Food Allergy Living Blog




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Talking to Toddlers and Young Children About Their Food Allergies

Posted 4.24.14 | Mallory West

Food allergies are complicated. It can be difficult for adults to fully understand them, so it’s no surprise that many parents struggle with how to help their little ones to understand them. In today’s post, we’ll cover some age-appropriate tips and resources to help you explain food allergies to your toddler or young child.

At this age, it’s best to keep things as simple as possible. You might start with using simple terms like “safe foods” and “unsafe foods”. Help your child to understand that there certain foods that will make him sick and certain foods that will not. The goal at this stage is to help teach your child to distinguish between the two and of course to prevent him from coming into contact with unsafe foods.

Basic points to communicate:

  • You have food allergies and certain “unsafe foods” can make you very sick
  • Do not eat, touch or smell any food until it has been approved by mom or dad (or a designated family member/caregiver).
  • If you don’t feel well, or even just feel funny, let a grown up know right away.

Although parents must be very vigilant at this age and control everything that their child eats, it’s important to begin teaching him to identify and avoid allergens on his own so that he will be ready when he gets older and you can't be with him all the time.

As your child gets a little older, he may start asking more questions about food allergies and you can provide more details as you see appropriate. It can be difficult to adequately communicate the seriousness of food allergies without causing excessive anxiety. Reassure your child that as long as he is careful to avoid unsafe foods, there is nothing to worry about and remind him that there is an emergency plan to help him in case he does have an allergic reaction. Ensure that your child knows to tell an adult right away if he comes into contact with an unsafe food. Reassure him that he won’t be in trouble; Accidents happen.

Sometimes books, videos, music and games can be useful for communicating complicated information to kids in ways that they understand. Here are some that you might find useful:

Storybooks:

Guide for preschoolers with peanut and tree nut allergies

Taking Food Allergies to School

Starting School With a Food Allergy

Videos:

Binky Goes Nuts (part of the Arthur series)

Music:

Kyle Dine is a musician who makes awesome educational music about food allergies. Check out his website: http://www.kyledine.com/music.html.

Games:

Back To School Interactive Game

Make your own food allergy education games. For example, print out pictures of safe and unsafe foods and put them on flashcards. Then you can have your child go through the cards and identify which ones are safe and unsafe. Another idea to make a variation on the game “Where’s Waldo” and play “Find The Allergen” with examples of ingredient lists.

 

Do you have any tips or advice for explaining food allergies to little ones? What has worked or not worked for you? Please share!

-Mallory

 

Photo: Flickr user SabrinaDan


Tube Feeding Research - You Can Help!

Posted 4.17.14 | Rob McCandlish, RD


We recently learned about a tube feeding research protocol that is currently recruiting families. We know that a lot of families use feeding tubes with our Neocate products. If you have a child who is tube fed, you may be able to help!

What the researchers are studying

Robert Porter, BBA, MBA, is a doctoral researcher at Capella University. He is looking at how a feeding tube might affect a child’s language development. If you’re wondering why he’s so interested, his son Bo was tube fed for over seven years and his wife is also a Speech Language Pathologist!

Which families are eligible to help?

-Parents/caregivers who are US citizens, or US residents who speak English as the primary language with their child
-Children 2 to 7 years old who are currently or have been tube-fed for at least 12 consecutive months, receiving at least 80% of nutrition through a feeding tube
-Children currently diagnosed with a language delay

Where can I find more information?        

You can find more information at the website that’s been set up for the study:

http://languageandtubefeeding.com/

We hope that any of you who may be eligible are willing to help with this important research!

- Rob


How to Mix Neocate Nutra

Posted 4.15.14 | Christine Graham-Garo

We made a  helpful video on how to mix Neocate Nutra. Neocate Nutra is an elemental semi-solid medical food for children over 6 months of age. Neocate Nutra is intended for children with cows milk allergy, multiple food allergies, and/or other food-allergy-related conditions.

It's a hypoallergenic cereal that has a pudding-like consistancy. It helps to add variety and texture restricted diets.  Watch our video  by clicking the image below to learn more on how to mix it.

- Christine

Be sure to sign up for our YouTube Channel at NeocateUS

 

 


Managing Food Allergies: Easter and Passover

Posted 4.10.14 | Mallory West

Holidays and special events tend to include food and spring celebrations are no exception. Whether your family celebrates Easter or Passover, you might be looking for help to ensure that your little one stays safe and enjoys the day. We’ve compiled some tips and food-allergy recipe ideas for today’s post.

 

Easter:

Kids with Food Allergies’ offers these awesome guides to celebrating Easter with food allergies:

Also, here are some dyeable ceramic eggs available for kids with egg allergies: https://www.eggnots.com/.

 

Passover

Kids with Food Allergies has some wonderful resources for enjoying an allergy-friendly Passover:

Check out these allergy-friendly Passover recipes provided by Chabad.org.

We also came across this food allergy mom’s blog, Kosher with Food Allergies!

 

How does your family manage food allergies on Easter or Passover? Please share your tips and recipes!

-Mallory


Neocate Junior-Only Recipes

Posted 4.8.14 | Rob McCandlish, RD


With the recent launch of Neocate Junior with Prebiotics, Strawberry it’s time to debut a few new recipes that only use Neocate products. These are great for folks who have to follow a strict elemental diet, avoiding even the least allergenic foods such as fruits and vegetables in favor of hypoallergenic amino-acid based products like Neocate.  These recipes combine Neocate Junior flavors for exciting new combinations, so are great for a change of pace.

As always, don’t forget about the other resources we have for elimination diets that you can use when adding foods gradually back in to your diet to compliment elemental formula. For example, the Neocate Food Allergy Cookbook brings together ideas from many parents and families who manage allergies like experts. They’ve come up with great dishes that have helped many other families in their allergy journey!


Neocate “Strawberries & Crème”

We like this recipe for the light strawberry taste combined with the pleasant background vanilla flavor. We tried different ratios, and found that 1:1 was too strongly flavored with vanilla. If the ratio below doesn’t seem quite right to you, feel free to experiment to find a best-fit for you!

Ingredients:
·         6.5 fluid ounces cold water
·         4 scoops Neocate Junior with Prebiotics, Strawberry
·         2 scoops Neocate Junior, Vanilla

Directions:
Add water to the container. Add the scoops of both Neocate Junior powders. If in a sealable container: Cover and shake until the powder has dissolved, about 15 to 20 seconds. If in an open container, stir vigorously with a fork or whisk until the powder has dissolved, about 30 seconds.


Neocate Junior “Chocolate-covered Strawberries”

Who doesn’t love chocolate-covered strawberries? When on a diet restricted due to food allergies, this may be the next best thing. We tried different ratios and felt the below ratio worked best. (A 5:2 ratio of Strawberry:Chocolate was a close second!) If the ratio below doesn’t seem quite right to you, feel free to experiment to find a best-fit for you!

Ingredients:
·         6.5 fluid ounces cold water
·         4 scoops Neocate Junior with Prebiotics, Strawberry
·         2 scoops Neocate Junior, Chocolate

Directions:
Add water to the container. Add the scoops of both Neocate Junior powders. If in a sealable container: Cover and shake until the powder has dissolved, about 15 to 20 seconds. If in an open container, stir vigorously with a fork or whisk until the powder has dissolved, about 30 seconds.

If you try either or both of these recipes out, please let us know what you think!
-Rob

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Understanding Your Baby’s Stool

Posted 4.2.14 | Nutrition Specialist

During the first months of life, parents pay close attention to their baby’s bowel movements. Any variation from what they perceive as a “normal poop” can cause a lot of anxiety for a parent. So what exactly is a “normal poop or bowel movement”? The answer is complex; every baby is different so what is considered “normal” will vary from baby to baby.

The color, consistency and frequency of bowel movements may differ. It will depend on if the baby is breast-fed or formula-fed, as well as the mom’s diet or the type of formula used. Below are some general guidelines to help you with your diaper expectations.

Color & Consistency:

  • Breast-fed babies: An exclusively breast-fed baby’s stools will be a light mustard color and often will have seed-like specs. In terms of consistency, stools may range from very soft to loose and runny.
  • Formula-fed babies: For a baby consuming standard (milk or soy-based) infant formula, stools are generally tan or yellow in color. When it comes to consistency, a breast-fed baby will have comparatively firmer stools but usually not firmer than a peanut butter consistency.
  • Neocate babies: If your baby is on an elemental formula, like Neocate, stools may be greenish in color and are often relatively dark (but not black, black can indicate blood in the stools so always contact the doctor if you see this). This is completely normal and is due to the special composition of Neocate and the way it is digested in the body.

Regardless if your baby drinks breast milk or formula, blood or mucus in the stool is not typical so if you see this, you should let the physician know right away.

Frequency:

The frequency of bowel movements varies greatly from baby to baby. Some newborn babies may have a bowel movement after each feeding and others may go once a day or even once every two days. During the first weeks of life, before you have learned your baby’s pooping pattern, it is generally advised to call the physician if the baby goes three or more days without a bowel movement.

  • Breast-fed babies: After the first month, breast-fed babies usually have fewer bowel movements than before. It some cases, it is normal for a baby to have only one bowel movement a week. Breast milk leaves little solid waste so bowel movements are less frequent However, as long as the stools are soft (no firmer than peanut butter) and the baby is healthy and growing, there is no reason for concern.
  • Formula-fed babies: Formula-fed babies typically have one or more bowel movement a day. If you are concerned that your baby has infrequent bowel movements or notice that he/she is straining to pass a bowel movement, this may indicate that he/she is constipated so check with the doctor.
  • Neocate babies: Because Neocate is so broken down, it is very easily digested and there is very little waste leftover. Therefore it’s normal for bowel movements to decrease in frequency once you switch to Neocate. As long as stools aren’t overly hard and dry and the baby doesn’t seem to have trouble passing them, this is perfectly normal.

Constipation:

Regardless if your baby is breast-fed or formula-fed, hard or dry stools that are difficult to pass may indicate constipation. Talk with the doctor about what you can do to help. Sometimes the solution is as simple as providing additional fluids. Other times, the doctor will prescribe a laxative to make it easier for your baby to pass bowel movements.

Diarrhea:

Because a newborn’s stools may be soft and slightly runny, it may be difficult to tell if they have diarrhea. A significant increase in frequency or an extremely liquid bowel movement are signs to look for. Severe diarrhea can cause dehydration so if you are concerned that your baby has diarrhea, contact the physician.

With Baby Poop, Normal Depends on the Baby

The general message for this post is that every baby has their own “normal poop” and what’s normal for one baby may not be normal for another. The key is to look out for any sudden change in your baby’s normal bowel movements. Keep in mind that occasional variations are normal, especially once a baby begins taking solid foods.

Hopefully this gives you some guidance for what to expect at diaper changing time. Keep in mind that you know your baby best, so if you’re ever concerned about your baby’s bowel movements, contact the physician just in case. What have you experienced? What advice would you share with other moms?


Asthma Medication Aids in Immunotherapy for Food Allergies.

Posted 3.27.14 | Christine Graham-Garo

On a similar topic to a blog I did on Food Allergy Reversal, another study has recently came out showing an asthma drug accelerates the process of desensitizing patients with food allergies to several foods at the same time. The study was done by researchers at Stanford University School of Medicine and Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford. The study provides the first scientific evidence that a promising new method for treating people with multiple food allergies works.

Patients took the asthma drug and became desensitized to multiple food allergens within 18 weeks; those who did not take the asthma drug took 85 weeks to become desensitized.

Oral immunotherapy is still experimental and is a slow process, generally. In other studies, patients took as long as 3 years to become desensitized to 1 food. So not only did these researches desensitize patients to multiple foods at once, they also quickened the time with the use of the asthma drug injections.

Science is so interesting. :)

  • Christine

Neocate Junior with Prebiotics

Posted 3.25.14 | Rob McCandlish, RD


Families ask every now and then: What’s the difference between Neocate Junior and Neocate Junior with Prebiotics? Which one should I choose?

Main Differences

The key differences between these two products are basic. One version has added prebiotic fiber, the other does not (more on prebiotics below). They are also available in different flavors. Neocate Junior (without added fiber) is available in Unflavored, Chocolate, and Tropical flavors. Neocate Junior with added prebiotic fiber is available in Unflavored, Vanilla, and Strawberry flavors. We offer multiple flavors of each version to give our customers options. For children especially, growing evidence suggests they may leave less in their cup if given a choice between flavors.(1)

Benefits of Prebiotics

The next logical question is ‘Which version of Neocate Junior is right?’ There are a few things to consider about fiber, and parents and caregivers should always discuss this with the healthcare team.

1) Most children don’t meet their fiber recommendations.(2,3) This data is based on children with typical diets, who don’t need a formula like Neocate. For those on a more restricted diet, meeting fiber needs is often even more difficult.

2) Prebiotic fiber may help with regularity. Similar to fiber in our diet from fruits, vegetables, nuts and whole grains, added prebiotic fiber may help with diarrhea, constipation, and vomiting.(4,5) Regularity can be an occasional problem for those who depend on elemental formula.

3) Added fiber has been suggested for individuals who depend on elemental formula, like Neocate, for long periods of time.(6) Having a formula like Neocate Junior with Prebiotics that already has fiber added makes it simple!

After hearing about the benefits of prebiotic fiber, some families ask us when someone might not choose Neocate Junior with Prebiotics. For most individuals, a formula with added prebiotic fiber is probably a better option, unless they prefer the Tropical or Chocolate flavor. However some individuals have rare conditions or follow restricted diets in which certain types of fiber should be avoided. Again, it’s best to discuss this with the healthcare team.

What questions do you have about prebiotic fiber?

-Rob

1. Brandt KA, et al. J Acad Nutr Diet. 2013;113:A-95.
2. Butte NF, et al. J Am Diet Assoc. 2010;110:S27.
3. Hampl JS, et al. J Am Diet Assoc. 1998;98:1418.
4. Saavedra JM, et al. Br J Nutr. 2002;87S2:S241.
5. Waligora-Dupriet AJ, et al. Int J Food Microbiol. 2007;113:108.
6. Girten M, et al. In: Eosinophilic Esophagitis. 2011:323.


Baby Wipes Causing Rashes?

Posted 3.18.14 | Christine Graham-Garo

 

A recent study published by the journal Pediatrics has linked a preservative found in many brands of baby wipes to itchy, scaly and painful rashes. What’s more surprising is that this preservative was found in some wipes that claimed to be hypoallergenic. The chemical is methylisothiazolinone (or MI) and it’s the first time it has been reported to cause allergic contact dermatitis in children in the US. According to the study, published by Dr Mary Wu Chang, the amount of MI in some products has increased from 3.7 (parts per million) ppm to as much as 100 ppm, which happens to be the maximum allowed by the FDA. MI is in other products such as shampoo, lotion, sunblock and shower gels. MI is actually banned from cosmetics in Canada. Not surprisingly, the company that had the MI in their wipes stated they will be introducing new wet wipes that are MI-free across its entire range of products in the US.

If your little one has a rash, it is best to start with your doctor. It can be hard to determine what caused the rash but by understanding your daily routines, your diet if you are breastfeeding, the type of formula you are using, and the product ingredients you use daily with your baby, you can start to uncover answers to help you and your doctor find a solution to the rash. 

 

-Christine

 


How to Mix Neocate Junior with Prebiotics, Strawberry

Posted 3.13.14 | Nutrition Specialist

Last week, we announced the official launch of Neocate Junior with Prebiotics, Strawberry.  So far, we've gotten a ton of great feedback on the newest flavor. Many little ones (and some adults!) are finding it to be extremely delicious.

As we continue working to provide families with the best possible products, we want to ensure parents and caregivers have all the necessary resources needed. Linked below is our latest mixing tutorial for Neocate Junior with Prebiotics, Strawberry.

 

 

Nutricia looks forward to bringing you the best clinical nutrition products. For more information on Neocate Junior with Prebiotics, Strawberry and how to request a sample please call our Customer Service Department toll-free at 1-800-365-7354. 



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About Us

Food Allergy Living is a resource for parents of children with food allergies, brought to you by Nutricia, the makers of Neocate. For more in-depth information about our purpose & authors, see our About Food Allergy Living page.