Almost 2 months ago, my son was diagnosed with several food allergies. We knew he probably had a problem with dairy products since every time he ate yogurt or cheese, he got hives. So we took him off most dairy (still allowing some diary in cooked recipes like baked goods and soups), and hoped that the problem would resolve itself, as his reaction to avocados had. It didn’t. When we took him to be evaluated by the allergist’s office, he came back allergic to cow’s milk, peanuts and shockingly, eggs. The eggs were his strongest skin test reaction and we had been feeding him eggs several times a week for months. So then we took him for a battery of blood tests. Results showed that he was allergic to some parts of milk but not others (not casein, which apparently is the hardest part of milk to break down with cooking, so it will make our lives easier in the future.
According to our nutritionist, it also increases the chances that he will outgrow this at some point). He did come up as allergic to eggs on the blood test, but at a much lower lever than expected given his skin test results. His milk and peanut blood test also showed lower allergen levels than expected. So we proceeded to the egg challenge.
Over the course of an hour or two, under supervision of the nutritionist and doctor, we fed our son small amounts of scrambled eggs (mixed with apple sauce since he doesn’t really like scrambled eggs) and then observed him. At the end of the test he had eaten an entire egg and a six ounce container of apple sauce. He was observed for another half and hour and ruled a medical marvel (Ok, not quite, but the doctor did say that he had never seen a child with his kind of extreme skin reaction pass the egg challenge like that).
We were so excited but also exhausted after over two hours of keeping our son occupied and happy in the exam room without an afternoon nap. He fell asleep in my arms while we were filling out the final paper work with the nutritionist. Then as we were checking out and scheduling our next appointment, he woke up with a start, coughed suddenly and then vomited everything he’d eaten since lunch all over the floor. After another half an hour of observation, he was fine. But we were frustrated and exhausted. So much for passing the egg challenge.
Two weeks later we went through round two of the egg challenge, this time using hard boiled egg. He hated every minute of it, fighting and spitting until we finally called it quits. He got about 1/3 of a hard boiled egg white, which the nutritionist said was enough. No reaction. No throwing up. Just an exhausted, unhappy baby who may never be willing to eat eggs again and definitely hates the allergist’s office.
So now we are developing an unusual diet for our son. Meat is a big part of his diet, when we can afford it. He loves baked chicken, pot roast and chili. He also eats chickpeas, quiona and homemade sunflower butter on an almost daily basis. We’ve added lentils and hemp seeds to his diet as well. When it comes to other foods I try to focus on nutritionally dense foods like banana, sweet potato and avocado. I give him foods like broccoli and kale to compensate for the lack of calcium in his diet. Now that he is weaned, he drinks coconut milk and protein enriched almond milk from a sippy cup. I feel like none of the milk supplements are a great choice so I plan to alternate between them, if he’ll tolerate it.
So that’s our food allergy story, so far. How about those of you out there with food allergies or kids with food allergies? How do you manage?