Friday, August 6, 2010

An Ode To Dairy

As you may know, if you have been around here for a while, Pk, my eldest, was NOT an easy baby that first year. She never slept, she cried all the time and nights were, frankly, a nightmare! As she got older, things go much easier but those first few months were TOUGH.

When Baby Bean was getting ready to arrive, I did lots of research and one thing I came across was the fact that I might have benefitted from doing some food restricting to see whether Pk had any sensitivities. When she was older, I did see a naturopath who took us off everything (the woman was a crackpot, if you ask me in hindsight) and that accomplished nothing but I never thought to eliminate anything at the time.

When Baby Bean started to show signs of what dh and I referred to as the "evening grunchies", I decided to drop dairy from my diet. I couldn't really tell whether it was making a difference or not but the plan was to try it for four weeks and then try introducing a bit of goat's milk into my diet and see what happened.

The four weeks were hard. I LOVE cheese and if you haven't even had to be aware of it, you would probably be surprised at the number of foods that contain "modified milk ingredients", whey powder or lactose. Because my father is lactose intolerant, I know what I am looking for so I can pretty confidently say that I was milk free. Baby Bean seemed much mellower than Pk - he had his moments but nothing like what we had seen with Pk.

Last week, we went to visit my inlaws. My m.i.l. isn't very good at looking for milk ingredients so I had to be really on the ball, which was tough, because I didn't want to offend her. Desserts were out, snacks were out and even a couple of meals, I had to eat very selectively. I took my almond milk (I love tea with milk and I have found that to be the closest substitute). I had a few things that were kind of suspicious and while we were there, Baby Bean had some moments of real grouchiness, especially towards the end of the visit. I tried to tell myself that it might be due to a different environment, strange people, overstimulation, etc...

Well, last night we had pasta for dinner and I put a bit of goat's cheese on top. From what I have read, infants are not lactose intolerant, their issues are almost always allergies to milk protein (which, thankfully, are often outgrown in early childhood). Goat's milk is a protein source that is easier to digest than cow's milk so it seemed the most likely thing to be o.k. It's not, for Baby Bean anyway. This evening, we have had glimpses of Pk as an infant. Constantly crying, grouchiness and a strong desire to comfort nurse (my breasts are in need of some serious t.l.c. at this point). I think that dairy is out of my life for the next few months, at least. I plan to nurse heavily for at least his first year and to continue nursing, at least somewhat, until he is at least 16 months (when I weaned Pk). My goal would be two given that is the WHO recommendation but I am not sure that I have it in me (when they are using sentences to ask for nursing, I personally get very uncomfortable).

Being dairy free is a tough pill to swallow and makes eating out or at other people's homes almost impossible. On the other hand, the evening crying makes me crazy and I would do almost anything to have a happy baby.

Please, if you can, go and have some cheese or ice cream for me. I am in serious withdrawal.


  1. I feel your pain...I was dairy free while nursing Sydney because of her milk-protein allergy. I stopped nursing her at 11 months because Christmas was on the way! :) I wanted cookies in a bad way and my goal was to make it to a close.

    But it was the best diet I've ever been on (because you can't eat anything).

    I went dairy free again a couple months ago as an experiment (didn't work so I'm eating dairy again).

    The things we do for our children (and a little sleep!!!)

  2. I had to cut dairy out for my son too...isn't it crazy how many foods include dairy ingredients?!?

  3. Ooh, that's tough. I will say that Natura soy milk is not bad, and they now have a really quite nice ice cream substitute that is dairy- and gluten-free, so hopefully that could hold you a little?

    We actually weaned The Bun onto soy milk at first, because he seemed to be reacting oddly to milk, so for a few months, until we had him tested for allergies, we kept him on soy. Once we had him tested with no result, we tried again. It seems like his digestion was just a touch behind, and it was fine by then.

  4. I just can't do soy. 1. I have concerns about its safety (I have read some interesting stuff about the phyto-estogenic qualities that make me nervous, especially for a boy) but, to be honest, it has more to do with my childhood than anything else. In those days, you couldn't get the nice soy milks of today, the only option was soy formula (isomil) which may not smell as ghastly now but way back then, it was disgusting! My brother, who is lactose intolerant, drank that for years and the smell bothered me so much that I couldn't even eat things that had it baked into them. Just the idea of soy turns my stomach. Almond milk is nice, rice milk works really well in baking and I have heard that hemp milk is great but I haven't tried it. I couldn't do soy cheese and the rice cheese they make (we bought it for Pk when we were seeing the nutcase naturopath) is like plastic. Yuck!

  5. I'm so glad my son doesn't seem to be too affected by milk. I'm a dairy farmer, so as you can imagine, that would be tough. I LOVE cheese! It is a staple in our house! My daughter had the grouchies for the first 3 months (colic, I believe) and calmed considerably afterwards. My son is cranky in the evenings but not NEAR as bad as my daughter was, and honestly, I can handle him crying better than my daughter. And he sleeps through the night... no dietary modifications necessary. It'd be nice if all children could be that way!

    I hope this works out well for you guys. You may be able to add a little dairy back in at a time after a few months... hopefully.

    Good luck!

  6. Sleeping through the night? You are one lucky woman! It's interesting, though, because Baby Bean's cry isn't anywhere near as piercing as Pk's was, either. He has his fussy times and I don't like them but they aren't anywhere near as upsetting as things were with Pk. I wonder if it a boy thing?
    I hope the dairy thing goes - cheese is probably my fav food in the world, followed by ice cream :-).