• I realised being an overly protective parent leads to a weak child
I honestly thought I was going to be one of ‘those’ mums. I was going to keep it organic, sugar-free, carb-free; in short, an overly helicopter mum. In my defence, most first-time parents are like this. Only the seasoned parents are unbothered by the small stuff. They say experience is the best teacher.
My sister would always hound me about my methods and tell me off about my overbearing, smothering mothering. I learnt to supress my instinctive protective methods so my son would fearlessly grow into the person he wants to be. However, of all the things that taught me how to let go of my protective style of parenting, it was when my son developed an allergy to eggs that I learnt the hard way.
I realised being overly protective parent leads to a weak child. None of us has any food allergies, and I never imagined my child would be the first. Although allergies to eggs is common to babies, it is often outgrown by the toddler stage. The paediatrician asked me to try again when the baby is one and a half years, I told myself that is too late. Although I have not started giving him cooked eggs, I feed him foods containing eggs.
I started allowing him to have crumbs of cake, pancakes and the likes. I would then observe him for any type of reaction symptom. I would also follow up the bite with water to wash it down. I have since moved on to bite-sized pieces, and I am still very cautious about how he is reacting. I am ready to swing into action if need be.
I also reduced making baby foods as I introduced him to ‘adult’ food at an early stage. I would serve him regular homemade foods like pilau, fish dishes, coconut foods and tea. I also introduced him to known allergens like dairy and nuts gradually. I was glad to see him enjoying the taste without having any sensitivity or resistance towards such foods.
The last thing I did might be controversial, but I must emphasise that it worked for my child as I have no experience with other kids. I introduced my child to foods with preservatives and artificial flavouring after 10 months. We eat a lot of canned beans at home, and I smear a little bit of it on his toast, which he absolutely loves. My nieces and nephews also give him bites of their ‘big kid’ snacks, most of which have artificial flavourings and preservatives. I do, however, keep a watchful eye and limit the amount of bites he can have. He still depends mostly on his flavour-free rice cakes and baby biscuits for snacks.
I made such bold moves with my son’s dietary changes because I am prepared in case of an allergic reaction. I also give him very little bites at the beginning so I can notice the slightest change, if any. I must preach caution. No two kids are alike and no allergies are the same. It is always best to follow a doctor’s directive in case of doubt.