Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Preventing Food Allergies

I just read another article about preventing food allergies. Over the past 9+ years, I have read hundreds of such articles. The theories about prevention used to focus on abstaining from allergenic foods at the end of pregnancy and during breastfeeding, and now the opposite advice is given. In fact, current guidelines recommend that parents should not wait too long to feed their babies solid foods, because in theory waiting too long could contribute to food allergy development. It's all very interesting. But to me, it's kind of irrelevant.

Irrelevant? Really? Yes, actually. Because my reality is that Sophie has food allergies already. So it's not really about preventing food allergies for us. For our family, the focus is preventing allergic reactions. Obviously, I support the research. I would love to see a day when babies never go through what Sophie did. I would love to find cures. But if I think about what I could have done different, the should'ves and could'ves, it will make me crazy with guilt. In order to live with myself, I have to believe that food allergies sometimes just happen, and that Sophie just got unlucky on this one.

I will donate money to find a cure. I will support research about causes, and even read about it occasionally. But my focus is to keep Sophie safe. My job is to make sure that she has the support necessary at school. My calling is to make her life comfortable and happy at home and in social settings, despite the gulf between what her body will accept and what everyone else serves and eats. Sophie came to our family with food allergies, fresh from heaven. And I will make sure she doesn't go back too soon.


  1. You shouldn't feel guilty at all. The advice is constantly changing and hard to sort out. Who thinks of food allergies before you have one in your family? I don't know what it is about food allergy diagnoses that make people pile on the guilt, but I don't get it. You don't see parents of kids with cancer or diabetes even taking on that kind of personal responsibility for their kids medical issues, but doctors are always trying to find connections between foods we eat especially while pregnant and disease and disorders. They should research it, but that doesn't mean we should make the leap to self blame. You're a great mom.