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Food allergies and Nursery menus, advice please!

(13 Posts)
callmeovercautious Sun 19-Aug-07 18:35:14

DD is 11m and starts at Nursery tomorrow. I have just written a long list of foods she can't eat as she has allergic tendancies and is on a special diet where new foods are introduced very slowly. As a result of this there are many things she has not had yet and a few that she has a reaction to.

My concern is that reading through their menus there is a problem with almost every meal! I was suprised to see things like Chocolate sponge on a menu for babies anyway but there is no way I want her eating that yet!

I don't want to have to take our own food as the Nursery fees include this and I won't get any discount. I am already going to use my own Nappies and Milk as I don't like the ones they use.

Do you think they will adapt the meals for her? I suppose I am most concerned that someone will forget and feed her something she has an allergy to. Anyone with experience of this?

EllieK Sun 19-Aug-07 18:37:42

my ds1 went to nursery with a dairy intolerance, they were very good and used non-dairy replacements

but to be honest, if your dd has that restricted a diet I think you are being a little unfair to expect them to alter every meal, and in that situaation I would think about suggesting I send in some food from home

callmeovercautious Sun 19-Aug-07 18:42:20

A lot of the things are common allergens like nuts (I think they run a nut free environment anyway) and citrus fruit. But also yoghurt and tomatoes. Lots of the meals seem to be something in tomato sauce or curry. Perhaps I was being a bit simple in thinking they would be meat and 3 veg type meals!

I guess I could ask for her to be given fruit rather than the puddings?

EllieK Sun 19-Aug-07 18:44:22

ds1 had fruit instead of puddings, that was fine, and they swapped creamy sauces for tomato based ones.

I would expect any nursery to be nut-free, at least in the baby room

amidaiwish Sun 19-Aug-07 18:49:28

you need to find out what systems they have in place to avoid any allergies.

our nursery (Teddies) have a fantastic traffic light place mat system. each child has a placemat with their name and photo on (essential in case of new/temporary staff). a green placemat = i can eat anything. a yellow placemat = i have a restricted diet (e.g. vegetarian, kosher) a red placemat = allergies. The head of each room is responsible for ensuring those children with a red placemat only get food they are allowed to eat. The placemat also lists the forbidden foods.

they have been very good at adapting meals for DD2 who has an egg allergy and until recently was also dairy-free.

Bubble99 Sun 19-Aug-07 18:53:13

If you look in the kitchen at your nursery you'll probably find a list of children's names and any foods that they cannot eat.

At our nursery each child also has a laminated placemat with their photo and a list of any food they cannot have.

The nursery will probably be providing a veggie option each day but they will probably be trying to make it look as close to the meat option. eg. Spag bol/lentil bol, as children (older, babies aren't so fussy) like to eat food that looks the same as everyone else's.

Fruit should always be an option for dessert.

If you ask (quite reasonably) that your child does not eat certain foods, please be consistent.

One major gripe of nursery staff is parents who insist on their child not eating X,Y &Z yet who then bring their child in to nursery eating X, Y &Z.

Yes, of course it is the parents' place to give these foods to their children when they wish. But it is very difficult for staff to then have to tell that same child that they cannot have any of little Johnny's birthday cake later on in the day.

Good luck.

Is this your first child?

DynamicNanny Sun 19-Aug-07 19:02:01

Our nursery does the same amidaiwish, but we just give placemeats to the children with allergies(red) or preferences (yellow) and all food comes down labelled and has to be signed for.

callmeovercautious Sun 19-Aug-07 19:51:18

Thanks everyone!

Bubble - yes she is can you tell?

I have already mentioned/asked and was told it would not be a problem but I can't help worrying! I don't want them to think I am being overprotective - after all she has an intollerance to several things that I would never have worked out if I had not been following such a strict plan. She is currently peed off every tea time because I have stopped the yoghurt

I suppose this is what the induction days are for so I can see it all in action. Will probably be back tomorrow saying I don't know why I was worried

Isababel Sun 19-Aug-07 20:18:24

I think you may get a more specific answer if you posted this in the allergies topic.

Ds has multiple food allergies and the way we managed it was as follows:

- Assume that, ultimately, it's your responsability to keep your child safe. Staff can not be expected to know all the floritures of the children's needs (for example that soya is also known as Hidrolyzed Vegetable Protien, or albumin is egg). So, if the allergies are severe, be sure to send a very illustrative document of what they have to avoid.

- If there are multiple allergens to avoid, bear in mind that providing an allergen free meal may mean, in some occasions, a watered down version of what the other children are having and therefore not exactly nutritive. If you suspect this may happen send your child with a packed lunch.

- The nursery DS was attending severd plenty of fruit and bread/crakers for snacks. We ensured they always have a free-from packet of bread/ crackers DS could have at the same time.

- For the main meal. We are 3 at home, but cook for 4 every night and fill a couple of containers of whatever we are having before starting to eat. They go straight to the freezer (which ensures we have plenty to choose from at all times). Then we only defreeze a couple of them every bight to send to the nursery. We provide the main meal and they provide the vegetables and fruits.

- It is very important you keep a good relationship with the cook. The better she knows your child and her needs, the better she will be able to sort something out for her. I absolutely adore DS's school' dinner lady (at the begining she was worried of getting it wrong and declined to cook for DS but I spoke to her and explained every thing in detail and finally, she accepted to do it. Mind you I send her flowers, buy her thank you cards and gifts in Christmas , she has corresponded to such love by organising a personal cruzade to make DS feel more included and less diferent during meal times, she is even getting me recipes and books now! ).

- For birthdays and special occassions, leave them a packet of very special free-from biscuits your child can safely eat, so your child is given something special to eat while the other ones have the cake.

Isababel Sun 19-Aug-07 20:21:18

I'm sorry, I meant to say,a most specific answer from mums who have allergic children

Isababel Sun 19-Aug-07 20:24:02

Love the idea of the mat with the description of what they should/shouldn't have.

Catilla Sun 19-Aug-07 20:49:34

My nursery was great and asked us about each thing they were not sure about. They wrote a protocol specifically covering all times/activities where ds (milk & egg-allergic) could come into contact with food, drink, or other children with food on them.
At 11m I'm sure we were still working our way through learning to eat different foods. They always had fruit as an option (eg. he had banana for breakfast for a long time) and also fruit puree pots (eg. Organix/Cow&Gate)... great backup for pudding or for fussy children. I wouldn't expect an 11mo to be offered the chocolate sponge either - I would definitely ask them how the menu is applied to the babies.
I would say it's much better to ask lots of questions up-front rather than to worry and appear nit-picking over time. If she starts tomorrow you can't exactly do it in advance, but could you ask for a meeting with the manager asap (at their convenience of course) just to talk through management of your dd's diet?
Good luck. I'm sure in a couple of months you'll look back and wonder what all the worry was about!

callmeovercautious Sun 19-Aug-07 21:13:46

Thanks again!

Tomorrow and the next 3 weeks are settling in days before I am back at work so I can go through all of this. You have all given me some good ideas and will ask to be shown the Kitchen etc (Icome from a foodie background so will be interested in their methods anyway).
Catila - yes we are still working things out which is what worries me. I don't want to be seen as picky, I just know what I went though as a Child, I was 7 before they even began to realise that some foods were making me ill.

I think this year off has made me a bit soft, I would never have worried about going into a supplier for work and telling them whats what!!!

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