22 answers

Child W/food Intolerances Visiting Someone Else's House

My 10-year old daughter was recently diagnosed with food intolerances. She gets migraines and feels very ill. This is new, so she's not really good at knowing what she can and can't eat. WE aren't that well versed in it yet, I'm still carefully reading labels. I have to carefully read labels before I let her eat anything. As long as she doesn't eat a trigger food, she's fine.

Recently she visited a friends' house. I told the mom what she was "allergic" to (it's not really an allergy, but we use the word allergic because it's easier to understand) and I asked her to carefully read any labels before giving her anything. I instructed my daughter on what she should eat, suggesting she drink WATER because we know water is safe and I also told her to ask the mom if any snacks had the food triggers in them BEFORE she ate them. She wasn't at her friend's house very long, but I knew she'd probably drink and eat snacks while she was there.

Well, my daughter didn't ask the mom and the mom didn't remember. Of course she ate a food with a trigger in it and she got a migraine headache. I had to pick her up early, and she was crying and she threw up on the way home.

Should I send my daughter with her own snacks to a friend's house? Should she not be allowed to eat anything? I know it's new for my daughter so she's not well-versed in what she can and can't eat. Is it okay to check a friend's pantry for possible snacks she can have when I drop her off?

I want her to be as safe as possible and now I'm nervous sending her anywhere!

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Thanks for all the suggestions! I will definitely send her with her own snacks and drinks from now on, AND I will include enough for her to share with her friend.

A laminated list of things she can't have is a great idea! Since she's just learning, that can help her out. She can also hand it to an adult just in case there is a question.

Many of these things she used to eat but now have become triggers. I also know that she keeps saying she can have "a little" of something or "I USED to be able to eat that" and poor thing can't have even a speck without it triggering a migraine. The doctor said that sometimes these things just happen.

Featured Answers

She's going to have to learn what she can and cannot eat. Perhaps you could get her a laminated cheat sheet to carry so she can look for the items she cannot have.

2 moms found this helpful

I send my daughter w/her own snacks, and even meals for sleepovers, but she still tests the boundaries sometimes and will sneak something now and then, but then it makes her feel ill.

You may want to avoid drop-offs until you have the particulars sorted out. For sleepovers, if they family is having, say, tacos for dinner, we pack something similar so she doesn't feel too weird.

-M.

1 mom found this helpful

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As a mom, if my child's friend's mom told me that she had food allergies that caused migranes and sent her with her own food, or with a list of "safe" foods, I'd be glad and greatful. I don't even like to get regular headaches, so I can't imagine being a child with a migrane. Having the snack with her tells me that her mom doesn't want me to go to any trouble, and having the list makes it easier for me to find stuff to give. I wouldn't "check the pantry" cause that's just weird, but if a mom asks you to help her go through stuff to find the "safe" thing, then go for it.

Good luck!

5 moms found this helpful

Yes, you should be sending your own snacks if her reaction is so bad. As the parent hosting the playdate, I would be happy to work around any food issues if you could tell me in advance what is good or not. In your case, it sounds like you are still figuring it out yourself. I would be frustrated if I was expected to accomodate any food allergies if I didn't have any clear direction as to what your child could or could not have....

4 moms found this helpful

I would just send her own snacks and tell her that if she wants ANYTHING to eat or drink, away from home, that she should call you and read the ingredients to YOU. If that can't happen, she shouldn't take a chance to eat it. Im sure this happens more than you think & it's PERFECTLY okay to have these 'rules'.

4 moms found this helpful

Here is my take on what would probably work the best.
Given that your daughter is still "new" to advocating for herself about her migraines and triggers, you should probably send snacks along with her. After a while, she will learn what is ok and what is not, and she will get more comfortable (and she will REMEMBER) with asking before consuming:
"Does that ___ have any ____ in it?" Most of the time, if a child asks a mom if something is "in" something, the mom will ask follow up questions. I know I do.
The best thing for you to do right now, is send snacks and role play and practice with your daughter. At home, you are probably closely monitoring all she consumes, but SHE is going to have to do that when you aren't there to intervene. And she will, but there is a learning curve to becoming assertive enough to do this well.
Role play with her at home. Pretend you are a good friend's mom and your daughter is at a party at her house.
"Here Jenny, have some cookies and pass the rest out to the other kids, please." Then Jenny needs to say: ______________________________.
(tell her what to say. "Mrs. Crawford, do these cookies have any "x" "y" or "z" in them? Because those things trigger my migraines." or whatever you want her to say. )

3 moms found this helpful

She needs to be better educated on what goes into her mouth. Anyone who comes in contact with you or her should know about her intolerances/allergies. You need to be very direct when she goes to another's house. I use the word ER and tell people who don;t know that I do not want to go to the ER today so do not feed her this, and her list is over one page typed. I call them allergies too, even though most of them are intolerances.
My daughter keeps her list in her purse along with an epipen and Benadryl.
I give copies to anyone who might feed her.
We have restaurants that we cannot even walk into, so things like KFC are on the list.
She also has a small snack in her purse, like peanuts or a granola bar, at all times.

Absolutely send snacks with her anywere she goes.
Educate her while you educate yourself. Teach her how to read words like monosodium glutamate (a big trigger), nitrates, nitrites.
If it's milk, teach her the other words that mean milk proteins, like casein and lacto-anything.

I have checked friend's foods, but usually send snacks, our list includes many fruits so I have to be careful if the mom says we have fruit.

My best ally happens to be my daughter's best friend's mom. Her daughter gets stomache migraines, mine breaks out in hives. Mine can't have rice, hers can, mine --no soy, hers --no milk, hers no nitrites, mine no processed peanut butter. Both have to eat every three hours, hers gets a migraine if hungry, mine faints and has had a seizure

3 moms found this helpful

I think it would be great to pack your daughter her own snack. We have a neighbor whose daughter has a nut allergy. When she's over, mom always has her bring her own snack. This will put you in control, and then your daughter has to follow suit and to understand that she can only eat what you've packed, or there may be consequences, even with comparable products that seem alike. No one will mind-- this is all about taking care of herself. She may have to do this for a long time, so it's good for her to get into the habit now.

As for the party, she's going to have to learn to be self-disciplined about it. Perhaps you can have an 'okay' treat waiting at home for her.

2 moms found this helpful

Hey, I wonder if your daughter and I have the exact same food sensitivity. If I eat certain ingredients I also get awful migraines and throw up. We have to make almost everything from scratch, which is fine. Anyway, I think if it were me I would give her her own snack to bring. Also always remind her and educate her on what she can and cannot eat. If it is the same as me, it is very confusing and not easy. Tell her fresh foods like fruits are great. Any kind of cracker or processed food she should stay away from and eat her own snack you packed her. Poor kid. I know just how she feels (for me it is all the "msg" like ingredients - the free glutamates, that are in just about EVERYTHING). Honestly, I would also teach her best friend's moms about what she can and cannot eat as well...since she will most likely be going to those kid's houses more often.

2 moms found this helpful

I completely agree with what Patricia just said. We have snacks at church for the kids and I love one mom who brings her child an alternative so that he can still have something and not be left out and we like that we don't have to deal with possibly giving him something that he's sensitive to.

2 moms found this helpful

Just a thought from the social perspective of this. If you can, send your daughter with a box of her permitted snacks, enough for the other kid to share, and enough so that there might be some on hand for the mom to serve your daughter next time she comes over.

It makes the whole thing a lot less awkward for your daughter, the other mom, and her friend.

Good luck to you and yours,
F. B.

2 moms found this helpful

Because this is new and you're still figuring it all out, you should always send her with her own snacks that you know are safe. Do not rely on her to remember and absolutely don't rely on the other mothers. While we expect other parents to care for our kids when in their home, we can't expect them to understand or manage the scope of food intolerance. If you want, talk to the mom in advance and find out what she plans to serve the other children. That way, you can send your daughter with something similar.

This will be especially important at birthday parties. I always check with the host before we go to find out exactly what is being served. That way, if they are having pizza or sandwiches, I can send the same thing with my son. He brings his own cupcake and, if necessary, other snacks as well.

At 10 years old, your daughter should be able to learn to advocate for herself fairly quickly. Teach her NEVER to eat something if she doesn't have your approval. Teach her to ALWAYS ask what's in it. She should be able to learn to read labels herself. Give her a list of things to look out for so she can check labels and have another adult help her if needed.

My son will be five next month. When he started preschool 18 months ago, we used to practice daily how to handle snacktime. We'd pretend to be at school and he would recite his allergies. I would pretend to be the teacher and help him figure out what was and wasn't safe. He knows not to eat something he doesn't recognize, or isn't sure about, no matter how much he wants it. Even if other kids at school are eating a special treat that he really wants, he knows to say no and that I will make it up to him later.

The next few months will be very difficult, but you will figure it out. For now, always send her with her own snacks and start teaching her immediately how to deal with it. So sorry you have to go through this!

2 moms found this helpful

She's going to have to learn what she can and cannot eat. Perhaps you could get her a laminated cheat sheet to carry so she can look for the items she cannot have.

2 moms found this helpful

Yes, you should shoulder this responsibility in it's entirety. I would not want to make your daughter sick but would also NOT want to spend food money on foods that my family might not eat.

I think that way YOU know she is eating the foods that she can have without getting sick. She must have been so sad to have to leave.

If she had just taken a lunch bag of something with her food in it she would have been able to stay and enjoy the visit.

2 moms found this helpful

Feed her ahead of time and send her snacks with her. It is really hard when this is going on. My grandson has a nut allergy so we are well versed in it. It won't take long til she knows what she can and can't eat. But ti will be best to send stuff with her.

1 mom found this helpful

Sounds like there might be a few triggers for her sensitivities and therefore a bit more complicated. Your daughter is 10 though and she is fully capable of knowing what "biggies" she can not have and to always ask. For the ones that are more confusing, have her call you. In the meantime, send snacks until she can get in the habit of asking. My son is 4 and has a sensitivity to dairy. I agree, saying allergy is easier. He always asks if something has dairy in it and knows to pass if it does. But your daughter has had 10 years not needing to ask so it might take a few weeks for it to become a habit. Just always call the mom beforehand and remind your daughter a few times before and mention what happens if she doesn't ask.

1 mom found this helpful

Definitely send a safe snack with her, and tell the other mom she's not allowed to eat anything else, and only drink water. I would definitely appreciate it if I were the other mom. It's awful your daughter had to experience that severe reaction, but maybe it will help her to remember to check the label from now on. You'll get the hang of it soon. Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

We've had friends come with their own snacks. It's much appreciated bc I don't have to stress I'm feeding the wrong snack or maybe I don't have something appropriate or that is appropriate that they'll like etc. Until your daughter knows easy what she can or can't have, this is the easiest on everyone.

1 mom found this helpful

I have a friend who has a daughter who has a life threatening allergy to milk. I, personally, cannot have many food additives, flavorings, etc. I absolutely suggest sending your daughter with her own snacks. At 10, she should know NOT to eat something that she's not sure about. Labels & names for additives can be confusing to anyone. Please send her with some safe snacks so she doesn't get sick from being at someone else's house. Poor thing. Migraines are horrible.

1 mom found this helpful

Yep, definitely send your daughter with "right" foods until she really "learns" what her triggers are. It's yours and her responsibility not the responsibility of others.

1 mom found this helpful

I send my daughter w/her own snacks, and even meals for sleepovers, but she still tests the boundaries sometimes and will sneak something now and then, but then it makes her feel ill.

You may want to avoid drop-offs until you have the particulars sorted out. For sleepovers, if they family is having, say, tacos for dinner, we pack something similar so she doesn't feel too weird.

-M.

1 mom found this helpful

My daughter has food allergies so I will feed her ahead of time and then send her with a snack and Benadryl.

"Fortunately" my daughter has always had these allergies so it has not been an adjustment for her.

I know I can not expect the average parent to know what means 'milk' on an ingredient list so I try to take that onus off of them.

1 mom found this helpful

Send her with her own stuff until she's better at identifying what she can and can't have!

1 mom found this helpful

IMO until you are aware of what she can and can't eat and your daughter is familar with these foods, I would avoid sending her to a friends house for a long period of time. Avoid going to friends during meal time and instruct your daughter and the mom that she should not have anything to eat and to just drink water.

1 mom found this helpful

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