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Our Experience With Food Allergies

May 8, 2019

Answering some of the questions I get asked most frequently about Flora’s food allergies AND kicking off a weekly series where I will be talking about food allergies over on @TheMamaNotes Instagram account!!

This post is just an overview of how we got here :) I’m not a doctor OR expert!!!

How did you know Flora had food allergies?

Flora had severe eczema at 3 months, after lots of trips to the doctor I pushed and pushed and finally got an allergy test when she was 4 months old. Severe eczema around age 3-4 months is an early sign of food allergies! I am SO grateful we discovered her food allergies before we introduced food. As soon as I eliminated her allergens from my diet her eczema improved significantly, though that is still something we deal with!

What food allergies does Flora have?

Flora has anaphylactic allergies to peanuts, eggs, tree nuts and dairy. Though we are currently desensitizing her to dairy and she can tolerate it in baked form. I’m not sure if she’d go into anaphylaxis if she had straight milk at this point, but my guess would be yes.

Have you done food challenges? Will you?

Yes! We started our food challenges after Flora turned 1 in December of last year. In October Flora had bloodwork done to get a better read on her allergies (previously she had just done the skin test). Learning about what the iGe levels mean was and is still confusing to me, but I’m starting to understand it a lot more!

She tested slightly positive to Soy – which can be a common false positive to children that have peanut allergies so our allergist wanted to start there. Then we also scheduled cow’s milk and egg for the weeks following.

How do food challenges work?

I think food challenges differ from doctor to doctor but entail a similar process. For soy we brought in our own container of soy milk and Flora was monitored as she drank it in small, increasing increments over the course of many hours. These appointments are LONG and I’ll dedicate an entire post to them! She passed soy! Such a relief.

Next was milk. Because of the way milk and egg proteins change when they are heated many children with food allergies can tolerate these allergens in baked form. For the milk challenge our allergist provided us a cake recipe using a boxed cake, dry powdered milk and regular milk. We brought it to the office and followed the same procedure, small, increasing sizes were served to Flora as she was monitored over the course of the day. She also passed this challenge!

Finally we tested egg – same process except she threw up at the last serving which is considered a FAIL. We will wait to do bloodwork again this fall and if her numbers have decreased we will challenge again. Because this happened there’s still a chance she’ll outgrow her egg allergy but likely not until her teen years.

Will you food challenge nuts?

At this point no. I still ask every visit – but with her current levels our doctor is not comfortable doing it. We could take her to another doctor and try to get her into a peanut program. We still don’t know all the tree nuts she’s allergic to besides almond. It’s something I will really start researching this fall after we get her bloodwork back. It’s long and complicated to explain on here but one of my weekly chats will be all about these programs! I’m really open to the idea, but they are lengthy, come with associated risks and expensive. However – if it means she’d have a lower chance of going into anaphylaxis from cross-contamination and it would save her life, I would be open to it probably. Again – need to do more research still!

So she can have milk now?

Not really. We are still very slowly introducing it to her. After she passed the food challenge for cow’s milk we were instructed to give her baked milk products (I make muffins) that are baked for at least 30 minutes at 350 a few times a week. She did so well with this over the course of several months that we’ve lessened the bake time to 15 minutes and are also allowed to try processed foods that have milk listed as the 3rd or further down item in the ingredient list. This has opened up a lot of options! So far we have tried Annie’s Organics Cheddar Bunnies – which obviously she loves!

So this is just an overview – I know one of the most popular questions has been what does she eat and for snack and meal ideas. I am working on a post with allllll of this. We are still working on introducing many food groups to her – and she definietly eats a lot of the same thing right now (pasta, avocado and sweet potato, turkey meatball are her favorites). More to come!

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  1. Jamie Murray

    May 10th, 2019 at 5:02 pm

    Oh my goodness! I just found you and what caught my eye was a recipe you posted that my daughter can ACTUALLY eat because she has the same allergies. Our stories are so similar and I just wanted to say I feel you girl! This has been something I never expected and has been quite the curveball. I’m so grateful for a happy healthy little girl but sometimes it can be so frustrating! We also just passed baked milk! Woohoo!

  2. Lauren Fralick

    May 16th, 2019 at 2:19 pm

    Thanks for sharing. My daughter also has anaphylactic allergies to dairy, eggs and some nuts. We learned first-hand about the dairy and egg allergies at home when we started introducing foods before she was one year old. So scary! She’s almost 3 now and recently she ate a goldfish off of another child’s plate at preschool. She didn’t show any signs of a reaction so we were curious if maybe she’s tolerating milk more now. I’d love to chat with you more about this topic. I know it’s so difficult to decide what foods to feed your child.