When Ella was about 8 months old, I decided to try giving her a little yogurt. I was getting bored of the same ol' fruit & veggie purees and wanted to try something new. During my next trip to the grocery store, I bought a giant container of Stonyfield Farms Organic Whole Milk Plain yogurt, waited 'till the weekend when I knew hubby would be home and counted down the minutes 'till lunchtime.
I put a teaspoon of the yogurt into a little dish, mixed in a big glop of homemade pureed pears and excitedly spooned a tiny bit into her mouth. She made a face as if to say "what the heck are you feeding me NOW?!" and opened her mouth for another bite. No sooner had I put the spoon in her mouth than she immediately started to cry. In general, our kid's not a crier; if she's crying, there's a damn good reason. I put the spoon down and started to pick her up. She was in a full on scream by this point.
As I sat down with her on my lap, she started coughing and gagging. I was trying my best to soothe her while my heart pounded. I had no idea what to do. Hubby was outside mowing the lawn and I knew he'd never hear me if I called for him. As I stood up to run outside with her, she coughed once more and threw up. Her cries were instantly less intense and she'd stopped gagging. I carried her to the sink to strip off her clothes and wipe her off and with another minute of cuddling and soothing words, a sip of water and a kiss, she was fine. The yogurt incident was over as fast as it had started.
A month later, I thought I might try giving her some cottage cheese. She was working very hard on her palmer & pincer grasps and I had read somewhere that cottage cheese was a good finger food. I put a teaspoon of the white stuff on her tray and sat down to watch. She enthusiastically dove in with both hands, shoveling it into her mouth. After a couple minutes, I noticed her face was getting a little red and blotchy. She started to fuss and scratch and pull on her ear, wipe her hands through her hair and rub her eyes. I grabbed a washcloth and as I started to clean her off, I noticed tiny red bumps behind her ears, down her neck, all over her arms and around her mouth. I wanted to cry. I was home alone.
I grabbed my cell phone and dialed the pediatrician's phone number. Of course they were on lunch break! I'm sure the answering service operator could sense the panic in my voice as she told me she'd have someone call me right back. Was it my imagination or were her lips starting to swell? Oh sweet Jesus. Why isn't the doctor calling me back?! After what seemed like an eternity but was probably, in reality, only a matter of minutes, the nurse finally called me back, asked a ton of questions and said to give her 1/2 a tsp. of Children's Benadryl. Of course I didn't have any in the house! Why would I? It says right on the box "Not for children under age 2." She was 9 months old!
I grabbed my wallet & car keys, loaded Ella into her carseat, jumped in the car and called my neighbor who (thankfully) works from home. My neighbor sat in the backseat, assuring me the whole twelve minute drive to CVS that Ella was, in fact, still breathing and no, the hives did not seem to be getting worse. When we got to the pharmacy, I ran to the Benadryl and ripped open the box. Gaahh!! It comes with a cup?! How was I going to get my 9 month old to drink from a cup? The kind pharmacist offered me a syringe and I quickly gave Ella a dose of the bubble gum flavored antihistamine. (If I wasn't completely panicked, I might have hesitated over giving my infant something that tasted like bubble gum but ya gotta do whatcha gotta do.) Almost immediately, her lips seemed less puffy. On our way home, my neighbor reassured me that she was looking better already. By the time we arrived back at our house, the hives were almost completely gone and I had a voicemail from the pediatrician asking me to set up an appointment with an allergist.