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Dairy… milk, cheese, ice cream, sour cream, EVERYTHING! How do I do it?!
I have had so many friends come to me when they find out their sweet little one has a dairy allergy. Let me tell you… you will be JUST FINE! It’s so much easier than it looks. Trust me! You’re still going to enjoy amazing foods all while making that little bundle of joy as happy as can be! You may just make yourself feel better in the process!
Check out this page to find a gold mine of dairy-free recipes and information!
As with any diet change, patience is key! It is going to take time to transition into a dairy-free living. Day after day it will get easier! After about a week, figuring out what to eat became much easier for me. I know it will for you too. As you find out your favorite dairy-free meals, write them down. When you’re struggling to figure out a meal, you can reflect back on these recipes to spark some inspiration!
Keep in mind that this transition may be temporary. Some babies will have a dairy allergy short term and if that isn’t the case with your baby it’s okay!
2. This is a common allergy… you’re not alone!
The good news is that this allergy is quite common among babies. With that being said, there are more resources available. Check out the dairy-free recipe section of my blog to find alternatives when it comes to meals, ingredients, and desserts!
Also, with dairy allergies becoming common with babies you are likely to have friends who may be or have experienced the same situation. Make a social media post to find some support, or join a Facebook group (there are dairy free breastfeeding ones), or shoot me an email! I would love to support you through your journey!
3. There are SEVERAL alternatives available
Food companies are constantly adapting to trending diets. Lucky for you, dairy-free is a popular diet! Search your local grocery stores and you will find many products labeled dairy-free, gluten-free, vegan, etc.
Below are a few of my favorite brands that are either exclusively dairy-free or have dairy-free options:
- Follow Your Heart
- Enjoy Life Foods (you can actually find great prices on Amazon… like these soft cookie variety packs!)
- Annie’s Homegrown (this is my boys’ favorite mac n cheese… same price as you would find in Target!)
- So Delicious Dairy Free
On top of these brands, many others offer dairy-free options such as Great Value (Wal-mart brand), Nestle, Breyers, and many others!
Also, a tip for you chocolate lovers… most dark and german chocolates are dairy-free!
4. Have your significant other’s support
As with any major or minor life change, it is always great to have the support of your significant other if this applies to you! If this doesn’t apply to you, a family/friend support system can be so beneficial!
When trying to break a habit (in this case… eating dairy), it becomes very difficult if those you live with do exactly what you’re trying to break. If they reach for a piece of cheese, make sure they don’t do it around you! As you get used to the transition it will become easier to watch those around you consume dairy, but in the beginning, it is definitely not going to help.
In my case, my husband was very easy-going and we made it easy by eliminating dairy from our entire household!
5. Watch labels closely
You pick up a jar of spaghetti sauce while you’re at the grocery store for your spaghetti dinner tonight. No big deal, it’s just spaghetti sauce! Many spaghetti sauces actually contain dairy… Ragu for example! Many doughy breads, food with bread coatings, and even certain noodles can contain dairy.
This is why looking at labels is very important! In the beginning, you will be surprised to find how many products actually contain dairy. If you look at similar products by other brands, you can potentially find a dairy-free option. In the case of the above scenario, Prego spaghetti sauce is typically safe!
You will also be surprised to find that many foods you would THINK would contain dairy, may not! While strolling your local grocery stores always look at the label if you’re thinking about passing it up. I was surprised to find some hawaiian sweet rolls to be safe, along with some apple strudels, cookies (YES, OREOS!), and my favorite dressing… thousand island! Another misconception is that mayonnaise contains dairy… I’m here to tell you that in most cases you are safe to consume this delightful condiment!
6. Going out to eat is possible!
This one coincides with brands adapting to current diet trends. Restaurants are also hopping on board! Some restaurants even have gluten-free and vegan sections to their menus. In most cases you can go online and type in menu items to get more specific ingredients. Bob Evans (which has dairy in just about everything), Applebee’s, Red Robin, and many others have specified allergen menus if you go online.
A few fast food dairy facts:
- Wendy’s and Dairy Queen chicken nuggets/tenders are safe to consume!
- Dairy Queen has a dairy-free dilly bar!
- Dunkin’ Donuts can make several delicious dairy-free drinks (make sure flavorings are the unsweetened ones)
- McDonalds French fries DO HAVE DAIRY!
As always, DOUBLE CHECK!
7. If possible, have milk stashed away in case of an accident
When adapting to your new transition, there will be times you accidentally consume dairy. If not, kudos to you! BUT if you do, don’t beat yourself up!
If it’s possible, try to have some milk stashed away in the freezer if this happens. It is typically safe to resume breastfeeding after 2 weeks of the “dairy accident”. This gives your body time to rid itself of the dairy protein.
8. Steer away from those that pressure you
This is such an amazing journey between you and your little one. Don’t let others get you down. I can’t even remember the amount of times I was told:
“Just a little bit won’t hurt”
“Just give him formula for a little” (this is not a bad thing, but was not in my plan this time around)
“Maybe he can tolerate dairy now”
The list goes on…
Don’t let anyone else change your mind. If you have to be more selective with who is around you during this journey, then so be it! Having a positive support system is so important!
9. Perhaps a new way of living?
Believe it or not, you may actually enjoy this change! This happened to me!
Dairy-free diets are often pursued by those who are looking to lose weight. Today, many of the dairy-containing products are very high in saturated fats and may actually cause inflammation in the body. This can result in that dreaded bloat feeling!
Personally, when I made the switch to a dairy-free living I lost 40 pounds! Many told me it was because I was breastfeeding. I’m happy to say, 2 years later… here I am still 40 pounds lighter! Yes, I had to add in a workout regimen to burn some added calories, but that is a good thing for a longer, healthier life!
10. Remind yourself you’re awesome!
This is just the beginning of the several sacrifices you will take for your children! And boy… does it feel good to know that you can help your little one feel better! Take the time to tell yourself you’re amazing… reward yourself! Buy your favorite foot scrub, get a mommy-needed massage, or get that new outfit you have been eyeballing. Then keep being awesome!
Remember to sign-up for my newsletter below to be notified when a new blog or dairy-free recipe is available! Again, don’t be afraid to email me with questions. I would love to support you through this journey!