Going Dairy Free for Baby

going dairy free, breastfeeding, elimination dietApparently, milk protein intolerance is pretty common in infants. Two of my girlfriends' babies had trouble tolerating dairy as infants — and both women had two children with the same issue .

When formula-fed babies have this type of intolerance, they are often put on a soy-based or other dairy-free formula. When breastfed babies have this allergy, it means mama has to give up eating dairy while breastfeeding. Ugh.


More extreme dairy allergies in infants may reveal themselves as eczema, hives, asthma, gastrointestinal symptoms (like diarrhea and vomiting), or other symptoms. However, a milk protein intolerance is different. Commonly, babies with this condition are unable to digest casein or whey, two of the proteins in milk. Milk protein intolerance usually reveals itself through gastrointestinal issues, like bloating, diarrhea, reflux, and vomiting, often occurring right after feeding.

Because the symptoms of milk protein intolerance are subtle, sometimes it may take some time to diagnose. Once diagnosed, however, milk has to be eliminated (although usually temporarily, as children tend to outgrow this intolerance). So for breastfeeding moms, this means giving up dairy.

Radically changing your diet during the newborn and infant months is not easy. Once my husband went back to work after our son was born, let's just say the pizza delivery guy was practically on auto dial. Dairy is in everything, even bread sometimes. You have to read every label carefully. 

It's one thing to change your diet by choice or in some planned method toward a vegan diet or whatnot. However, a new diet is very tricky to figure out with a newborn in your care every day and night. It's not impossible obviously, but many convenient food choices go right out the window.

Does your baby have milk protein intolerance or a milk allergy? Have you adapted to a dairy-free diet because of it? Tell us about your experience.


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