What it’s Like to Have a Child with a Life-Threatening Food Allergy

What It’s Like to Have a Child with a Life-Threatening Food Allergy | Baby Chick

What it’s Like to Have a Child with a Life-Threatening Food Allergy

I have a daughter who is one of a kind. She is brilliantly witty with charm and a hint of sass. She is strong-willed, yet sensitive and inclusive to those around her. And she is free-spirited with an imagination that knows no bounds.

My daughter is also 1 in every 13 kids in the U.S. that suffer from life-threatening food allergies.

Having a Child with a Life-Threatening Food Allergy is More Common Than You Think

Eight common foods account for 90 percent of all food allergies: milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, soy, wheat, fish and shellfish. Every three minutes, consuming a food allergen sends someone to the emergency room. That’s more than 200,000 emergency department visits and more than 300,000 ambulatory-care visits among children every year.

What’s even more troubling, food allergies are on the rise. At alarming rates. Food allergies have been labeled the fastest growing childhood epidemic. According to the CDC, food allergies among kids increased 50% from 1997-2011. During this same timeframe, allergies to peanuts and tree nuts tripled.

It Effects Your Everyday Life

As a mom, the growth rate coupled with the lack of understanding about the disease is not only confusing – it’s overwhelming. Having a child with a life-threatening food allergy impacts not just my family’s lifestyle, but every aspect of our day. Not a day goes by without worry.

Worrying that I forgot to pack my daughter’s Epi-pen. I worry that I forgot to triple check a food label. Then I worry that she may have a new substitute teacher at preschool that doesn’t know our protocol. I worry that I might miss an emergency text message. And worrying that she missed out, got singled out or worse yet, bullied because of food allergies.

READ MORE
Defining Parenting Roles With Your Spouse Before Baby

You Need Support as a Parent of a Child with a Life-Threatening Food Allergy

As moms, we are SO great at worrying and we’re strong enough to admit that the whole mom-guilt thing is REAL. I’m grateful I’m surrounded by a tribe of amazing moms (and some equally wonderful dads) who have my daughter’s food allergies on their radar. These moms don’t think I’m crazy when I’ve made public requests or family requests that impact my daughter’s safety – they’ve had my back. They’ve lent an ear and a shoulder to cry on when food allergies has brought me to my knees – whether it was when I ripped apart our pantry, agonizing over every food label after learning our then 6-month-old was allergic to milk, eggs and peanuts or when I learned there was a four year waitlist for my daughter to take part in the only OIT treatment program in our state or when I administered an Epi-pen for the first time and pleaded that my daughter come back to consciousness. These amazing moms have been there for me. They’ve been there for my daughter.

May is Food Allergy Awareness month. Chances are you know a mom with a one of a kind, 1 in 13 kiddo. Remind her that you are in this crazy journey with her. Remind her that as moms, we have each other’s backs and a tissue whenever necessary. And tell her that you will educate your own family about the severity of food allergies and the importance of being inclusive. Because as moms we want every child to be safe and to thrive. As moms, we have the power to change the world. We are human-kind.

Mother with her two daughters sharing with others to sprout confidence.

Mara with her two beautiful daughters, Cooper and Quinn.

About the Author /

Mara is the Founder & CEO of Sprout Pediatric Food Allergy Clinics that aim to serve the growing number of children and their families living with food allergies. Mara was first introduced to food allergies when her oldest daughter, Cooper was just six months old. Cooper is now a rambunctious, thriving four year old - but lives each day avoiding allergens and foods that could possibly contain them. Mara is passionate about helping families and believes stronger families are the bedrock of a stronger society. She sits on the Foundation Board of Children's Hospitals & Clinics of Minnesota, the Corporate Giving Committee and was a founding member of Children's Council.

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Becoming a new mother, whether it be your first baby or your sixth, is filled with so many emotions. 🎢 Figuring out your new normal can take a minute as you recover from giving birth and get to know your new baby. People will be at your doorstep in no time wanting to congratulate you and meet your baby, but sometimes people aren't necessarily thinking about what they can do for YOU to be helpful. If you know someone who has recently had a baby or if you are currently expecting, today’s podcast episode is for you! ❤️ {Link in bio!}⁠
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When you meet your baby(ies) and your whole world changes. 💕
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Speak your partner's love language in postpartum. Send this resource to your loved one so that they can make you feel loved and supported in a meaningful way.⁠
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We substituted sour cream in these recipes with @stonyfield YoBaby yogurt because it provides not only the calcium they need, but also probiotics, protein and vitamin D! 👍 (Our pediatrician says our little guy needs 2-4 servings of dairy per day!) The yogurt still has that tangy flavor that you’re looking for but with even more benefits! Cheers to full tummies and happy families! 🙌 #ad #stonyfield
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