Dear Mom Whose Child is Constantly Sick,
Have you ever considered: Are food allergies making your children constantly sick?
The other day I wrote a post empathizing with you. Because, I have been you.
For the first two years of my second daughter’s life, she stayed sick. I could probably count the number of times I sat through a church service during that time on one hand. It was that bad.
It was mostly respiratory–RSV, croup, bronchiolitis, pneumonia, and, finally, an asthma diagnosis….But she (and our whole family, actually) also had a terrible bout with the norovirus when she was about a year and a half.
We kept passing it back and forth, and she got it the worst. Baby Girl was knocked down an entire month from that one.
I don’t know why it never really occurred to me to try changing her diet during this time. My husband has mild asthma, so I kind of blamed it on his family genes since I was never really sick as a kid, and our firstborn was never sick.
I blamed myself, too. I knew I must be doing something–something–wrong.
image from pixabay.com
We had made the switch to whole foods and natural medicines and cleaners even before she was born. I was doing it all. I wasn’t feeding my baby junk!
It was hurtful to see so many comments on my Facebook page the other day accusing parents whose children are sick of not taking care of them, of feeding them poorly, of using too much “conventional medicine” and cleaning products, etc. Of not doing enough.
It was hurtful because I’ve been that mama that did try it all–and it all didn’t seem to work. It was mostly hurtful because I see so many of you in the place where I was a little over a year ago–at your wit’s end and wondering if your child will ever not catch every single virus that comes her way.
I hated seeing you all lash out at each other and make children struggling with illness a debate. Are we so incredibly prideful that we can’t put ourselves in others’ shoes for a few minutes and stop blaming the mama next door for not being perfect when none of us are? We have all and will all be humbled–so, so humbled.
But here’s the thing, dear mama whose child is constantly sick,
If I were to leave you with that encouraging post alone the other day, I would not be helping you much. I want my site to be about both encouragement and education for natural mamas–and about empowering you to rise above your circumstances.
I mentioned in the original post that when we finally discovered my little girl’s food allergies, she got well.
image from pixabay.com
It is true. All that time, our oldest daughter had been gluten, egg and dairy-free, yet I had still been eating all three–and mostly dairy. I was nursing my baby during this entire time.
When I finally went off dairy, the respiratory infections stopped. Her immune system strengthened, and she became like a new person.
We never did give her much cow’s milk. I actually gave her almond milk for about a year–until we discovered that tree nuts bother her as well. She now drinks rice or coconut milk. And we do just fine.
Was it my fault? No, I don’t think it was. I could beat myself up all the live long day for eating cheese during the time I was nursing her: But here’s the deal–I needed the protein, and I simply did not know.
No one had told me that dairy allergies can cause extra mucous which can cause fluid build-up in the ear canal which can lead to ear infections.
No one told me that dairy allergies can cause asthma.
I simply did not know.
But that is why I’m telling you.
Now as to why my child was born with a dairy allergy? I still don’t know. But I don’t think it was my fault. My oldest child cannot tolerate gluten, dairy or eggs. For a while, I beat myself up over whether it had been something I ate while pregnant, whether it had been vaccines we had given her as a baby, whether it had been this or that during labor.
Even if it had been: I did not know.
image from pixabay.com
We live in a polluted, sin-filled world. Nothing we do to our bodies will ever perfect them. We are not in control.
Because of this, there will be unexplained allergies. There will be unexplained sickness. There will be unexplained pain. It’s a part of life.
In this world you will have trouble, but take heart: I have overcome the world. (John 16:33)
Dear Mama Whose Child is Constantly Sick,
I want to go beyond encouraging you. I want to educate you. Will you try an elimination diet? Especially if your child struggles with eczema, digestive issues or respiratory illness or asthma, it may be dairy.
It could also be gluten. It could also be a whole slew of foods that aggravate his or her immune system.
Try not to get overwhelmed. Take it one day at a time. Try eliminating just one food, and see if it makes a difference.
In 2014, I will be posting a series on “Figuring Out Food Allergies.” I have learned so much over the past two years–I, the mom who said her whole life: “Food allergies?! Ha! We have none.”
I’ve been humbled.
Just try it, Mama. Just try. But don’t beat yourself up, OK?
I’ll tell you what my oldest daughter’s integrative doctor told me when we discovered her food allergies at age 3: “It’s better to know at 3 than at 30.”
Go in grace, Mama. Go in grace.
What do you think: Are food allergies making your child constantly sick?