When I was a kid, I thought it would be the worst thing in the world to be allergic to chocolate. Little did I know. Three weeks after our oldest child was born in 2001, he began to develop a rash. The rash started on his face and scalp and progressively spread down his torso, then onto his extremities. Before this new mama knew it, my beautiful little newborn was covered in bumpy, scaly, raw skin. The rash worsened and eventually began to ooze in certain areas. I slathered him with lotions, potions and all the things we never dream of needing on perfect new skin. Of course, none of this worked. Nothing external worked. I was introduced to terms… newborn acne, heat rash, even the term eczema (which is what it actually was). I was told by at least 12 doctors, over a period of months, that I needed to use more lotions, potions, oils, creams, etc, etc, etc. One allergist prescribed singulair tablets (for a nursing newborn… hmm?). I faithfully nursed every one of my children. Many times I was told that I “should try formula.” Thankfully, I didn’t. My kids were allergic to most of the ingredients found in formulas.
This was the beginning of what has turned into an 14 year journey with 6 children, who have, between them, had every food allergy (and many environmental allergies) that you can think of. We’ve been allergic to vegetables, fruits, meats, dairy, eggs, nuts, fish… you name it. Water has been fine all along (whew).
The life-changing discovery for us (which was foreign to many in 2001), was that my baby was reacting to what I was eating. This is not news to many people who suffer with food allergies today; but, in 2001, it was news (to the practitioners that I saw). Finally, a doctor who specialized in homeopathy confirmed what I had suspected all along. What goes into mama, goes into baby. Good, bad, and itchy.
I changed my diet – completely. I lived on chicken, rice and vegetables for a year, while I nursed my firstborn (a great diet for weight loss! But, not much fun). This was before the massive growth of the organic and natural food industry. I am incredibly grateful for the availability of foods that were extremely difficult to find many years ago. I am most grateful that there are “fun kid foods” that look like what “all the other kids” are eating. The explosion of allergies among kids in today’s world is mind blowing. I am not going to analyze the reasons behind this, though I have read volumes about it. The most valuable tool for this mama of six has been the internet. There are millions of recipes and suggestions for substitutions. There are millions of recommendations for the relief of allergy symptoms.
I have always preferred the “natural” route. I didn’t want to start my young children off in life with new medications that had not yet withstood the test of time. I give thanks every day that most of my children have outgrown many of their allergies. Some of these allergies may last a lifetime, but where one door is closed, another is opened.
I pray that this helps someone who is suffering or who has a child who is suffering with food allergies. We have been there. God has used these allergies for good – we have learned invaluable lessons about the food in our country and world. I am happy to answer questions about what has worked for us ~ we have had many questions during these 13 years. We have been through some grueling times and some of my children have suffered tremendously with allergies. I offer this section as the lessons I have learned. I will share the things that have worked for us. There are some creams that ease the itch and the pain, there are some techniques that ease stomach pains, there are “allergy friendly” foods that taste good – even great, there are valuable resources available today, there is gluten free beer (and it actually tastes good), and there is light at the end of the tunnel.