Breastfeeding on a dairy free diet doesn’t have to be difficult! Here is how I started breastfeeding on a dairy free diet after my breastfed baby was diagnosed with a dairy allergy.
Breastfeeding on a Dairy Free Diet
The year is 2014 and my four month old is inconsolable. I don’t understand why my baby won’t sleep and has horrible reactions to my breastmilk. I go to the pediatrician and learn our infant, Annabelle, is allergic to dairy. I am confused at first: “Isn’t my breastmilk dairy?” But after a few moments, I realize the pediatrician means our baby is allergic to the dairy that I am eating. Duh!!
I thought going dairy free would be easy since I am already lactose sensitive. I can just avoid the only dairy I consume: butter and cheese. Stores already sell dairy free butter and dairy free cheese, so giving up the real stuff? Pshhhh, that will be easy peasy, right?
Did you know there is dairy hidden in all sorts of food items?
If you see ingredients like Casein, Caseinates (amonia, calcium, magnesium, potassium, sodium), Ghee, Nougat, Whey, Paneer, Curds, or Custard, don’t eat it. Kellymom.com has a printable hidden dairy cheat sheet that lists the ingredients to look for when checking out a label.
Unfortunately, I did not discover this little cheat sheet for quite some time after cutting the most obvious dairy from my diet. I made more than a few mistakes in my new quest for a dairy-free life – which means poor little Annabelle has suffered on more than one occasion.
Here are some food items that shouldn’t have found their way into my mouth… but did:
Cape Cod Sea Salt & Cracked Pepper Chips
Thomas’ English Muffins
Morningstar Sausage Links
Who would’ve thought that soy sausage links contained dairy?! Or potato chips??! Honestly though, I didn’t look at the label before I ate any of those items. And the night after I ate them, Annabelle cried and fussed and growled at me every hour. Her poor little belly was oh-so-sick from my slip-ups.
Tips to go Dairy Free While Breastfeeding
- Do your research and make a list before grocery shopping.
- Go cold turkey and be strict! There are varied studies, but milk proteins do not disappear overnight. It can take 14-21 days for milk to leave a mom’s system.
- Read labels and ask questions (especially when eating out).
- Look for “VEGAN” options – vegan means there are no animal products in the item.
- Find a dairy free community for support – check social media!
Living dairy free while breastfeeding doesn’t have to be hard.
Other than my mistakes, I have found that living dairy free isn’t that difficult. Granted I need to watch everything I eat, this new diet is not so awful that I would give my baby formula instead of my milk. I have had at least 5 people ask me this past week… Why don’t you just give her formula so you can eat dairy again? Honestly, cutting dairy out of my diet is a GOOD thing for my health. I had been going overboard on processed foods, like cupcakes, gummy worms, cookies, and other crap because it was easy and delicious to eat. Now I am forced to steer clear of processed foods and focus on fresh and nutritious.
Eating out could be challenging. This weekend we went to Mellow Mushroom and they make a DAIRY FREE cheese pizza! That was exciting. Then we went out for sushi, which was another success. We hit a bump in the road when we went to The Original Pancake House and all they had was rye toast, fruit, or oatmeal. I ended up eating the rest of my dairy free pizza for brunch. Thankfully, we are more of the eat at home type and all that matters is A is healthy!
How to learn more about Breastfeeding on a Dairy Free Diet
There are so many great articles, websites, and blogs out there for dairy-free living. Lots of people live dairy free and everything I’ve read has been so helpful. Here are some great places to find information about being dairy-free while breastfeeding:
Another Mom’s story about Breastfeeding on a Dairy Free Diet