I have loved breastfeeding both my babies. I have loved looking down at their beautiful little faces nuzzled against my chest and feeling proud that I am providing all their nourishment. However, when you suspect all that nourishment is also causing them pain and distress, it is very difficult to deal with. I still feel guilty that we did not realise J’s allergies earlier but with Miss A I spotted the signs quickly and cut dairy out my diet so I could carry on breastfeeding with cow’s milk protein allergy (cmpa).
It can seem very daunting to cut all dairy from your diet but there are so many alternatives available that once you get used to it, it’s quite manageable. Here are some tips for breastfeeding with cmpa:
Dairy free milks
There are lots of dairy free milks on the market so you may need to experiment to find the right one for you. Soya is a good all rounder, if your baby can tolerate it, oat and coconut are good for cereal and many people like nut milks for cooking and smoothies.
Cooking without dairy
Checking ingredients is easier now cow’s milk has to be highlighted in bold but it can still be much easier to cook from scratch. A lot of your favourite recipes can be recreated or adapted. These dairy free muffins are a great, simple treat.
Batch cooking is the way forward I think, because the hardest thing is that you can’t just pick up a pizza or pasta sauce when you can’t be bothered to cook
Dairy free products
While you can just avoid dairy, it can be helpful to replace some of your favourite products. Pure is a great dairy free replacement for butter. Cheeses can be one of the most difficult things but after trying some awful ones we really like violife. We also love the dairy free ice cream Swedish Glace – my husband says it’s better than the real thing!
A lot of baby groups and socialising revolves around tea and cake which can be one of the hardest parts of going dairy free. Restaurants and cafes now have to provide allergy information but don’t be afraid to take along your own treats too.
I always carry a small pot of almond milk and a cake/ biscuit so if we fancy an impromptu pop in somewhere ( friends/cafe etc) I can always have a cup of tea
If you are breastfeeding with cmpa and cutting dairy out your diet it is important to make sure you get enough calcium and fats from other sources. Your GP should prescribe you calcium supplements or you can take something like Pregnacare breastfeeding vitamins. Try to include other sources of calcium in your diet like greens or apricots and healthy fats like nuts or olive oil.
Cutting out dairy while you are breastfeeding with a milk allergy is not easy but remember, it’s not forever and you are doing an amazing thing for your baby.
Seeing your child thrive, happy, no longer in pain and no longer miserable makes it all worth it.
You can find more useful information on the CMPA support website. Throughout November they are running their ‘Moovember’ campaign to raise awareness of Cow’s Milk Allergy. Thanks to the ladies of the CMPA support Facebook group for sharing their tips for this blog post.