Monthly Archives: September 2014

Hawaiian Adventures: Contact Dairy Allergy

Our grand trip to Hawaii.  We had everything planned out.   My friend scrubbed her house top to bottom, sterilized her child’s toys, and washed the highchair.  What am I forgetting?  Oh yes, the pack-n-play. But her daughter hasn’t used it in forever.  It’s safe right?  WRONG!

We get there and get settled but of course after getting up early and traveling across 5 time zones with a screaming toddler, we’re tired.  My friend gets the room set up and we call it a night.  The next morning we wake up before the sun to find hives across Squid’s eye and face.

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I blamed his reaction on the fact that we went to Starbucks when we arrived and I accidentally touched his bear in his bag when I was getting out wipes. I promptly stripped his bed and washed everything. I also scrubbed down his bag. Problems solved? I thought so until the following morning.

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After he woke up with hives for the 2nd day in a row, I knew it wasn’t a contaminated bear. My friend gathered her spray bottle of vinegar and a container of disinfectant wipes and proceeded to wipe down every square inch of the pack-n-play. As an allergy mom, I should have taken that job upon myself.

The 3rd morning (below) was the absolute worst! Squid was extra fussy that night and I don’t blame him one bit. We had to slather his poor little face in antihistamine cream as well as a dose of benadryl.

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3 days of this and I finally had my culprit nailed down, the fabric sides. I, again for the 3rd day, washed all of his bedding items and then I drug the pack-n-play out into the yard for a wash. I took regular dish soap, a sponge, and the water hose and scrubbed until the fabric oozed with bubbles. Top, bottom, inside, outside, mesh, plastic corners, padded sides, EVERYTHING! After I rinsed it, I scrubbed it again. When it was dry, I soaked it until it was dripping with vinegar. Finally, I wiped it down with disinfectant wipes. I threatened that if he woke up in hives again, I would just burn the thing and be done. Luckily, the wash took care of it!

Allergy life is such a crazy adventure, especially with a contact allergy. Lesson learned.

Guilt free take-out

Before you get excited, I’m talking about foods that you can bring around (and possibly share) with your food allergy child.

We’ve always had a Sunday habit of bringing home Whataburger.  That is our “cheat” meal of the week. Cheating because it’s totally unsafe!  Well, what I get is totally unsafe.  There are a few exceptions on the menu.  It works out (for now) because Squid falls asleep on our way home from church so we swing by, pick it up on the way home, put him in the crib and then pig out.  Although it does turn me into  M-O.
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One day, we brought home Wingstop and my husband dropped a fry on the floor which of course sent me into cleanup mode.  We always wait until Squid is asleep before we bring out unsafe food items.
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Out of curiosity, I looked up their menu to see exactly which of their items I needed to be concerned about.  Turns out, not too many and not the ones we brought home.  Finally!  A restaurant where Squid can actually eat!  Dairy and egg allergy people, Wingstop is your friend… just don’t get any dips. 

Want to add to that list of friends?
We’re having some work done on our house so we needed something quick to eat.  We had a few leftovers as backup to feed Squid but not enough for the 3 of us.  I really wanted some In-N-Out Burger so I looked online for their allergy menu information.  Sadly, couldn’t find it but I did find several blogs of people with a dairy allergy saying they’ve eaten there safely… again without sauce. 

I sent my husband to get the food.  He said their customer service was amazing.  They went to a separate cooking area and dedicated ONE worker to handle Squid’s food.  They labeled it “the allergy burger” as it was going through its prep process.  I wish all food establishments would handle allergies this way!

 

 

Images:
http://flickrhivemind.net/Tags/robots,walle/Interesting
http://pixar.wikia.com/File:M-o_wall-e_contaminador.png

Squid’s Life Changing Pancakes!

When I got pregnant, breakfast meats and eggs started making me nauseous (even pancakes).  The thought of eggs still makes me squeamish and the big pile of greasy sausage and bacon make me feel gross all day after I eat it.  How convenient that my child has an egg allergy and I never have to look at another plate of eggs at breakfast again!  However, the dairy and egg allergy did cut out my husbands favorite pancake batter.

One day my husband was craving some pancakes so he searched the magical term we’ve come to love, Vegan!  Squid’s Pancake recipe entered our home and they’re the best pancakes I’ve ever tasted!  Nice and fluffy.  I love that we’re completely vegan at breakfast now!

Ingredients: (Makes approx. 12)

2 cups flour (whichever kind you prefer)
2 tablespoons sugar
4 tablespoons baking powder  (Read the ingredients!  Some brands are processed in the same factory as dairy products.)
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups soymilk
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
Blueberries (optional)

See full recipe and directions here.  This website is interactive so you can tell it how many you want to make and it will calculate the amount of ingredients you need.

Enjoy!

Squid’s Pasta Salad

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This is probably my favorite vegan meal of all.  Sometimes we have it as a side but most of the time we eat it as a meal itself.  It makes a really great lunch.  Just pull it out of the fridge and eat!

Ingredients:

1 lb Egg-free pasta (I like Skinner shells… BEWARE, this facility processes egg products)
1 Cucumber (diced into toddler sized pieces)
1 Bell pepper  (diced into toddler sized pieces)
2-3 Vine Ripened Tomatoes  (diced into toddler sized pieces)
Dairy-free Greek Vinaigrette Dressing (Read the labels!  Most have feta cheese in them. I’ve found safe versions at Central Market)  or make your own dressing Salt and pepper

Dressing:

I prefer to buy the dressing because it just tastes better to me but here’s a recipe in case you’re not close to a specialty store.  The original recipe makes a large quantity but I prefer the smaller version someone shared in the comments.  It make a perfect amount for this recipe.

3/4 cup Oil
1 cup Red wine vinegar
2 tsp Garlic powder
2 tsp Oregano
2 tsp Basil
1.5 tsp Pepper
1.5 tsp Salt
1.5 tsp Onion powder
1.5 tsp Dejon-style mustard (I’ve subbed dry mustard)

Directions: Cook pasta according to package directions. Dice bell pepper, cucumber, and tomatoes. I like to make them small enough for a toddler to safely eat so I don’t have to chop his up later.  When pasta is finished cooking, combine all ingredients and coat in Greek vinaigrette. Salt and pepper to taste. Chill in the refrigerator before serving (but I usually don’t, I rinse the pasta instead). Hope you enjoy this as much as my family does!

Adapted from: http://tastykitchen.com/recipes/salads/simple-greek-vinaigrette-pasta-salad/

Update: Sadly my favorite dish is off the menu because we discovered Squid has an intolerance to vinegar. 

Hawaiian Adventures: Toddler Meltdowns

As mentioned in a previous post, we had a number of meltdowns on the plane. 4 for 4 on plane meltdowns to be exact but it wasn’t all horrid.  Let’s start from the beginning.

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Up before the sun. Here we go!

Flight #1: Up before the sun

I had been prepping Squid for Hawaii time for about a week by sending him to bed later and later each night.  I hung up blackout curtains in his room to simulate “night” and block out the blinding morning sun.  It worked rather well but waking up at 5am was a bear.  It was more like 2 or 3 am for my poor little guy.  I had hoped he’d sleep on the 40 minute drive to the airport but no luck.  Oh boy.

I took allergen free suckers to help with his ears during take off and landing.  Take off was surprisingly great with a first time flier.  He did very well during the flight but the landing came with a fit.

Mistake #1: Not making sure the little guy got a nap.
I discovered later in my trip that my ring sling  is AMAZING!  I could put him in it any time he got tired and he would pass smooth out.  Had I known that trick at this moment, I would have used it.  Instead, I tried to let him play it out in hopes that we would land in Utah, eat lunch, and then nap.  That’s not how it happened at all!

Mistake #2: Suckers
Suckers are a huge, sticky mess for a 16 month old!  It was great for take-off but descending, as I found out, takes 20 to 30 minutes.  The suckers only entertained him for about 5 minutes before he started waving it around like a lightsaber and using them as drumsticks on the locked tray table…. and then attempting to stick them back in his mouth.  That would just be gross to a regular mom but it’s a worse case nightmare for an allergy mom!  After I took his suckers away (somehow he ended up with 3) and got him situated in my lap, it was full on meltdown time.  He screamed until the plane landed 😦 Poor guy.

I put him in the sling and got off the plane.  He passed out during our walk through the tunnel from the plane to the termknal.  I located the terminal for our next flight and took an extra long, well deserved, mommy lunch with a sleeping baby strapped to my chest.  Everyone in the restaurant enjoyed admiring the drooling little sack of potatoes.

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Welcome to Utah!

 

 

Flight #2: Aloha!

Our flight from Utah to Hawaii was pretty similar but 3 times long.  6.5 hours of sitting with a toddler…. we got a little cabin fever so we did some crazy things to keep entertained.

In flight activities:

  • Eating a safe meal from home
  • Putting the movie screen in Japanese
  • Opening and closing the window over and over blinding the other passengers (sorry everyone)
  • Running up and down the aisles (sorry again everyone)
  • Taking crazy selfies to later send to Daddy
  • Napping (thank you Jesus!)
  • Pulling all the tissues out of the box in the bathroom.  Seriously, why would they put all the items that low?!
  • Playing in the floor (ICK!)
  • Opening “in flight gifts” and stuffing the paper between the seats (dont worry, I dug it out)
  • Played with cups (not sure why I brought toys, this was more entertaining)
  • And lastly, melting down YET AGAIN during the descent
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Chicken in a cup. The best kind.

Mistake #3: Should have just held him
Here we go again but this time it was not from tired because he was plenty napped up and it was not from ears because he had an apple sauce pack, a cookie, and a drink the entire way down.  Nope, this time was because (1.) he wasn’t finished playing and didn’t want to be still and (2.) he thought it would be fun to unbuckle his belt a million times and got fit-throwing angry when I held it shut.  Guess I won’t be letting my lap baby sit alone again.  Geeze!

 

 

Flight #3: The Red Eye…. never again!

Take the red eye they said, you can sleep on the plane they said… clearly they’ve never flown with a toddler that takes up 2 seats to sleep.  There was no sleep for Mommy on this 5.5 hour flight home.

But before we actually got to sleeping or lack there of, we greeted our fellow passengers with an over-tired meltdown just after take off.

Mistake #4: Not putting him in the sling
The stewardess was coming down the aisles with the food carts and I didn’t want to be in the way.  Had I known they’d be taking forever, I would have just put him in the sling and rocked him to sleep.

Mistake #5: He saw the cup
I pulled his cup out of his bag to get it filled with water but as I mentioned, they were taking FOREVER.

So here we go in the worst meltdown of the entire trip.  He screamed for 40 minutes.  I mean full on, my mom is obviously trying to murder me back here, screams that I’d never heard come from him before.  Everyone was staring. People were trying to help because it’s 10pm and they want to sleep as much as I do.  I tried rocking him, walking him up and down the aisles, hiding in the bathroom, eating, drinking, singing but nothing was working.  FINALLY my poor, overtired little guy passed out in my lap.  I’m pretty sure I heard a collective sigh from the entire plane which included me.  He sprawled out on both seats leaving me with a corner but as long as he was sleeping, I was happy.

 

Flight #4: Tired again but almost home (I’m starting to see a theme here)

When we landed in Utah again, it was 3am Hawaii time.  Let’s just say, he was not ready to be awake.  I got him to take a nap in the airport so I thought we were good to go.  This was the only flight that he did not have his own seat.  I had him listed as a lap baby on all the flights but he ended up with his own seat on 3 of 4!  He did very well during this flight.  We colored, read, played games on my phone, played in the bathroom, but when we were running the aisles the plane hit some turbulence and they turned on the seatbelt signs.  Yet again, he was not done running around and he let everyone know!  We had started descending at this time too so luckily the flight was almost over.  He had an apple sauce pack, a cookie, and his water which kept him entertained until the applesauce was gone and then the real fun began.  He started throwing himself around, trying to get down but we were in the window seat of a 3×3 plane.  I hooked one arm around his chest and one between his legs and did the best I could to keep him calm for the last 10 minutes.  The instant we landed he stopped crying and then passed out soon after.  The guy sitting beside me said, “what just happened.”  I laughed and said, “tired baby wasn’t ready to sit.”  He slept the rest of the way out of the airport and the entire drive home.

 

Conclusion:

Will I every fly again with a toddler?  Probably not this one.  I’ll wait until he’s older so he can understand what’s going on.  I know one thing for sure, I’LL NEVER FLY ALONE AGAIN!

Don’t let this scare you.  All kids are different and mine is very “opinionated” and not afraid to let everyone know apparently.  Judge by your own child’s personality but also learn from other people’s experiences. Be aware of how long your flight is so you can sit back down before you have to buckle and make sure your child is well rested.

On the bright side, no food allergy issues on the plane and we made it there and back safely!

Aloha.

Ice bucket challenge spin-off

I wish “Luke does Food Challenge” would get around like the ice bucket challenge did.  I love it!

Until it does, we can just let Amazon shoppers do the donating for us!

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Flying with a dairy allergy: We survived!

Ok, so dairy and egg is not the worst allergy to have when flying but it’s still a serious allergy.

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I had the fortune of being able to board the plane before everyone else since I was flying alone with a baby. It was great because I had time to wipe down (without judging eyes) the seats, the tray table, the seatbelt, and any other surface Squid could possibly touch, with Wet Ones and Clorox wipes. Our little row was pretty much sterile by the time I was done with it!  I also had the fortune of my little guy having his own seat 3 of the 4 flights.

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4 flights, 0 reactions!

Meltdowns on the plane and allergic reactions at our destination were a different story 😦

Needless to say,  it CAN be done!

When did you know?

I’m at that age where most of my friends are starting to think about having babies. Most are on their first, some are on their second, one is on her third, but they all have the same question. “When did you know Squid had food allergies?”

Looking back,  I feel like I should have known all along. He was never full,  always cranky, spit up hours after eating, and always had eczema on his face. The pediatrician diagnosed him with reflux at just a month old (symptoms started around 2 weeks old but the medication never really helped).  At 4 months, she advised us to start oatmeal to help with his symptoms. Looking back we see that he never truly had reflux, it was the dairy allergy all along.  One day I mixed the oatmeal with formula so I could save my frozen breast milk for bottles. He acted like it didn’t taste good and his face was red around his mouth. Later followed by an unpleasant diaper. When we brought it up at his next appointment,  the pediatrician suspected a milk sensitivity so we began avoiding dairy in his solid foods. I wish someone would have told me that I should be avoiding it as well while breastfeeding a suspected milk sensitive baby…live and learn.

At his 6 month appointment,  Squid only weighed 13 lbs. At a previous sick appointment at 5 months, he weighed 13 lbs 3 oz. My baby lost weight! What did I do wrong?  Nothing,  I did nothing wrong. We started supplementing Puramino formula every other feeding to help him gain his weight back. Within a couple of days my once crabby, vomiting, twiggy looking baby began to be the happiest baby I’d ever met after formula feedings but reverted back to his vomiting crab state after breastfeeding. Naturally,  I had had enough with the vomit so I decided to quit breastfeeding and stick with the formula. Squid gained 3 lbs that month!

A few months of expensive formula can really wear on your pocket book!  Since the pediatrician suspected just a sensitivity,  she thought he’d grow out of it quickly and advised us to try milk-based formula again at 8 months. I felt weird about it but I’m not a doctor so I followed the advice. Always trust your mom gut!  I was nervous so I prepared 1 oz of milk-based formula and diluted it in his usual 5oz of Puramino. I began feeding him and right away he didn’t seem right. We gave him benadryl as a precaution and it’s a good thing we did!

SIDE NOTE: if you suspect a food allergy, don’t try new foods outside of office hours!

It was a Friday evening and we were completely uneducated on dairy allergies. Until this night, I didn’t even know it was a thing. Dairy sensitivity, yes but an allergy? How can my baby possibly have a dairy allergy?  He took a nap on me after his bottle and benadryl so I could monitor him.  An hour later he woke up with hives starting around his mouth and on the back of his neck.  He played with his toys and crawled around as if nothing was bothering him. We called the pediatrician and a local urgent care clinic and waited impatiently to hear back from both. They finally called back with the same verdict. Emergency room.

He DID NOT have any issues with breathing, otherwise we would have taken him straight to the emergency room!

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When we arrived at the emergency room,  the benadryl had finally started doing its job and his rash was mostly gone. The doctor basically gave us a pat on the back, said “good job giving him benadryl” and sent us home.

There’s no mistaking a reaction after that night. He’s since been prescribed EpiPens and we have an emergency care plan to follow.

The egg allergy on the other hand, we didn’t discover until getting him allergy tested. I don’t really like eggs and after discovering his dairy allergy, we avoided the other top 8 allergens that we had not introduced yet.

Read more about food allergies at http://www.foodallergy.org