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Finding Balance When Not All Your Kids Have Food Allergies

two brothers

Sometimes food allergy parents wonder how to manage life when they also have children without food allergies.

No doubt, finding a healthy balance can be a bit confusing.

But rest assured, we hear over and over from parents that they have found their stride in this situation.

You won’t be surprised to hear, as is often the case with food allergies,

there’s not one right or wrong way to nurture both food allergic and non-allergic children in one home.

Over the years we have heard different approaches parents are taking,

and many seem to work well.

Here are some of the strategies parents share.

Plus, I will shed some light into our own process that has worked well for over fourteen years.

“You Can’t Live in a Bubble” Theory

Some allergy parents have a strong opinion that you can’t always keep allergy children away from allergens

and opt to keep their homes running the same way as always.

They want their child with allergies to learn how to function and maneuver around and cope with the world around them.

Not everyone agrees with this sentiment.

Some more prefer baby steps to surrounding their child with real world realities.

“Non-Allergy Sibling Needs Continuous Exposure” Theory

Others will opt to keep non-allergy children on their regular diet…

because they are afraid that if they take away high allergens the child will DEVELOP an allergy.

Continuous, regular exposure is their goal.

Scientifically, I think the verdict is still out on this, but it’s food for thought.

“Milk Is Only For Baby Cows” Theory

I’ve been doing this milk allergy thing long enough to have met a lot of dairy-free friends out there.

Many are vegans.

Many are vegetarians. 

Many are dairy-free by choice.

Some say milk is for baby cows, not humans.

Some allergy families adopt this same idea and are perfectly content leading all their children on a dairy-free path in life.

They find nutritional sources elsewhere in whole foods and supplements.


mom and two sons

Consider Your “Everyday” Situation

If your non-allergy child goes to school, this is probably a fair time to let them eat what they want outside the home if you want to.

If your children are still young and home during the day or if you home school your children,

you may find less opportunities to let for your non-allergy child eat what they can.

Think of ways to carve that time out for them, especially if they are older and craving their special treats.

In our house, giving our boys time apart to each enjoy their own treats and activities works well.

Sometimes a parent or grandparent takes one of our sons out for one-on-one time.

And then we switch it up next time.

My kids really look forward to this special time and attention with adults who love them.

My non-allergy kiddo loves to get a hamburger at McDonald’s.

And my milk allergic son loves having an ice cream date at Target.

Find Your Own Balance

It can take awhile to find your groove with balancing non-allergy and food allergy children.

You may try one system and find it flops.

So it’s important to keep evaluating and tweaking as needed.

Kids really are resilient,

especially when we model a positive attitude and willingness to accommodate everyone’s needs.

When our second child was born, we were still keeping dairy in the house.

Then my oldest had an anaphylactic reaction when I used the wrong cheese.

After some serious thought, we cut all dairy from the house and our non-allergy child was not having it, either.

Then over the years, we got more comfortable having limited dairy in our home.

We started to let our youngest have yogurt and ice cream occasionally as he shows responsibility and care for keeping the house safe.

You will find your balance.

Don’t get frustrated…it just takes time and regular adjusting as needed.

brothers in back seat

Non-Allergy Siblings Become Empathetic Advocates for Special Needs

However you decide to manage your children’s diets with food allergies,

there is one silver lining that I think you will find.

Non-allergy siblings become amazing advocates for their brother or sister with food allergies.

My youngest has always looked out for his older brother.

Asking friends to wash hands.

Telling neighbors they can’t bring cheese into our yard.

Requesting others to not eat nuts while visiting their house.

My non-allergy child also shows incredible empathy towards others with special needs,

even at the young age of nine.

Not to mention, food allergies have bonded my boys in special ways they otherwise would not experience.

I don’t take for granted the positives that have come with being a food allergy family.

Hopefully you have gleaned some good ideas and encouragement here about handling siblings of food allergy children.


Leave a comment and let us know some other ideas for nurturing both allergic and non-allergic children in one home.

We would love to hear your thoughts. 

Also know that inside Milk Allergy Mom Membership, food allergies are a family affair. Moms, kids, dads, grandparents…we all have fun together and support each other. Learn more here!



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Sue Webb

Tuesday 21st of March 2017

Hi Jane - Love your site. I just released a Parenting Food Allergies Podcast episode about growing up with a food allergy sibling. It's pretty powerful because it's from two of our kids perspectives as young adults. Many of the things you said in this post go along with what they say on the show. Pretty cool huh?! See link below. Sue Webb

Jamie Kaufmann

Tuesday 21st of March 2017

Hi Sue! Oh I'm excited to listen now, thanks for letting me know!

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