Peanut Free.. What does that Mean for You?

We have not been a peanut free home for long; only since October of this year. Before that the only one who watched their peanut intake was Brian and that was because he thought he had a mild allergy that he had to be responsible for on his own.

Boy were we wrong.

Now we do not have any nut products in our home and are in the process of educating friends and family on how to be nut free when we visit, and the proper use of an EpiPen.

I’m thankful that we’ve had since October to ease into this new lifestyle because it would have been overwhelming all at once.

Being new at this, I’m still learning, and am far from the seasoned allergy mom, but I have already learned a few tips and tricks that will help those who have friends and family with nut allergies feel more comfortable.

Hopefully these tips will assist in preparing your homes and give peace of mind prior to a visit from a child with an allergy.

1. Sit Down and Breath

Your first reaction will be to run around your kitchen and read every label in your house, ensuring anything containing nuts is thrown into a bag and whipped into the back of the utility cupboard.
Not necessary.
Simply putting the items containing peanuts out of reach of children is all that‘s needed (unless the child is severely allergic and will have a reaction to the smell).
Most companies list the ingredients on the label and state “Peanut Free.” If the product does not state this anywhere, and there are no nuts in the ingredients, use your judgement.

2. Communication

Speak to the child’s parents about their allergy, what it looks like when they have peanuts, and the severity of it. Some children cannot smell peanut butter without going into anaphylactic shock, others need to ingest it. Understanding what happens when an allergy occurs, what to look for, and how to work an EpiPen will ensure an emergency is handled that much more effectively.

3. Education

Read information on peanut allergies, the dangers of the nut if ingested, and share the information with your family, including children.
Speak to your school about the importance of being nut free, if they aren’t already, and to parents who may hold issue about a peanut free environment.
Advocacy is crucial in keeping children safe.

4. Ongoing Communication and Follow up

Because children grow so fast and change so much as they develop it is important to communicate often with the parents regarding the allergy, and to stay alert and aware.
A peanut allergy isn’t just for one day, it takes everyday awareness.
Every time the child comes to your home the steps above should be taken to ensure safety, it’s easy to forget unless you are living with it.

5. Enjoy the Child

The allergy does not define them.

Does your child have an allergy?
What can you add to this list?

I’d really love for you to share with me so I can learn!


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58 Responses to Peanut Free.. What does that Mean for You?
  1. Alison@Mama Wants This
    January 16, 2012 | 6:47 am

    I think it’s great you’re sharing these tips, Leighann. I know it’d help many.

    • multitaskingmumma
      January 16, 2012 | 8:32 pm

      Thank you Alison.
      I hope someone learns something from this.
      I know I’ve been learning a lot.

  2. Karin @Mommy's Paradise
    January 16, 2012 | 7:04 am

    You are handling it pretty good and thanks for sharing all the info. We don’t have allergies in our house, but intolerance to certain foods, or food items. The reaction is limited to the skin (so far) and shows a couple of days after the contact. It’s very hard to find the triggers, I can tell you. And I was reading and learning a lot at the beginning, the internet is great for this.
    My addition to your list: get in touch with other parents with kids with peanut allergy, and learn, learn and learn some more.

    • multitaskingmumma
      January 16, 2012 | 8:31 pm

      Oh I so remember when our daughter would break out into rashes and have reactions after baths and we didn’t know why.
      Turns out she has a reaction to baby powder.

  3. Galit Breen
    January 16, 2012 | 7:36 am

    *Such* important information that you’re learning, gathering, and sharing!

    I love that last line – enjoy that child!

    • multitaskingmumma
      January 16, 2012 | 8:30 pm

      Caution doesn’t mean not having fun!

  4. liz
    January 16, 2012 | 8:15 am

    Advocacy, advocacy, advocacy! Just as one recent example…when we went to the surgery center for her adenoids and tubes, the surgeon just happened to say to me before we got started that afterwards, she would be given popsicles and juice. However, she can’t have either without severe stomach pain and a blown up butt. So I told him she couldn’t have it, then I told the nurse who did pre-op, then the OR nurse team who came to get her, then the nurse who was in post-op (who wanted to give them to her) and then the anesthesiologist who was trying to cheer her up by offering her a popsicle and juice.


    • multitaskingmumma
      January 16, 2012 | 8:30 pm

      Imagine if you hadn’t been there to alert them!
      Good thing you spoke up and continued to speak up, and didn’t rely on them to tell each other.

  5. Brianne
    January 16, 2012 | 8:51 am

    People can have reactions from a SMELL!?! Holy cow I had no idea!! thanks for the tips!! Keep up the good work!

    • multitaskingmumma
      January 16, 2012 | 8:28 pm

      Yeah! Some have really really severe allergies and it can be to the entire peanut family, including peas!!!
      That’s why it’s so overwhelming.
      Thank you for having a interest and educating yourself, it’s so nice to know other people care.

  6. Theta Mom
    January 16, 2012 | 9:04 am

    You know my story & where I stand, continue to be THAT mom – I am alongside you. I’m always a tweet or email away if you need support. Because I get it.


    • multitaskingmumma
      January 16, 2012 | 8:27 pm

      Oh there will so be a post from me some day soon where I have given my child a food with nuts in it because I wasn’t paying attention.
      We all do it.
      We’re human.
      Thank you for being who you are.
      Thank you! xo

  7. Amber
    January 16, 2012 | 9:42 am

    You know whats just awesome though…seriously awesome. Is when your severally allergic child goes to your mom’s house for the weekend and she knows she’s allergic. But yet she still gives her peanut butter. Then calls you freaking out because “she forgot.” Hello Mother you said you were peanut free. That the only reason you would have peanut butter would be fore the kids and since they can’t have it…So be prepared for that because no matter how much you talk and you educate you will have that one person who “forgets”. It will the person you would think would remember.

    • multitaskingmumma
      January 16, 2012 | 8:26 pm

      That happened to us at Christmas.
      I get it.

  8. Amber
    January 16, 2012 | 9:43 am

    But on a plus side…Soybutter is really awesome and taste like peanut butter. Just has an after taste. BUT if you use jelly no after taste. 🙂

    • multitaskingmumma
      January 16, 2012 | 8:24 pm

      Worth a try! After taste or not!

  9. Kristin
    January 16, 2012 | 10:32 am

    Education is #1 for me. Both kids have nut allergic kids in their classes, wish the families sent home information.

    • multitaskingmumma
      January 16, 2012 | 8:23 pm

      What a great idea!!
      You know what? I bet no one has every thought of that. First, because they worry that the families would think they were over stepping and second, because it’s never been mentioned.
      You should bring that up!

  10. Stacey
    January 16, 2012 | 1:56 pm

    Just keep educating yourself and especially others. FAAN is a great site for information on peanut allergies. If there’s anything we can do to help, please let us know.

    • multitaskingmumma
      January 16, 2012 | 8:22 pm

      THANK YOU!!!
      I’m all over FAAN, reading and learning!
      And now? I’m going to be all over your site!

  11. Kimberly
    January 16, 2012 | 4:03 pm

    I’ve dealt with several children with severe peanut allergies when I was teaching. The best thing that you can do is to communicate and become your daughter’s advocate. Right now you are her voice and she needs you to use it.

    • multitaskingmumma
      January 16, 2012 | 8:21 pm

      I’m a huge advocate for things I am passionate about! No worries on using my voice sister!

  12. Kapaldo Family
    January 16, 2012 | 10:42 pm

    I need to emphasize to my 3.5 year old not to accept treats offered by family members or adults (and even peers) who don’t know any better. Sometimes I wish I had a t-shirt I could put her in at family gatherings and other social events that says, “Please, do not feed me, I have allergies” (or something like that). I also repeatedly tell her not to help herself because she doesn’t know any better.

    • multitaskingmumma
      January 17, 2012 | 7:14 pm

      We were just talking about having a T-Shirt made for my daughter for when she goes to school and has to go on trips.
      She wouldn’t wear it every day, just on special trips.

      Does your child have a peanut allergy?

      • Kapaldo Family
        January 17, 2012 | 8:37 pm

        Fortunately she’s just allergic to walnuts, so we avoid anything manufactured where walnuts or tree nuts are handled (and we also found out she’s allergic to crab). We were at a Christmas party at church where many brought a dessert to share. Nothing was labeled so I ended up not giving her much. Turns out quite a few desserts had walnuts in them. Another idea would be to encourage people at gatherings to list any potential allergens.

  13. Eric Storch
    January 17, 2012 | 10:10 am

    Great tips! My oldest has an allergy to hazelnuts which means no more Nutella. 🙁

    • multitaskingmumma
      January 17, 2012 | 7:13 pm

      Do you know what?
      I’ve never even tasted Nutella.
      I hear I’m missing out.

  14. Greta @gfunkified
    January 17, 2012 | 10:33 am

    This is great information, Leighann! It’s a lot different to be the parent of an allergic child than to be the “host” to one, so it’s nice that you’re making it easy for kids to have their friends over.

    • multitaskingmumma
      January 17, 2012 | 7:12 pm

      That was my goal.
      I don’t want my child to ever have to miss out because a parent is afraid of what might happen.

  15. Alexandra
    January 17, 2012 | 7:05 pm

    The most important thing is for you and your husband to have no fear and to feel confident in your use of the Epi pen.

    My husband was afraid of it.

    I had him practice on stuffed animals with the real ones: the ones that were expired.

    He was so shocked at the kickback when he first did it.

    But, since I have 3 kids with PA, every year, we have 3 epipens to practice with.

    And I have him do it every year.

    The trainers are NOT EVEN CLOSE to how a real one feels.

    I say doing this eliminates the fear of having to use it: and it readies him for the moment he may have to.

    My other big tip: just be fat, dumb, and happy.

    It’s the only way we’ll make it through.


    • multitaskingmumma
      January 17, 2012 | 7:12 pm

      Thank you so much for this Alexandra!
      I had no idea that there was a kick back from the EpiPen, we only have the training pen.
      We will be practicing on some stuffed animals when ours expires… fingers crossed that we don’t have to use it before that.

      I’m already fat, dumb and happy.

    • MommaKiss
      January 19, 2012 | 4:03 pm

      I need to add here that a friend of ours needed to use their pen, and the meds went into HIS finger instead of the kid’s thigh. He was a MESS. So they’re in the ER, the kid is doing fine, but everyone was laughing at the dad, high on Epi!

      • multitaskingmumma
        January 19, 2012 | 10:56 pm

        I would have NEVER thought of that! I’m going to make sure we’re aware of where our hands are when we practice!

  16. Sarcasm Goddess
    January 17, 2012 | 9:28 pm

    Peanut allergies freak me out, and that was before I knew that some people could have a reaction simply from smelling peanuts!

    • multitaskingmumma
      January 20, 2012 | 1:03 pm

      They are pretty overwhelming.
      We’re learning this because we can’t find a daycare that will take our daughter.. they are too afraid

  17. Brandy @ momwich
    January 17, 2012 | 10:58 pm

    I’m just learning about this “smelling” thing – wow…

    • multitaskingmumma
      January 20, 2012 | 1:02 pm

      It’s very confusing! Some people can’t even have peas because they’re part of the nut family.

  18. Sandy@Sinsationally Me
    January 18, 2012 | 2:16 am

    Thank you for posting your tips. I think if you just take it a day at a time, you’ll be ok. You have educated yourself and are prepared for emergencies. It just sucks when it involves your child. I’m sure you wouldn’t be half as worried if it was just you. Hugs to you and your little one.

    • multitaskingmumma
      January 20, 2012 | 12:54 pm

      we are doing our best to keep everyone in our lives educated and aware.
      Thank you so much for your confidence and sweet comment!

  19. Laura@Catharsis
    January 18, 2012 | 8:23 am

    This is so scary, but I am glad you outlined what to do in the event someone you know has a child with a nut allergy. It must be so difficult and terrifying given the number of products that contain nuts. Thank you for spreading awareness and talking about an issue that has had a stigma associated with it, especially when it comes to banning peanut butter and other products from day care and school.

    • multitaskingmumma
      January 20, 2012 | 12:50 pm

      Thank you!
      I think that education on issues that people are afraid of or concerned about is so important. It takes the fear away.

  20. Andrea @ The Penny-Roach's
    January 18, 2012 | 8:35 am

    Communication and education is so important. Our school unfortunately goes a little crazy at the mention of the word allergy, and if one kid on another floor has a mild allergy to bananas (if eaten), then the entire school is not allowed to eat bananas. I wish those parents would communicate to school what the actual precautions should be.

    Good luck on your journey!

    • multitaskingmumma
      January 20, 2012 | 12:48 pm

      Education and communication!
      YOU SAID IT!!

  21. deborah l quinn
    January 18, 2012 | 10:58 pm

    What an important post. I wish schools could hand out this information; it would be helpful for parents whose kids don’t have allergies but whose classmates do. It would also be GREAT if stores could do better stocking peanut-butter substitutes–do you know any good brands? I’ve been going crazy trying to find things that my kids will eat b/c their school is pretty much nut-free but my kids pretty much live on PBJ. Would love some help! Thanks.

    • multitaskingmumma
      January 20, 2012 | 11:43 am

      I’m still trying to find peanut free products.
      Maybe in Canada are making them now but I’m not sure about the states.

  22. Jackie
    January 19, 2012 | 8:13 am

    I don’t have anything to add, as the others have given such great advice. I love #5, because as we get caught up in that whirlwind, it’s easy to forget nothing about THEM has really changed!

    • multitaskingmumma
      January 20, 2012 | 11:41 am

      That one is so very important!

  23. Jamie
    January 19, 2012 | 3:19 pm

    The allergy does not define them is the best way to put it. That needs to be written in big bold letters for schools and teacher everywhere!

    • multitaskingmumma
      January 19, 2012 | 11:00 pm


  24. MommaKiss
    January 19, 2012 | 4:01 pm

    My son who is now 4 was diag with this ‘severe peanut allergy’ at about 10 months old. We were at a party, he took a bite of a PB cookie, I watched – knowing it was his first taste of it. Immediate reaction and, well, now we know.

    Love your tips, and what I’ll add is this. Educate others, but don’t expect them to remember. We have friends with whom we do lots of things with. Every time we’re together, and a meal or snack is involved, I have to ask if Mikey’s sandwich is PB&J {it usually is.} They tell me yes, apologize, ask if Mikey shouldn’t eat. No, not necessary, I’ll just make sure my Lil Kiss eats on the other end of the table.

    They’ve know about his allergy since it was diagnosed, he ate the cookie at their house. But – it’s my responsibility to remind others and watch out for him, until he can watch out on his own.

    • multitaskingmumma
      January 19, 2012 | 10:58 pm

      I totally get this!
      Everyone in my family is aware of my daughters allergy but we are still reminding and still educating.
      Even on Christmas the stuffing had peanuts in it.
      Luckily my aunt remembered and called us.

  25. Mynewfavoriteday
    January 19, 2012 | 7:00 pm

    These types of guides are so helpful for people and parents who are new to food allergies, especially peanuts. It’s extra work on your part but such a gift to others!

    • multitaskingmumma
      January 19, 2012 | 10:55 pm

      As long as it keeps kids from having a reaction it’s worth it!!

  26. Robin @ Farewell, Stranger
    January 19, 2012 | 11:24 pm

    That’s such a tough one, and I’m so glad there’s more awareness about it now. Glad you’re sharing.

  27. Hazel
    January 20, 2012 | 1:53 pm

    My son is 2.5 and has been diagnosed with a peanut allergy as well. I don’t keep peanut butter in the house any more. Shopping can tend to be a nightmare. I am happy that Oreos are peanut free but found out the hard way that Ferrero Rocher (the hazelnut chocolate ones) are NOT peanut free.
    The toughest part is education. My husband’s grandmother CONSTANTLY offers us peanut butter cookies. Luckily our daycare is peanut free so I don’t have to worry about that.

    I think the constant fear of having peanuts in something will always be there. We always make sure we have Benadryl and his epi-pen wherever we go because you can never be sure. Awareness really is the only answer. This was a great post!

    • multitaskingmumma
      January 20, 2012 | 2:23 pm

      A GREAT website for resources is
      The have everything you could ever need!
      I also have to make sure everyone is aware of my daughters allergy because they are forgetting often. I think that if people don’t live with it then it isn’t in the front of their minds.

  28. Breanne
    February 3, 2013 | 6:44 pm

    My daughter is also allergic, on top of many other allergies…but we found out that peanuts r not related to any other nuts…but actually related to peas and lugumes

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