Tell us about your allergy story.
Our allergy journey started at 6 months. Rocco had been diagnosed with reflux at 6 weeks but even with medication he wasn't improving. When we began weaning he wouldn't keep any dairy products down, as soon as they hit his stomach, up they would come. We went back to the doctors for what felt the millionth time and I asked about CMPA and me going dairy free. They said I wasn't to change my diet without their support. I left the room knowing full well I wouldn't be eating dairy again! After 2 weeks he was a different baby, the nappies cleared first then the sickness stopped. The doctors wouldn't refer to dietitian without me doing the milk challenge, so I did it. What followed was a week of severe sickness and reaction nappies. They had no choice me but to admit we were right! After 6 months we attempted to dairy ladder, failed step one within a few days. We are still dairy free, and he turns 2 next month. We have failed the ladder 3 times and had a few accidental slips when family won't listen. We're happy to have found our little community and just take each day.
What piece of advice would you give to parents who just discovered their child has allergies?
My advice would be talk to others, other parents who have done it before and going through it now. They have hands on experience and that's key. Doctors and dietitians can tell you what they've left but 'real' allergy parents have lived through every symptom, every reaction, every sleepless night. It helps you feel you're not alone and so amazing to have someone know what you're going through that can honestly sympathize.
What keeps you motivated in this journey?
Watching him react and in pain is just horrible. Knowing my milk is helping with every nurse is amazing. I can't do much when he reacts, there's no magic medicine that will make him better. My milk is the best I can offer. Me eating the same also helps him feel 'normal' sometimes he sees things his sisters are having and wants it. Knowing I can safely share all me meals and treats with him makes it much easier for him to feel included.
What do you wish others understood about food allergies?
I wish people understood that not all reactions are struggling to breathe or rashes. Some take longer to kick in and take days to show. I also wish everyone could listen to the parents' wishes and respect and support them.