Wednesday, March 25, 2015

How to Go Dairy-Free for Baby's Sake

2 month old Holt

After talking with several friends of mine who are also new moms, I have realized that the dairy/milk sensitivity that my child has is EXTREMELY common. I'm not sure if it's more common now than when I was a kid or if people are just more informed about it, but seriously around 7 out of 10 moms I talk with are dealing with it. 


So, I thought I would try to help any moms out there (new, not so new, or expecting) by offering the details of my experience with Holt's milk sensitivty/allergy. 

So, what made us even ask our doctor about it in the first place? From about 4 weeks--8 weeks, Holt was extremely gassy, fussy, and in lots of pain. He would wake up crying during naps and during the night, extending his legs and becoming straight as a board. He howled cried in pain. BROKE. MY. HEART. There is nothing worse as a mama than knowing your baby is hurting and you feel completely helpless. We tried gas drops, burping, sleeping on his tummy, walking, bouncing, EVERYTHING. We thought he had reflux. I really wish I had known about DoTerra essential oils and the DigestZen at the time. I think that would have really helped him with the gas pain and his upset tummy. 

Not happy that our poor little guy felt bad

OH---one tiny symptom I forgot to mention----his poop was slime. Literally. 

I knew this wasn't normal so we took in a couple specimens to our pediatrician. They tested for blood and it was negative (PTL), but they were very concerned about the consistency. At our 2 month checkup, our pediatrician told us his first inclination was that Holt had a dairy sensitivity. Basically, it just means that his little digestive system is unable to properly breakdown the protein found in milk and milk products, called casein. This results in bad gas pain and slimy poop. The good news is that he should outgrow it by the time he is 1 year old, so he won't have a milk allergy for life. Apparently this is very common in infants and is easy to correct. 

Since I was breastfeeding at the time, that meant I had to start a very strict dairy-free diet. Here is a list of all the ingredients I was not allowed to have:

(here's a list in case you can't make out everything):

artificial butter flavor
butter, butter fat, buttermilk
caseinates (ammonia, calcium, magnesium, potassium, sodium)
cottage cheese
half & half
hydrolysates (casein, milk protein, protein, whey, whey protein)
lactalbumin, lactalbumin phosphate
rennet casein
sour cream

I also did not eat any beef. BASICALLY ANYTHING FROM A COW.  Just don't eat it. 

I started looking at EVERY LABEL in the grocery store. There are milk products in so many things! There is also a website that was very helpful,, and it shows you what menu items to order at restaurants that are dairy free. 

Once we figured all of that out, I started implementing my new diet. Our doctor also recommended "resetting" Holt's digestive system by putting him on formula for a whole week while I pumped to keep up my supply (this is because it takes a whole week for whatever you eat to get out of your milk supply). We used Enfamil Nutramigen (it is specifically designed for baby's with the milk allergy) and I could tell it made a big difference within a few days. 

That week was one of the hardest weeks of my life! I was either feeding Holt a bottle or pumping pretty much 24/7, not to mention I had to dump all the milk I pumped because it contained dairy. My husband was such a huge support and trooper because he had to feed the middle of the night bottles while I pumped. After the week was up, I went back to breastfeeding. His poop started getting slimy again. After a few days, we asked the pediatrician and he recommended doing another week of formula and pumping. AWESOME. So, we did another week and it continued to help. 

It took 6-8 weeks to completely get all the dairy out of both of our systems. Yes, you read that right. 6-8 WEEKS. Gradually over time, his poop got better and his gas got better and he returned to my happy, smiling baby. 

Going dairy-free was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do. It made me so thankful that I don't  have to deal with a dairy or gluten allergy all the time----I have a newfound respect for those of you that do! It was tough to completely change my lifestyle of eating (and inadvertently my husband's too :p) but I would do it all again in a heartbeat. I would STILL be doing it if I was able to breastfeed. 

So, what did I eat? 

Lots of chicken and pork. (YAY BACON!) Lots of fruit and veggies. The only bread I could eat was either Nature's Own or Sara Lee. For milk, I used Silk's Almond/Coconut milk or just Coconut Milk. For chocolate, I ordered "Enjoy Life" brand off of Amazon and it wasn't really any more expensive than a regular bag of chocolate chips! For ice cream, my brilliant husband found Banana Whip. Basically, you freeze bananas and blend them in the blender until the consistency of ice cream! Then you can add other things like peanut butter, cinnamon, vanilla, chocolate chips, sprinkles, etc. SO. GOOD. You can also have sorbet because it's basically just fruit and water. We also didn't really eat out much because it was so hard to know exactly what all the ingredients were. 

Now that I know what to expect, I am more confident with any future children that I'll be able to spot a dairy allergy sooner and be able to alter my diet efficiently. Hopefully this will allow me to breastfeed for longer next time. 

I hope this helps! If you have any questions or other advice, please contact me! 

No comments:

Post a Comment