Nathan’s Mumma Says….
In Diary of an Allergy Mumma Part 1 I left you pondering the significance of a severe allergy, whatever the allergy may be related to. As we have now had Nathan’s allergy to egg, in any form, confirmed I can hand on heart say its one of the most confusing things to get your head around. I now know more foods with egg in than I did before, as Nathan can’t have egg or egg products. For example, I didn’t know quorn had egg in it, most chocolate. Given that the range of foods he is allowed had just shrunk massively we decided to venture to Liverpool for the Allergy & Free From show…
We went with the view that whatever was there to sample, and was safe for Nathan to eat, we would get him to try. If he took to something then we bought it, bearing in mind that Nathan isn’t great at trying new foods. Well…blow me down with a feather if he didn’t try everything that we offered him! He tried flapjack (a previously rejected snack) and asked for more, he ate chocolate (which he didn’t like before and has now definitely decided he does not like), he chose caramel ricecakes and loved them. He tasted cheese crackers (until last week he would eat cheese) and he tried chocolate cookies and ginger biscuits. He also found a love of rosemary and seasalt biscuits.
We settled on buying him a selection of things, that way we could give him some variety in his snacks. there are plenty of egg free snacks available in most supermarkets but we like to branch out:
- Angelic rosemary & sea salt biscuits
- Ayni chocolate
- Perkier porridge mix for flapjack (fruity berry flavour)
- Nature’s store caramel ricecakes
We also met some new people who run specialist allergy companies or charities which help and support people with allergies in every form. We were particularly keen to meet the lovely ladies at Allergy Buddies as we had seen their products online and we were keen to test out their backpacks. Now Nathan is that bit older we can do away with a stereotypical changing bag, a backpack is easier to manage with an active toddler. The girls were brilliant, letting us test out the backpack with all his medications, then discussing with us which ‘buddies’ to put on it, what colour to choose and what wording to have on it. We’ve gone for a black bag, with the ‘no egg’ buddy and the ‘anaphylaxis’ buddy. Then it will say ‘epipen in the pocket’ on the small pocket on the front. I encourage you to visit their website, there are lots of different products and buddies to choose from, we can’t wait for it to arrive any day now (photo to follow).
We also met the lovely people from Allergy Adventures who produce books and activities to help children understand about their allergies. They were great with Nathan and even helped him make a paper plate spider.
We chatted with the people at the anaphylaxis campaign, who were focusing on teaching people how to administer an epi pen and how to recognise the signs of anaphylaxis. They support people in the UK who have severe allergies.
The team over at Haydn’s Wish were nice, they had a great little play area which Nathan enjoyed while we read the information. Haydn’s Wish (The Haydn Wileman Memorial Trust) is a charity set up in memory of Haydn Wileman, who died following an anaphylactic reaction to peanuts that were in his cereal. The trust is raising money to fund research into the link between childhood asthma and potentially fatal allergies.
We had a great day, and a nice walk round the Liverpool docks afterwards. Lots of great information and we loved being able to try Nathan with lots of different foods in a safe environment. The next Allergy & Free From show is at Olympia, London and runs from July 3-5 2015 or the Liverpool one returns to the Exhibition Centre in November 7-8 2015.
Given how positive we felt after our day trip to Liverpool we have also found some negative attitudes towards Nathan’s allergy, and its severity. Little comments such as ‘children only have allergies because their parents give them processed food’ and ‘well, he’ll grow out of it’. We also have to contend with people not appreciating just how severe Nathan’s allergy is, we have had an instance where we were at a party and NONE of the food was safe for Nathan to eat, had he got hold of even the smallest amount we would have been in hospital. I always pack food for Nathan, but when it’s people close to you it does sting a little that they have put your child in danger. However, we are blessed with friends (and family) who are brilliant about it and work to Nathan’s needs without question. Halloween with his baby friends was an egg free affair without question, and we cannot thank them enough.
So, Christmas is fast approaching, with all its parties and buffets… Cakes and biscuits, stuffing, pigs in blankets, puddings, the list goes on. When we speak in the new year I shall tell you all about our egg free holidays and how we get on with future family gatherings… so look out for Diary of an Allergy Mumma Part 3. And feel free to comment with your own experiences or tips!