Food Allergy Living Blog




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3 Tips to Prepare for Summer Camp with Food Allergies

Posted 7.25.17 | Nutrition Specialist

Step #1: Research

Planning is always the key to success and essential when your little one has food allergies. Let’s discuss some tips and resources to help you research summer camps for your little one to be sure both your child and the camp are properly equipped to successfully manage their food allergies.

Questions that will need answers:

  • What is the camp menu and options for allergy friendly alternatives?
  • Is there a dedicated place for allergy friendly food or snacks to be stored?
  • Is there a dedicated place to store epinephrine at camp?
  • Is your child allowed to bring packed lunches/snacks? What about potential allergens from the other campers that will be attending camp with your little one?
  • Is there a food allergy management plan for the camp?
  • Is there a designated area for little ones with food allergies to eat?
  • What kind of camp staff are available for your child? Is there a healthcare professional on site?
    • If so, what are the healthcare professional’s credentials, responsibilities or capabilities?
    • If not, who is available to assist your child with any medical issues or medications?
  • What is the procedure for emergencies? Where is the nearest hospital or medical center?
  • What activities are offered that might elevate the allergen exposure for your child?

Resources to help you in your research:

Another good resource is the following recording of a webinar featuring Dr. Pistiner and Ms. Polmear-Swendris answering questions about how to choose a camp, what questions to ask of summer camp staff, how to store epinephrine at camp, and a review of basic food allergy management.

Step #2: Advocate

Now that you have done your research, it is time to start advocating for your child. Even if the camp you have chosen is well ahead of the food allergy game, your child is unique and truly one of a kind. It is your job to advocate for your child and make sure everyone is educated and prepared to provide the needed care for your little one specifically. The camp will need education regarding the details of your child’s food allergies, any signs or symptoms they need to be on the lookout for, as well as, what to do if an exposure is either suspected and/or confirmed. Here are the ABC’s of how to advocate for your camper:

  1. Notify everyone possible about your child’s food allergies. This might include:
    • The camp director
    • Staff assigned to work or interact with your child
    • All healthcare professionals available to your child while at camp
    • Anyone assisting in transportation
    • Staff working with food or staffing mealtimes
    • The camp lifeguard
    • And even any camp volunteers, special event or course instructors, or staff subs is that is possible.
  2. If there is no food allergy policy already in place, make sure to outline one that is tailored to your little one’s needs. If a policy exists, then you should still make sure and outline the details of how it will apply to your little one in particular
  3. Prepare an Emergency Care plan and Food Allergy Cards for reference to all who will need this information. Need some guidance to prepare these documents. Check out these resources:

Step #3: Educate

Now that the camp staff are prepared with the knowledge and tools they will need, time to be sure your camper knows how to advocate and care for themselves. After all, your child will be the best and first line of defense to prevent accidental exposure to allergens. If you need assistance, here is a Neocate blog with 3 Easy Steps for Success when Explaining Food Allergies to your Toddler.

Here are some quick items you may want to cover when educating your child to be ready for their summer camp adventure:

  • Discuss their red light and green light foods (or safe and unsafe) and what they can expect while at summer camp
  • Perhaps some reminders for rules when eating, such as not to share food with other campers
  • Their symptoms or reactions to food allergens
  • Who and to whom to tell if they feel funny, or what to do in certain camp situations
    • Not to go off alone if they are not feeling well
    • Where they can receive medical attention if needed
    • Where their important allergy documents are located
    • How to administer their medications, or epinephrine if needed
  • How to read a food label if possible, or who to ask for questions about the food options when at summer camp. Perhaps where their food allergy friendly snacks will be stored

     

  • If interested, this might be a wonderful time to get your little one a medical alert bracelet. There are many options available, including water proof ones that are perfect for summer!

Time for Summer Camp Fun

Keep in mind, getting ready for camp can be similar to how you get ready for a new school year or traveling. If you need additional tips on how to specifically travel this summer with Neocate, make sure to check-out Helpful Tips and Resources when Traveling with Food Allergies.

Now it is time for your little camper to get out and enjoy the summer camp fun. You have done your research, advocated for your little camper with staff, and educated your little one on how to have fun and stay safe while at camp. Time for the fun to begin.

Do you have any tips or suggestions to share? We would love to hear how you prepare for summer camp with food allergies, and especially how your little Neocate camper did at their summer camp. Please share in the comments below.

-Kristin Crosby MS, RDN, LDN


Food Allergies and Dining Out

Posted 7.19.17 | Guest Blogger

When it’s time to dine out, every parent with a child who suffers from food allergies has a hard time letting go of kitchen control.  This is because allergen avoidance is always the most desirable form of prevention and this is often easily accomplished in the comfort of your home. However, a late soccer practice, meeting, or simply just wanting to enjoy the cuisine of a favorite local restaurant can make avoidance difficult. Eating out puts the responsibility of allergen on both the diner and the restaurant staff.

 

Research shows that there is ample opportunity for restaurants to improve their food allergy safety practices. According to the Food and Drug Administration Food Code, the person-in-charge at an establishment (i.e., the manager) should be knowledgeable about food allergies. We cannot guarantee that all staff will be knowledgeable, but that shouldn't discourage families from eating out. We want our children to be able to enjoy the typical and “normal” parts of everyday life, and there are a number of steps that we can take to be safe.

 

Fortunately, many large restaurant chains have picked up on how important it is to make sure they offer options and service to families managing food allergies. Many have standardized menus, which often include ingredient information, which can provide you and your family with safe allergy-friendly food options.

 

Do Your Research

A great place to start is to research the restaurants you are interested in! Most major chain establishments have websites where you can view their menus before you visit. This gives you a chance to identify safe options for your little ones with food allergies before you go.

 

Keep in mind that websites may not be updated frequently and ingredients may change, so it’s always a good idea to speak to a manager at the location where you're interested in dining before you go. This will help you ensure that the restaurant really is food allergy-friendly and cross-contamination won’t be a problem.

Another great resource when doing research is AllergyEats, which describes itself as "the leading guide to allergy-friendly restaurants in the United States."

 

AllergyEats is a free, peer-based website and app (for both Apple and Android devices) where people find and rate restaurants based solely on their ability to accommodate food allergies. The site, app and related social media forums allow families with food allergies to help each other reduce guesswork and limit some of the anxiety surrounding dining out with food allergies. We're all about free, and you can't beat social support systems where you can get input from families like your own!

 

As always, it's still important for you to ask questions restaurant staff to make sure you're comfortable. Another family managing a less-severe food allergy might report that the restaurant met their needs, but their needs may not be the same as yours.

Always Double Check

As parents, we always want to make sure our kids are safe, so I recommend always checking to make sure the restaurant is still food allergy-friendly even if it’s a restaurant you dine at frequently. And always be sure to tell your server about any food allergies to ensure that you have a happy and healthy dining experience. Many times, they'll be happy to send the chef out to speak with you personally about your dietary restrictions!

 

Once you’ve identified a restaurant with potential, call them during non-peak dining hours (Fridays and Saturday afternoons are generally super-busy. Try a weeknight, which is typically slower). Ask to speak with the manager or a chef and find out if they can prepare a safe meal for your child. Some parents prefer to “try out” the restaurant without the children to get a feel for their ability to accommodate. If you get the feeling that they are unwilling, unable or just don’t “get it,” move on.

 

In the meantime, you may want to prepare an allergy card for the chef that specifically lists your child’s allergies. Havinga list of foods that aren’t safe for your child can make it easier for the chef to keep track of. This adds as an additional reminder, particularly if you are dealing with multiple allergies.

Go Prepared to Eat

Before you leave for the restaurant, bring a few staples in case the restaurant does not have what you need or if it is cross-contaminated. For some parents, bringing a safe food in a thermos or a safe sandwich is an excellent alternative. It's easy to bring a little of  dairy-free margarine and some vinegar and oil for salads, too! (Dressings and oils can contain potent nut or seed allergens). Lastly, make sure you have your child’s EpiPens before you leave.

 

Do you have any additional tips for eating out? Comment below!


Simplify Food Allergy Management with the Neocate Footsteps App

Posted 7.10.17 | Nutrition Specialist

Managing your child’s multiple food allergies can be a daily challenge. There are food diaries and elimination diets. There is eating in versus dining out. There are ingredient substitutions and the never-ending search to find new recipes that the whole family can enjoy. Simply put, it can be overwhelming and time-consuming for parents and caregivers. But now there is an app for that — Neocate Footsteps from Neocate — to help navigate each milestone of caring for a child with food allergies.

I spent some time exploring the app and here are my thoughts.

Best Feature

Hands down it is the fact that the app experience is customized to each individual, acknowledging what those of us with food allergies wish more people knew — everyone’s food allergy diagnosis, symptoms, and coping mechanisms are different.

Favorite Section

After a food allergy diagnosis, the hunt is always on for tasty allergy-friendly recipes. I frequently dedicate hours upon hours to this task …  often to no avail. This app includes a collection of recipes that you can easily sort to exclude any allergen. There are recipes for pancakes and donuts, cereals and casseroles, soups and scones, and more. It is amazing! With just the click of a button, preparing a meal for someone with food allergies is simplified.

Honorable Mention

Another feature of the app that I loved was the diary section. As someone who has used a spiral notebook as a food diary, an electronic option would have been far better and more efficient. With Neocate Footsteps App, you can log your child’s food intake, symptoms, sleep patterns, mood, growth, and diaper descriptions in the app. This section will be extremely useful for parents, especially during those first few months, when you are trying to figure out what each allergen does to your child specifically.

An Added Bonus

This app will also auto generate an allergy card, which can be downloaded and printed. DO NOT BYPASS THIS SECTION. For me, eating out changed dramatically when I began using an allergy card. Restaurant wait staff and chefs appreciate having allergens written down for a simpler and safer dining-out experience. I carry two — just in case I leave one behind.

Final Thoughts

Neocate Footsteps App is very user-friendly and easy to navigate. The interface is clean in appearance and easy to understand. Plus, the app is FREE to download in the Apple Store. Check it out!

About the Author

 Kendra Chanae Chapman, a 26-year-old Chicago native currently living in Los Angeles, has lived with food allergies for most of her life. Her primary mission has become to raise awareness, especially in the African-American community. Kendra's food allergy journey can be followed on her blog "Nope, Can't Eat That Either" and on her social media pages.

 


Recycling Neocate Cans

Posted 6.21.17 | Nutrition Specialist

As we’ve mentioned before, here at Nutricia North America, we strive to take measures to reduce our impact on the Earth. That’s why we encourage everyone to reuse or recycle their Neocate cans.

The best part about recycling is that it can be a family activity, and there are plenty of ways to get your kids excited about it all.

Recycling Neocate Cans

Did you know that all empty Neocate product cans are recyclable, as well as the Splash drink boxes?

The plastic lids on our cans can be recycled. This might vary, though, based on where you live. To be sure if you can recycle the lids, check with your local municipality or curbside recycling pickup company. The key thing to look for is whether they accept number 4 plastics – the lids we use on our cans are number 4. As more localities continue to accept a bigger variety of plastics, we hope many of our customers can recycle their Neocate lids! If your curbside recycling pickup company currently does not accept number 4 plastic, you may also be able to find a nearby drop-off location by using the search feature on Earth911 with the term “#4 Rigid Plastic” and your city or zip code.

But what about the scoop that comes with our products? Great news: if your municipality or recycling pickup company takes number 5 plastics, you can recycle the scoops as well! Number 5 plastics are also used in yogurt cups, other food tubs, plastic flower pots, and disposable razors. Even better news: for those customers who live in an area where number 5 products are not collected from the community, you have another option with the Preserve® Gimme 5 program. You may be able to locate a local Preserve drop-off site where number 5 plastics are collected. If that doesn’t work, Preserve will even accept number 5 plastics by mail and turn them into consumer products.

Reusing & Recycling Neocate Cans

Neocate cans can be recycled anywhere that metals are accepted for recycling. But taking care of our planet is not just about recycling. It also means making sure we reuse the products in a creative way to help minimize impact on the landfills. 

You can reuse Neocate cans for arts and crafts. Be sure to clean the cans out thoroughly before reusing them.  We recommend doing this by leaving the can in soapy water for a few minutes. Then, scrub the interior of the can being careful with any sharp edges and let it sit till 100% dry.  Also, parents will be glad to know that Nutricia’s products are BPA free.

Musical Instruments

Interested in crafting a set of maracas or drums? Save the plastic lid from the Neocate can and grab a pair of sturdy sticks and start drumming away.  You can also make a maraca out of the Neocate cans by adding beans or pebbles for another sound effect. 

Pot for plants/flowers

Decorate the outside of the can and safely poke a hole at the bottom of the can to allow for drainage. Fill with potting soil and plant the seeds or repot another plant.


 

Storage

Repurpose cans to store toys such as building blocks, marbles, or toy cars. You can also reuse formula cans to keep your scrapbooking or craft items in place. They make great storage containers for buttons, ribbons, safety pins, beads and/or other small items you have lying around.  You can even print out pictures of these items from the internet, and then use them to decorate. It’s an easy way to decorate and label what is inside of the can.

Image by HeyBernice.com

Holiday Gift basket 

Paint the outside of the can for the holiday season and fill with treats, holiday goodies or a personal gift for the receiver. You can even attach a handle for easy carrying.

 

Gift/favor basket or even flower pot

Piggy Banks

Turn an empty Neocate formula can into a cute piggy bank for your child or even for yourself!  Paste pictures of your kids onto the outside, and then use a box cutter to create a rectangular shape size cutout in the plastic lid.


Jars to store dry foods

[Image by Make--do.blogspot.com]

Lanterns

[Image by GrowCreativeBlog.com]

Headband organizer

[Image by The Organized Housewife]

Playset

[Image by RobbyGurl's Creations]

For additional creative ideas on how to recycle or creatively reuse the packaging from your Neocate products, follow our Pinterest Recycling board.

We highly encourage you to recycle and reuse your Neocate cans instead of putting them in the trash to be thrown in a landfill. If you have used your Neocate packaging in a creative way, comment below, we would love to learn!


4 Quick Reasons Why Everyone Should “Dig In” to Allergy Friendly Foods

Posted 6.15.17 | Neocate Admin

There are so many different times in life that prompt us to step back and think, then often make a change in our life.  As a dietitian, I often get involved when these times spark a change in your health or more specifically a change to your diet. I know better than most that the word ‘diet’ is perceived as a forbidden 4-letter word, often for many wrong reasons.  In reality, your diet is just the general term for what and how you eat regardless if that includes a plan, specific structure, or even just eating whatever strikes your fancy and happens to be available at the moment. Yes that is right, candy and pizza is also a diet; Just not a diet that is recommended or usually planned. 

We all have many of these life or health events to inspire a diet change. Perhaps you have planned a diet change in your life as a new year’s resolution, after a health concern or diagnosis, or even due to a general life event such as a birthday or milestone that inspires you to change.  One thing that all of you reading this most likely have in common is that you have embarked on a diet change due a medical concern or food allergy diagnosis either for yourself or a loved one. 

A diet change for any reason is usually just considered for the family member who needs the diet change alone.  This is the main reason why many who require a special diet often feel alone, deprived, and are ultimately unsuccessful in incorporating a new diet as a lifestyle vs a momentary change. This is also why so many people perceive the word ‘diet’ as a forbidden 4-letter word to be avoided at all costs. 

Instead of all the negative connotations that come to mind when thinking about a diet, what would it be like if this new diet change needed for your family member was celebrated and embraced?  Even further, what if the whole family participated and adopted the same allergy friendly foods?  Let’s talk about 4 quick reasons why you should be an allergy free family if possible, where everyone digs into and savors the same allergy friendly foods required by some family members.

Reason #1 - Good Role Model

First, and maybe the most important reason is that children learn by example.  Being a good role model is by far the best way to teach little ones any lesson, and particularly true when it comes to teaching good dietary habits.  If your child sees you enjoying the required allergy friendly foods and avoiding the items that are not safe for their food allergy or appropriate for their medical condition, then they will be much more likely to make the same choice and mimic the same behaviors of their role models when they are outside the home.  Imagine the effect this might have on your loved ones if the whole family could model this behavior!

This can be especially powerful when applied to how parents relate or talk about food.  Imagine if those allergy friendly foods are celebrated and savored by the entire family.  They will quickly become a family staple and welcomed by all.  So perhaps try to present allergy friendly food items to the whole family with gusto and excitement and see what happens.

Reason #2 - Provide Support and Acceptance

When the whole family is allergy free, the family members with the particular diet need will also feel supported and accepted.  Many times a unique dietary requirement can be lonely and isolating.  While each of us are unique, differences can also help us stand out from the crowd for the wrong reasons.  And everyone wants to feel accepted at home if nowhere else.  Imagine how easy a diet change would be when the whole family is there with you and supporting you in this new change.  No longer are you the only one at the table eating a particular food item, or worse not able to enjoy the food item or dish that the rest of the family is sharing.  Instead everyone in the family will be involved and can all dig into the same allergy friendly foods as a family meal together. 

Reason #3 - Eliminate Accidental Exposure

Having an allergy free family also means the food allergens of concern are not even present in the household.  This can be especially helpful as little ones learn their surroundings and become more mobile.  We all know that babies and toddlers typically learn by putting new items in their mouth whether that item is edible or not.  If the food allergen is not available, little ones are less likely to accidently eat something that they are allergic to or even have cross contamination of that item into other dishes and foods.  This can be a life saver if your family member has a severe food allergy reaction, such as anaphylaxis.

Reason #4 - Delicious Food

Finally, and maybe the best reason is that allergy free foods are delicious.  Food should be enjoyed and savored.  I choose to be a Dietitian for many reasons, one powerful reason being that I love food and love to eat. I follow the live to eat philosophy in life rather than eat to live.  If you follow the same mentality you know that taste is important, and delicious food is a delight.  Allergy friendly foods can be just as delicious or better than their counterparts that contain the allergens dangerous to you or your loved one. 

Need some ideas or inspiration?   Check out our Neocate Footsteps Recipe book.  We also have a variety of Neocate recipes on our Neocate Pinterest page, our Neocate YouTube channel, and Neocate Facebook page.  Many of the recipes and videos on both our Neocate YouTube channel are available in a few languages as well.

Tell us ways that your whole family has embraced becoming an Allergy Free Family?  What worked for you that you would like to share with other families?  Any allergy friendly recipes that you would like to share? Please let us know in the comments below.

-Kristin Crosby MS, RDN, LDN


Food Allergies and Cross-Reactivity – Do You Have to Avoid Related Foods?

Posted 6.8.17 | Nutrition Specialist

 

Learning that you or your loved one has an allergy to a food often sparks a long list of questions.  One common question that many families have is “If my child is allergic to one item, what else are they allergic to?”  Another common question is “Where should I start when either trying new food items or adding foods back into my diet?” If you are facing these questions, you are not alone!!  Each of us is unique and there is no substitute for individualized guidance and recommendations from your healthcare team. Let’s take a look at something called Cross-Reactivity to help you get the conversation started with your healthcare team if you are facing these questions.

Finding the Food Allergy?

An allergy to food is typically an allergic reaction, or overreaction by your immune system to the protein piece of the food.  For example, children often have a milk allergy which more specifically is a cow milk protein allergy. Proteins found in one food item can also be similar to the proteins in other or related foods, and sometimes your body cannot tell the difference. The question becomes if you are allergic to one food item, will you also be allergic to the protein in a related food. This concept is called “Cross-Reactivity”.  But what does this mean for you?

Food allergies can involve many types of responses; you may get a rash when eating a certain food or it could be life threatening, like anaphylaxis.  The most common immune response to a food allergy is when your body makes something called IgE antibodies to the protein of the food allergen.  You see this in a variety of physical reactions or symptoms such as skin itching, hives, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, breathing difficulty such as wheezing or coughing, or the life-threatening reaction called anaphylaxis. 

As you likely well know, diagnosis of food allergies is not an easy process.  Experts at the Jaffe Food Allergy Institute in New York recommend that diagnosis of food allergies include careful interpretation of a variety of factors including physical examination, skin test or RASTs, detailed patient history, and oral food challenges or elimination diets. This extensive testing and the possible conflicting results are just one of many reasons why individualized treatment and recommendations are needed, and why there is no substitute for the individual guidance you will receive from your healthcare team.

What is Cross-Reactivity?

So where should you start when either trying new foods or adding foods back into your diet? To help allergist identify related foods of concern, research was conducted into how likely people with a given food allergy are to react to other related foods. Family allergists may use this data to help determine what advice to give their patients about where to start when either trying new foods or adding food items back into your diet. If you want to read the review of the clinical data, the full reference is noted below.

In some cases, the data reveals a significant chance of having an allergic reaction (or at least a positive allergy test) to a new food when the protein is related. For example, if you are allergic to cashews, you may also be allergic to pistachios and/or mango.1 There are many families of foods that may be linked, so it is best to consult with your healthcare provider to determine the extent of your food allergy and the potential for cross-reactivity. As noted above, your healthcare team will offer guidance for you specifically after all the information has been collected and evaluated. 

How to Spot Foods That Might Cause Cross-Reactivity?

The table below shows some of the potential cross-reactivity revealed by this research review, and was developed by an allergist at the Jaffe Food Allergy Institute at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York. Clinicians might use a table like this when determining where you might start when either trying new foods or adding food items back into your diet.

A clinician would look for your known food allergen in the left column. The column on the right gives an indication of the risk that there will be an allergic reaction to one of the foods that are listed in the center column. For example, for a patient allergic to cow milk, the available research shows there is a 92% chance the patient will have an allergic reaction (or a positive allergy test) to goat milk, but only a 4% chance of an allergic reaction to mare (horse) milk and a 10% chance of an allergic reaction to beef and beef products.

As always, follow the guidance and recommendations from your healthcare team.

What is the best way to introduce new foods to the diet?

Once your healthcare team has a plan for you, the next step is trying the food items suggested.  Again, your healthcare team will likely have a very specific plan for you.  They may suggest that you try foods at home, starting with a small amount and then wait a few days before trying the food item again or even moving on to the next food item.  If you have had sever food reactions in the past, then they may only recommend new foods be tried as an oral food challenge. This should only be done under strict medical supervision (e.g. in a doctor’s office) and involves trials with small amounts of the food causing the allergy or a potential cross-reactive food.  Depending on your results, the healthcare team will guide as you continue to explore and try new food items.  

Oringally published  12/22/15 by Ellen Avery, MS, RD, CNSC2.

Updated 6/8/17 by Kristin Crosby MS, RDN, LDN

References

Sicherer SH. Clinical implications of cross-reactive food allergens. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2001;108(6):881-90.

 

 

 


Will My Child Outgrow Their Cow Milk Allergy?

Posted 5.24.17 | Christine Graham-Garo


When children are diagnosed with milk allergies, parents might wonder, “Will my baby grow out of it?” As much as your new hypoallergenic formula and allergen-friendly diet is helping, you can’t help but wonder when you can feed your child without anxiety. Keep in mind, it’s normal to wonder!

Good news – Many children do outgrow their allergies; however, it may depend on what the child is allergic to and the type of allergy they have. Most importantly, keep in mind that all children are different!

Children with cow milk allergy (CMA) may be more likely to outgrow their allergies than their peanut or tree nut allergy buddies. One research study showed that 80% of kids diagnosed with a CMA will outgrow their allergy by 16 years of age[1]. More specifically, other research studies have found that about 45-50% of children outgrow CMA at one year, 60-75% at two years and 85-90% at three years.[2],[3]

Fortunately, the general consensus is that around 80% of children with cow milk allergy will outgrow it by 3-5 years of age[5]. Regular follow up by your medical specialist is important to re-test tolerance of cow milk protein.[6]

Now, compare that to the studies which show that about 20% and 10%, respectively, of young patients may outgrow peanut and tree nut allergies and approximately 8% of patients who outgrow a peanut allergy will later relapse, meaning the allergy comes back. Additionally, nut-related allergies are typically more severe and more likely to be fatal, which is quite scary![3]

For example, if your little one has multiple food allergies, such as both CMA and tree nut allergies, he or she may outgrow the CMA while the tree nut allergy could still persist. Still, outgrowing an allergy to cow milk will expand their diet and improve the quality of life and available foods for your little one.

Now this may be “good news/bad news” for some families. The good news is that the chance of the cow milk allergy being outgrown is very good, even if the child has the allergy into their teenage years, they are still likely to outgrow it. The bad news is that some infants with CMA may have it into their early teenage years, and a handful may never outgrow it.

The other factor that may influence your little one’s chances of outgrowing a food allergy is the levels of allergen-specific IgE detected in their blood. This means, the lower the allergen-specific IgE detected, the greater the chance of outgrowing the allergy. Your doctor can monitor this - make sure to ask them to explain the results, show you have the level has changed over time, and explain what the possible implications are.

As mentioned before, all children are different. Your little one may have all the right “ingredients” to overcome their cow milk allergy, but there is no way to know exactly when he or she will outgrow it. Your doctor may decide to attempt a food trial by introducing some foods that your child is allergic to, in order to see if the allergy still persists. Be patient, sometimes food trials can be taxing.

Our advice to allergy parents is not to worry, there is usually a light at the end of the tunnel! It’s wonderful if a child can outgrow their cow milk allergy, but if not, they can still thrive and lead happy, healthy lives.

To the more experienced food allergy parents, can you shed any advice on food trials and outgrowing allergies? Comment below or share your thoughts with us on our Facebook page!


[1] Skripack et al, J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2007

[2] de Boissieu D, Dupont C. Time course of allergy to extensively hydrolyzed cow's milk proteins in infants. J Pediatr 2000;136:119-20.

[3] de Boissieu D, Dupont C. Allergy to extensively hydrolyzed cow's milk proteins in infants: safety and duration of amino acid-based formula. : J Pediatr. 2002;141:271-3.

[4] The natural history of peanut and tree nut allergy. Fleischer DM. Curr Allergy Asthma Rep. 2007 Jun;7(3):175-81. Review.

[5] March 2016.  Cow’s milk (dairy) allergy, Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy, [http://www.allergy.org.au/patients/food-allergy/cows-milk-dairy-allergy] Viewed 6 May 2016

[6] Motala & Fiocchi, 2012, Cow’s milk allergy in children, World Allergy Organisation, [http://www.worldallergy.org/professional/allergic_diseases_center/cows_milk_allergy_in_children/] Viewed 15 May 2016


A Mother’s Tale: Learning About My Baby’s Milk Allergy

Posted 5.12.17 | Nutrition Specialist

When my oldest was born, we embarked on the journey of breastfeeding.  She took to it naturally, but the first week was painful and discouraging for me as a new mom. However, in time we fell into a comfortable and relaxing routine.    

At about six weeks of age my daughter began crying a lot. She was fussy, gassy, and unhappy. While I was nursing one morning, she projectile vomited. I called the doctor and they said it could have been too strong of a letdown and suggested that I relieve some of my milk prior to feeding.  I began researching like a mad woman. Phone in hand, determination in my soul. Something that was supposed to be natural couldn’t possibly be so difficult, right? Wrong.

That morning of purging began a weeklong stint of doctors visits, weight checks, days and nights of no sleep, and trying an over the counter formula that smelled no better than a cleaner or human waste.  My baby girl developed explosive diarrhea filled with blood and mucus.  It eventually came out in a neon green color and then transformed into a clear color, like water.  In one weeks time she had lost ounces of weight and lay lifeless. She had stopped crying. She had stopped fighting.  We now stopped listening to our doctor’s office and took her straight to the emergency room.

She was admitted and began treatment for a severe dairy allergy to the protein found in cow’s milk.  I gave up breastfeeding immediately and harbored the heartache and feelings of resentment deep down while I watched my perfect baby girl fight for her life.  The doctors informed us that had we not brought her in, she would have died at home.  Our gastroenterologist withheld all feeding for 24 hours to allow her body to begin healing.  At the completion of the 24 hours, we began a slow and steady feeding regimen. That was when we were introduced to Neocate.

My daughter’s feedings were small; a half ounce of Neocate every other hour to start.  She tolerated it amazingly.  No vomiting, no gas, no blood in her stools.  She graduated to every hour and before we knew it, she was taking an ounce every hour.  Throughout the week she began to gain weight and her vitals improved so well that she even gave us her first real smile.  In a week filled with horror, desperation, fear, and uncertainty, Neocate gave us some hope that we were going home with our daughter and that she would be pain-free. 

We went home after exactly one week.  With cans of Neocate in hand, we were more nervous leaving than when we brought her home as a newborn for the first time.  We followed a strict guideline from our doctor for feedings and had weekly checkups.  She gained weight and her stomach distress virtually disappeared.  Neocate was gentle and easy to use. To put it simply, Neocate saved my daughter’s life.  It wasn’t a band aid to temporarily get us by. It was just as essential to her as breathing. 

My daughter drank Neocate until she was a year and a half in age. The vitamins and nutrients were plentiful enough that our doctor wanted to give her body enough time to prepare for an introduction of the cow’s milk protein. It ended up that she had no intolerance to milk.  I saved the extra cans just in case. I felt a sense of security with them in the house despite the fact that she was doing great.

When my daughter turned two, I gave birth to our second little girl. I had gone dairy-free from the start and began the breastfeeding.  Everything was perfect, until she developed blood in her stool followed by diarrhea. Heartbroken, I called the doctor and at her discretion I opened the pantry door and pulled out a can of Neocate. Comforted by what felt like an old friend, we introduced Neocate and I began cutting out additional allergens from my diet. I tried nursing again, but had the same results.  It turns out that my children have an allergy to a protein found in my breastmilk.  My second daughter also became a Neocate baby. Neocate for me is the most natural and safe formula choice for babies with sensitive gastro systems or severe allergies. Neocate was made our choice due to circumstances, but in the end it has become our choice.  Neocate gave us happiness. It gave us life.

-        Melissa Stewart

Today’s guest blog post is by Melissa Stewart, a mother of two children with severe allergies. Melissa is the blogger behind One Cool Nerd Mommy. Check out her Facebook page, One Cool Nerd Mommy, for recipes, deals, and more!


Baby Rashes from A to Z (Acne to Eczema!) and When Is It a Milk Allergy?

Posted 4.18.17 | Nutrition Specialist

What new parent hasn’t asked questions like this: “Where did THAT come from?” Or maybe “Why is she suddenly so ITCHY?” Or even “What ARE all of those little bumps on her head?”

Babies drink what we give them (unless they don’t like it!), wear what we put on them (until they take it off!), and tend to stay where we put them (until they go mobile!). If adults are in control and a baby never leaves our sight, we should have answers to these questions. But almost every new parent comes up against a skin condition that they can’t explain.

As newborn babies grow and develop they can experience lots of different skin conditions. Some are typical, whereas others can be hard to explain. In today’s post, we’re going to walk through some of the most common questions and answers related to baby rashes. Food allergies can play a role in some of these conditions, so we’ll point out where that’s the case. 

Acne

Acne is something we associate with teenagers, but it can happen anytime in life. Acne is usually related to hormones, and babies sure do have hormones! Where do babies get hormones, maternal hormones are passed through the womb. Baby acne is harmless and usually goes away within a few weeks.

According to MayoClinic, “Baby acne can occur anywhere on the face, but usually appears on the cheeks, nose and forehead. Baby acne is common — and temporary. There's little you can do to prevent baby acne. Baby acne usually clears up on its own, without scarring.” Read more to learn when to see a doctor about baby acne

Atopic Dermatitis

Atopic dermatitis – which may also be called atopic eczema, involves scaly and itchy rashes that can be over a small or large part of the body. It can be triggered by allergens in the air (pollen, mold, dust mites, or animals), dry skin, or any number of factors. Severity of symptoms varies from one person to another. There’s an association between atopic dermatitis and food allergies, especially in cases of severe atopic dermatitis. At this time, it’s not clear if one causes the other. For infants, atopic dermatitis and cow milk allergy often are linked.

Contact Dermatitis

Contact dermatitis describes a situation where some substance makes contact with the skin and causes it to become red or inflamed. This could be anything from food to laundry detergent or lotions. Your little one’s healthcare team can help you narrow down the possibilities and make changes to remove whatever’s causing this type of dermatitis. If food is a cause, you’ll need to keep your little one from coming into contact with the food and cosmetics with ingredients from that food. Symptoms and treatments of contact dermatitis.

Diaper Rash

Diaper rash happens when a rash occurs on parts of the skin in contact with diapers. Some causes include having wet diapers on for too long, when the infant has diarrhea, or diapers are too tight. Rash can also be caused by introduction of new products to clean, for example if you are using cloth diapers. Symptoms and treatments of diaper rash.

Eczema

Eczema is a generic term for any dermatitis or skin swelling or itching. It’s often used to describe atopic dermatitis – see above! Read over a story of Morgan and his food allergy related eczema.

Hives

Hives, also called urticarial, are red, itchy bumps on the skin, often caused by an allergic reaction to a food or a drug. Hives can vary in size and can at times connect with one another to create a larger swelling. They often go away within 24 hours, but are still no fun. It’s important to avoid whatever substance or food triggers hives. Symptoms and treatments of hives.

Rash

A rash is a generic term that describes some sort of itchiness or irritation of the skin. Your doctor would be the best resource to look and narrow down what a rash represents and what might be causing it. For little onces, their pediatrician may decide to refer you to an allergist and/or a dermatologist.

When is a Rash a Milk Allergy?

Baby Rash

You should always refer to your pediatrician to help you understand what is causing your little one’s rash, but it’s also important to look at the big picture. Sometimes a baby with a cow milk allergy will also display other symptoms in addition to the rash. For instance, you may also see symptoms of diarrhea, vomiting, gassiness, wheezing, runny nose, and/or colic.

If you do see a rash accompanied by any of these other symptoms, make sure to keep detailed notes and share all symptoms with your little one's doctor so that the healthcare team has all of the information to get to the bottom of what might be happening.

Also, make sure to work with your pediatrician to come up with a plan for taking care of your baby’s skin – no matter what is triggering the rash, it is important to take possible steps to alleviate the rash and any discomfort. Some possible steps your little one's doctor might suggest include:

  • Bathing your baby in soothing lukewarm water
  • Avoiding scented soaps, bath oils, and perfumed powders
  • Applying an over-the-counter moisturizer to your baby’s skin
  • Keeping your baby’s fingernails filed short and smooth to minimize damage from scratching
     
  • Using cotton mittens to help prevent scratching
  • Dressing your baby in soft cotton fabrics to prevent possible fabric irritation
  • Keeping your baby cool and avoiding hot, humid environments
  • Trying to keep your baby distracted from the itchiness with fun activities

We’ve told you what we know about various common skin conditions that you might see on your little one. Keep in mind, there are other conditions that can cause skin rashes, including various infections. Even with this info, you probably still have questions and want answers! The next step is to discuss them further with you little one’s healthcare team. Make sure you plan ahead, take notes and ask the right questions when you see your doctor.

-Rob

Rob McCandlish is a registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN) who joined the Nutricia team in 2010. Rob has years of experience at Nutricia following food allergy research, working with Neocate products, talking with Neocate families and learning about the science behind Neocate and food allergies. Rob has two nephews who both used Neocate for their cow milk allergies!


Allergy-Friendly Ideas for Easter Baskets

Posted 4.14.17 | Nutrition Specialist

Easter is days away and if this is a holiday you celebrate, we want to ensure you have plenty of allergy-friendly holiday ideas! When dealing with food allergies, the Easter bunny has to be especially careful to bring safe, fun treats.

With a bit of creativity, it’s possible to have an exciting holiday for all to enjoy. Here are several ideas for how you can fill an allergy-friendly Easter basket for your little one. Several of these treats can even be done as a fun Easter crafts.

Milk-Free and Egg-Free Treats

If you do decide to include candy in your Easter baskets, we recommend referring to Kids With Food Allergies’updated list of allergy-safe candies.

Just because your little one has dietary restrictions, doesn’t mean they can’t indulge!

Allergen-Free Cupcakes

Gluten-free, allergen-free AND vegan cupcake recipe from cookbook author, mom and food-allergic person, Cybele Pascal.

Egg-Free Decorating

Traditions are part of what make holidays so exciting, and we know how much kids can enjoy arts and crafts. If you live in an egg-free home, there are alternatives for egg decorating that you can explore to make sure that your children have the full “holiday experience.”

Several families use plastic Easter eggs for decoration, while others may defer to ceramic options. With these faux-egg choices, you can ensure that your children get to safely enjoy the little traditions, without feeling left out.

Easter Crafts

Another fun way to have the whole family involved in Easter activities is to encourage craft making! By keeping little ones busy with some of these artsy options, you can establish new customs for your family to follow each year.

If you’re interested in a chick-themed Easter, you can craft hatching chicks with some egg cartons, or reuse wine corks to make chick designs on paper!

Paper Bunny

For many children, the Easter Bunny is the most popular figure of the holiday. Why not create your own Easter bunny with kids using a bit of paper and  glue? Check out this super adorable craft idea from Andreja from Easy Peasy and Fun.

http://www.easypeasyandfun.com/easy-paper-bunny-craft/

Funny Bunnies

How adorable are these little guys!? We can’t stand the cuteness. If you have a bit more time this weekend and are looking for ways to use a brand new cutter/stamper, this might be the perfect project for you.

Easy Bunny Treat Cups

Don’t have a lot of free time for a craft project but still want to do something? Check this fun cup decorating idea from Keri. It’s sure to make any snack ready for your festivities.

Bunny Mask

It wouldn’t be Easter without a cute bunny! Create an easy bunny mask that the kids will love to make and play with.

Easter Chick Craft

A fun handprint craft idea from a stay-at-home mom that your whole family will enjoy. You can even give these out as a party gift!

Easter Mason Jars

What kind of list would this be if we didn’t include at least one Mason jar project?! 

For more fun Easter basket ideas, check out our Neocate Pinterest page. We have an entire board dedicated to Spring/Easter where you will find more crafts and allergy-friendly recipes.

BONUS!

If you are looking for a fun allergy-friendly activity you can do this weekend, check out 6 Allergy-Friendly Easter Egg Hunt ideas.

Regardless of your preferences, there are plenty of options for crafts for families to enjoy. We would love to see what you and your family come up with. Don't forget to share your holiday traditions with us on our Facebook page

 



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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.