Tips & Tricks for Dealing with an Uncommon Food Allergy
This post brought to you by Sprout Organic Foods. The content and opinions expressed below are that of Daily Mom.
It seems as though food allergies have become more and more prominent in children in recent years. There are the obvious ones that most people are aware of – nuts, shellfish, and dairy. But there are others that are not on most parent’s minds, especially when feeding their baby food for the first time. Those are fruit and vegetable allergies. When you are a parent to a child with an uncommon food allergy, the discovery of this allergy can be terrifying. Most parents are prepared for reactions to highly allergenic foods like nuts and strawberries, but what if it’s something like bananas? Or apples? Allergic reactions can range from mild – hives, rashes, and skin irritations – to severe like anaphylactic shock. Once you have the reaction under control, your mind will race to what’s next to help manage this allergy and if any other allergies are abound. Below are some tips and tricks to help deal with uncommon food allergies.
What to Look For
Food allergies in infants and toddlers can be hard to detect with their limited communication. For infants, a reaction to a food can cause an outward sign like anaphylaxis or skin irritations, but it can also cause intestinal issues, reflux, and stomach cramps. It can be disheartening with no way to ask your baby what’s hurting.
For toddlers, reactions to foods can be similar to those as an infant, but oftentimes it can be hard to pinpoint exactly what is causing the reaction – food or another irritant – because they are constantly moving onto different things. Here are the most common signs of a food allergy in babies and toddlers:
- Hives or welts
- Flushed skin or rash
- Face, tongue, and/or lip swelling
- Vomiting and/or diarrhea
- Coughing and wheezing
- Difficulty breathing
- Loss of consciousness
Symptoms can occur immediately or up to 24 hours after a food is ingested. Be sure to consult your pediatrician right away if you see any signs of a food allergy. If your child has trouble breathing or loses consciousness call 911.
It is recommended that you wait until your baby is a bit older – 9 to 10 months, or even 1 year old – to give them some of the more highly allergenic foods. Doctors often recommend giving babies one new food at a time for a few days to see if they react to it to help weed out any possible allergies. In addition, many parents wait to give eggs, shellfish, and peanuts until their little ones reach toddler-hood, but what about when the food is an uncommon allergy?
If you are nursing, it is possible to have traces of a food allergen passed through your milk. However, if your child has a mild allergy you may not realize it until you feed them the actual food when they get a bit older. For example, you may be able to eat bananas with no negative effect on your baby, but when she bites into a real banana she has an allergic reaction.
When you start to transition your baby to solid foods, whether purees or baby-led weaning, it is important to give your child time to react to the newly presented foods before moving on. This way it will be easier to detect any sort of allergic reaction if it happens to be delayed. Your baby cannot tell you that his mouth feels a little funny, so you may have to wait until the diaper explains it a little more!
If you have reached toddler-hood without any allergies popping up, congrats! Inevitably, however, your toddler is going to get into something that they shouldn’t and that may cause an allergic reaction. If you are having a hard time figuring out what is causing your child’s reaction, keep a food journal and write down everything they ate and note their temperament and output afterwards. This can also help to determine a food allergy if you are nursing and your baby is reacting to something.
How to Manage
Once you have discovered your child’s food allergy, especially to one that is uncommon, it can be hard to figure out how you are going to manage the allergy. If it is a mild allergy, your doctor may recommend eliminating that food from your child’s diet. If it is a more severe allergy, your doctor may prescribe an EpiPen to use in case of an emergency.
Uncommon food allergies can sometimes be more difficult to manage because others don’t often think of simple foods like apples, bananas, and grapes being an issue. Below are some tips and tricks on how you can help manage your child’s uncommon food allergy:
- Carry your EpiPen – If your doctor prescribes an EpiPen for your child it is important to carry it with you everywhere in case there is a hidden allergen in your child’s food. However, in the hustle and bustle of every day life this small medication can get lost in the never-ending pit that is known as the diaper bag. Get a separate small clutch or bag inside your diaper bag to keep the EpiPen and a bottle of anti-histamines so you can grab it quickly if need be.
- Let Others Know – Tell anyone and everyone that comes in contact with your child, especially without your direct supervision, of your child’s allergy. Even if it seems unlikely that your child will ingest this food it’s better to be safe than sorry.
- Label It – A great way to let other’s know of your child’s food allergies is to label them. Put allergy labels on their backpacks, lunch boxes, school folders, etc. to let teachers know about their food allergies. You can also get medical identification bracelets that your child can wear to notify those around them in case they accidentally ingest an allergen.
- Read Ingredients – Many infant and toddler foods have hidden ingredients to make them sweeter and more appealing. Be sure to check all ingredients of any baby and toddler prepared snack to be sure that their hidden ingredients don’t have your child’s allergen snuck inside.
Snacks You Can Trust from a Mom Who Knows
One of the hardest parts about being the parent of a child with an uncommon food allergy is finding snacks and quick items for your infant and toddler that don’t contain hidden allergens. One brand you can trust is Sprout Organic Foods. Their Mission & Values promise that the ingredients you see on the front of their foods are the only ingredients inside.
As a mother of two children with uncommon food allergies, it is important for me to have brands I know I can trust. I took the Sprout Challenge to see if what the company promises is real – if the ingredients on the front of their foods match the ingredient list on the back. I headed out to our local Babies R Us to find the answers. Check out the video below to see what I found. Research has shown that a love of healthy foods is developed early on, and giving your child a wide variety of foods to taste is an important precursor to that. But as a parent with children with uncommon food allergies, I often hesitate when purchasing prepared snacks because I never know what could be hidden inside. Sprout Organic Foods keeps true to their Mission & Values and provides USDA certified organic foods with only the ingredients advertised on the front of their pouches.
No GMOs, no preservatives, and no concentrates. Just whole fruits, vegetables, and grains – ingredients you can find in your own kitchen – which are easily identifiable by their simple ingredient list.
Stop by your local Babies R Us on Sep 9th – Oct 2nd so you can receive a $10 gift card with a $25 Sprout purchase.
EXPLORE AND CONNECT
It can be scary, frustrating, and disheartening to be the parent of a child with a food allergy no matter if it’s something like nuts or eggs, or they have an allergy to an uncommon food like bananas or blueberries. Knowing what to look for and how to manage these allergies are imperative, but so is having an arsenal of snacks and prepared foods you know you can trust. After all, all of us parents need something in our back pocket to sway those grocery store temper tantrums, and snacks by Sprout Organic Foods are one way to do it!
For more go-to snack options for your baby or toddler, check out Feeding Baby on the Go: 6 Healthy Snack Options.
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Lauren is a full-time mom of three girls, who also happens to run her own in-home preschool. She loves to write, run, yoga-it-out, and keep fit. She’s kind of crunchy in her homeschooling, cloth diapering, and natural products sort of way, but she also loves Starbucks and trashy tv. For more about her internal judgments of herself and hilarious quips about motherhood, follow her on IG and Twitter @thescoopmama, fb.com/thescoopmama, as well as her website theSCOOPmama.