Whether you are nursing, starting solid foods with your child, or simply looking for a way to learn more about your child’s responses to foods in his/her diet, a food journal can be a helpful tool in figuring out safe vs. unsafe foods for your little one.
When their little ones initially receive an FPIES diagnosis, many parents find journaling helpful for learning what their little one’s “baseline” or “norm” looks like. Charting their little ones’ responses to foods, both positive and negative, can be useful in sorting out and identifying potential reaction symptoms, if and when they occur.
On our website, we provide you with some helpful sample food journals. Whether it is structured, open ended, a combination of both, or even a more detailed “hour by hour” food and symptom journal, you can find examples and blank templates on this helpful page.
Today, we’d like to feature a specific type of journal from a fellow FPIES mom! Krissandra Cox recently shared a colorful picture of her version of a food journal. It is color coded for types of symptoms observed, and it is graphed to show frequency of those observations. Krissandra shared this with us about her journal, “I created it after asking myself what her doctors seemed to really care about: what food did she try, and how did she react? They never asked me for specific dates, or at what time of day I fed her something, or how long the trial lasted; that information was useful to ME, but not [necessarily as much] to her doctors. In the end, the only important factors [they needed] were Food:Reaction. So, I made the chart using a sliding scale of symptoms that someone could easily look at and see a pattern. The worst offenders fall into the orange-red zone, which means a re-trial would happen much later for those foods. Her allergist and GI loved it and made a copy!” This journal style intends to give a “snap shot” of how each trial may be going. It’s no surprise that her doctors– and other FPIES parents!– appreciate it!
In the true FPIES community fashion of families helping families, we were thrilled to see another mom, Robyn Stojakovich, generously offering to put this template into a printable/editable format for others to utilize and benefit from as well! You can download your copy here, save it and print it, or bookmark it online for a quick reference at your fingertips!
No matter what style of food journal that you use, you may want to consider taking it to your child’s appointments! Some doctors find it helpful to view the food journal periodically to track symptoms, to check on the child’s diet, or for other reasons. The journal offers them a window into what you as the caregiver are observing each day.
Can’t quite find the right fit from the pre-made templates? Food journals can be just as unique as our little ones! In case you would like to create your own original version, here are some tips to get you started:
Remember– whether it is written in a spiral notebook or with a computer program, the key is making it work for YOU so that it can be best optimized as another tool for the toolbox.
Need more tools for your toolbox? For more tools and resources for day to day FPIES management, be sure to check out The FPIES Foundation’s Toolbox today!
This post was written by the Executive Board of The FPIES Foundation.