My name is Callie. In a pre-child life, I was a medical doctor. The real deal- working in a variety of clinical and research roles for nearly 10 years. I was good at it, I loved it, but pretty much the instant I held my first bub in my arms, I couldn’t imagine going back.
As luck would have it, my two oldest children had non-IgE food allergies to milk and soy (Cows milk and soy protein intolerance- CMSPI). So very early in my motherhood journey, I was deep into dietary restrictions for myself during breastfeeding and then the kids as they weaned.
Caleb also had CMSPI, but it was an inadvertent exposure to peanuts at the age of 4 months that brought us crashing into the world of IgE food allergies and anaphylaxis.
It was a Tuesday morning, I was home with the boys, my little girl was at preschool, my husband was at work. During a game of ‘cars’, Ethan (then 2yrs old) touched his 4-month-old baby brother’s lips with a finger still sticky from eating a peanut butter biscuit.
10 minutes later I was calling an ambulance- Caleb had developed a rash, his face, lip, and tongue had swollen and his cry had changed- he looked terrified. I would learn later that this is what anaphylaxis can look like in a 4 month old.
Within a week we had seen our amazing immunologist and had learnt that in addition to his known CMSPI, Caleb was likely anaphylactic/allergic to all nuts, egg, and wheat. We left that appointment with a script for an epipen, an action plan and a whole lot of overwhelm.
Life had pretty much been turned on its head.
I was overwhelmed with the responsibility of feeding my family with so many restrictions in place. I couldn’t see how we would ever eat out or travel or just relax and enjoy food again. The idea of leaving Caleb in someone else’s care, starting preschool or school just seemed unimaginable.
It’s not a comfortable place to be, but when you’re in the thick of it, finding a way out can be hard.
I have learnt so much over the last 3 years- not just the medical side of it (because let’s face it, any medical diagnosis brings a whole new language and set of experiences to learn) but I have developed strategies to reduce the overwhelm and bring the joy back into food. Caleb is 3 years old now and he is the happiest little man around, despite still having 6 food allergens we need to avoid.
I know what it is to be overwhelmed. I know how hard it can feel and how isolated you can become. But it doesn’t have to stay that way and I am passionate about helping you move past that point and into a much more comfortable space.
I have helped other mums at all stages of their allergy journeys shift perspective, implement practical solutions that make living with food allergies so much easier, and of course, find ways to make mealtimes so much easier and more fun.
You don’t need to stay stuck. I’d love to help your family thrive as well- let’s get started!
Callie graduated with a medical degree from the University of New South Wales in 2001: BSci Med, MBBS (Hons1). She worked in various clinical medicine and research roles before starting training in rehabilitation medicine. Callie left medicine in 2011 to care for her young family. Kid Proof Food was founded in 2018 after Callie’s first-hand experience as a mum to a child with multiple food allergies.