Well, it looks like this is my third baby who doesn't tolerate dairy well via breastmilk. Sigh. I wanted to make sure that was really the culprit before I gave up my favorite food group. You know, chocolate. :)
Thankfully these days there are a lot of dairy substitutes and one that gets me by so that I don't have a breakdown is Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips. They taste just like real chocolate and pull me through when I have a chocolate craving. And here is a recipe for an amazing chocolate cake that is dairy free!
What are Signs that My Baby May Not Be Tolerating Dairy?
With our daughter it affected her tummy. She would cry a lot, was fussy, gassy and just overall uncomfortable. She was our second child and I had not had this with our first so I didn't know what was going on. It was very frustrating having a baby that was not happy a lot of the time. As a result, I started asking other moms what foods they thought might be irritating her. It was suggested that I give up dairy in my diet and when I did, she became a different baby. RELIEF!
With our third and fourth children it affected their skin, but not their tummy's. This is a picture of our third child at 4 weeks old and his skin was a mess and very uncomfortable for him! At this point I didn't know what was causing it since I didn't know dairy problems could result in skin issues.
At 4 months of age he was still struggling with skin issues that itched terribly. As you can see below, he had to wear socks on his hands to keep him from scratching himself, but in this picture his head was still scabbed over in spots from him scratching and the skin on his neck was completely irritated as well.
I never took a picture of this because it was so disgusting but just next to his ear and kind of on his cheek it would weep and ooze a serum type liquid. I had no idea what was causing this but after giving up dairy it completely healed up.
Dairy problems are generally not a quick fix though, my friends. It can take up to two weeks to eliminate the dairy from your system as well as your baby's so you must be committed, otherwise you won't notice a difference.
But the pay off for your baby is worth it. With our daughter, she was able to be the happy, pleasant little soul she was meant to be and with our son his skin cleared up and was absolutely beautiful.
The pay off for you, as Mommy, is well, you're probably gonna lose a lot of that baby weight. Saying no to dairy means saying no to a lot of desserts, and of course cheese and milk which are high in fat.
Look for Dairy in Disguise
Most foods these days are clearly labeled with the more offensive food allergens such as dairy, wheat and peanuts. However, dairy also includes Whey, Casein, Caseinate and I have read also Monosodium glutamate because lactose is mixed with it. If your baby is very sensitive to dairy like my last two, then you'll need to eliminate foods with these listed in the ingredients as well.
Dairy was a radical elimination for me. With our daughter, if I cheated and ate a Dorito, it would affect her. Seriously. I remember one time sneaking about 5 chocolate chips and the next night when she was screaming and crying I finally confessed to my husband, "All right! I ate chocolate!" His calm response was, "Did you really think you could hide it?" Well, I sure was gonna try! :)
How Long Will I Have to be Dairy Free?
It's hard to say how long you'll have to be dairy free. With our babies it took until they were about 8-10 months before I could slowly reintroduce dairy into my diet. I generally started off with something that contained dairy (e.g. a cracker or something) in it rather than starting with cheese or milk. And be prepared...you might struggle with tolerating dairy after radically eliminating it from your diet, but over time you will hopefully have no problem with it.
Good Sources of Calcium
It's important to make sure you're getting enough calcium, especially as a breastfeeding Momma. You also need Vitamin D to help your body absorb the calcium. Foods that are high in calcium include Spinach, Kale, White beans, salmon, and foods that are calcium fortified such as some orange juice, oatmeal, and Cream of Wheat. I like to use MegaFood DailyFoods Calcium Magnesium and Potassium since I need to be consuming about 1,200 mg of Calcium daily since I am breastfeeding and it's hard for me to get that all from my diet.
As a Breastfeeding Momma Did You Have to Give up Dairy from Your Diet?
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