not have come at a better time. Now that TJ was eating more on his own, he did not need as much assistance from anyone and there would less of a chance of cross contamination during mealtimes. Every day when I pick TJ up from daycare, I thank God for keeping him safe that day. Despite the hunger strike, I count my blessings… TJ was protected and safe.
To start the week off, TJ and I had a “talk” in the car about eating at daycare and that all of the food is safe and sent by Mommy and Daddy. (Ha I know this is a bit silly but hey, they understand more than we think they do, right?) As we went to get out of the car that morning, TJ held on tightly to one of his favorite stuffed animals, Buddy. Since I did not want to upset him, I let him bring it with him. He did not cry that morning and actually ate half of his food! Thank you Buddy and the rest of his stuffed buddies who take turns going to school with TJ each day now. Our mornings are no longer filled with tears.
With the eating improving week 2, another challenge presented itself though. That Friday when I picked TJ up for the day, he was not drinking his afternoon sippy cup in the high chair we had provided. Instead, he was seated at one of the main tables where four other toddlers eat. He was seated in a seat labeled “Hunter.” While there had been conversation about TJ eventually being transitioned from the safe, allergen-free high chair to the “food allergy safe table,” we did not think that this would happen without us knowing and on the 8th day of school!!! Plus, he wasn’t even at the table designated for allergies. He sat at one of the main tables.
As soon as TJ saw me, he threw his sippy cup down onto the table and ran to me. While I know that the staff cleans the tables and it is a peanut and tree nut free classroom, I was not comfortable with the entire scenario and how it went down without us knowing. I told his teacher that I was not comfortable with this and explained my reasons why. However, it was Friday, I was exhausted, wanted to beat traffic, and discuss this with my husband before deciding what to do next.
One of my biggest fears before the school year started was that everyone would be super cautious and careful with TJ to begin with. Then, as the weeks and months went by, they would become “comfortable” and more relaxed with everything. I did not expect that comfort to already present itself on day 8 though!
Counting our blessings: We emailed the directors that weekend very nicely explaining our concerns with this change. They responded right away with a very supportive email, indirectly letting us know that they had no idea about the change. After speaking with them, it was clarified to everyone that for now TJ is to sit in his high chair for all meals. At the end of October, we will all discuss switching him to his allergen-free table. They also assured us that before any change occurs with TJ we would be contacted and asked our thoughts on it. TJ also now participates in art activities at the main tables. However, food is not involved.
We count our blessings…Not only is a daycare facility going above and beyond for TJ’s safety, he has been protected and safe.
Counting our blessings: Although colds and sicknesses stink and I hate to see my Cutes not feeling well, I know that they are inevitable especially when you attend a daycare. Because I know that TJ has been kept safe for almost a month now and a facility is working so closely with us even though they don’t have to, this first cold doesn’t even seem like a challenge at all. Therefore, we are extremely blessed and thankful. With all of that being said and some extra cuddles and rest, we know that we will kick this cold in the butt so we smile on…
By now, most of us know that EpiPens and Auvi-Qs are both used to used to treat anaphylaxis, life-threatening allergic reactions. However, who really knows how these life-saving injectors really work? I know that I did not so I found this article extremely informative. Starting the weekend off a little smarter, we smile on.
Check it out ….
Aside from learning how to handle and about TJ’s multiple food allergies, last winter was a challenging one also filled with daycare sicknesses, stomach bugs, eczema flare ups, and the infamous teething. Therefore, we greeted Spring with open arms and full of hope. What we didn’t know was that this new season would also bring new challenges of its own. One of these new challenges would be pollen season.
While both my husband and I have or have had seasonal allergies ourselves, I did suspect that TJ would too. I did not consider how it would complicate matters a bit though.
It was also around April that we started to gradually add baby food jars, by our trusted brands, back into TJ’s diet. From January through March, we made all of TJ’s food as we found that was the best way to control his allergies. He had experienced some skin reactions (not anaphylactic) to a couple jars so we decided that a break may be in his best interest. This had also been suggested by our doctor. Therefore, Saturdays involved many hours of making, storing and prepping all his food for the week. It was exhausting and time-consuming, but we knew it was the best option for him then. Since he had been doing so well, it was around the start of spring we decided with the guidance of our doctor that adding back some of the organic baby food jars was the next step.
So right around the start of a brutal pollen season, we gradually added back jars of carrots, sweet potatoes, pears, and apples. We continue to make his other foods. For the first few weeks, everything was going so well. I felt a sense of relief. Don’t get me wrong, I loved and still love making TJ his meals. However, it was definitely a load off of our shoulders knowing that his body could tolerate some store bought products too.
Thank you Earth’s Best
TJ’s breakfast involved apples and bananas with buck wheat baby cereal mixed in. Everything seemed to be going so well. That was until one early spring morning when after a couple spoonfuls of this mixture, TJ’s lip and mouth became irritated, red and itchy. Thus, he became fussy and refused to eat. We became confused, frustrated, and scared. Apples were one of TJ’s few safe foods at the time and even in the puffs he was starting to love had apple in them.
How could this be affecting him?
He wasn’t allergic to apples or was he?
Or wait, was it the bananas?
Or buck wheat?
The next day we only gave apples and sure enough, it happened again. We contacted both allergists and even our pediatrician, asking for guidance.
We decided to take the conservative approach, like we usually do. After a week and a half break from apples, we were able to reintroduce them back. For the most part, his skin and mouth no longer reacting to them. ( minus a couple days here and there ) Strange! Or so we thought until learning some additional information about allergies …
From this experience, here’s what we’ve learned as it relates to TJ.