Jamie Kaufmann is a food allergy mom who has been learning and growing for the past decade. Life-threatening food allergies changed her family’s life and so she created the blog Milk Allergy Mom in order to share her experience with others.
What is the purpose of Milk Allergy Mom?
To facilitate an online community of support and encouragement for food allergy families around the country and around the world.
Where did the idea come from?
When my son was first diagnosed blogging was just coming on the scene. I was seeing other women documenting their life journeys online and decided I would give it a whirl.
When did things officially liftoff?
I would say a few years ago when ABC Nightline News contacted us about doing a story, is when I realized I should take the site more seriously. I started using Facebook and things grew from there. It's an active page with discussion from all over the world.
Why do you think Milk Allergy Mom is important?
There are several food allergy bloggers out there, and it's neat that we have our own perspectives and niches. I have experience in milk, egg, soy, peanut, nut, and wheat allergy, so I'm able to bring that knowledge to the table.
How does Milk Allergy Mom reach audiences and provide information/awareness?
Our blog is the central element of outreach, but we also use social media platforms such as Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram. We share recipes, studies, safe products, and real life experience for how to manage life-threatening food allergies. Allergy-free companies and organizations often ask us to share information and products, and our readers tell us they appreciate the information.
What has been your biggest challenge with having a child with allergies and running Milk Allergy Mom?
The continuing evolution and unknowns of food allergies; there are so many theories and debates, but nobody really knows the cause or cure. Thinking about the future can be debilitating so I learned to live in the moment and to try not to plan ahead too much.
The biggest challenge with running Milk Allergy Mom is having so much to share and not enough time to share it.
So far, what have you found most rewarding about running Milk Allergy Mom?
Including my children - especially my food allergy son. They know we are helping others through our struggles and triumphs. I know someday my son will be able to use the site as a cookbook or at least a scrapbook of what his childhood was like, and how hard we worked to keep him safe and feeling loved. It’s also amazing to hear families tell us we have encouraged and helped.
Holiday season can be difficult with traveling, family meals, and the pressures to keep in tradition. What have you done, or what pointers can you share, to make this easier?
I think the number one priority is safety, especially during holidays. The last thing we want is our child in the ER on Christmas. So that usually means things look differently than they used to for family celebrations.
I try to find safe, special foods that are close to family tradition foods. Sometimes it is safest to host an allergy-safe meal and invite family.
Travel isn't easy but can be done with extra planning. I know many food allergy families choose to avoid travel because of the added stress, but not everyone does.
Is there an allergy friendly family favorite that you make each year?
One of our top posts has always been dairy-free and egg free banana bread. It makes a great breakfast, snack, or side dish and also is great to give to friends and neighbors as a holiday gift. Throw in allergy-free chocolate chips and you're golden. It's also our base recipe for other breads like apple, zucchini, and pumpkin.
Are there any other things you would like to share?
Food allergies are complex. No family chooses to live within these restrictions and fears and most families are doing the best they can with what they have. Listening and caring goes a long way. Diagnosis statistics are growing so we will be hearing more about this topic. Food allergies also come on in adulthood, so it's good to be aware of symptoms and treatments. Also be aware that some chronic illnesses can be contributed to foods we don't know we are intolerant or allergic to. An allergist can help anyone begin to explore their situation, from infants to adults.