May 15, 2018

If your bub is allergic to dairy like mine, you’ll have been told to stay off all that wonderful cheese whilst breastfeeding. Our little one had terrible eczema from early on and was scratching all day and night until a highly specialised plan was formed to reduce his discomfort.

Carefully reading labels has become a part time job. Sometimes I still miss something that has dairy in it and have to administer the first aid that I have been taught to reduce bubs’ reaction.

These are the more common dairy products to steer clear of or pay special attention to when reading the label:

  • Milk
  • Cheese (including cottage and cream cheese)
  • Butter
  • Ice-cream
  • Iced coffee
  • Milkshakes, smoothies, creamy beverages
  • Sour cream & whipped cream
  • Yoghurt
  • Dips and spreads
  • Museli bars or biscuits that may have creamy fillings or yoghurt bits
  • Cakes, slices or any baked treats
  • Bread
  • Milk powder (can be found in any processed food)
  • Creamy sauces

As I am still breastfeeding, the responsibility falls on me to be careful of what I put in my body as this will have an effect on him. Sadly for me, this has meant cutting out my beloved cheese. This has by far been my biggest challenge. There is no real alternative to dairy cheese of course. Vegan cheese is weird, and I have yet to try soy cheese but I guarantee there is no substitute for the good, real stuff.

If you have to face this same bleak reality, then let me assure you, all is not lost. There is life after cheese. Instead of despairing, hear me out. You may not need to replace and forget dairy altogether or forever, but you can temporarily distract yourself with other amazing foods that are not off the menu.

Dairy free pancakes are the best breakfast and one bubs will love too. There are heaps of gluten free/egg free options as well but we use banana/egg/whatever flour we have lying around and soy milk to get the best consistency (or another dairy-free milk like almond, coconut, rice etc). Sometimes I add blueberries to make ‘purple pancakes’ but they do not compromise on taste and flavour. You don’t even need sugar if you’re using fruit in the mixture.

We use soy milk or oat milk in mash potatoes and for that really creamy taste, we put the mash in the food processor and whip it up. You wouldn’t know it doesn’t have dairy in it as it’s so light and fluffy and restaurant quality. Try adding a tiny bit of stock for some ‘out of this world’ flavour. Adding a little sweet potato gives it a subtle sweet flavour as well which is so delicious and a win with bubs.

Breads can be mostly dairy free (just check the labels carefully) and avocado can be used instead of margarine/butter as a definite winner (if you can afford them).

Pizza isn’t beholden to cheese. Just don’t put cheese on the pizza - easy. You may not even notice that it’s missing if you have flavoursome enough toppings like sun-dried tomato, fresh basil, bacon, and pineapple (insert the controversy- yes fruit on a pizza!).

Oat milk in coffee is so creamy - it is unreal! Cafe’s don't usually sell this but soy/almond milks are acceptable. I find oat milk the best though and closest in flavour to real milk. It’s also great on cereal for the same reason.

Yoghurt - the paleo movement would suggest you make your own coconut yoghurt. I don’t like the real stuff anyway so we haven’t lost anything.

As for custard or ice cream - there are dairy free equivalents out there. I haven’t found one for cream but I am sure it’s around.

What I did find amazing is that there are so many varieties of dairy free chocolate that I think I’ve eaten more chocolate than I usually would in the quest to not be denied a basic mum right - good chocolate. These are just a few good examples, you’ll find your own rhythm but be creative and don’t give up! Kids generally grow out of their allergies eventually (apparently).