Why I prayed my son wouldn’t develop allergies

I have celiac disease. This is known to readers of this blog from my post on the subject. Guess what? Celiac disease sucks. It really does. I know I act like it is no big deal most of the time, but it really sucks. I hate not being able to eat what I want easily. I hate imposing on other people. I hate asking people to reveal what is in a recipe – over and over again.

Not only do I have celiac disease, over the last few years I have recognized that I also have an allergy to Kiwi. When I was a little kid I always said I didn’t like kiwi because “it made my mouth feel fuzzy.” No one clued in that I was describing an allergic reaction. I just didn’t eat kiwi. It’s not like it was super common in our house. And my Mom was probably happy that I preferred the cheap fruit – apples and bananas.

But there were always times when I got these mystery hives or rashes and eventually we figured it out. Kiwi and to a lesser extent Pineapple would do me in. It was especially bad a couple of years ago when my throat actually started to close up from it. Long story short, I now carry Benadryl everywhere and have an epi-pen, which I am notoriously bad for leaving at home.

I know that in the grand scheme of “things that can be wrong with your kids” allergies can be managed relatively effectively and there is of course more understanding and accommodations made for children’s allergies nowadays but given my history of being forced to be very careful with what I put in my body I am not ashamed to say that I prayed my son wouldn’t have allergies while I was pregnant.

I didn’t want him having to grow up to be afraid of food. I didn’t want him to be “bullied” because he couldn’t eat something. I hear stories of kids chasing classmates with peanuts when they find out about the allergy. And I especially didn’t want to experience the judgement of others when they think I am just being “difficult” about what my son eats when I question food being served.

Unfortunately, at 9 months it looks like we have a son with allergies. And the thing he is allergic to sucks. It is a super common food for kids and adults; people love them and kids love them. They are great on their own and in desserts. I am sure many of you have them sitting innocently enough on your counter (or in your freezer waiting to be turned into bread and if you are like me thrown out when you realize that you are not going to make said bread).

Can you guess what it is he is seemingly allergic to?

Bananas.

Every time he would eat bananas he would throw up within an hour. And not just a little spit up but projectile vomit everywhere. We tried fresh bananas, frozen bananas, as well as store bought banana baby food. Even banana bread.

Interestingly enough, I couldn’t stomach bananas my ENTIRE pregnancy. Every other food aversion I had would come and go. But bananas the whole pregnancy would cause me to vomit and be sick often before they even got to my mouth. I tried to research whether there is a known link between pregnancy aversions and allergies in babies but couldn’t find anything beyond other anecdotes like me. We mentioned it to the doctor who responded with, “Yah, that can’t be a coincidence.” But it was a rather non-committal response…..

Anyways, given that bananas made our son sick we decided not to feed them to him.  He wasn’t getting hives or a rash or anything like that we just didn’t like making our son vomit if it could be avoided. Also it seemed pretty easy to avoid bananas. He mostly eats home made baby food and now as he gets older (and gets teeth) more and more table food. There is a lot of banana puree in many commercial baby food so we just started avoiding the ones that had that in it and everything was fine.

Until last night. Husband and I were in the process of buying a new “old” car. (i.e. a used car) because we were going to the dealership after I was done work I threw a pouch of baby food in my bag in case C got hungry. We fed it to him while we did the financing. As we were leaving and I loaded him into the car I noticed red splotches and on his cheeks and slowly his whole face and neck were breaking out in red splotches and hives. We immediately got baby benadryl and gave it to him and the rash went away.

We talked to our doctor and will be seeing an allergist in a couple of weeks to confirm the suspected banana allergy.

Having a kid with allergies is scary. Having a kid with a weird allergy like banana I can foresee as sucking A LOT. As it is now, people are always telling me that it is really weird and that they have never heard of anyone with a banana allergy. This scares me because I think that most people understand peanut and other common allergies. It is commonplace for kids to have nut free classrooms for example. But bananas. No way will there ever be banana free classrooms (and I am in no way advocating that there should be)  so I know that with an allergy like this we will have to be vigilant with C to make sure he doesn’t eat banana.

In the end I realize that I just have to accept that my son is likely going to have an allergy and I will have to be the crazy sounding Mom telling people, “No, he can’t have a banana. Yah, I know kids love them and they are a great snack but he can’t have a banana….”

Have you ever heard of anyone with a banana allergy? What about other parents whose children are allergic to something super common for kids to snack on?

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