Being a food allergy parent is an ongoing battle and a rollercoaster of emotions and experiences. It is not made easier by most people’s lack of understanding on the subject. I am not blaming anyone for this; it is a complicated subject that most people have no need to dissect in the way I do. However, I face some common comments that be tiresome so here are the 5 top things never to say to a food allergy parent.
1. “No-one had allergies in my day”
I’m afraid that’s simply not true. People had allergies and died from them but as the symptoms can present similar to a severe asthma attack or heart attack, many deaths were just mis-classified. There is, luckily, more awareness and research into allergies these days which makes it seem like a more prevalent problem.
2. “I know how you feel, I get bloated when I eat wheat”
I’m sorry that some food makes you feel bad but no, you don’t know how I feel. Unless you have faced the fear of feeding your child a food that could kill them and watched the effects, you do not understand. Please be grateful for that.
3. “Do you think it’s something you ate when you were pregnant?”
I am a mum so of course I think it’s my fault! But I know it’s not. There is no evidence that diet during pregnancy can affect food allergies. Unfortunately my husband and I both atopic and have allergies in our families so J’s problems are hereditary. I am interested in reading studies on the causes of food allergies but I don’t believe there is anything we could have done to prevent them.
4. “Are you sure he’s not just a fussy eater?”
Yes, he’s a toddler, of course he’s a fussy eater! He doesn’t like to eat his peas, is fickle at most meals and would happily live on baked beans. But no fussy eating causes hives, swelling and breathing problems. This isn’t something he can unfortunately control and nor can I.
5. “Can’t he just have a little bit?”
Um, no. It doesn’t work like that. One sip of milk sent him to A&E so giving him a little bit is not a good idea! We are trying to work our way up the milk ladder but under very controlled conditions and hope to attempt other foods in the future. This is a life-threatening condition though and not be messed with.
What comments are you tired of hearing?