Today's guest blog post is brought to you by Caroline Partridge of the Aussie Allergy Mum blog. Caroline found out 5 years ago that her second daughter had allergies. So that she could understand her child's allergies more thoroughly she enrolled at University to study nutrition. Caroline started the Aussie Allergy Mum blog to document her journey in order to help other parents with allergy children.
The day you hear the words from the Dr, “your child is allergic too (insert food everyone eats every day here)”, is often a life-changing one. Sometimes it is the end of a long journey to get a doctor to help you, sometimes the words are heard from the bedside after watching your child almost die. No matter where you hear these words or how, they are going to change your world.
1 in 10 children has a food allergy in Australia.
So this life-changing day is one soooo many parents go through. I have 5 top tips for making this time easier, and life with allergies and kids easier.
It might seem like a weird comment, but you need to grieve any preconceived notions of how amazing life was going to be when you didn’t need to worry about food hurting your child. It is scary, sometimes shocking, often lonely and confusing. All of these emotions are so normal, felt by pretty much every parent that hears those words from a doctor. Acknowledge the fear and grief so you can move forward.
2. Have a plan
Get that doctor that said those words to write you a plan. There are action plans for allergies that doctors can prepare. They give you the step by step, easy to follow instructions, for if and when your child is accidently exposed to their allergen and has a reaction, Make sure you get this, and have your doctor talk through it and explain it. Ask a million questions if you have them. Nothing is a silly questions and you have the right to feel confident and informed.
3. Build your team
Life is stressful. Allergies can increase this stress so much, especially for parents. The best thing to do is to build a support team. Sit sown with your close family and friends, explain everything to them, tell them how they can help you and share how you are feeling. Allow them to ask questions, research answers together if needed. Build a base of amazing people to help.
There are so many online and physical support groups for allergies, seek them out and use them for support also. Having a place to vent and share at 3am whilst you are up with baby is priceless.
4. Be prepared for hospital
Reactions often mean a trip to emergency. Generally this happens with no notice, in a flurry of extreme stress, so being prepared beforehand is so helpful. Pack a bag with everything you need and have it somewhere easily accessible.
In this bag have a copy of any doctors letters or actions plans, at least one change of clothes for yourself (cause being covered in vomit is awful), two changes of clothes for bub, nappies, formula and bottles if needed, a snack and water for you, and for bub if they are at that stage. If you want to be really organised, pop in a spare phone charger too.
By having this bag ready to go, you can literally grab it and your handbag and you are set to go. No thought needed.
5. Always carry safe food
Last but not least, once your baby starts solids make sure you always carry a safe snack with you. This could be a homemade pouch or little store bought snack, basically anything you can give your child when hunger strikes, just in case you cannot find something you know is safe. I often carry a little lunchbox of food for my allergy lady, that way she never misses out on eating with others but I know she is going to be safe.
Allergies can be scary and confusing for parents. Following my 5 tips for making life easier will hopefully do just that, make life a bit easier. For more info and community join our FB group here.
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