Surviving the Dairy Elimination Diet

cowsWhile I was pregnant, I enjoyed casually reading everything on the Internet about babies and so of course I came across articles and blogs that mentioned the Elimination Diet. At the time, I assumed it was something I would never have to deal with and if it came to that, I would definitely just formula feed.

A few months later, I had an adorable baby girl who ate constantly without gaining much weight and hardly slept for more than a few minutes at a time. After extensive googling, I decided the problem was most likely silent reflux and convinced the pediatrician to give me a prescription after a bout of hysterical crying in her office. Me crying, not the baby, of course.

The prescription helped somewhat, but she was still a horrible sleeper. Then around 3 months she developed persistent explosive diarrhea in a range of colors from lime green to forest green with a festive red diaper rash to match. She even had a little blood in a few diapers, prompting a quick trip to the emergency room where they asked if she had recently visited any West African countries. Spoiler alert: it was not Ebola.

I finally faced up to the fact that she most likely had a dairy allergy or intolerance and eliminated it from my diet. It was incredibly hard at first because I had a cranky baby who hardly slept and ate everything my boobs had to offer, leaving me very little time to futz around with preparing dairy free meals and snacks. To make it worse, I was a (mostly) vegetarian and a picky eater. And it was Halloween and I couldn’t eat the leftover candy! I was all ready to switch to super expensive allergenic formula, except that most of the time my daughter wouldn’t take a bottle.

I quickly ended the vegetarianism and started a diet consisting of mostly Oreos (which are vegan – yay!) with some chicken thrown in. As my daughter started to feel better, she stopped pooping 10+ times a day and started sleeping much better. And I found I actually had time to do things like grocery shop and cook. I also discovered beautiful, beautiful Trader Joe’s and their many dairy-free snacks and frozen food.

Even though it was still hard, it was easily worth the happier baby. And at the end of the day, I have it easy compared to people who have to eliminate multiple food items or have severe allergies (especially soy – it’s in EVERYTHING). Most babies outgrow dairy allergies and I may be able to reintroduce it at some point in the future (although my first attempt at eating a little dairy caused the return of green poo). Still, don’t get me wrong, I am counting down the days until she weans when I plan to have a massive wine and cheese party!

In the meantime, some of my go-to foods are:

  • Nature Valley K Cup Oatmeal – this is super quick and easy to make in the morning and I love that it includes almonds and flax seeds. I eat this so often that I have an Amazon subscription set up for it!
  • Chocolate Soy Milk – if I’m going to drink soy milk it’s definitely going to be chocolate and these boxes are super convenient and don’t have to be refrigerated!
  • Oreos – believe it or not, the creme is non-dairy. I can, and do, eat these all day long.
  • Chocolate Bunny Grahams – sensing a chocolate theme here?

Readers, any good products or recipes you would like to share?

4 thoughts on “Surviving the Dairy Elimination Diet

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