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Celebrating the Holidays While Breastfeeding a Food-allergic Child

December 2008



Holidays on an Elimination Diet:
Tips for nursing a food allergic child

by Heather Hetler
Holidays on an Elimination DietBreastfeeding a child with food allergies can be especially challenging around the holiday season. The consequences of "cheating" on the elimination diet go much further than a few extra pounds gained.

While the knowledge of a potential reaction is enough to keep some moms strictly on the diet, for most, the temptation of watching others indulge proves overwhelming. Of course, willpower helps.

But after going through two holidays on an elimination diet, I have learned a few things about maintainting an eating plan and enjoying my food at the same time.

Heather Hetler
"The key to my success was taking time to plan ahead."
First, try to make as many things as possible safe for you, especially your favorite side-dishes and treats. Volunteer to make a safe stuffing or share a recipe adapted to your dietary needs. Try something new. It was because of my elimination diet that we added roasted sweet potatoes to our holiday menu, ó a food possible for most on an elimination diet.


Second, be sure to have an abundance of safe treats you can eat when tempted. Ask for recommendations on the KFA support forums, search the recipe collection and scour the stores and the Internet for something you would love to eat. When you start to feel hungry, eat that special treat.

Finally, work to establish some new family traditions unrelated to food. The less time the whole family spends thinking about food, the easier it will be to maintain the diet.

Remember the last reaction your little one had and how miserable it was for her and for you. Keep that picture in your mind when faced with a piece of Grandmaís famous pumpkin pie. Then implement the rest of your plan (grab a safe treat or get the children involved in a scavenger hunt) and enjoy the holiday season.

 

Additional Tips for Surviving the Holiday Season

The following is a compilation of ideas that have worked for some KFA families:
  • Skip the food issue altogether by spending special time with family in nonfood-related activities.
  • For buffets, plan on an early visit, and then leave when it's time for people to wander with plates of food.
  • Provide all the food for the entire meal, thus ensuring that everything is safe for your allergic child.
  • Invite others to your home, notifying guests in advance what foods are off-limits in your home.
  • For younger children, use a high chair or booster seat with a tray if child's allergens are being served.
  • Closely monitor your allergic child to prevent accidental exposures.
  • Dress your child in "Please Donít Feed Me, I Have Food Allergies" clothing, or wear infants in slings to prevent well-meaning “sharing.”




Heather Hetler is a stay-at-home mom who enjoys the challenges of cooking and baking good food on an elimination diet. Heather, her two boys and her husband live in the Bay Area of California.


This article first appeared in the Winter 2006 issue of Support Net™ (requires Adobe Reader Adobe Reader)
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Page last updated 7/29/2012

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