Please read, before reading

I am saddened by the comments on this blog that often take a judgmental turn. The information is intended to be just that -- information. You need to make your own decisions for your life and be accountable for your actions. I debated closing the blog, but feel there are many valuable items listed for families struggling with food allergies, especially early on.

If you need further information please contact a doctor. If you need to verify a product's ingredients, please look at current labels and contact the company yourself. Note many posts are several years old. Use your best judgment and do not make up comments to scare people.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Teaching a toddler that she has food allergies

When we chose our daughter's preschool for next fall, I realized that I needed to give her some education on what her food allergies actually are.   I can't expect her to be responsible for food intake when she's 3 years old, but I can give her the tools so she can express to the teachers the best way she can.   She has known for a long time that she can't eat Mommy or Daddy's milk or cheese because she will get "itchies."  But that was the extent of what we had told her.  And frankly for a toddler that's about all you can do.  Now that she's getting older and understanding more and more, we decided to take it to the next step.

The best resources for her have been books (as with just about everything we do).  We read them and then discuss what she can and can't have.  It's really helped her understand and she now will use the words "food allergies" instead of "itchies."  It has been really helpful when testing her with food cooked with dairy.  I'll ask her to try some food because we want to see if there are food allergies.  She gets excited with us when we see no reactions.  The other day I gave her an Italian Breadsticks saturated made with butter (I could have used dairy-free or olive oil, but I wanted to test).  She took some bites before I made it to my seat for dinner.  She told me that she had food allergies.  I didn't see any hives on her face, but she told me that it was on her lips.  She didn't eat anymore of the breadstick, so I believe her.  Wow, talk about progress.  It's nice to know that she understands and can communicate it so that we all understand.

Just a reminder that all children develop at different rates.  Also we have been discussing and reading more about food allergies for almost two months.  This wasn't overnight success.


  1. I think it is neat that you use the books for teaching your child and not just to learn how to read or tell a story.

    Do you use other food oriented books that aren't food allergy based too? I was curious since you mention that you use the books to show her what she can and can't have. I get questions about this sort of thing a lot at Go Dairy Free, and love to be able to share ideas like yours and your blog!

  2. Alisa,

    Thanks for commenting. We do a lot of reading in our house. We have two baskets (one in our daughter's bedroom and one in the living room) with about 20 books each. I rotate books that I get from the library or pick up cheap at thrift stores. I often find her sitting for a long time "reading" book after book. We read to her several times a day. As far as specific food books, I don't really use anything specific. I find that reading has so many teachable moments and they pop up when you least expect them. If we are reading a book, such as The Hungry Caterpillar" by Eric Carle, we will talk about food in that she can or can't eat.

    PS I love your cookbook!!! We made the mac and cheese and it's now a staple for lunch!


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