Birthday Parties ... and so it begins!

Posted on: Mon, 01/14/2008 - 10:16pm
ctmartin's picture
Joined: 07/30/2007 - 09:00


My PA daughter (2) was just invited to her first birthday party outside of family! If you have read my other recent post, I have been in the process of trying to get further, more comprehensive testing on her re: other possile allergens (e.g. tree nuts and seeds) but have not been successful.

Her Ped. now wants her to come in for a "consultation." Seeing as he knows nothing about allergies, this would be a total waste of time. On the other hand, I am loathe to bring her back to the original allergist she saw (following her 1st and only reaction) b/c she was terrible (i.e. Our advice from her as we left, "avoid peanuts" um, thanks!).

We have an appt. at Mt. Sinai Jaffe Food Institute in April, so we'll just wait until then, I guess (I had really hoped to find out sooner, as it's hard to hold off on introducing new foods when she has such a limited diet already!).

Okay, sorry about this rambling post! My question is this ... I am friends with the mother (not too close, but certainly friends) and when I asked about peanut products at the party, she said absolutely none, but would cashew butter be a problem? (it is a tea party, and she is making little tea sandwiches) Not that I would let my daughter eat it by any means, but what would you guys do? I don't know how many kids will be there, but they are 2 years old, so probably not that many, and I will be there as well.

Thanks for reading, if you've made it this far!!

P.S. We have no reason to believe our daughter is TNA, because she had almonds, walnuts and other nuts before her first exposure to PN, which caused a reaction. Has not had any since, though.

Posted on: Mon, 01/14/2008 - 11:58pm
momto4boys's picture
Joined: 06/06/2007 - 09:00

I would say that cashew butter is not okay. My son (now 3) was tested for a few other tree nuts when he was tested for peanuts (almond, walnut, pecan and cashew). The only one of the tree nuts that he tested postive to was cashew and the wheal was just as big as the peanut one. We have never given him any nuts but about 4 months before the test he did ingest a half of a cashew at a party. I was nervous because I saw him eat it but by the time i got to him he had swallowed it. He did not react in any way so I assumed that he was not allergic. 4 months later, he tested highly positive on the SPT.
I would ask if they could use the Sunbutter instead. That is what we use and I think it tastes more like PB than cashew butter (and is less expensive). I know that your child has not beed tested for seeds so I would be careful with any new food at this point. I think it would be much less likely that your child would be allergic to sunflower seeds than cashews, but you never know.
I don't know if this helps any, but it is what I would do.

Posted on: Tue, 01/15/2008 - 2:23am
niche's picture
Joined: 02/05/2007 - 09:00

I wouldn't feel comfortable with this either. I would worry about 2 things, one that since your kiddo hasn't been tested they might be allergic to cashew without you knowing it. I know several kids that are allergic to peanut that are also allergic to at least one treenut.
and secondly that the cashew butter might be processed on the same equipment with other nuts.

Posted on: Tue, 01/15/2008 - 4:05am
lj's picture
Joined: 01/26/2006 - 09:00

I would not allow the cashew butter either. The Sunbutter may be risky for you if you suspect a seed allergy.
How about suggesting soybutter to the mom? Or, little cheese sandwiches, or cream cheese and jelly? I know she probably won't be too thrilled about it. However, my son is now six and was diagnosed at 1. We've been through many birthday parties at this point. It's getting a little scarier now b/c now he's making friends from school outside of our close knit neighborhood. However, not many people have given me a problem. If they do, we don't go. Simple as that. It's not as if a 2 year old really knows what they are missing anyway.
Good luck!

Posted on: Tue, 01/15/2008 - 4:21am
amartin's picture
Joined: 02/22/2006 - 09:00

I wouldn't take my son to a birthday party that was serving nuts of any type, eventhough he is only PA. I worry about cross-contamination too...
I would (and have) taken my son to many birthday parties. I always bring a very special treat for him (often he picks what it is) to eat when the other kids eat cake. Before I go to the parties, I always talk to the host to find out what food will be served (which ultimately will make the decision for us on whether we go or not).

Posted on: Tue, 01/15/2008 - 4:24am
CorinneM1's picture
Joined: 06/20/2002 - 09:00

I would not feel comfortable with cashew butter and a 2-year-old. Although my son is PA only, we were told to avoid all tree nuts till he was five, which we did.
I would make safe sandwiches for your daughter--what does she like? Cheese sandwiches? Cream cheese and jelly etc? I would just explain to the other parent that you are avoiding all nut products until she is older, and that you would love to attend, but would it be okay if your daughter brought her own sandwiches?
Make sure that you (1)make it clear that you do not expect her to change her menu or expect her to make anything for your daughter (2)ask in a permission tone of voice (more receptive)aka "I was hoping that it would be okay if I brought xxx tea sandwiches instead of xxx due to her allergy. Also, I can make some for all the girls, if that helps you out." (3)offer to help out for the afternoon.

Posted on: Tue, 01/15/2008 - 4:55am
Krusty Krab's picture
Joined: 04/20/2007 - 09:00

No I would not be comfortable with that situation.
You don't have the information you need (test results) for the suspected TN allergy to feel safe at an event like this.
OTOH, alot of parents throw caution to the wind....

Posted on: Tue, 01/15/2008 - 7:49pm
joyojoy's picture
Joined: 12/15/2007 - 08:00

Cashew butter is probably made with peanut oil (most nut butters are).
If you can't do Sunbutter either, there's another product that's really good called Peabutter, which is made from brown peas (info at [url=""][/url] I've tried it before and I think it's just as good as Sunbutter.

Posted on: Tue, 01/15/2008 - 11:58pm
syzygy's picture
Joined: 08/30/2007 - 09:00

I agree with the others. I wouldn't be comfortable with cashew butter for a couple of reasons: a) no certainty that there's no cashew allergy and b) most nut butters may contain trace peanut.
I second soynut butter. You could offer to buy it yourself and offer as a substitution. I was skeptical, but soynut butter really tastes like PB. We've almost gone through a jar in less than a week!

Posted on: Wed, 01/16/2008 - 2:12am
LDR's picture
Joined: 09/28/2001 - 09:00

Birthday parties are tough when the kids are little. We always ask what will be served and bring the same thing from someplace I know is safe (except pizza, which is what they usually have at most parties, and then I just find out where its from). I wouldn't want any kind of nut butter around a two year old. I'm assuming that the consistency is similar to peanut butter, and that case, with two year olds it gets on everything.
We use the docs at Mt Sinai and they are great. Seen some of the big names there that you see quoted all the time, but others are great too (Nowak & Thanik). [b]ctmartin:[/b] I'm guessing you're a New Yorker if you're going to Mt Sinai Peds allergy. You can contact me backchannel if you want ( I've been raising PA kids in NY for the past 7 years without incident.

Posted on: Wed, 01/16/2008 - 5:49am
ctmartin's picture
Joined: 07/30/2007 - 09:00

Hi, again,
Thanks for all of your meaningful wisdom, comments and advice. After thinking it over a bit, I decided to e-mail the mom and tell her that no, cashew butter would not be good and that we would be happy to simply stop by and give our well wishes to the birthday girl after everyone had eaten. Unfortunately, since it is a tea party, that kind of defeats the whole purpose of the party (not being around when food is served). I have not heard back from her (figures!)
I do understand that cashew butter has cross contamination issues. As for the alternative "butters" out there, I really didn't feel it was my place to suggest her using an alternative at HER party and I'm not so sure I am comfortable with those alternatives anyway (but thanks for the suggestions! we actually have sunbutter in the house, love it, but have not given it to my daughter yet and were intending to hold off until further testing). If she ASKS, I will definitely let her know of alternatives. Otherwise, it's not worth it.
For those who suggested we bring our own sandwiches ... out of curiosity ... does this mean that you would not be worried about a contact reaction from the other kids eating it? Just wondering.
Now I'm gonna play devil's advocate and say this ... I'm wondering if it is smart to decline this invite, even given the undesirable circumstances, when there is a possibility in the somewhat near future of my daughter attending a preschool that may or may not be nutfree. In other words, I may have to deal with a situation like this anyway, and I wouldn't even be around. Shouldn't I be "practicing" with my daughter (i.e. instructing and teaching her not to grab others' food, touch others without hand washing, etc) while it is conveniently an optional event in which I am also invited??

Posted on: Wed, 01/16/2008 - 1:51pm
syzygy's picture
Joined: 08/30/2007 - 09:00

My misunderstanding. I thought she was offering cashew butter as a substitution, but rereading I see that's not the case, so yeah, obviously you don't want to be pushy by suggesting/providing an alternative. As you say, it's her party.
I'd still decline though. I'd be too nervous of the other kids touching their food, then touching everything else, etc. You could always start teaching food safety habits without the presence of an allergen, like enforcing a rule to not take another child's food and apply it all the time that way there's no decision to make, hopefully it just becomes habit.

Posted on: Thu, 01/17/2008 - 9:46am
ctmartin's picture
Joined: 07/30/2007 - 09:00

UPDATE ... I received word back from the mother, who is now serving banana/honey sandwiches instead of cashew butter. I am so happy, as she did not make a big deal about it at all (and I did not suggest an alternative). It makes me feel a bit more positive about my future dealings with other parents, despite all of the negative things I have been reading/hearing lately!

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