Going Dairy Free for Your Breastfed Baby

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Is your baby super fussy and you don’t know why? There is a normal fussy baby and then there is the inconsolable baby who cries every night no matter what you do. If you feel that is your baby read on…

That was my baby. He was the perfect baby for the first few weeks. Slept all the time, didn’t cry much or anything! He was an ANGEL!  It wasn’t until that second month when he began crying for 1-2 hours around the same time each night. His legs would crunch in and it seemed as though he was in pain and I didn’t know why. It began affecting his sleep and I would have to hold him for every nap just so he could get some sleep. It was stressful and difficult, especially being a first time mom. I thought to myself, “What did I get myself into!?” So if you are reading this and all or some of this rings true for you, you are not alone! So what is wrong with your baby you are asking?

I remember speaking to my Bradley Teacher and her telling me it could be the dairy in my diet affecting the baby. I went to a La Leche meeting where eliminating dairy and other foods was the topic of discussion. I thought, “Why would dairy affect my baby?” and “There is no way I can take dairy out of my diet. I love it too much and what if it doesn’t even work and nothing changes.” After others sharing stories of success and their babies doing much better after removing dairy from their own diets I decided to give it a try. Thus began my research of how exactly to go dairy free. It was very challenging at first and I remember crying as I walked up and down the grocery aisle reading labels and thinking, “I can’t eat ANYTHING”.

Since then I have realized there are LOTS of things I can eat and it actually led me down a path of searching out food, nutrition and it completely changed my life! Not only did my baby completely change, but so did I! I thought I ate healthy before, but now I feel like I have grown and added so many more nutrients to my body. I began adding a lot more whole foods to my diet and taking out boxed and processed items (Which surprisingly contain dairy). Not that dairy is terrible for  you, but some people don’t tolerate it very well and MANY products that contain dairy in them are the ones that aren’t the best for you (packaged sweet treats for example and many desserts). It’s amazing how many processed foods contain dairy. Don’t get me wrong, ORGANIC raw milk (from a reliable source), butter, kefir, and yogurt from grass fed cows can be a great addition to a diet if you can tolerate dairy well. But there are many times it is consumed to excess and also the quality of the dairy people are consuming is probably not the best.

I hope the following information will help you go dairy free if you feel you need to for your baby or even because you just want to…

SO HOW DO I KNOW FOR SURE IF I NEED TO GO DAIRY FREE FOR MY BABY?

1. If your baby has similar symptoms as mine then it could be the dairy. You can try a dairy elimination diet.

HOW DO I DO AN ELIMINATION DIET AND GO DAIRY FREE?

1. Take dairy completely out of your diet for an entire month. (I recommend a month to make sure it is truly out of your system). I also recommend taking soy completely out of your diet as well because a lot of times it can be the soy too. Not only is soy one of the top allergens, but 95% of soy n the US is GMO and it really isn’t that good for you anyway, especially baby boys. During this time you may notice small changes in your baby.

2. Make sure you know what actually contains dairy and soy. Many times other “words” are used in place of dairy and soy. And there are many things you wouldn’t even think of that contain dairy such as bread, deli meats, some meats. Check out this website to download lists to help make sure you are actually cutting the dairy and soy out of your diet.

3. Keep a journal and write what you ate that day and any changes or non changes in your baby’s behavior. If your baby starts changing their behavior for the better it could possibly have been the dairy affecting her.

4. Try dairy (or food culprit) again a month later and if your baby reacts with the same fussiness and or other worrisome reactions, then you will know it is the dairy. If your baby has no reaction to the dairy and is still fussy with tummy issues then it could be something else in your diet. Try the same thing with other “gassy” foods.

**A Couple Tips:

1.  I would highly recommend not eating out unless you absolutely know for sure that the food you are going to eat doesn’t contain dairy. A lot of foods contain some form of dairy in them so be careful! Your body will love you for it anyway and you can get back to your pre-pregnancy weight much faster!

2. You can give your baby a probiotic such as BioGaia drops (one drop on your nipple while nursing) to help their tummy. I got mine from The Pump Station-much cheaper there. Another great brand is Jarrow Brand (dairy free) however these are capsules and would need to opened and given to baby in a bottle. You can buy those at Wholefoods.

3. Try Boiron Camilia which are used for teething, but can also be used for tummy upsets. (You can purchase these at Wholefoods or on Amazon)

It can be a process trying to figure out which foods can be causing symptoms in your baby. Be patient and remember to KEEP breastfeeding no matter what! Your breastmilk is the best thing for your baby. Even if you have to give up things in your diet it is just for a limited time.

I did the elimination diet and took Dairy and Soy completely out. Tried dairy again and sure enough he went back to having those same fussy and tummy pain symptoms that night. I knew it was the dairy. I also ended up taking garlic, peppers, broccoli and cauliflower out of my diet too. So many foods, I know!! But it sure helped my baby and by 9 months he was fine. It may seem like a long time, but it is worth it!

Other Great Resources:

Kelly Mom -Great info on how to tell if babies fussiness is normal or due to your diet, how to find out and more.

Go Dairy Free-Website dedicated to going dairy free. Recipes, Books, Grocery Guide and more

FoodAllergy.Org-Great information  helping you understand what other names and labels “dairy” and other allergies can be under.

Breezy Mama-Great article on allergies in your children and help with eliminating it from their diet.

Dr. Jay Gordon- Milk: Does it really do a body good?

If you google “vegan recipes” or “dairy free recipes” most of those recipes you are able to eat (minus the ones with soy).

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