About allergybabe

NO DAIRY, NO PARTY ?! (part 2)

peek a boo - cannot see you...

peek a boo – playing at Gymboree Docklands

Yes, there is a second part to the much discussed part 1. Thanks everyone who shared their thoughts on how catering facilities deal with food allergic customers. Particularly important is NUTMUMS.COM view of the subject in legal terms. Read her blogpost here.

But hey, let us not dwell in the past. We had a great 3rd birthday party with lots of lovely people, great acitivities, fun, laughter and, yes, food. Gymboree Docklands was kind enough to entertain our guests and let us cater ourselves. Well done, we need more of these friendly places.

So we catered ourselves. With allergy friendly foods. Lots of it. Everything was allergyBabe friendly, which means free from most of the top 14 food allergens (Gluten, Wheat, Fish, Shellfish, Egg, Dairy, Soya, Peanuts and Treenuts, Sesame, Lupin) and others (including Buckwheat, Pea, Beans etc). We had a 3 metre long buffet piled up with all kinds of safe things to eat, lots of fruit, vegetables, but also crisps, breads, cupcakes and biscuits. Popcorn was a big hit with the children as well as the grown ups. The best moment of all was watching allergyBabe wandering free around the room, independently helping himself to anything he wanted to. It was so wonderful to see him at ease, not having to worry about if he can eat the cracker, biscuit, crisp or bread in front of him. He looked so confident and proud. For the first time in years, our world outside our “safety zone” (the apartment) did not revolve around food.

It was an amazing 3 hours and I cannot thank all our guests enough who came despite the fact that we would have only allergen friendly food items. You made allergyBabe’s day truly special.

I wonder, if I hadn’t told them in advance, would they have ever noticed?

PS: Sorry for the lack of pictures, I was so involved in the party, forgot to take out the camera… .

About allergybabe

it all started…

….when allergy babe was a mere five month old.

Being breastfed exclusively, allergybabe seemed, from a very early stage, to be restless, irritable, not properly sleeping and waking up a lot at night, having rushes and a very bad case of craddle cap. He was vomiting after feeds and kept crying for hours without settling.

All symptoms that occasionally ocured in any baby at this stage, but to allergymummy, it was worrying. She knew something was wrong. She just could not figure it out yet. It was just a feeling, which turned out to be all too true.

Coming back to the five month old, a chubby and eager to discover the world kind of kid, seemed, as an explanation, not getting enough nutrition. One evening, he was formula fed. Allergymummy was hoping for a good night’s sleep for baby and herself, which she had not had for a long long time. From drinking a tiny bit of formula to coming up with the full clinical picture of a severe allergic reaction, it took not even a minute. Baby was screaming, breathing stertorously, his skin was covered in hives, all puffed up and red as a lobster. He also vomited and had diarrhoea. Mummy took allergybabe to the changing table and noticed, that her baby was not moving but laying on the table, all floppy and pale. His lips had turned blue.

At that point, allergymummy remembered that she also was a doctor and realised that her kid was suffering from anaphylaxis. It is one thing to have a patient in your emergency room, and another to see your own child suffering a severe and life threatening allergic reaction.

A blissfully ignorant emergency doctor, a horrible two hours at the emergency room (chubby baby and iv lines are not ment to be friends), a 24h stay at the hospital, a very helpful and supportive night nurse and a discharge letter with the suggestion to consult a specialist is all I can remember. Oh yes, someone suggested not to feed allergybabe formula anymore. Thanks. That was very helpful. May I suggest next time, you provide an epipen, better two epipens, an emergency plan and a test for allergies before discharging? We neither received a presription for antiallergic medication nor a proper test for confirmation of the diagnosis.

That is the beginning of allergybabe’s story. If you have a child with similar allergies, it will probably sound all too familiar. It is usually an anaphylactic reaction that leads to a diagnosis.

Looking back, I should have insisted on an allergy test right away (the excuse “he received steroids, it is no use to test him now” does not count, it needs more antiallergy medication over a longer period of time to completely fail the test), asked for proper medication and two epipens before leaving the hospital.