Being an allergy parent is not an easy job. There are a lot of things you have to look out for, and there are sometimes lots of things you need to avoid. Raising a child with an allergy is also informative. There is a lot you get to learn about health and nutrition when raising an allergy child. I’m Lucy, I have two children with cow’s milk protein allergy, and I’m here to share my thoughts on allergies and parenting.
You know you’re an allergy parent when...
There’s an emergency snack stash in every pocket
In general, snacks are bargaining chips or welcome distractions. But, when you’re an allergy parent, emergency snacks are crucial.
You may be out for lunch and the cafe you stumbled upon doesn’t have an option for your little one. Or, you might get held up in traffic or queuing, and the only option to calm your hungry offspring in an emergency is with your snack stash. Because you can’t just grab anything off the shelves, you’re excellent at forward planning.
There’s always a full change of clothes
I’m sure you can picture the scene. You’re on your way somewhere, you lift your child from their car seat, and you rapidly realise that they must have eaten something a few hours to a day ago. The nappy’s off, the clothes are off, there are wipes flying out of the pack faster than you can say allergic reaction. But, stress not. You’re used to this, you clear it all up and move on.
You get the feels when you discover a new ‘safe’ food
No matter your child’s allergies, when you can find new foods that are compatible with their diet, it can open up a whole host of new meal options. Whether your allergy win was discovering Coop sausage rolls were dairy free, or Pizza Express do gluten free bases, that’s another meal option sorted.
You eat banned food when they’re not looking
Kids can sense foods they can’t have from a mile off. You know you’re an allergy parent when you can stealthily eat a whole host of banned foods whilst no one is looking, and no one ever finds out.
You’ve got better research skills than the FBI
When going somewhere new you feel it is important to check the kinds of food offered. This saves a lot of anxiety, panic and disappointment, and it’s a particular must when you have a fussy child.
You give Mrs Hinch a run for her money
When occupying eateries and public places, cleanliness standards can be a stretch. Other parents who don’t have to deal with allergies may label you as over-protective. But high chairs cleaned with bacterial wipes and food picked off the floors of soft plays are just two of your ‘favourite’ pastimes, and you excel at them.
Your head spins with reaction confusion
Depending on the severity of the allergy, sometimes it is hard to tell if it is really a reaction or a bug. Overthinking is a frequent threat in this situation, and you start thinking back to what your child ate for the last few meals. Sometimes you have to stop trying to micromanage the situation and just get on with dishing out the cuddles...and the piriton.
The pain of explaining the allergies hits you every time
You know you’re an allergy parent when you’re frequently having to explain why your child can’t eat this, or play with that. You sometimes have to explain to people the reason why, including symptoms experienced and severity of consequences. Sometimes all you want is for someone to get it, and when you find those people, you can relax and be yourselves. You cherish those people.
Being a parent to a child with allergies has its challenges. It can be super-stressful, it can be heartbreaking, and it can be messy! As an allergy parent you’re used to having stealthy research skills, you’re brilliantly organised and the overflowing protection and love for your child is second to none. You’re an allergy parent, and you’ve got this!
Hello! I'm Lucy, I write over at Real Parent. I’m a mum of 3 keeping it real. Join me for hints, tips, rants and lols as I wing it through parenthood.
I’m a Blogger in the UK who helps parents to feel more normal by sharing the reality of parenting. You’ll find real, authentic talk about postnatal mental health, childhood allergies, pregnancy, breastfeeding and lots more. My posts will make you cry, laugh, and feel like you’re not alone.