I don't know why anyone wouldn't want to eat chocolate all the time. I mean, it's pretty much the most delicious thing on this earth. And then there's cheese. The second most delicious thing on this earth. What do these things have in common, you ask? They both almost absolutely always contain dairy. And when Adelaide was born just over two months ago, I never dreamed that I might have to give them up for her.
Fast forward to the beginning of January. One night for dinner, I thought I would be really productive and actually baked one of the freezer meals that I had prepared in the weeks before Addie's arrival. It's called Double Macaroni and Cheese. It pretty much consists of cheese, cream, cottage cheese, more cream, milk, and more cheese. It's divine.
But apparently not everyone agreed. For two or three days after we ate this meal, my perfect happy baby disappeared. Addie was the fussiest she had ever been in her life. I was beside myself trying to figure out why she was screaming and writhing as though her tummy hurt all the time. After some internet research and this article on food sensitivities in babies, I had a feeling that we might be dealing with a dairy problem. To test the theory, I stopped eating dairy for one (incredibly long) week. Then, as a test, I ate a sandwich with cheese and a small portion of normal macaroni and cheese. Her fussiness and gassiness came back almost immediately. Yes, it seemed pretty certain that she indeed has a dairy sensitivity.
Once I had established that this was the problem, I was really no better off. You see, my main food groups are literally cheese and chocolate, with ice cream thrown in for good measure. I had a few days of denial. Breastfed babies are supposed to be the easiest to take care of! I'm supposed to be able to eat normally, pass on great nutrition to my child, and lose weight without a huge amount of effort! What happened to that?!
Eventually I realized, I needed to get over myself, accept that this was a new thing for my lifestyle, and just go with it. I have some fabulous friends (some of whom have dealt with this in the past) who provided me with a host of recipes and food substitution suggestions. And now, almost a month later, I can honestly say that I am not craving dairy all of the time - though I would do just about anything for some pizza!
Since the issue with babies is not lactose intolerance, but rather milk protein intolerance, they mostly grow out of it by the time they are six months old. I can handle another three and a half months if it keeps my baby girl smiling! It's been a bit of a challenge to eat enough calories, since I am nursing two kids, though. Overall, this change is forcing me to eat healthier! I am actually excited about eating fruits and veggies these days. I also feel like I am starving most of the time.
If you find yourself in this boat, here are a few things I have already learned.
Look for Vegan products. These tend to pop up in the organic or healthy section. They automatically won't have milk or butter, which makes things a bit easier.
Earth Balance Buttery Spread is a decent replacement for butter, when you need something on toast or a baked potato.
Coconut Oil is another substitute that seems to work pretty well in recipes. It has also - bonus - been awesome in relieving Lincoln's eczema! It even smells yummy.
It is possible to cook without cheese. This is evidenced here by our recent meal of chicken, baked potatoes, carrots, and rolls.
If you are lucky enough that your baby can tolerate soy, you can still have ice cream treats! Unfortunately, I think Addie has a soy sensitivity as well - at least when I eat it in ice cream form. Andrew made me this delicious almond milk and soy ice cream shake a couple nights ago. I'm living off the memory. Nom.
And ultimately, you can survive breastfeeding a dairy sensitive baby. Because Oreos are dairy free. We aren't going to talk about how many of those I have consumed this month.
Have you ever dealt with a food sensitivity in a nursing baby? How did you cope?