Brittany Mahomes Q&A: What I Want Food Allergy Moms to Know

in Features, Food Allergy
Published: March 20, 2024
Brittany Mahomes with kids Patrick (Bronze) and Sterling Mahomes. Photo: courtesy kaléo

Most people know Brittany Mahomes as the fashion-forward wife of Patrick Mahomes, the three-time Super Bowl champion quarterback with the Kansas City Chiefs.

But she is accomplished in her own right, as a women’s soccer team co-owner, former professional soccer player, fitness trainer and entrepreneur.

Recently, the mother of two has taken on another role, one that’s close to her heart: vocal food allergy advocate. The Mahomes’ kids, Sterling and Patrick III (nicknamed Bronze), both have food allergies. It was after Bronze’s frightening food allergy reaction in 2023 that his mom felt a passion to raise awareness of this common but misunderstood disease.

In the following Q&A, Allergic Living Editor Gwen Smith sits down with Brittany Mahomes to get the full story of her food allergy experiences. Their in-depth discussion explores: Bronze’s scary reaction, how she juggles game days, frequent travel and birthdays with food allergies, and her “can do” encouragement to fellow food allergy moms. Plus, don’t miss her answer on: “Do you think one of your kids will be an athlete?”

Mahomes gives this interview as part of her partnership with kaléo’s AUVI-Q, which offers the only epinephrine device for infants and toddlers. She helped them to develop the website, with a focus on raising awareness of the signs of severe food-allergic reactions in young children.  

Gwen Smith: Can you share your experience of introducing peanut to your son Bronze at 8 months old, in what turned out to be a scary day in August 2023? 

Brittany Mahomes: Yes, I can. So, with the history of my daughter Sterling having food allergies, we were a bit more aware with Bronze, our second kiddo. We were doing early introduction, it was just a little bit of powder you put in his bottle once a day. We started with milk, and then it was eggs. 

Then we got to peanuts. It was the first day of peanuts, and he drank his bottle. It was 20 to 30 minutes, maybe an hour, later. He began to get super fussy and irritable. 

It was close to bedtime [so I thought], ‘maybe he’s just tired. Let’s go start the bath early.’ I get into the bathroom and take his diaper off, and he was completely covered in welts and hives. I put him in the bath, hoping that could calm it down a little, and he just began to scream and was inconsolable. So, then [the hives] began to get worse … they started going to his stomach and to his arms. Up, up it went and within minutes, it got to his face. 

I began to panic a little bit. But I had my daughter right beside me; little eyes were watching. And as a mom, I think you need to stay cool, calm and collected with your kids watching everything you’re doing. 

What Happened at the ER?

We did have an AUVI-Q [epinephrine auto-injector] with us, because that is what we had for Sterling. So I had that if I needed it. But I began to give him some medicine, to see if that could calm [the reaction] down a bit. It did begin to calm it down, but he still wasn’t where he needed to be. 

So we went to the emergency room. As soon as we got there, they hooked him up to everything and he was breathing OK, his heart was doing OK. Everything was OK, so I could take a deep breath and was a little more at ease. 

But it’s still scary. Having two kids with food allergies can be terrifying. In any moment, you know this [a reaction] could happen if you’re not keeping your eyes on them.

So now we [she and her husband Patrick] both carry 2 AUVI-Qs for Sterling and 2 AUVI-Qs for Bronze everywhere we go. We are always staying prepared and aware of everything.

Gwen: To be clear, during the reaction, you did have epinephrine available at home because you had it for Sterling?

Brittany: She has allergies as well and we were prescribed an AUVI-Q for Sterling. So we had that at home. We ended up not having to use epinephrine for Bronze. He was able to calm down without it.

Gwen: But it sounds like you’re now ready to use the auto-injector, should you need to. 

Brittany: 100 percent, yes.

Brittany Mahomes: Reactions Will Differ

Gwen: I saw on your Instagram page that Sterling recently turned 3. When did she develop food allergies? 

Brittany: She was about the same age, about 9 to 10 months. Hers was with milk, though. Her reaction was completely different than Bronze’s, so I think that’s an important note – kids are different. Adults are different. Any reaction can be different, they don’t all look the same. So being aware of what a severe reaction looks like is super important.

Gwen: You mentioned Bronze’s fussiness. Allergists have told me that can be a sign of a reaction in infants. But since they can’t speak at that age, that’s not always evident.

Brittany: Yes, they’re just uncomfortable and in pain, and they can’t tell you. [But Sterling’s reaction was different.] Sterling wasn’t screaming or fussy or crying at all. She just began to throw up and have a sneezing attack. Then her eyes got super itchy and we rushed to see the doctor. They ended up just giving her Zyrtec and Benadryl and she was fine.

With Bronze, he was super, super fussy. It was screaming at the top of his lungs. And he was just in hives and welts within minutes on his entire body, all the way up to his face. So they [reactions] can all be completely different.

‘My Job as a Mom to Speak Up’

Gwen: People look at the Mahomes and they’ll say, ‘wow, what a few years you guys have had,’ with Patrick leading his team to three Super Bowls in five years. I’m sure you guys are really thrilled and proud. But when a reaction strikes, it doesn’t matter who you are, it’s scary and memorable, isn’t it?

Brittany Mahomes Photo: courtesy kaléo

Brittany: Yeah, for sure. I mean, it’s scary to have two kids with it. I think as parents, it’s definitely worrisome. But I think it’s your job as a parent to advocate for your kids. Something I don’t think I’ve ever had an issue with is speaking up. It’s your kid’s life in your hands, and it’s your job as a parent to keep them safe and protect them.

So, everywhere we go, everyone knows about [the kids’ allergies]. Everyone is aware of the situation. Everyone in our house knows how to use our AUVI-Q – they’ve all been trained on it.

In this crazy life that we do live, we are always on the go, we’re always traveling, and we’re always around other people. So it’s my job as a mom to speak up, and not feel bad about it.

I think that’s a really big message I’m trying to get out there to parents dealing with food allergy. One, it’s becoming very common. So advocate for your kids and have that confident voice when you go out anywhere. Never feel bad about it. And never feel guilty for advocating for your kids.

Friend Made Her Aware of Epi for Infants

Gwen: I’m all for that for sure, that’s great. It’s interesting, you are working in partnership with AUVI-Q now. I’m curious how that relationship came about, and how you already knew about this epinephrine device designed for young children.

Brittany: I had a family friend actually tell me about it when we were dealing with this with Sterling. She sent [a link] to me and said: ‘You need this’ – because our life is a little insane, and we might be with people we aren’t too familiar with. Having a device that talks to you and takes you through step-by-step, in a calming voice, and then reminds you to call 911 at the end, is huge for our type of lifestyle.

My friend heard about it, and I was like, ‘100 percent, yes.’ So we got it prescribed through our pediatrician and have always carried it with Sterling. When I did post about Bronze’s reaction [on Instagram], AUVI-Q saw it and wanted to work together. It was a super natural fit, honestly, because that’s what we had for Sterling. It was definitely meant to be. 

Gwen: Now that you know both Bronze and Sterling have food allergies, what are a couple of adjustments you and your husband have made to keep the kids safe?

Brittany: I think just being aware and over-cautious in instances like football games, events. We have to tell everybody, ‘Hey, we can’t have this in the suite.’ ‘We can’t have this at the birthday party.’ ‘My kids can’t eat this, they can’t be around it.’

Brittany Mahomes on Rethinking Snacks

[Another adjustment is with family.] We’ve never had to deal with any allergies in either of our families. So making our parents and the grandparents, the brothers, the sisters, the cousins and everyone aware of the allergies. With family functions, some people might have to cook other stuff. But it is what it is.

And then a big thing is finding snacks that they can eat – because I was huge into peanut butter. So, adjusting not only for our kids, but for us. I don’t want to eat peanut butter, because then I can’t kiss my kids.

It’s adjusting our household items, making it safe for our kids, but changing all the stuff for us, too. We can’t have anything crazy happen.

Gwen: You mention that your family travels a lot, and you and your kids spend long days at football games. Any tricks to managing allergy-friendly game day snacks?

Brittany: We’re huge on game plans around here [laughs]. My husband has game plans, so our kids have to have game plans, too. 

It’s staying prepared and having plans, always thinking ahead. You know, I think I’ve always had to do that for my family. So with my kids now, it’s kind of a natural thing to always think ahead and be planning ahead.

I pay more attention to my kids’ meals than I do for myself nowadays, because I always want to make sure they’re fed, healthy and not hungry.

My biggest thing is planning ahead and almost over-packing. Because day-to-day is different with kids. They could eat 100 snacks one day and then maybe not be so hungry the next day. So just staying prepared, thinking ahead, and always having what we need.

Bronze’s Surprising Sports Interest

Gwen: People in the food allergy community are so appreciative to see someone with your profile step up to advocate. Why did you choose to?

Brittany: AUVI-Q was a huge part in that, and I appreciate them wanting to partner with me to use my voice. Because I don’t think [all] parents understand how normal and common food allergy is nowadays.

[After posting about Bronze’s reaction], I began hearing from all these other moms and other families who are battling with the same stuff. It was very reassuring. I appreciate AUVI-Q being confident in me to tell this story. Because the feedback, and everything I’ve got from it, is amazing. 

I want other families to feel that as well. The ones that potentially don’t want to speak up, I want them to know that they can. Feel confident advocating for your kids – and don’t ever feel sorry for that.

Gwen: Tell us about your adorable kids. What are their personalities like? Do you think one of your kids will be an athlete? 

Brittany: I think they are both really into sports. But with Bronze, it’s a whole new level. He will spot a ball from a mile away and sprint to the ball to play with it.

Patrick and I are both pretty shocked at how interested he has been in sports – football, golf, basketball, soccer. He saw a soccer ball and started dribbling it, and he’s just a year old [as of November 2023]. I think we’re definitely going to have an athlete with him. 

With Sterling, she loves to play sports for a minute, but she’s a runaround, playground type of girl, and into different types of activities. She’s active, she definitely has a sense of her own, she likes to stay busy.

[With Bronze,] give him a ball and he will figure it out for an hour.

Takeaway Messages for Food Allergy Moms

Gwen: Do you have any takeaway words for all the food allergy moms who will read this?

Brittany: I would love for them to know that they’re not alone. And to never feel bad for speaking up and advocating for your kids.

Also, having kids with food allergies, it’s not that bad. You know, you’ve got to look at the positive and start looking at the things they can do versus the things they can’t do.

I just want them to know, there are so many families, so many moms …. There are so many people dealing with [food allergies]. Don’t feel bad about it, just look at the positive things versus the negative things.

Related Reading:
Living the College Football Dream: With Food Allergy, Celiac, EoE
Megan’s Minute Video: Self-Carrying Epinephrine at School