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toddlers and food allergies - how do you all deal with them? feeling sorry for ds.

(27 Posts)
ratbunny Mon 21-Apr-08 13:48:15

Ds is 15 months, and has food allergies (egg and sesame and not yet been exposed to nuts) and intolerances (dairy and soya). They arent severe - so far, they just make his eczema really bad, but it gets really uncomfortable for him, and if he eats something he shouldnt he will sit there and scratch and scratch his face until I have given him some piriton, washed his face etc etc. And from thereon it goes downhill - he is uncomfortable and unsettled and wont eat and gets frustrated etc etc.

The result is that I often prepare food for him that is different to our meals - like a separate sauce or missing out ingredients that we would have. And when we eat out, I take our own dairy free butter and ds tends to have jacket potato and veg, or else I make a packed lunch. I check all the ingredients to make sure his allergens arent in the foods.

So yesterday we went to a friend's buffet. I met another friend there, and her dd is the same age as ds. And she tucked into everything, stole food off her mums plate etc.

It made me realise how different ds is. I felt sad for him that he had a sandwich (with a little bit of cheese, he is on a dairy trial) and a couple of cold sausages and fruit, while his little friend had cake, buffet sandwiches, crisps etc. And I had to keep my eye on him to check he didnt steal food off other people's plates, especially as there was satay there, and egg sandwiches.

So how do you all cope with this? I found it really depressing - and I can't imagine being able to just let ds eat food without me checking it first.

Sometimes it feels like I am just making life hard for ourselves, then he reacts to egg in some mayo or something and I realise it is pretty horrible, although it isnt life threatening.

Am I being too vigilant? The allergist said to avoid sesame, nut and egg, and to try dairy and soya in a controlled way first. But it just feels like I am not letting him eat normal food just to be neurotic iyswim
sad

ditavonteesed Mon 21-Apr-08 14:10:00

It still gets me, we went to a soft play party yesterday and my dd's can't have anything the others have, the up side is that they don't have to eat all the crap that the other dc get at these things. You will adapt, I try to only eat food that my dd's can have as I would feel really guilty otherwise. Dd1 is 4 and is very understanding of the whole thing.

Sunflower100 Tue 22-Apr-08 08:42:56

I really feel for you. It gets me too. dd is also 15 months and allergic to egg and various other things and I watch all the other Mums giving their littleys food from their plates and having a lovely relaxed attitude to food (which I want). Its hard. Things I have found helpful was for us to see a friend whose ds is also allergic, keeping a stash of treats for dd so she isn't missing out too much and thinking of the bonus that my dd doesn't 'beg' for food everytime we have anything and that she is having a very healthy diet (everytime thay have cakey puds at nursery she gets fruit!)
Its really hard and I have to say I did once avoid a joint birthday party because of the cake - BUT that made me feel worse and she really did miss out then.
I'm sure we feel it more than they do (especially at 15 months) but I don't think as parents we have any choice but to be vigilant (without them picking up on it) and hope that they grow out of it! Hard tho!!

aideesmum Tue 22-Apr-08 11:07:51

My ds is 3 and we found out about his egg allergy when he was 1. It is hard at first and all you can do is read the labels.
He doesn't miss out on much now as we found some really useful egg free recipes so he finally had a cake on his 3rd birthday.
Now he is aware that he cannot have certain things the other children have because it has egg in it (and would make him poorly) and he is really happy and relaxed about the whole situation. It does take time but you will get there.

ratbunny Tue 22-Apr-08 18:16:03

Thanks for your replies!
I think it feels quite isolating, having a child with allergies. It was reassuring to hear that other people DO feel the same way.

Thanks for not saying that I am neurotic! smile

tkband3 Tue 22-Apr-08 18:43:14

I make sure when DD1 (she is coeliac so gluten-free) goes to parties that I check beforehand what food there will be, so I can duplicate it as far as possible. And I always have some of her biscuits and something she can have as a treat on me, in case of emergencies! She has been GF since she was 2.10 so it is the norm for her, and she is very good about checking things with me before eating them if she is offered something different.

stirlingmum Tue 22-Apr-08 19:44:31

My youngest dd (3.5) is allergic to dairy, egg, nuts, peanuts, peas, sesame, to name a few.
I found it hard at first but you just change how you cook and now, usually, we eat the same food for dinner as I just adjust recipes to suit.
I do think it is important NOT to feel sorry for them as they may pick up on this and see it as an illness.
I try to see it positively in that she has no dairy, which some people feel we have too much in our diet. I now cook dairy free so that is better for us as a family (no butter etc).
She doesn't see herself as different she just knows that eating any of the above will make her sick and she doesn't want that.
I have found many treats/snacks that she can have and have many recipes for baking that she can also enjoy.
Try to see it as a challenge smile

trixymalixy Wed 23-Apr-08 13:02:48

Ratbunny (did you used to be Ratfly?), I really don't think you're being too vigilant. Allergic reactions can worsen with each exposure.

My Ds reacted to some houmous, his face went a bit red, but the dietician said to try it again as it was probably milk in the bread rather than the houmous. I tried it again and his whole face swelled up, it was terrifying.

I can totally empathise as my DS is allergic to dairy, eggs, sesame and the tomato family. It is really depressing going to birthday parties and not being able to let your DS eat anything.

On a daily basis I tend to make things we can all eat rather than making anything special for DS so he doesn't miss out. When we are out, restaurants are generally happy to make him plain chicken and potatoes (although he has had chips, bad mummy!!).

I'm just praying that he'll grow out of it!

ratbunny Wed 23-Apr-08 22:33:17

trixy - yes I did used to be ratfly! thanks for remembering me! grin

keresley Thu 24-Apr-08 00:01:37

When I take my ds (who is 3) to parties, I take along my own party plate of food. I also try to find out what food will be there beforehand to try and make his food look the same. I keep goodies that he can have in the boot of my car/in my handbag so that if we are ever in a situation where he can't eat what others are having, there is a very tasty alternative for him. You do get used to it and it really does become a way of life. Hugs to you.

easydoesit Fri 23-May-08 21:34:29

where did you find egg free recipes aideesmum? and what can i use as a 'binder' to make finger foods without egg? we too tend to have dairy free meals and give DD as 'normal' a diet as possible, it's hard at first but I love that she doesn't eat all sorts of crap like a lot of toddlers

MumRum Sat 24-May-08 22:35:54

My son is now 10 and is allergic to dairy eggs and nut.. he has an epi pen...

as a binder I aways melt a little of his 'pure' spead and use that...

We knew from about 4 months that normal fomular milk made his excema really bad.... his cheeks look burnt where the milk came into contact with it.. we cut out all dairy at the same time... he had a really bad reaction to eggs when he was about a year and was allergy tested at just over 2 which revealed the nut allergy, the egg which we knew about... and also the milk allergy had turned 'potentially fatal'.. those words will stay with me forever...

He has always known he just can't help himself to food when we're out and that he is special... we have never outwardly pitied him.. I always hated it when someone would say to him... in a pitying voice... 'ohhh you pooooor thing... you can't have chocolate/cakes/sweets/icecream'... actually he can have chocolate/cakes/sweets/icecream just not that particular brand...
we just tell him its part of who he is and thats that! this may sound harsh, but us feeling sorry for him would not help him..

At parties he always takes his own food... with crisps and cocolate so he doesn't feel left out... I don't stay any more.. he is old enough know that he only eats his own food...

as I say he is now 10 and has a healthy attitude to his allergys.. never winges and just gets on with it...

it will get easier I promise.. it becomes second nature to check everything...

snozmum Sun 25-May-08 19:40:41

Huge sympathy. I am now battling with an allergic 2.5 yr old who is allergic to milk, has multiple intolerances and is on the low-salycilate diet for hyperactivity (works wonders - can recommend it) but had to give him a rice cake at toddlers last week when all the others had party rings. Felt so awful, I didn't want to go back which sounds like a common experience. I try and tell myself that some parents deal with worse things but that doesn't help my toddler. You are not alone!

JackJacksmummy Tue 27-May-08 19:07:39

i know what you mean, we've just taken my DS off dairy products and are looking at other possible allergens too. He's 3 and a half and up til now has been able to have pretty much everything. I feel sad for him not being able to have what hes brother and sister has.

Haven't even though about outside the home yet though

snozmum Tue 27-May-08 19:42:44

Amazingly when I have said to him "You can't have that because it will make you feel naughty" (is that a dreadful way of explaining it?)he didn't quibble. He just left the table and went off to play. It was me who wanted to cry. But I wonder if we will have trouble ahead. But I don't think we can eat out together as a family - he doesn't seem to mind other children eating different things (yet) but I can't imagine him tolerating his siblings tucking into their treats. Altho as they eat no-wheat, low-wheat, dairy-free and nut -free anyway in various combinations I'm not sure any of us really have a lot of fun...

wb Wed 28-May-08 11:20:23

As a child I had numerous food allergies which meant I was often 'left out' at parties etc. My parents were understanding but quite matter of fact - it wasn't nice but that was life. I( think that is quite a helpful attitude to adopt.

Of course, now ds1 is allergic to dairy and nuts I see the other side of it and my heart breaks regularly - he is 2.5 and is just starting to realise he can't have what his friends have. I do make sure we all eat the same at home so there is one place he won't be 'different' but do try not to overcompensate otherwise. It's tough sad.

snozmum Wed 28-May-08 13:49:49

That sounds really sensible wb - the bit about "not nice but that's life". Sort of acknowledging it without making it into a drama. I think I might adopt that myself. Thank you!

aideesmum Thu 29-May-08 15:29:27

I found receipes on parsleysoup.co.uk, they are vegan receipes and the chocolate cake I made was delicious

Beachcomber Sat 31-May-08 14:48:41

I agree that it is better to be matter of fact about allergies. My DD1 is nearly 5 now so she understands but even when she was really little we explained it to her. I tend to ask people not to say stuff like 'poor thing', etc or go out of their way to change any food plans. This week I was at a friend's for lunch and her kids asked for ice cream for pudding, she said no cause my DD couldn't have any. I know she meant it kindly and didn't want DD to feel left out but it actually made her feel bad as she felt it was her fault that the others couldn't have what they wanted. I explained this to my mate and she saw what I meant.

At lunch time I eat with the children (they both have allergies) and we all eat the same thing. However sometimes at the weekend DH and I have something the girls can't have. I think they need to be used to being in the situation where they can't necessarily eat what others are having.

I think it gets easier as they get older as they understand and are generally very responsible. I can now let DD1 go to a friend's house without worrying that she will eat a yoghurt or something if somebody unthinkingly offers her one.

It sucks that it has to be this way but I think the parent's attitude can really help. I know some of my friends and family think that I am not very sympathetic with my DDs sometimes but I want them to feel strong about this, i don't want them thinking that i feel sorry for them.

On another note it is IMO really worth avoiding trigger foods as much as you can, even when they don't provoke big reactions. I think doing this allows the immune system to naturally repair itself as much as possible and gives a least some chance that the situation will improve.

When DD1 was 12 months she was allergic to everything under the sun, at one point she only had about 12 safe foods. We were VERY strict about avoiding all her triggers and now at 5yo she can eat most normal foods. We still have to avoid dairy, soy, fish, sesame, avocado and carrots but she can eat loads of foods that she reacted to before like courgettes, wheat, peas, red fruits, etc.

Good luck ratbunny, its blardy hard sometimes but you are certainly not alone.

snozmum Sun 15-Jun-08 18:26:51

Dear Beachcomber, could I just ask you were your chn allergic to lots and lots of individual foods or was there a common link? I ask because we are struggling with our 2.5 year old who is only on meat, rice, pears and potatoes because of reacting to lots of natural chemicals in foods and I long to be told that he might be better in a few years. Do you think his immune system might heal itself too if we rest it completely? We are waiting for a referral to St Thomas's.

HereWeGoRoundTheMulberryBag Tue 17-Jun-08 16:50:23

Message withdrawn

ToughDaddy Tue 17-Jun-08 19:58:42

we use Nutramigen Hypoallergic formula for 3, 5 and 9 yr old instead of milk. Taste not great but we introduced at early stage so they know nothing else. Consultant is pleased that they are all still on it as it is very good (fortified) nutritionally and he reckons better than soya

Gubbins Mon 14-Jul-08 15:52:14

My daughter is just coming up to her second birthday and has allergies to dairy, egg, sesame, tomato and strawberries. For every party she's been to so far (lots, as she goes to all her 3 year old sister's mates parties as well.) I have taken sausages and sandwiches that she can eat and lovingly prepared allergen free cakes and biscuits so she doesn't feel left out.

Does she appreciate this? No she bloody doesn't. At the last party she completely ignored the delicious morsels I'd slaved over and instead worked her way through the massive bowl of grapes in the middle of the table. Ratbunny, you're sure to get more upset by it than him. He knows nothing different.

BalloonSlayer Tue 15-Jul-08 09:55:19

My DS1's situation is much the same as MumRun's son.

I often say to him that I am so sorry that he has the allergy, I wish I could take it off him... just to let him know that I DO sympathise with the medical condition aspect of it.

Then I go on to say that it is a shame that there are some things he can't eat but stress that "there are loads of nice things that you CAN have."

I think the trick is to believe what you are saying and I do. There are millions of kids in this world who can't eat dairy milk chocolate, ice cream etc - because they are starving. I don't say this to him of course, as "the starving children in africa" never made me appreciate MY dinner when I was a child. But it helps me, now, not to feel so sorry for him because of what he can't eat. And if I can stop myself feeling TOO upset about what he can't eat, then he can't pick up on it.

BalloonSlayer Tue 15-Jul-08 09:55:19

My DS1's situation is much the same as MumRun's son.

I often say to him that I am so sorry that he has the allergy, I wish I could take it off him... just to let him know that I DO sympathise with the medical condition aspect of it.

Then I go on to say that it is a shame that there are some things he can't eat but stress that "there are loads of nice things that you CAN have."

I think the trick is to believe what you are saying and I do. There are millions of kids in this world who can't eat dairy milk chocolate, ice cream etc - because they are starving. I don't say this to him of course, as "the starving children in africa" never made me appreciate MY dinner when I was a child. But it helps me, now, not to feel so sorry for him because of what he can't eat. And if I can stop myself feeling TOO upset about what he can't eat, then he can't pick up on it.

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