Childhood Food Allergies

When Spencer was about 6 months old, one of the first foods he sampled was yogurt.  I bought the plain greek yogurt, and Spencer didn’t love it.  He made a funny face and only allowed a couple spoonfuls into his grill before flat out rejecting it’s milky goodness.

After eating a couple of bites, I thought I noticed a few red marks on his face.  They were so subtle though, that I attributed them to irritation from using the spoon to wipe or catch the extra food that ends up all over little ones faces.

I made a mental note of the redness and moved on.  It was a while still before I tried yogurt again.  This time I smartened up and bough the Gerber baby yogurt-strawberry flavor.  He loved it and gobbled it down.  The entire container in fact.  And, he wasn’t even out of his highchair before he clearly developed hives on his face and around his mouth.

A phone call to the doc, some Benadryl and a vow to stay off dairy products until he was 1 year old–no cheese, no milk, no yogurt.  I never gave him formula, luckily, not that he would drink it anyway!  He is a very particular eater and drinker.  I wasn’t checking every label to ensure that all milk proteins were absent from the foods I gave him.  Not until I noticed he would have a couple of very small hives after eating certain foods.  I then began to read labels more closely and discovered that he was more sensitive to milk that I suspected.  He was reacting to items where milk (or derivatives) was low on the ingredient list.

I discussed it with his doctor at his 9 month appointment, and they suggested scheduling an appointment with an allergist when he reached 1 year old.  We did just that.  Elliott went through allergy testing last year as well, so I knew what to expect.  Spencer was a champion during the appointment and testing.

And, before I left the office I had a Rx for an epi-pen and was reeling at the discovery that my wee lad had not only an allergy to milk, but to eggs and peanuts.

The first feeling I had was pity.  For my myself.  I felt disappointed that it was my kid who was going to ruin lunch for everyone at school.  It was my kid who everyone was going to have to cater their lunch boxes to.  It was me who was going to have to make all sorts of food modifications for.  Then, I got over it and moved on.

We have been navigation the food allergies for several months now, and it doesn’t seem as bad as I had anticipated.  The main challenge is the peanut allergy.  Since he has never been exposed to peanuts, there is no way to know what type of reaction he will have.  It could be hives or it could be death.

The milk and egg allergies he will likely outgrow.  In fact, 80% of children outgrow their childhood allergies to milk and eggs.  While only 20% of children outgrow their allergy to peanuts.  We have eliminated peanut butter from our nut butter arsenal, as well as most products that contain peanuts.  But, we aren’t so strict as to eliminate foods made on equipment with peanuts.

The tough part is still coming though.  He is only 14 months old, and doesn’t have the language skills to ask why he cant eat certain foods, while his brother can.  But, he is beginning to show signs that he notices that we are eating foods that he isn’t, and he knows that he wants them too, and he shows me his dismay that I dont allow him to partake.  Spencer is very particular and vocal about the things he wants and doesn’t want.  He is my son after all.    Love that kid.  

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Bubbles

Elliott loves bubbles.   It was one of his first words.  He asks me to blow them for him all the time. He loves them in his bath.  But, he can’t blow them very well.  I am not sure when kids learn how to blow bubbles, but ours cant really do it well.

We practice about once a week.  Not only because he loves them, but because it is part of the oral therapy we started for him.  You may have noticed that in many photo’s we post–he is wearing a stylish baby neck wear (aka: a bib), and if he isn’t his shirt is wet.  We often have to change bibs and shirts several times a day.
Since he was an infant, he has had allergies.  I observed it when he was around 6 months old–his eyes would water when he was outside, he would sneeze with frequency, and he always has a throaty noise when he was breathing.  Since his symptoms didn’t seem to bother him too much when he was a wee lad, we never sought out a medical or Rx treatment.
However, at his 18 month doctors appointment I mentioned the allergy theory to his Doc.  She asked a few questions, of which we answered yes.  She took a look in his nose–redness, swelling, etc.   Although 6 months early, she prescribed Zyrtec.  A few days after starting the medicine, he immediately was better.  He could finally breathe through his nose, the throat breathing was gone.  
I realized that because he couldn’t breathe through his nose-for basically his whole life-he learned to breathe through his mouth.  As a result of being a mouth breather, he didn’t learn to swallow his saliva.  And, thus he drools a lot.  
The bubbles are a way to help him learn to control his mouth and lips.  They teach him to blow. We are also reminding him to keep his chin dry as well as to keep his mouth closed.  We will do an exaggerated inhale through the nose while keeping our lips pursed as an example.  Lastly, we are offering him cups with straws over cups with spouts.  
It did seem to be improving, until he started cutting a new tooth.  Now his saliva production has increased and he is chewing on his fingers.   Which means more drool.
All of this doesn’t seem to be bother Elliott one bit.  Although he is starting to become aware of the fact that he wears a bib and the other kids don’t.  Once he realizes it fully, I will just opt to remove it and let his shirts get wet, changing them often.  Until then, we will continue with our current methods.  His 2 year appointment is fast approaching and once it does we will address the drooling issue with his doctor and hope that our new medical insurance covers occupational therapy or the like.