How to deal with your baby's allergies
Diagnosis of an infant allergy may come as a relief to many parents, but for some it can also be the beginning of a lifelong journey, which needs extra thought, care and planning.
Once you know what your baby is allergic to, it can be fairly straightforward to keep them safe in your own home. But protecting them from allergens in the wider world can be more difficult, especially when you’re not there to take charge.
Leaving your baby in someone else’s care is a big step for any parent, but is especially worrying if there's a food allergy to deal with. But spending time with family or new friends is a great way for your baby to become more socially aware whilst giving you the chance to put your trust in someone else.
Party time: including babies with food allergies
If your baby has a food allergy, the thought of taking them to a party can be far from fun, but there’s no reason why they shouldn’t be included and enjoy themselves as much as everyone else. It might take some careful planning to make sure their food allergy is catered for and the environment the food is prepared in is allergen-free, but these things can be overcome, even if it means offering to help out in the kitchen.
You may find other people’s perceptions of allergy difficult to deal with, particularly where your baby has a visible reaction, such as a skin condition, and they could be excluded from some activities simply as a precaution. Talking to other parents can help them become allergy aware and understand the impact that an allergy can have on a child, so don’t be afraid to share what you know.
Travelling with children with food allergies
Holidays can also present a bit of a problem for parents of children with food allergies, but again these can be overcome with some planning ahead. Whether you’re travelling abroad or staying in this country, there are some basics to take into consideration, like where you’ll stay, how you’ll get there and what you’ll eat.
Wherever you go, it’s a good idea to know where the nearest hospital is, in the unlikely event of an emergency. Self-catering accommodation may be the simplest option if your baby has a severe food allergy. And if you decide to go abroad, you may need to take some translation cards, or learn a few phrases if you don’t already speak the language, just in case you need some medical or dietary help.
While living with a baby diagnosed with food allergies can make for a less-than-ordinary daily routine, successful diagnosis is part of the battle won. When you know what the problem is, you can concentrate on managing what your baby eats and avoiding aggravation of their allergy symptoms.
Ways to help manage your baby’s food allergy:
- Write a protocol for your baby’s carers
- Offer to help out in the kitchen at birthday parties
- Plan ahead, wherever you go, so you know what and where you can eat