Having a daughter who is allergic to both dairy and soy is a challenge. Read on to find out how I have adjusted my diet in order to nurse a baby with food allergies. Ice cream is still on the menu!
When I decided to breast feed my baby, I knew I would have to watch my diet, but I didn't know to what extent until my daughter's food allergies were diagnosed two months after she was born.
At first, avoiding foods with soy and dairy seemed almost impossible--grab any package from the shelves at your local grocery store and I can assure you that you will find the words, "contains soy" or "contains milk." It's in everything!
Saying goodbye to cheese was hard, but I managed to find some tasty alternatives by reading up on food allergies at my local library (did you know that bratwurst and french fries usually contain milk ingredients?), and exploring the shelves at Whole Foods.
Things I've learned: almond milk is great, but oat milk is much better, Purely Decadent chocolate coconut milk ice cream is yummy with a piece of Whole Foods brand dairy and soy-free cherry pie, and sourdough bread is addictive, especially if you pair it with this delicious alternative to butter.
Books about food allergies:
So, if you're thinking about going soy and/or dairy free, or need to for heath reasons, don't despair. There are lots of alternatives out there for you to try. If you're reading this with an extra-cheese pizza in front of you, PLEASE have a slice for me. I'm not jealous. Really.
A soy and dairy free diet IS a challenge! I'll definitely check out oat milk and those books. Thank you!
Definitely check out the oat milk. It comes in vanilla. Oh, and if you're brave, try oat milk "cheese." I bought some this weekend and it wasn't bad! http://www.wayfarefoods.com/node/5
My son who is now 2 years old has a horrible milk allergy, I did not know about until he threw up every time I gave him milk products when he was just over a year old. I too breast-fed and was told repeatedly that I could not transfer allergies through the milk by his pediatrician. Luckily he is not allergic to soy, but I am very thankful for all the wonderful choices I have for him that do not contain milk. Thank you for the new ideas!!
I'm glad your son doesn't have a soy allergy! Dealing with a milk allergy is hard enough, but it sounds like you're doing a fantastic job. You're right, there are lots of wonderful choices out there and your son is lucky to have a good mommy like you to take care of him! Thanks for your response!
Having avoided all dairy products for over 20 years--I'm a vegan--I have a couple of dairy substitute products to recommend. For cheese, have you tried Daiya brand? It is fairly new, now available at Whole Foods in cheddar or mozzarella flavors. Unlike most non-dairy cheeses, this one is soy-free as well. Spreads and sauces based on nuts or tahini and containing nutritional yeast are also effective cheese substitutes. I found that after the first year of not eating cheese, I felt much better and did not miss it.
As for ice cream, I'm glad you've already discovered the coconut milk-based Purely Decadent; I love it too! Coconut milk can substitute for milk as well, although perhaps in moderation due to its high saturated fat content. Another milk I like is hempseed milk--yum!
Thanks for blogging about this to let people know healthful ways to reduce dairy consumption.
Great article! My daughter and I have been living dairy free for years. We also love Purely Decadent coconut milk ice cream. They have a whole bunch of new flavors under the So Delicious brand, too. (Cookies 'n Cream is my daughter's favorite!)
I prefer So Delicious coconut milk beverages to almond or oat milk. And their coconut milk creamer and kefir are delicious, too.
I agree with Kate. I think you'll really like Daiya vegan cheeses. They're the closest to dairy mozzarella and cheddar cheese I've tasted.
Thank you for the wonderful comment.
Yum. Cookies n' Cream. Your daughter has great taste! :)
Please, keep the recommendations coming! I'm still learning what's out there and these tips really help!
Question for all of you experienced parents of babies with allergies.... How on earth did they diagnose the allergy? Does it run in the family? I am a nursing mom with no food allergy history and my 3 month old is having terrible problems with spitting up and loose stools (sorry if I grossed anyone out) They have done many stool samples as this has been ongoing for some weeks now and I feel terrible for her! I have eliminated dairy but have felt hopeless when it comes to eliminating soy :( But I am thankful to have found this!
Any Advice out there.... PLEASE!
Congratulations on your baby!
I originally wrote this blog after my daughter was born, so I understand your panic. My daughter is now 2 1/2 and she can eat/drink everything. I stopped nursing her a little before her 2nd birthday. I'll tell you a little about my experience. Just keep in mind that I am in no way a professional!
I'm sure this will gross people out too (stop reading if you are easily grossed out), but my first indication that something was wrong was that I found blood in my daughter's stool. Sometimes there would be a little and sometimes there would be a lot. I took many diapers in to my pediatrician and they did find blood with their tests, but the doc didn't seem too worried. She agreed that it was some sort of intolerance, but she just told me to "watch it" and that it would probably go away, which was not the answer for me at the time! I started paying more attention to what I was eating because I was exclusively breastfeeding her, which inspired the blog.
I started doing internet searches for more information. I eliminated dairy from my diet and the diapers got better, but occasionally there would still be blood. I was positive that I was somehow hurting my baby by breastfeeding her so I had my babysitter give her a bottle of soy formula (I was grasping at straws!). She had a really bad diaper after that so that is when I decided to eliminate soy, too, another ingredient that seemed to be all over the internet as causing allergies in babies. This was much harder to eliminate, but I did my best. She really seemed to come around after I elimintated the soy, but now that I think back, it could have been that she was just getting older --I found out that baby's intestines are not completely developed until some time after they are born and also that the little flap in the esophagus that keeps that food down isn't either, which is why these things tend to get better with age. I do think the first 3 months are the hardest, so you are right in the thick of things.
to be continued...
It's not always food intolerance, though. I know two moms whose babies (recently) were prescribed a medication for acid reflux and those two babies are now fine and gaining weight on the acid reflux meds. I don't think eliminating common allergens from your diet can hurt. I was actually way healthier when I was doing the no dairy/no soy diet.
kidshealth.org has a great page on allergies. Go to the parent tab and look under "medical" and "allergies".
I say trust your instinct. Weight gain will tell you if your baby is getting enough, but you want to keep your doctors informed as to what is happening. I couldn't find a family connection to what my daughter experienced, but it might make you feel better to know that I now have a 5 month old baby boy with no problems at all. For a long time I was worried that all of my kids would have the same issues.
Good luck and hope you find relief for your little one. I'm here if you have more questions! Again, I'm in no way a medical professional, so be sure to see the baby's doctor for your questions/concerns.
Lisa (Not-so-new Mommy)