Introducing foods to a baby is way harder than I expected, given the ease with which my sister-moms (aka mom-coaches) seemed to have with their littles. I honestly thought you just start shovelling the food you like to eat into the mouths of the humans you created and they'd automatically be cool, open-minded little foodies.
I mean, maybe. If it doesn't turn out that every second food you introduce (at least that's how it started to feel) causes a major allergic reaction followed by crippling self-doubt and general confusion about how anyone gets any of these little creatures through their baby-hood. I mean, come on. There was a time when it started to feel like our baby was eating more Benadryl than beets (she wasn't, don't freak out).
But in truth, meal times became less about sculpting the food-perspective of another human being and more about what food I may be putting in my baby's mouth that could land her in the emergency room. Talk about pressure. I poured over the weeks and months of meticulous notes, making myself anxious and crazy trying to figure out how I could have thought we were in clear about wheat (introduced at five months with no reaction) and dairy (introduced even earlier with no reaction) and tree nuts (because we tested almonds and they are the only ones she's not allergic to). To top it all off, I was processing regret and guilt about feeding her foods, albeit inadvertently, which were making her sick.
After an emergency room visit for a reaction to what we believed was a smoothie containing oats (introduced at six months with no reaction), I was ready to give up and just breastfeed until she was a grown up. My husband pleaded with our allergist for an urgent appointment for additional testing, in hopes that a concrete list might help alleviate some of the anxiety around feeding our little. The allergist had us bring in all of the foods our daughter had reacted to in the month since he initially tested her. This included shellfish, fish, sesame, wheat, and peanuts (introduced at five months with no reaction). Each of these foods had produced a variety of reactions from skin and hive reactions to the major scare: the trip to the emergency room and a shot of epinephrine in a nine month old thigh.
Long story short, the test only confirmed an allergy to peanuts. Everything else was fine. So, what the hell? What were we feeding our daughter that was making her so sick?
I went back to the beginning. The answer was somewhere, I just had to find it.