Introducing Dairy after Intolerance - Part 1: Our First Year

8:36 AM

Aria just turned a year old. After a mommies-only night out a couple nights ago, it seems there is agreement that the first 3-5 months went by sooooo sllllooooooowwwwllllyyyyy that there may have been moments where time stood still. I say this with happiness and exhaustion at the same time. I wanted time to stop when she slept all snuggled into my arms or on my chest where I could take in her warm little baby smells forever. And the not-so-moments where the crying seemed to never end - I would have happily called in a referee to move the clock forward.

Backing up to recap a little, I'll be as brief as possible. Aria was little to start, 5lbs, 5oz at 39 weeks. Our perfect and very little girl. We left the hospital and were on our own.

The first couple weeks were a blur, but moving forward with coffee in hand I remember being plagued with concern that our sweet bundle cried so much and with such agony and it seemed there was nothing we could do.

I spoke with our Pediatrician who recommended dietary changes to see if she had an intolerance, cutting out dairy to start.  She explained that some babies are born with not producing enough of the enzymes to break down the proteins in cow's milk passed through my breast milk.

The crying improved dramatically within a week. We still had some fussiness, and through further trial and error with eliminating the 8 main allergens (soy, dairy, nuts, eggs, gluten, fish, shellfish, and peanuts) found that soy was also an issue.

Reading ingredient labels you'll find that milk is in about 80% of anything boxed/packaged so I returned to my Whole30 methods (more on that in another post). I ate a very clean diet (I'm already gluten and egg free). I passed on anything processed and put together my meals & snacks to comprise of protein, greens/veggies and fats, with fruit on occasion. With the elimination of dairy & soy, she turned into a different baby, happy and content, alert and observant.

If I didn't read a label, went to dinner at a friends house or overlooked possible ingredients, we would spend that night and into the next day holding our sweet girl in an effort to console her. Her tummy pain and discomfort would cause her to ball up and scream, guilt would set in. For any mom who has gone through this, you feel helpless.

For help with labels, See Chart:

Since most formula is made with dairy, and the alternative ones being made from soy, we used Nutramigen as our expensive alternative to supplement when needed.

The goal with eliminating these dietary factors from my system was to let Aria's system mature without an inflammatory influence from the dairy and soy. If her body was free of the allergens, she would hopefully develop the enzymes to break down the dairy and soy proteins by a year old. There were no guarantees, but it was worth a shot.

At a year old we were gave the green light to try dairy again. I've been hesitant, feeling as if I am playing with wires on a bomb.. is it the red one or the green one?  As it stands we have been successful going slow, with a couple spoonfuls of yogurt and some sprinkles of shredded cheese with one or two meals per day.

More on our re-introduction soon! Have any of you made dietary changes? Please send your questions/comments my way.

*Note on Allergy vs Intolerance: Milk allergy is different from an intolerance, an allergy tends to make itself known very quickly due to a histamine reaction and can show up as a rash, hives or worse. An intolerance is usually delayed and often causes gastrointestinal upset, diarrhea or constipation. Please consult your pediatrician before making any dietary changes.

Identifying Dairy on ingredient labels:

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  1. I'm so glad to see your daughter is tolerating dairy better! We are in the same boat! My daughter is 11 months and I've recently ate some dairy, and have seen no reaction in her, whereas before within several hours the screaming would start. So today I am going to introduce dairy to her diet in the form of yogurt. So nervous!

    1. I'm so happy to hear that your little girl seemed to handle a little dairy! :) Keep me posted on how she does, I'd love to know. Best of luck!

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