Finding out that your child has major food allergies can be pretty devastating; it means completely changing your life, being more cautious, and knowing that your child could be in possible danger at any given moment. As dramatic as these feelings may seem, they are definitely valid. It is important to understand that just because your child has food allergies, it doesn’t mean their lives can’t be full, happy, and meaningful.
While effort, diligence, and endless patience are all requirements of being the mother of a child with food allergies, there are also tons of good times to be had and many lives to change. In the meantime, here are 5 important things you can do to lessen the stress of managing your child’s allergies.
1. Find Your Inner Chef
When your child has severe food allergies, being able to always rely on things like fast food and pre-packaged meals completely goes out of the window. It may also mean that you have to re-learn everything you previously knew about cooking to create a new delicious, but safe, environment for your child. This means that it is time to bring out your inner Bobby Flay, find out as much as you can about your child’s allergies and work from there. Learn what he likes and dislikes, as well as what foods suit him best, then branch out with your meals. Include the entire family in this new endeavor and don’t be afraid to get creative!
2. Always Be Prepared
As much as you hope it never happens, it is always important to be prepared for anaphylaxis. Make sure that you are able to recognize all of the symptoms and signs of anaphylaxis, understand what they mean, and know how to properly treat them. Creating a comprehensive food allergy care plan is a great way to ensure that you are always ready should anything go wrong. This plan should include all of your child’s allergies, explained in detail, along with symptoms, and an accurate guide of what do do should an emergency occur.
3. Make Sure Your Child Is Knowledgable About Their Allergies
It is important to educate your child about the ins-and-outs of their allergies as early as possible. Make sure they know exactly what allergies they have, how to properly read food packages, the symptoms of anaphylaxis, and exactly what to do in case something should go wrong. Having your should be knowledgeable about their food restrictions will give you comfort any time your child is away from you at school, camp, and with friends or family. This will be tough when your child is young, but as soon as they understand the foods they have to avoid, they will be able to steer clear of triggers.
4. Find A Support System
If your child has many severe allergies that restrict major parts of your family’s life, it put tons of stress on you, which makes finding and having support extremely easy. Look for other mothers and families who are dealing with the same struggles and connect with them. Share stories and tips and provide your unwavering support, not only will you get some amazing insight into how others manage their children’s’ allergies, but you will always have someone to go to when you need a non-judgemental shoulder to cry on as well.
5. Educate Others
One of the best ways to make the world a safer place for your child is to help educate others about what it really means to have food allergies. Help teach your family, close friends, your child’s teachers, and even other kids how to properly help someone with food allergies when they are in need, teach other mothers how to be mindful of children with allergies at birthday parties and class allergies, and do you part to change the stigma surrounding food allergies themselves.