After posting a recent article on a little girl genius, I’d like to give you a taste of what the dunderhead (IQ = mine) part of the population does to make more rational people shake their heads in disbelief.

We’ve started feeding the Worm solid foods about 6 months ago.  He’s got an insatiable appetite for all things edible (or plastic).  At around the 10-month old mark, we started allowing Worm to feed off our dinner plates.  He would point at what looked appetizing and we would let him sample it.  Vegetables, rice, chicken, pasta, etc.  Of course, only foods that were shown to be low on the food allergy list were dropped into the baby’s mouth.  It was fun to see what Worm liked and didn’t like to eat.

Then one day, we decided to get a little crazy with the food selection.

In the morning, we decided to make Worm a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.  (In case you were wondering, peanuts can be severe and life-threatening for those with a peanut allergy.)  We definitely wanted to test out peanut butter on the Worm.  This isn’t the dunderhead part.  We planned on giving Worm peanut butter that day, especially in the morning.  If there was a reaction, we would be awake and ready to drive him to the hospital emergency room.

Here’s dunderhead move #1.  The jelly part of the sandwich was a mixed berry blend and strawberries were one of the ingredients.  (Strawberry allergies are fairly common.  Did I know this ahead of time?  Yes.  Did I use my brain to make the PB and J sandwich? No.)  I probably should have used grape jelly instead.  (Did you know that white strawberries do not produce the allergic reactions of the red ones?  Read here. Did I just increase your IQ by one point?  I sure did.)

One of the rules of experimentation is that you don’t test two variables at the same time.  (All we could say was oops and thank god he didn’t have a reaction to either peanut butter or strawberries.)

Another rule of experimentation is that you must wait until the first experiment is complete before running another experiment.  Did we wait?  Not even a whole day passed before we shoved another couple of high allergy foods into Worm’s mouth!

For dinner that same night, Steph, Grandma, and I went to our neighborhood Chinese food buffet.  (It makes total sense to take a baby to a buffet once he starts to eat solid foods, right?  I mean, why open the door a little bit?  Why not throw the door wide open and break it off the hinges?)

Hey?! Where's the cupcakes and cheezy poofs?

In what could be called overzealous enthusiasm (or reckless stupidity), we decided to feed Worm a variety of foods from the buffet trays.  And we didn’t realize that some of the foods had shrimp, fish and/or fish products in them until after Worm had eaten.  (Fish and shellfish are also very high on the food allergy scale.  Severe reaction such as anaphylaxis or anaphylactic shock can occur upon eating.)  Did I think about this ahead of time?  No.  Dunderhead move #2.

We got lucky that day.  Our family history only shows shellfish allergy from one of the grandpas and no one else.  The chances of food allergic reaction in Worm was pretty low.  But, we will try to be a little bit smarter in dealing with any more of our kids in the future.

If there is anything that you can learn from an idiot like myself, it’s this:

  • Don’t do what I did.  Give your kids one potentially high allergy food every couple of days.  You should let your child pass the new food through their gastrointestinal system before moving on to another.
  • Check your family history of allergies.  Make note of who in your family has allergies to alert yourself of potentially reactive foods.  Food allergies can be passed down.
  • Make a list of the high allergy foods you want your baby to try (Cow’s Milk, Wheat, Soy, Peanuts, Tree nuts, Fish, Shellfish, Eggs are very highly allergic).  Check off the ones that your baby has tried and make note of any bowel movement changes.
  • Check your baby’s skin for any changes after eating.  (It’s hard to tell if your baby has a skin rash if you can’t see through onesies.)  Check again after each diaper change for any redness, hives, bumps, etc.
  • Read food labels.  (Unless you’re at a buffet and you’re trying out the free-for-all smorgasbord technique like we did.  Not recommended.)
  • Know where the hospital is.  Severe allergic reaction in babies can constrict airways pretty quickly.  Lack of oxygen can lead to brain damage. You don’t want to waste time seaching the internet for the hospital during an emergency.
Related Links:

Food Allergies in Babies

How To Test Foods on Your Baby For Allergies  (Very informative blog)

Peanut Allergies in Babies

Strawberry Allergy Signs in Babies