Saturday, May 16, 2009

Dairy Allergy - Food Allergy Week

I enjoy making most of my son's food - all mains, most desserts and some other snacks and finger foods. As he has a dairy allergy I've had to modify quite a few recipes to come up with suitable alternatives. The most obvious substitutions I do are based on soy milk and soy margarine. I also need to check the ingredients panel on all bought foods and ingredients I use in cooking for him to ensure there are no milk products listed. I feel very blessed to live in this day and age where most labels in Australia clearly list milk products and have allergy warnings - I can't imagine how hard it was to try and work around allergies before mandatory labelling!

NearlySuperBaby had an allergic reaction to a cow's milk based formula at 6.5 months (he is still breastfed at 1). I had started him on Farex (rice cereal) 2 weeks prior which he ate with gusto. After speaking with some friends and family, I decided to bulk out his cereal with formula rather than the boiled water I had been using. On a Sunday morning I made up 60mL of formula and poured about 30mL on his cereal and started feeding him. He sounded kind of wheezy and choked up as I fed him and proceeded to get the cereal all over his face. After about half the cereal he seemed done, so I decided to give him the rest of the formula from the bottle. He coughed and spluttered and wheezed so I gave up and wiped his face. Underneath the cereal was a mess of bright red blotches and welts, all around his mouth and chin. I phoned my ER doctor brother-in-law and he advised we take our son to the hospital as he was having an allergic reaction. The welts moved down his neck and onto his upper back and chest before disappearing around an hour later.

At the hospital's advice, I booked nearlySuperBaby in with an allergist and had him tested. The allergist confirmed he has a cow's milk allergy which he should grow out of. I'll take him back for more testing in a few months (at least 6 months after the first lot of testing at 9 months). In the meantime we are on a strict No Dairy diet.

I'm very aware and cautious about what nearlySuperBaby eats and I have noticed a few incidents of small amounts of welts to the side of his mouth in the past few months. Recently when I added whole egg to his diet he had some welts, so I've gone back to using yolks only. Also last week he had welts after eating half a dried apricot. On checking the label I noticed Preservative 220 listed, so now I'm also checking all labels for preservatives. I'm not keen on him eating any more of those than absolutely necessary, but it sure is difficult to find preservative-free dried fruit apart from sultanas!

My sister put me onto a great website about allergies and she has removed all preservatives from her 3 kids' diets with vast improvements in their behaviour.

I'm going to post some of my successful baby and toddler recipes here - rated by nearlySuperBaby, of course - for you to use! I'll add to them as often as I try out new things, which I'm aiming to do weekly with the help of a few books I'm working through.

Here's the first recipe:

Eggy Bread

1 egg yolk
2 tbsp soy milk
1 piece bread
1 tbsp soy margarine

Beat egg yolk and soy milk.
Soak bread in egg mix, making sure both sides are well coated.
Heat margarine in a frypan until sizzling.
Fry coated bread until golden on both sides.
Serve cut into bite-sized pieces and cooled.

Do you have an allergy story to share? Or how about sharing your baby or toddler's favourite home-cooked food?

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