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Can Having a Baby with Food Allergies Cause Post Traumatic Stress Disorder?

Free to Feed is telling you YES!

You’ve read all about the “baby blues,” and have been told by loved ones how hard it is being a parent. But did any of those loved ones have a baby with food allergies or intolerances? If breastfeeding alone wasn’t enough to deal with, having a baby with food allergies might make you feel all sorts of crazy.

According to the American Psychiatric Association, “post-traumatic stress disorder is a psychiatric disorder that occurs in people who have experienced or witnessed a traumatic event.1”

Dr. Trill is an army veteran and has a significant amount of training in coping and identifying PTSD. And she’s been helping and guiding parents for years. She knows families are going through PTSD and is helping them during this difficult time with detailed scientific information on baby food allergies.

We don’t have a scientific study attached to link Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) to infant food allergies. And you know us, we thrive off scientific data. But guess what? We know there isn’t enough research, to begin with, so of course, there isn’t a study on this.

Read our blog on 5 Reasons Why Free to Feed’s Mission is Important to learn more about how we’re helping parents that have babies with food allergies or intolerances.

Here at Free to Feed we want to help you navigate this challenging time and assure you – you are not alone. Our community is growing and for good reason! There simply isn’t enough research and guidance in the world of infant food allergies. But we plan to change that!

Continue reading for more information on what Post-traumatic Stress Disorder looks like when your baby has food allergies or intolerances.

Symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

You may have heard the term “DSM” before in regards to mental health disorders. DSM stands for diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders. It’s a big fat book doctors use to diagnose mental illness with set guidelines and symptoms. There’s a lot of criteria to fit this diagnosis and having a baby with food allergies or intolerances checks a lot of boxes.

Can you check off any of these boxes?

  • You get nervous when your significant other makes dinner out of fear of using the wrong ingredients.

  • Your baby was up all night crying and you’re blaming yourself for something you might have eaten.

  • You’re struggling to eat because you’re worried about the outcome for your baby.

  • You find yourself getting anxious when it’s time to change your baby's diaper.

This likely hit home for a lot of parents who have babies with food allergies or intolerances. There is so much fear and with fear comes stress.

A criterion for PTSD is going through a traumatic event. Well, we’ve got that covered *rolls eyes*. Anyone seeing a diaper with blood or watching their baby vomit continuously or cry non-stop is a traumatic event.

Here are a few symptoms of PTSD [1]:

  • Upsetting memories

  • Nightmares

  • Flashbacks

  • Emotional distress

  • Trauma-related thoughts

  • Feeling isolated (doesn’t everyone right now though?)

  • Hypervigilance

And the list continues, but we hope you get the idea. You can have PTSD regardless of what anyone else says. We’re telling you because we believe it to be true!

Having a baby with food allergies or intolerances is hard emotionally, physically, and mentally. Add in the misinformation about this topic and you’ve got yourself a cocktail – not the good kind, of stress and trauma. Let’s take a deeper look into the role misinformation plays in PTSD.

Misinformation Surrounding Infant Food Allergies

So you find out your baby has food allergies or intolerances. You’re willing to change your diet because you want to continue breastfeeding and then you're told it’ll take weeks for the proteins to leave your system – WRONG!

Maybe your baby's pediatrician didn’t seem to care too much and pushed formula. It doesn’t always happen but when it does stress can overwhelm parents, especially mamas who want to continue breastfeeding.

There is also misinformation on the common baby food allergies because they differ from adult allergies. So many parents cut out things like fish or coffee (Mama, drink the coffee) and they aren’t even a top 12 infant food allergy. This doesn’t mean some babies can’t react to fish or coffee. They absolutely can, but it’s just not as common.

The misinformation out there is enough to make your head spin. That’s how Free to Feed was born. By the time Dr. Trill had her second baby almost 3 years later after her first, there still was little research on the topic or resources for parents. She knew she had to do something.

Lack of Resources for Parents with Baby Food Allergies

When you’re living in the world of baby food allergies it can feel like no one cares. Not even doctors. Maybe even when your baby has blood specs in their diaper. It makes the experience harder when there aren’t resources for parents to make these life changes.

There are so many questions that often don’t get answered.

When will my baby outgrow their food intolerances?

What caused my baby to have food allergies?

How do I make it better?

If you talk to another food allergy parent, they might have a different story than you and received different advice from medical professionals. This makes it all the more confusing. Few resources discuss how to drastically change your diet or the “hidden names” for ingredients possibly causing your baby’s symptoms.

Free to Feed Wants to Be Your Resource!

We think it’s time to open up and talk about the challenges facing parents of babies with food allergies and intolerances and those who desire to keep breastfeeding. It is possible to breastfeed through your infant’s food intolerances or allergies.

We’re going to say it again, having a baby with food allergies or intolerances can cause PTSD. Remember, that most of the time this doesn’t last forever and your baby will grow out of their allergies or intolerances.

Take time to take care of yourself too. Even though things are harder right now, life doesn’t have to revolve around food.

Take a walk outside with your family.

Go on a date with your loved one.

Have a family movie night.

Do whatever you need to do to make sure you’re caring for yourself and your family. You matter too, and you’re doing a great job!

This is only part of your journey as parents and we want to help. If you're feeling lost or want additional help schedule a one-on-one consult here.



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