Let me introduce you to my kiddos - Hudson and Huntley!
Hudson is five and is the most social and lovable boy you will ever meet. Everyone is his friend, as far as he is concerned, and he is such a trooper with all of his allergies. It’s really the only life he has ever known since his allergies started at six months old, but he makes me so proud every day as he handles it in such a mature and optimistic way. His brother, Huntley, is one year old, and adores everything Hudson does, right or wrong. One look at Hudson can immediately stop Huntley from crying and make him laugh endlessly. He is incredibly sweet with a good dose of feisty sprinkled in. These two make my world go around and keep my food head spinning constantly.
Hudson's food allergies began before he even had a bite of food. He was exclusively breastfed and diagnosed with his first two allergies at six months old. He had terrible eczema that no one could explain. We tried every fungal cream, eczema home remedy, and visited his pediatrician frequently, along with pediatric dermatologists, and the solution was always a different combination of creams that would only help for a few days, but the eczema always came back with a vengeance.
Knowing my allergy history, we asked the pediatrician to do a basic food allergy blood panel. His blood test came back positive for egg and peanut, and at fairly high numbers too. I had no idea he could develop an allergy to something he had never eaten! I, however, was eating eggs almost every morning for breakfast, and could fly through a jar of peanut butter a week, so in hindsight it isn’t so mysterious that this could happen (hint hint...rotation diet! You can read more about that here). Hudson was also exposed to high amounts of peanut and egg via my breast milk, causing the eczema all over his body. As soon as I cut these things out of my own diet I noticed an improvement in his skin, and eventually the eczema left completely.
Hudson was a bit of a late starter with solid foods. He wasn't too interested in anything but nursing and really started to explore foods beyond applesauce around twelve to fourteen months. His favorite food was cottage cheese and cow’s milk eventually grew on him too. Soon, we began seeing eczema creep up around his mouth and it never seemed to leave. We took him back to the doctor and a repeat blood panel showed he was also allergic to milk, cashews, and walnuts.
Fast forward a few more months and he began to show the same allergic signs with wheat too. By the time he was two he was allergic to six of the eight major food allergens - everything but fish and shellfish.
Over the years all of his pre-existing allergy numbers have gone up. Peanut is his worst and is now too high to measure. We carry an EPI pen for peanut, and walnut is a close second.
Thankfully, we never had a frightening allergy experience with him. We had signs of his allergies ahead of a serious allergic event so we were able to abstain from the known allergens. That recently changed. Christmas day (2019) he ate two pistachios off of a charcuterie board and within 20 minutes felt sick, threw up, and then passed out. Up until that day, pistachios were a relatively safe food for him. In fact, we used to pack them in his backpack for snacks in the previous year. It’s incredibly frightening to watch your child have a reaction and not know when he will stabilize and if it will continue to get worse. A trip to urgent care that day, along with steroids for the next week brought his reaction down and he recovered perfectly from it. A follow-up blood panel revealed that pistachios were now an allergy for him, and in the top three of all of his allergies! Exactly two months later, we went to Disneyland and at the end of the day, we believe that he unknowingly inhaled peanut dust while the stroller was parked outside a candy shop that was making peanut brittle inside, come to find out. Within a few moments we noticed that he was breaking out in hives all over his little body. By the next day, his hives were the worst that his doctors had ever seen. It took us six days, Benadryl and Prednisone around the clock, and so many home remedies to get rid of that reaction.
My fear levels regarding Hudson's allergies have undoubtedly risen in the last few months. It has made us more aware of environments and situations that we had not even considered before.
Thankfully, we have not had a bad allergic reaction with little brother, Huntley in quite a while. Because of Hudson’s history, I had been on high alert with Huntley since I was pregnant with him. I did my best to follow Hudson’s rotation diet myself to space out allergen exposure to Huntley when I was pregnant with him, and have continued my awareness through breastfeeding him as well. When Huntley was about two months old he began projectile vomiting multiple times in a row, at different times each day, and various frequencies, too. I decided to eliminate milk from my diet and see if it changed anything for him, and sure enough, the frequency and intensity of his vomiting started to decline and after about two weeks, it had stopped completely. Since then, he has continued to nurse while I eliminate milk from my diet, and he has not shown signs of any other allergies (thank goodness!).
My main priority is, of course, the safety of my kiddos. This space here and all of my cooking, baking, planning, and prepping is to keep Hudson and Huntley as safe as possible, while allowing them to live life as fully as possible. So glad you stopped by to see what we are eating!