Rebecca Woodin is a military wife with 3 beautiful children. Today she shares her journey of living overseas while dealing with food sensitivities currently with her youngest child and what she learned along the way with all 3 kids’ sensitivities. They are on Day 2 of a beef trial. I am sure they would appreciate everyone’s well wishes, good vibes and prayers that her little one has outgrown yet another sensitivity! Get to know her more below.
Tell us a little about yourself and family.
We currently live in Germany and have been for 2.5 years; however, we are a military family and are moving back to Missouri very soon! The baby is 19 months now; she was born here and our biggest food allergy kiddo. We also have a 3-year-old and 5-year-old. I am a Stay at Home Mom and an Independent Scentsy Consultant 🙂
What food sensitivities did your kid(s) have as infants?
My 19-month-old cannot have dairy, soy, egg, beef, wheat, gluten, oats, quinoa, rice, carrots, crab, kiwi, mango, raw peppers, or raw tomatoes. She also couldn’t have peaches, peanuts, apples, or beans, but can tolerate them now! My middle child is 3 and dairy intolerant (allergy tests are negative). My oldest, 5, was undiagnosed FPIES to peanuts but we are hopeful it has been outgrown!
What symptoms or reactions made you suspect a food sensitivity?
I will spare you the gory details, but we had really bad mucousy, discolored, stinky diapers, rashes, projectile vomiting, some foods caused hives, and a few caused anaphylaxis.
How did you change your diet or the family’s diet?
We have essentially eliminated most of the offending foods. My older two still get bread.
Did you notice any health changes within yourself on the new diet?
I lost the baby weight much faster this go around! With my first two, it took 12-13 months…. with this one it took maybe 7!
What was (or is) the hardest thing about having food sensitivities in your family and how are you managing that challenge?
Dairy is in EVERYTHING! And if it isn’t dairy, it’s soy. We gave away SO much from our cabinets when we first pinned down the issue… I had to spend a lot of time researching safe alternatives, surfing Pinterest for recipes, and SO MUCH trial and error in cooking and baking…. Reaching out to support groups on Facebook is a great place to start. In the beginning, we had multiple doctors tell us we were overreacting, it was normal, and our baby was fine. I had to diagnose my daughter through my own research online and with the help of experienced mothers in Facebook groups.
Food sensitivities or allergies can be stressful or even scary for a family. How have you chosen to move forward in faith, not fear?
This is something we are still working on. At first, we went into lockdown. We NEVER left the house. We live in Europe for goodness sakes! I refused to travel since I was afraid to eat anywhere. I had to force myself out of my shell.
Go! See! Do! Just be prepared. Pack snacks, or meals. Map out where you are going and see what stores are near you can pick up safe foods from. If you are able to eat out, check the restaurant’s allergen menu, and ALWAYS bring the allergy to the cook’s attention. Ask them to come to the table. If they won’t, leave. It isn’t worth the risk.
At first, I was so scared… but with time, I have begun overcoming it… We now go to some parties for the older kids. I used to RSVP Maybe, then change to a no. It can very easily control your life, the fear, but please don’t let it. It robbed us of a year of our lives.
What’s the most helpful thing people could do to help you during that season of breastfeeding a food sensitive baby?
Listen to me.
Listen when I tell you, “No, Susan, I cannot have ‘just a little taste’ of your buttered potatoes. I’m sorry.” or “Yes, one bit of a candy bar will indeed send my child into a huge reaction.” Listen when you ask questions and I answer them about what is wrong.
Take time to understand, and believe me. Trust me, I wish I were making this up. I wish it was all in my head, but when you don’t listen and “sneak” things or get rude with me because I won’t try a food… know I want it just as badly if not more than you want me to take it. I am not doing this for me. I am doing it for her.
What advice would you give a mom who’s struggling now with a food sensitive baby?
If you have made it this far… know you ARE a great mother. You care. You are taking time to read, learn, grow. You are cutting things out of your and/or your child’s diet. Yes, there will be setbacks, and oh my, the amount of tears to come….. And yes, inevitably, you will feel like an awful mom when those things happen. But you are NOT! What you are feeling is normal. Just keep on keeping on… keep reaching out… and know that you are not alone! 🙂
What’s one of your favorite food sensitive recipes?
Replace each egg with 1 TBSP Ground Flax Seed mixed in with 3 TBSP warm water (let it sit in a small bowl for 5 or so minutes) if there is an egg allergy. Use Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips if there is a dairy allergy 🙂
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Wondering if your own baby has a food sensitivity?
- 5 Signs of a Sensitivity
- 5 Action Steps
- Symptom Quiz
- Food & Symptom Journal