Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Labelling Baby

We go out with Baby several times in the week. 

Baby having a problem with milk, doesn't stop us going out and mixing socially, but it does mean we need to go prepared. I tend to take a small selection of suitable snacks, depending on where we are going and the length of time we are going to be out. I may stick a label on her, to warn people, but if it is just a small group, which we attend regularly and I am there too, I probably won't bother. If it's a new situation, with people we don't know, especially where there's food involved, then I definitely will!

Baby's label

Not everybody might like it, but I had the idea a while back, when Baby was first being weaned. It struck me that leaving her with others, had the potential to be tricky if she didn't have the ability to comprehend her situation and communicate with others. 

The problem particularly came home to me, one day, when she reached the age of one and became old enough to be left in Sunday School - where they thoughtfully provide a drink and a biscuit. Even though, the group has a proper registration system, which includes allergies, even though I had just handed over the biscuit to the helper and told her about Baby's intolerance, it happened! The leader, distracted at the point of giving out biscuits, forgot and offered her the wrong ones!

Fortunately, as Baby was still new in the group, and protested when I tried to leave, I was there. Now, although she wouldn't have gone into anaphylactic shock, or anything life threatening like that, there would have been unpleasant consequences for Baby, if she had taken the biscuit.

Casting around for a solution, at the time, I found websites which sold t-shirts and wristbands. I even designed her a little T-shirt. However who wants to keep wearing the same old T-shirt all the time, and, even if the wristband stayed on, would anyone actually notice and read it? 

Remembering my previous role, in school, I recalled that when children bumped their heads we put a sticker on them, so that even if we missed speaking to their parents about it, at the end of the school day, their parents could see it and would be able to keep an extra eye on them. 'Ah ha!' I thought, 'that's what we'll do with Baby!'

So The Hub and I found a free cow picture online and tried to word the sticker carefully, so that people would stop and think! Originally, we were told that 'Baby' was cow's milk protein intolerant. Thinking that, strictly speaking, she was not allergic, but rather intolerant, we wrote 'Dairy Allergy' on the sticker, as it was somewhat less of a mouthful than 'Cow's Milk Intolerant,' easier to read (in a hurry) and perhaps more easily not so much understood, but recognised as a problem. It turns out we were right - she has an Non Ige Milk Allergy. And the great thing about the sticker? It works!

The good thing is, Baby likes wearing her 'cow sticker'. People don't always see it, but I draw their attention to it, just to make sure. It has opened up conversation with people, thus raising awareness - her Tuesday group, started providing dairy free treats at the end of term, without me even having to say a word. And the best thing about the sticker situation is that (apart from the ink and the labels) like many of the other so-called 'best things in life,' they are free!

NB Please note. This label is all our own work (apart from the image). I am more than happy for people to copy this idea, but would ask that you use it just for personal use and not for profit.

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