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Food Allergy Fear To Food Allergy Freedom

Hi, I’m Jamie Kaufmann, Founder of Milk Allergy Mom.

For the past 17 years, it’s been my passion to help food allergy families.

I’m so glad you stopped in to learn more!

MY BACKGROUND

In a nutshell, it’s my calling to teach and encourage others.

I’ve done this in schools, in government, in churches, in home schooling…

And now I solely focus all my working hours helping families at Milk Allergy Mom.

It’s an absolute pleasure to walk alongside food allergy families every single day, helping make allergy life easier. 

Together, we can do this!

EDUCATION

I graduated Summa Cum Laude with my bachelor’s degree in history and political science, with certification to teach in secondary education. Plus, I finished 30 hours of my master’s degree in counseling. 

EMPLOYMENT

For six years, I worked as a caseworker in the United States Senate. 

For three years, I directed a national homeschool program in our community.

And for sixteen years, I’ve operated our website, Milk Allergy Mom. 

I’m also currently working in communications at a local high school. 

HISTORY OF MILK ALLERGY MOM

Milk Allergy Mom was created in 2008 as a convenient way to journal our unique life journey and safe foods for our boy.

Blogging was just becoming popular, and my hubby suggested it as a way to keep his mom in the loop.

Soon, we realized others were reading this little blog,

and supporting fellow allergy families over the past fifteen years has been an honor and a privilege for us.

It’s the kind comments and sweet online relationships that have kept me at this blogging thing for so long.

Truth be told, our readers help me more than I help them.

I love hearing tips, knowledge, and inspiration from our community.

Food allergy moms are my heroes!

OUR FOOD ALLERGY SYMPTOMS & DIAGNOSIS

Our anaphylactic son’s infancy was marked with

excessive crying, chronic ear infections, and many mystery hives.

At age 8 months, in 2006, the mystery was solved.

While eating a creamy baby food,

he immediately broke out in ripe hives around his mouth and on his hands.

Quickly, I gave him Benedryl (talk to your doctor, this can’t stop anaphylaxis), and I stopped feeding him.

But breathing and swallowing problems soon followed so we rushed to the ER.

During the drive, his face was so red and swollen that he looked like a burn victim.

Now we make sure to always have epinephrine with us as that’s the only treatment for anaphylaxis.

I so wish we had it for that first reaction. 

After a month of testing, we were told our adorable boy was..

allergic to soy (moderately), eggs (highly), peanuts (highly), and milk (very highly).

 

OUR CURRENT ALLERGIES

Our oldest is now 17-years-old and has outgrown all his initial allergies except milk.

But he is now highly allergic to cashew as well.

His first and only exposure to cashew in 2012 caused swollen throat and stomach cramps which ended up needing steroids.

We then avoided all nuts except almond milk, approved by our allergist because he was already drinking it daily. 

Our second son also tested high for food allergies to egg and peanut at 6 months of age.

In addition, oats caused him problems like diarrhea and a raw bottom,

but he outgrew all his allergies by age four.

However, he has eczema and exercise-induced asthma. 

Our first son still tests highly allergic to milk, and his numbers have even risen at times.

At one point he consumed a small amount of baked-in milk each day under doctor’s orders,

but his numbers went up so we fell away from that.

This was during a time when oral immunotherapy was not as strategic as it today,

and we now know the numbers going up before they come down is normal during desensitizing.

OUR DESENSITIZING FOOD ALLERGY TREATMENT

At age 11, our amazing son willingly began desensitizing his environmental allergies, especially pollen, by doing months of allergy shots.

He stuck with the intense protocol, starting with three shots a day twice a week!

He is now on maintenance with two hots every month.

We are so proud of his bravery and are seeing a difference in his environmental allergies as a result.

As the next step, we started oralimmunotherapy again for milk.

This means proactively attempting to desensitize his life-threatening milk allergy by giving it to him orally in a very strategic and methodical system under the supervision of our doctor.

Do not do this at home without professional consultation and help.

We share the progress of our desensitizing adventure inside our membership as we pray it works and inspires others.

OUR ORAL FOOD CHALLENGES

In addition to early food challenges for both our boys as toddlers (peanut, egg, and more)…

our son with milk allergy has recently passed several tree nut challenges, much to our surprise. 

He was about 14 when we started these challenges, after getting to our daily maintenance dose for milk.

So far he is cleared for almond, walnut, and hazelnut…which was once one of his off-the-chart allergies on paper. 

This has opened up even more foods for him before going off to college, and he’s super excited. 

 

OUR ALLERGY LIFE STYLE

Here are a few tidbits about our everyday life as a food allergy family over the years.

  • We chose to live in the city, by the hospital.
  • We home schooled until high school.
  • We didn’t eat out much before food allergy treatment at age 11.
  • We only traveled 1-5 hours away from home, with all our own food.
  • Disney World, 12 hours away, eventually rocked our world for eating out safely.
  • Now with milk OIT and some successful nut challenges, my kiddo eats out dairy and nut free at many places.
  • Our son with allergies is beginning his college search!

However, each allergy family must make their own life choices based on their own comfort levels, circumstances, and goals. 

What we’ve done for 17 years may not work for others. 

And truthfully, we’ve made a lot of pivots through the years. 

It’s always been our firm belief that there’s no one right way to run a food allergy household. 

At Milk Allergy Mom, we don’t judge others’ choices about how to lovingly keep their allergic children safe and happy.

And that’s the overarching tone that we insist on around here.

We are truly a judgement-free zone for all food allergy families working hard to do their best. 

FROM FEAR TO FREEDOM

I’m so thankful that we have successfully moved from food allergy fear to food allergy freedom over these nearly two decades. 

If you find yourself often living in fear with food allergies, I hope this encourages you. 

By the word freedom, I don’t mean my kiddo can eat anything he wants now. 

He still has many food restrictions and must be diligent everyday to stay safe. 

In addition, he still must carry two epinephrine auto-injectors with him at all times. 

By the word freedom, I mean we are free from the constant worry, stress, and anxiety over food allergies. 

Yes, there’s still concern and each day requires some intentional planning and strategy.

However, our family has learned to lean into the joy, happiness, and fun in life with food allergies. 

Here’s how I think we got to this better place.

1. ORAL CHALLENGES & ALLERGY TREATMENTS

Allergy science has changed so much since our diagnosis. 

We made sure we had a cutting-edge allergist, learned the latest data, and decided to get pro-active. 

With this, we’ve lessened the severity of our son’s environmental, milk, and nut allergies. 

And as a result, he does have some new food freedoms like eating out more. 

But not all food allergy freedom means eating new foods. 

2. KNOWLEDGE WITH TIME & EXPERIENCE

We certainly have to attribute some of our freedom to good old time and experience. 

As a new food allergy mom recovering from the trauma of my baby’s anaphylaxis, I was lived in a lot of fear. 

Some of you may know the long recovery process after something like that. 

Eventually, life gets back to normal, and you’re ready for adventures again. 

I guess after 17 years, we’ve learned the cycles.

We know accidents happen. We know with help we recover. We know it gets better. And we learn from our mistakes.

Additionally, we’ve been able to teach allergy management and stress coping skills to our kids as they grow and mature.

With these skills, we travel more. We try more new things together. We stretch our comfort zones, because we’ve put in the work to get us to this point. 

You will get there, too. It just takes time and willingness to learn. 

3. CONSTANT SUPPORT

Here’s the best news.

You may not be able to combat food allergies head on with treatment and oral challenges at the moment.

And you may not have years of learning and experience under your belt just yet. 

But finding support from allergy parents in your shoes and by your side is something you can do right out the gate or choose anytime you want. 

Our goal at Milk Allergy Mom is to be the fast track to more food allergy freedom, no matter where you are in the journey.

It’s how we’ve tried new restaurants and let our kids go to camp.

It’s how we’ve learned quick tips and tricks that have spurred us on to more freedom than we imagined possible. 

We are forever grateful for all the support that has gotten us so far! 

4. OUR FAITH

I would be remiss not to mention the most important factor in our move from fear to freedom in our food allergy path. 

And that’s our faith in Jesus. 

We can do all things through Him who strengthens us, and we are grateful He’s entrusted us with heading up this outreach. 

WE ARE HERE FOR YOU

Of course, we pray for less fear and more freedom for all our food allergy friends! 

And we are here to help.

Here are several ways to learn and get support at Milk Allergy Mom:

  • Facebook community of over 18,000
  • free recipes in email
  • shopping help on our website
  • an online support group of over 200 invested families

Less fear. More freedom. Together, we can do this.

Click here to JOIN OUR COMMUNITY!

We are so glad you’re here.

SEE JAMIE’S BIO

teen with milk allergy eating dairy free dip n dots

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Mariana Neumann

Tuesday 14th of November 2023

Hi! I just joined your community. While I’ve been on a Facebook break this year, I’m hoping I can still connect and get updates from you. I’m particularly interested in your oit updates. I have a 4 yo girl who has been allergic to dairy but mainly the whey protein since birth. Also peanuts and cashews but diary is what has caused the major issues. She had severe eczema and I followed a protocol online with a doctor that included an elimination diet to clear up her eczema. She had not been ANA before that. She had hives to eggs, and a few instances with hives to some type of dairy product. When we did independent testing through a functional doctor we found out she was so allergic to whey but not so severely to dairy products. She had had ice cream and cakes before that. After the protocol, her skin improved and we wanted to resume dairy and other foods and probably didn’t introduce it slowly enough. She ate some dairy and went into anaphylactic. After 6 months of er trips and several reactions and epi pens, we decided to try oit. Unfortunately after almost 8 months in treatment she was having reactions to her dose to milk and peanut and not progressing as expected. We halfed her dose and planned on being at half dose for 3 months and she just had another reaction last night. A sneaky one that didn’t show us the typical signs so it was scary. Our allergist is now suggesting SLIT for a year but she may be too young to hold it under her tongue for 2 minutes so we are debating if we should stop completely. We’re losing hope and we’re not sure what to do.

Jamie Kaufmann

Tuesday 14th of November 2023

Hi Mariana,

I just sent your welcome email, we are very happy to walk alongside you. Allergies are hard and so is treatment, that's for sure. We just had our annual appointment yesterday and learned all our numbers are going down! Kiddo is dosing milk daily but still with milk showing as allergies on his skin test. I'll be sharing more inside the membership group soon on that. So sorry to hear about the anaphylaxis , so so disheartening when that happens. I hope you can find some rest and recovery for the next week or so. We utilize a lot of allergy counseling resources inside membership. And lots of mamas are there to send virtual hugs. We also have our group on an app outside of Facebook just for those who prefer not to be on social media. We are here for you. I'm sending lots of hugs and can't wait to see you inside. We have a whole library of OIT video updates with myself and allergists. Hope you find them helpful and encouraging. And ask the group questions any time, we are happy to help! Welcome again! And feel better soon. xo

Kathy Hughbanks

Sunday 18th of November 2018

Info I would like to share. This is coming from a 61 years, life time milk allergic person. Discovered that at 5, life and milk allergic is not easy. No ice cream, no pizza etc. But I have positive info to share . COOK. Butter replacement. Fleschmann's UNSALTED stick. It's marked with a U in a circle IMPORTANT with no D beside it. No dairy . Please. SHARE Also caseinate is a milk protein. I can't do that either. No goats milk either. Restaurant, ask, ask,ask and then check the food for relaxing confirmation Please share. Kids and older folks are not the only one who have milk. They just said they don't like milk.

Emily Stewart

Wednesday 12th of July 2017

Hi Jamie, Stumbled across your website while looking for a tasty vegan banana cake recipe.

I am a proud mum of Noah my three-year-old. He has dairy, egg and peanut allergies. Also, he suffers with eczema and asthma which are triggered by the allergies.

Similar story to yours, at 6 months I weaned Noah and discovered his severe allergy to dairy (tongue swelling, hives and vomiting). Did a food diary and met with a paediatrician who did the allergy testing and confirmed he had an allergy to dairy. The same process with the egg and peanut allergy testing. I have tried him on goats milk but he's allergic to that also.

It's taken from his weaning and up till now for me to get a handle on the situation. Even though sometimes he still has flare ups (I'm sure he is allergic to more things than we know and some things he can have a reaction to by it just being in the air (going into a coffee shop is now out of the question).

It's very frightening and has led me to consider home schooling him. I don't want to wrap him up in bubble by any means but I do like to monitor what food he is around and the thought of him going to school with children who will be eating things around him that he is allergic to, and coming into contact with him, scares me.

I'm so glad I found your website, it's great to read about other children in a similar situation to Noah who have worked through it and come out the other side. I just pray that he will hopefully one day 'grow out' of his allergies and we will be able to look back with gladness that we've left that chapter behind.

I look forward to reading your newsletters.

Emily UK

Jamie Kaufmann

Friday 14th of July 2017

Hi Emily! So happy to meet you. We love international friends! Yes, we love home school so I hope you find some encouragement in that here. My kids are very well adjusted and honestly it's just removed a huge layer of stress for us. Life is pretty laid back and enjoyable. Live in the moment, they grow up so fast! And if you change your mind, kids do fine with changing the school setting. We would love to have you look into our new private support group. We have friends from Canada and Australia. We need a UK member! :) Several home school, too. Check it out at milkallergymom.com/subscription and let me know if you have any questions! Happy to help. Give your little one a hug from us. Jamie

Kallam

Sunday 9th of July 2017

Hi there, this is probably a silly question, but I was wondering if you had tried Goat's milk? This still contains lactose, however it is often more digestible than cow milk.

Cheers,

Kallam

Jamie Kaufmann

Sunday 9th of July 2017

Hi Kallam, not silly at all. It's a common question. Our allergist highly advised against trying it based on how allergic our son is. She said the proteins are very similar. Hope that helps!

A gray

Saturday 10th of June 2017

My 6 year old son has allergies to wheat egg and oats. He recently has been allowed to add dairy to his diet. That's been a great blessing that we can add somethings to his diet. We recently had an exposure which sent me scouring the web once again to read others experiences. This time I decided to reach out and tell some about our journey. It's therapeutic to read others accounts and to get your own out with others who have been there. When my son was two months old he reacted to egg in my breast milk. His eyes were red and swollen and I took him to my pediatrician immediately not realizing how severe it could have been. That started us off to the allergist for testing. He only tested positive to egg at that time. I was encouraged to continue nursing and avoid his allergen. He also cried a lot with stomach aches little did I know that he had other allergies. I tried cows milk out on him at 9 months old and he broke out in hives. We went back to the allergist for testing and tested only positive for milk and egg. When he was 11 months old I gave him a cracker at the dinner table that didn't contain either milk or egg and his lip swelled. So back to the allergist again with a food challenge to wheat. This never showed up on the testing. And after just a few small bites he had to have an Epi pen. From then to now I've learned so much. The main thing I would encourage is to not be afraid to administer the Epi pen. When I was new at this I was so scared to give it, but after seeing it's immediate reversal of symptoms that fear is gone. If your just starting out in the game don't hesitate to use your auto injector if you are suspect they have ingested an allergen. Our last two episodes were very scary. This last one we were in over night. My son is big enough now and has had the Epi pen enough that he knows he doesn't want the shot. I tried to administer the auto injector while he was standing which was a big mistake I now know to lay them down. I gave him one and he moved and it wasn't in the 10 seconds I made another attempt and he moved again bending the needle and all the medicine leaked out. I gave him Benadryl called the allergy fellow on call at our local children's hospital and they were waiting for us to arrive. Just like you I reiterate you are your child's advocate even in a medical facility. My son showed no outward signs other then he was incredibly lathargic . Which was dismissed as the large dose of Benadryl. I knew he was acting strange to me but listened to the doctors. His blood pressure was taken Only initially and not again. They released us at 5 and a half hours past the time he ingested it. They released us and on our way to the car he turned white as a sheet and started stumbling around. I picked him up and ran him right back in. He had vomiting and diarrhea. Once settled back in the room I had to insist that I thought he needed another shot of ephinephrine. The doctor told me well that's only one system the stomach and I said no don't you see how his pupils look. They took his blood pressure and it was dropping. And he had slurred speech and she said yes momma your right. So another shot of ephinephrine and some fluids to get his blood pressure back up. an over night visit for monitoring. Do not be afraid to speak up. Also make sure your auto injectors have not expired!!! We made that mistake our previous exposure. We were just reflecting and so happy because it had been over a year since an accident had happened then boom. We try to keep him as safe as possible but there are times there have been accidents. Thank you for allowing me to read yours and others experience and getting my story out.

Jamie Kaufmann

Monday 12th of June 2017

How scary, you did the right things. So glad! Thanks for sharing your story. It will help so many. We are glad to have you here and hope you never have to go through that again. Bless you!

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