Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Dairy Free Family

Over the last few months, I've had a few people ask me if it is really necessary that the whole family be dairy free just because Witt has a cow's milk allergy, so I thought I'd record my answer just for remembrance sake.

The answer is easily, "Yes". Time and time again I am reminded that this is the way it needs to be right now while he is young. Here are some examples as to why:

Once we were eating out at a restaurant and I thought it would be fine to order mac-n-cheese for Nathan since it is one of his favorites and we don't have it at the house anymore. I was also thinking that someone else would have the cleanup and that all the dairy remnants would be left behind. So, after supper as we're getting ready to leave, I put Nathan down and he goes straight to Witt. I had wiped Nathan's hands, but not washed them so I start to panic. I scream almost at the top of my lungs as I'm standing up, "Don't let him touch the baby!!!" See... shouldn't have had mac-n-cheese if I can't do a proper clean up.

Both Will and Nathan have chocolate milk first thing in the morning. When we found out about Witt's allergy, we switched it to chocolate soy milk. Thankfully so. Just a few days ago, Nathan put his drink down on the ground near Witt. Before Jeff could get to it, Witt had brought the sippy cup to his mouth and started guzzling! So glad we had made the switch to soy.

I had Witt in the kitchen with me while I was sweeping the floor. He had just started to scoot around so I didn't think there was any problem with having him on the floor in there. However, he scooted just enough to grab a Sun Chip from under the table before I could sweep it up. Straight to the mouth! It was nice and gooey before I realized what happened. Thankfully I am an avid label reader and bought the dairy-free Sun Chip flavor (original).

This morning Nathan decided to share his sausage patty with Witt. I was going about my morning routine when Will yells, "Mom, Witt is chewing on something!" I run in here to a half-eaten sausage patty and dig the rest out of his mouth. I check out the sausage box. "Contains: Wheat, Milk, and Soy". OH NO!!!! I immediately give him some Benedryl. I recheck the box and it appears that only the bread has milk in it. Luckily, the boys don't eat the bread (it goes immediately into the trash) and I only serve the sausage. I'm going to have to rethink this sausage breakfast sandwich brand now.

These are only a few instances where we've had close calls. Right now while Witt is still very young and wanting to put everything into his mouth it is quite important that we have a dairy free house.

Dairy free really isn't as bad as it sounds, though. Cooking is just as easy as it was before since soy and cow's milk are a 1:1 substitute and I've found an all-vegetable margarine that cooks the same as regular. I do miss the cheese occasionally and to be quite honest, soy milk just doesn't soak an Oreo the way cow's milk can! :) We're making it fine, though! (Especially since Oreos are dairy free!)

Click here for all my posts labeled Dairy-Free.

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Melissa said...

This whole allergy thing is going to be a piece of cake for you!!!

One of the reasons I switched pediatricians after Ava was born was because they hassled me at every appointment about how wrong I was for not allowing my un-allergic child (Ava) to eat or drink dairy products.

Tamara said...

Becky - I think it sounds like you are doing a super job. Sounds like just the right thing for Witt and there is no reason everyone else needs milk either. We actually have not made our house allergen-free and it is working for us now but I like hearing other opinions as there are always so many decisions to make and things may change.
BTW, I just metioned a book in a recent post that I thought was really good if you feel you need more info about food allergies. It really helped build on the info I got from our allergist.


Thanks again!

Risa said...

I can imagine how hard it is with Witt being so little! Luke is old enough to know better - thankfully! So we aren't all dairy free - unless you count the common foods that we eat like bread and margerine and things like that. And when I cook a meal I make sure everything is dairy free or at least take a protion out for him before I add the cheese! :)

I never knew that Oreo's are dairy free! I almost wish I didn't know because I always had an excuse NOT to buy them before! LOL Now it's going to be the first thing on my grocery list this week!

Lisa @ Take90West said...

Oreos are dairy free? Who knew! I wonder what is in the white stuff.
I think it sounds like you are doing a great job getting the whole family adjusted...little slip ups are bound to happen, but overall it sounds like you've got everyone very dairy free!

Sebastian said...

Hi! I dont' know you. BUt, my 9 month old was just diagnosed with a milk adn egg allergy. (we figured out what it was when her 2 year old sister dumped a cup of milk on her, and she broke out into hives everywhere... later milk and egg confirmed by scratch and blood tests). Hope you dont' mind that I'm raiding your blog, looking for ideas. We haven't gone totoally dairy free, but we have taken out "spillable" sources fo dairy, such as milk and eggs. She's not really eating much yet, (I nurse mostly, and some baby food and cheerios). Hope we can help each other out.

Becky @ Boys Rule My Life said...


So glad you found us. I have met many DF friends through blogs and I do find it helpful to have a support system. If you have any questions, please feel free to email or comment. I am happy to help when I can.

Nice to meet you!


KellyBelly said...

Hello! Found your blog while searching for milk-free sweet potato recipes... my 3 yo is allergic to milk (since 5 mos old) and it has challenged us. (I also have a son with nut allergies and one who is wheat/gluten free - ugh). We feel we are healthier for all the changes we were forced to make! I hope Witt's allergy testing goes better than my son's did when he turned 3. I was so certain he'd have outgrown it and we could exhale. No, it more than doubled in severity. Now we are not sure if he will ever outgrow it. sigh. My thoughts are with you - thank you for the wonderful blog. I'll check out more after Thanksgiving (when I have more time!) :) Kelly

jasi said...

You can do it! We have a 2 y/o with dairy, nut allergies and we've gone mostly dairy free. We used to sneak ice cream now and then but after an accidental kiss and a quick trip the the ER we realized it's totally not worth it.

There are some great products out there. Soy Garden is perhaps the best butter sub out there. There's even soy whipped cream at our Whole Foods.

Things like this are almost a blessing though. It brings us back to watching what we eat, reading labels and choosing more healthy options.

Meg said...

Hi there - glad you found me! I'd love to share our story with you, although there are several things I'd like to make clear!

Our boys were NEVER diagnosed with a dairy allergy BY A PEDIATRICIAN. We did the testing ourselves, by doing sensitivity tests (inner arm, tongue, ingestion, etc) after we noticed that our oldest (who is now 3) would become incredibly fussy, gassy, break out with hives, the runs, the works - if I nursed him after ingesting dairy. And we weren't doing conventional dairy - this was organic, the "healthy" stuff!

We realized that by my cutting out dairy while nursing, we had a happier baby, and so that's what we did. I nursed until 7 months (he was a BITER!!), and we weaned him to an organic soy formula. At approximately 14 months, we tried our milk tests... and we had hives, gas/bloating (his tummy was actually swollen!), and severe runs.

After the birth of our second son, I stuck to the non-dairy diet the entire time I nursed him (we were using primarily soy as a substitute), and we began noticing some of the same reactions... gas/bloating, hives, and some NASTY constipation! We tried the milk tests again on him at 4 months - no reaction. Same test with soy milk - flared up like crazy. So here we were with one boy with no dairy, one with no soy, and Mama having to go back to work where she had no time to pump anyway!

... We did some research, and found that we live in the same area where one of the BEST raw milk dairies is located: Organic Pastures. We tried their milk the next week at the farmers market... and I, who had always had SOME kind of reaction to milk, had NOTHING. So we tried the milk test again with our oldest (2 years old at the time). Nothing. And on the baby (4 months old). Nothing. Beautiful, peaceful happy kids...

And so now we willingly pay $10-$16 a gallon (we go thru almost 3 a week) for milk that we can all drink!

Now, if there was a way to test your son without the risk of him possibly DYING, I'd say go for it... but I can't tell you that! :) All I can tell you is that raw milk (and raw cheese too!) has made all the difference in our lives.

Sorry for the epic comment - I hope it somehow helps though! I also wanted to tell you that we've tried hemp milk as a dairy substitute, and it's better, really, than anything else we've tried. :) I don't know how that would work, if you have a nut allergy in the house as well, but it's worth a try if you don't!