Friday, October 21, 2011

Dairy Free for Henry!

It's been a few months of dairy free living and it's still pretty hard. I miss cheese, ice-cream and casseroles but it is what is best for my little man. It's an effective weight loss method but would be impossible to stick with if it was not necessary for Henry's sake. Reflux and dairy issues are connected. Most babies have some degree of reflux. Dairy aggravates reflux which is why many nursing mothers have to refrain from dairy. Babies on formula often have to use prescription formula which is extremely costly and sometimes does not solve the issue. Babies suffering from milk intolerance before the 20th century often did not survive infancy!

Lots of people have asked me how did I know there was a problem.Henry was an extremely content baby until he was two weeks old then we gradually started to have a lot of problems getting him to sleep. Evie was a tough baby so at first we just assumed that it was just the way it was going to be. Reflux usually does not begin until around 2-4 weeks because the baby is eating such small amounts. As the baby begins to eat more, the symptoms begin to escalate.

By about four weeks, I noticed that Henry was screaming a lot in the car as the harness pressed on his belly and he was upset after every feeding. He'd arch his back, spit up and then want to eat again. I have read since that babies with reflux love to eat because the milk feels soothing going down their throat but it burns a lot coming back up which is what causes them to scream. Henry was on a three hour feeding schedule and by the time he'd go to sleep after a feeding - it was time to feed him again! He was not getting enough rest and was not very happy. Carl and I would spend hours trying to get him to sleep at night. We noticed that he'd fall asleep then wake up screaming from being flat on his back. Our pediatrician suggested elevating his crib, holding him upright for thirty minutes after each feeding and feeding him more often to give him smaller meals. None of this really made an impact so she put him on Zantac. Carl and I both noticed a difference right away but it did not last long. Next, our pediatrician suggested Reglan but I was not comfortable with the possible side effects.  It is a strong medication and works well for some people. I just felt like the risks were too high for our son. So, our doctor put Henry on Prevacid. It has worked miracles! Henry is able to sleep well, eat well and is the happiest, most content little baby. It can be a little tricky to administer the medicine because it is a soluble tablet that I use to make a solution. Then, the solution goes into a syringe so I can place it in his mouth.

There are a few blogs that have helped me eat dairy free. My two favorites are Milk Allergy Mom and Couldn't be Parve. Milk Allergy Mom is really good at creating family friendly recipes that are dairy free plus mentions everyday products that she finds while grocery shopping. Couldn't be Parve is a bit more fancy.There is a lot of general information on living dairy free on this website along with some lists of dairy free foods.

Some of my favorite foods to help me get enough calories to continue feeding Henry while still keeping myself from feeling deprived: guacamole, bacon, Duncan Hines products, vegan chocolate chip cookies and bakery bread. I never really noticed that some form of dairy is in almost every product. It is extremely important for me to read labels!

I can tell that Henry is slowly becoming more tolerant of dairy. Some of my favorite snack foods such as Cheezits, Nabs and peanut M&M's are okay for Henry in small doses. Just a few weeks ago those items would have hurt his little belly. Parmesan cheese and goat cheese are easier to digest so he can tolerate those occasionally too. Before Henry, I knew of babies that did not tolerate dairy but did not really understand how much it impacts some children. I was skeptical that dairy really was the cause of so many problems. Now, that I have experienced this first hand, I can assure you that no mother would give up dairy if it did not impact her child's health.

It is quite obvious when something has dairy in it. Approximately, twenty-four hours after I eat it, Henry shows signs of distress such as diarrhea, green, frothy stools, spitting up, not sleeping, rashes and general fussiness. Dairy remains in the system of a baby for up to four weeks.  Although, Henry is usually fine within a few days. One mom told me the difference for her and her baby after giving up dairy meant not even having to carry a burp cloth! Henry sleeps much better and requires less wardrobe changes. I cannot wait to dig into a turkey melt or enjoy a piece of cake with ice-cream but it's worth it right now to avoid all of that for my sweet boy! Most babies outgrow their dairy sensitivity and reflux by the age of one. It will be a lot better when Henry is able to sit up more and not spend so much time flat on his back. My favorite baby product for reflux is the Fisher Price Rock and Play. Henry will sleep for hours in there because it elevates him enough that he can rest comfortably. I like it because it does not move unless I physically rock it.  Hope this helps some of you. I have spent hours searching for answers and there is tons of information out there. Living dairy-free is not easy but it certainly makes my life easier to have a happy, content, sleeping baby!


  1. Thank you for this! :-) I'm bookmarking it as a favorite incase this happens with Small Frye!

  2. You should be very proud. I think I would be an epic fail. Training pants are a little thicker than regular panties. I'm using Gerber but also looked at Potty Patty and Hannas. Gerbers were the cheapest but still weren't cheap. I wouldn't say I know what I'm doing since I used ice cream to bribe her today to see if she was in pain while going.

  3. It's always amazing to me how often I hear this. One of my bff's is off dairy now too for the same reasons. Keep up the good work mommy! So I guess me and you both left Charlotte around the same time, huh? We're both at that 2 year mark?

  4. Uggg, I don't miss this! Mine were both intolerant of dairy too, but are fine now. I got to where I LOVED veggie shreds and soy milk, because that was all I could eat. Eww, now!

  5. The things we do for our children, right?! ;) You've been so matter of fact and very un-whiny about this whole process, unlike some other moms I know who constantly bemoan what they have to give up for their baby. I suffer from acid reflux and it IS miserable for me, so I can only imagine what a baby must think about it!

    Keep it up!


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