What Do I Do When My Child is Diagnosed with a Food Intolerance?

July 13, 2016
We are two months into our life with a child with a severe food intolerance.  Are you in the same boat?  Let me fill you in on what I've figured out needs to be done so far!

Two months ago we had The Doctors Appointment from Hades.  Two months ago our lives changed and we became parents of a child with a severe food intolerance.  I never wanted to be That Mom.  You know, the one who has to moniter everything her child ate.  The one who had to tell everyone watching her child that he couldn’t have a certian food.  The mom who had to read food lables.  For better or for worse, that is the mom I am now.

Caleb can’t have dairy.  For the first month and a half he was off ALL DAIRY!  That included bread or crackers that was baked with butter or milk as an ingredient.  That included pizza, mac and cheese, yogurt…  Pretty much the things Caleb lived off of!

Thankfully, at his follow up appointment Caleb’s blood levels were getting back to normal so his huge regulations were lifted.  He can have minute amounts of dairy now – think pizza with the cheese scraped off, bread that has a little butter or milk baked into it, cream based salad dressings.  The goal is to attempt to introduce dairy back slowly to see how much his body is able to tolerate and so far so good.

Are you in my position?  Did you child just get diagnosed with a food intolerance that rocked your world?  Are you struggling with knowing where to go from here when it comes to getting your new life figured out?  Let me, someone who’s been through it, help you out!

Breathe

Yes, my first piece of advice is to take a breath.  I’m sure all the labwork your child has had to go through and the diagnosis that came from it has been stressful.  Maybe you don’t know exactly how you’ll be able to go out to eat, cook food, and spend time with friends and family with your child’s new diet.  You can figure all that gradually but first be sure to take a deep breath.  It’s going to be ok.  Life with a child with a food intolerance won’t be that bad.

Ask Your Doctor Questions

Take the time to ask your doctor any question you might have.  No question is too stupid!  In our case, I wanted to find out if Caleb could have goat’s milk or if he was off all dairy.  We talked through plant based milks and which were best for Caleb’s gut.  They gave me a list with all the names dairy could be called on food labels.  If you leave the appointment and realize that you still have questions don’t be afraid to call!  The doctor is there for you and your child.  Make sure all your questions are answered!

Start Reading Labels and Asking Questions

There will probably be some things that you know are on the not-ok list without even reading the label.  That’s great!  For the questionable things, get reading!  I promise it will get easier as you have an idea of what is and isn’t in different types of food.  You’ll get new staples and know off the top of your head what’s ok.  For example, we figured out that breads were typically not ok but bagels and hamburger buns were fine.  Sometimes you’ll have to ask waiters at restaurants how different meals are cooked and, as awkward as it might be, it is for your child’s benefit so don’t feel bad!

Inform Caregivers

Caleb goes to the church nursery so that was the first place I had to inform of his new diet.  I had to become That Mom and start bringing his own snacks or giving my ok on snacks they provided.  We had to inform our parents and siblings about his new diet as well since they love to sneak him treats and unfortuantely a lot of fun treats have dairy!  Anytime Caleb is left with a new babysitter or we’re at a playdate I have to make sure the food is things he can have.  It’s awesome now that the older kids in our playgroup watch out for Caleb and make sure he’s only getting the treats he’s allowed to have.
As you get used to your child’s new diet it will become second nature!  Know that you have others who’ve been there before you and who know what you’re going through!  Solidarity!  <3

Your Turn:
Does your child have a food intolerance?
Do you have any other tips to add?

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