Living with Food Allergies


white bowl of nuts and kid pushing them away. food allergyWhen our oldest daughter was born, we were already in uncharted waters being first-time parents. Nothing really prepares you for your first child and the lack of sleep, the constant diaper changes, and the round-the-clock feedings

Apart from the “normal” newborn phase, we started to notice other occurrences in our daughter. She spit up a lot, especially after feeding. Her face seemed to be in a constant rash. We brought it up to her pediatrician and were told it was reflux and baby acne. 

Fast forward a few months to when she was six months old and had her first food reaction at daycare. While I provided breastmilk for her at daycare, I had also given them formula as a backup. That day, they gave her the formula with her oatmeal, and she had a reaction. Luckily her pediatrician’s office was very close, and we took her in to be monitored. That’s when we were told to see an allergist and have testing done to figure out what caused the reaction.

Food Allergies

After a skin prick test and bloodwork, we found out she was allergic to cow’s milk, eggs, peanuts, and tree nuts, as well as some environmental allergies. That day at daycare she reacted to the milk in the formula

But here’s the thing. The signs were there all along, but we didn’t know better. It wasn’t reflux. It wasn’t baby acne. It was food allergies and eczema.

That day I was told to remove all her allergens from her diet (and mine) and we were given a prescription for epinephrine and an action plan.

And the rest was for us to figure out.

Our New Lifestyle

A food allergy diagnosis comes with a 180-lifestyle change. Food now became both a need and a fear while worry and anxiety crept in at every mealtime.

No longer were we able to freely eat what we wanted. Reading food labels was not for curiosity but a necessity. If it didn’t have a label, we wouldn’t eat it. It was an eye-opener to find out how many foods have milk in them! And it didn’t end with food, but also household products like lotions, shampoos, and more that can also have hidden allergens.

You don’t realize how much food is around until you must manage what someone is eating. Family events, holiday gatherings, birthday celebrations, and more turned from fun and easy to stressful coupled with constant vigilant watching.

The first few years, we felt like we were in survival mode and learned some hard lessons through accidental exposures and more reactions, including anaphylaxis. We also had two more children, both of whom also have multiple food allergies.

Although our lifestyle has changed immensely, we have always taught our kids to look on the bright side. We’ve always made it a point that they can participate in anything other kids can, it just may look a little different. 

5 Facts About Food Allergies

Food allergies are becoming more prevalent and it’s more than just peanuts. Here are some quick facts to better understand food allergies.

  • One in 13 children have a diagnosed food allergy (that’s about 2 per classroom).
  • Food allergies are not the same as intolerances. Food allergies affect the immune system and can cause life-threatening reactions. Food intolerances affect the GI system and can cause discomfort.
  • Milk is the most common food allergy in children.
  • Epinephrine is the only medicine to stop or slow down anaphylaxis.
  • Up to 25% of reactions at school that needed epinephrine are for children without a known food allergy 

Advocating for Food Allergies

Once we learned and became more comfortable with managing our children’s multiple food allergies, I wanted to make sure other children and families didn’t feel so alone.

After years of trying to decide the best approach to advocating and educating, I decided to write a children’s book. I wanted to write the book I wish we had when we were first diagnosed. The book I wanted to give to others to help them understand what food allergies are and what we do to keep our kids safe. A book representing my children and all food allergy children, showing they aren’t alone and that they are resilient. Charlie Learns About Her Food Allergies is now available and combines education and story with tips for how to include those with food allergies.

May is Food Allergy Awareness Month and a great time to learn more about food allergies. I encourage everyone to learn the signs of an allergic reaction and how to respond. 

Hello! I’m Katie. I’m the wife to an amazing husband who lets me dream big and the mother to three energetic and creative children who keep us on our toes. 

 My love for reading, writing, and creating has allowed me to become a freelance copywriter and marketing support for businesses. More recently my love for storytelling and creating led me to become a children’s author, inspired by my own children and advocating about food allergies.

 When not writing, I enjoy baking and adventures with our family.

Connect with Katie online at or on Instagram and Facebook.


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