Oh, the things parents do for their children. Moms give up a lot for their kids during pregnancy — wine, sushi, that second or third cup of coffee. That sacrifice doesn't always end once the baby is out in the world, though. Breastfeeding can come with its own set of limitations. This mom explaining her dairy-free nursing diet is so relatable for those who have had to lay off of some of their favorite foods to ease the suffering of a fussy baby.
The food and drinks consumed by a breastfeeding mother make their way into her breast milk, eventually being consumed by a nursing baby. While this is great when it comes to essential vitamins and nutrients, allergens and irritants can also make their way to baby. Dairy allergies are very common in young babies. Fortunately, that doesn't apply to your breastmilk — just the milk that you ingest. The down side is that dairy is in a lot of tasty foods.
Mom and blogger Esther Anderson, the woman behind the popular Facebook page "Story of This Life," recently learned firsthand how difficult it can be to adapt. Her youngest daughter Aubrey has a milk allergy and Anderson's experience with cutting out dairy prompted her to post a video to her Facebook page where she expressed the medley of thoughts and feelings that come with going dairy-free.
She begins with an expression of her love for milk, saying:
Can we just talk about cows for a second? And how much we love them. How much we appreciate them, and the delicious milk that they make? Having a little bit of a heart attack right now. I’m grieving the loss of every delicious food in my life pretty much.
Anderson then launches into a discussion of the foods that she can and cannot have on her new diet. "Can’t have half-and-half," she says. "Well, I don’t use half-and-half in my coffee. Do you know what I use? WHIPPING CREAM." Sorry mama, but that's out too. So is — don't kill me — chocolate. What can she eat? Well there's always "canned salmon or sardines," as she points out. "With the bones. OH GOOD." Dandelion is also on the approved list. Yummy.
There are plenty of other moms out there who feel Anderson's pain. Both La Leche League and Kelly Mom list cow's milk as the most common source of infant allergies. In fact, dairy products are the only foods to be conclusively correlated with fussiness and gassiness in babies, according to Kelly Mom.
There are a few symptoms that could suggest that your baby may have a food sensitivity or allergy, although they are difficult to diagnose in infants and young children. Potential warning signs listed by Kelly Mom include fussiness after feedings, long periods of inconsolable crying, rashes, hives, eczema, wheezing or asthma, cold-like symptoms, and more.
If you suspect that your child does have a milk allergy, it is best to cut it out entirely, according to Scary Mommy. A little bit of dairy is enough to make a difference. That means that Anderson is better off not indulging in a single cup of whipped cream coffee (sorry). Fortunately, most children outgrow their infant food allergies, so baby Audrey may not have this issue forever. If that isn't enough consolidation for you dairy-free mamas out there, Anderson has a great technique for making it through:
I need some sort of therapy, or a counselor to sit down with me and go through emotions and feelings. But I’m gonna go look at my cute little baby, because whenever I look at her — it’s worth it.
I can't think of a better reason to go on a super annoying diet than those sweet chubby cheeks smiling up at you. If all else fails, remember, this too shall pass.
Check out Romper's new video series, Bearing The Motherload, where disagreeing parents from different sides of an issue sit down with a mediator and talk about how to support (and not judge) each other’s parenting perspectives. New episodes air Mondays on Facebook.