Several months ago, I gave up dairy and soy for the baby, who has a milk protein allergy. We have had our suspicions since he was a few weeks old, but went through three doctors before finding one who actually believed in our concerns and looked at some of baby’s poop for blood. She could see it immediately. “Yep, that’s a milk protein allergy.” So nice after the previous doctor seemed to not believe us, and even told us that blood couldn’t be found in poop samples (we think he just thought we were new parents who didn’t understand normal baby fussiness was normal. Ugh.)
Thankfully, I finally fully gave up dairy and soy after we found brown flecks in his poop (I know this is a lot of poop talk, but that happens with babies, especially when there’s something up). Honestly, I knew I should have done so earlier, but we were trying to trust the doctor we were seeing at the time, and I was just plain being selfish after having a modified diet during pregnancy, and didn’t want to give up things like yogurt and cheese.
But now, baby is so much better! It’s been so worth it, and things are even better after knowing it’s a milk protein allergy for sure, like an affirmation that we knew what was up with our kid and that all our pushing to get it looked at wasn’t worthless.
So here are some things I’ve learned about eating dairy and soy free as an exclusively breastfeeding mom:
Note: Many babies who can’t handle milk protein also can’t handle soy protein, as they are similar,so as a precaution many moms, like me, choose to cut out both at the start.
1.) Fake butter? So good. Tastes pretty much the same as real butter, maybe just a bit sweeter.
2.) Fake cheese? No good. A sad, sad attempt at a cheese dupe. It’s like the makers are trying to imitate cheddar, specifically, but go a bit too intense with the flavor; dial the flavor strength back, and it might be better. I wouldn’t eat it on crackers, but in sandwiches or sprinkled on salads it at least gives you that similar texture without the powderiness being so obvious, since it’s simply an ingredient and not on its own. It’s also more cheese-like when melted, but even then it’s still better to have it as part of something such as a melt rather than the main ingredient, like in mac n’ cheese. I tried some fake mac n’ cheese, and it just made me sad.
3.) Eliminating dairy and soy can make grabbing a quick meal really hard, so thank goodness for Wendy’s. Not only do most of their breads not contain dairy or soy, their allergen menu is one of the most thorough I’ve seen, listing allergens for specific ingredients and not just whole menu items. (At this point I am still eating foods that may have been fried/grilled/processed, etc. in the same place as dairy and soy, as it seems baby’s allergy is not that sensitive. Some moms do have to give those things up, too.)
4.) Modifying recipes with dairy and soy free products is not so hard in most cases, such as the one for those chocolate chips cookies up there – soy free Earth Balance spread, dairy and soy lecithin free chocolate chips from Enjoy Life. In my experience, almond milk does not effect the taste of baked goods. Finding and trying dairy and soy free baked goods really helped with the transition during the first couple weeks; like, you can still eat yummy things! These brownies are particularly good (listen to her when she says to refrigerate them, it definitely makes a big difference).
5.) Soy lurks in EVERYTHING! You will most likely mess up and eat it several times without knowing. It’s frustrating, but it happens.