Breastfeeding a Baby with Food Allergens

Riggins is 11 weeks old today! I can’t even believe he’s been with us for almost three months. If you follow me on Instagram you know that we went through a rough patch with him right around week five. We weren’t sure if he was developing colic, getting sick, or just transitioning from being the most calm and laid back baby in the world to the complete opposite of that.  After tears, complete meltdowns, and a lot of research, it basically came down to this:

My baby has a food allergy and I had to do something about it.

I am terrible at dieting. I went through a time in my life where I had distorted eating and exercise habits and it was terrible. Then, thanks to my hubby, I discovered food - REAL food, and how feeding my body made me feel so good.  And since then, I just kept on intuitively eating and have never looked back. Fast forward 4 years and all of a sudden I was 5 weeks postpartum, my infant wouldn’t latch when it came to breastfeeding, and when he finally did, he’d scream for hours and hours between feedings and wouldn’t let up. I was completely at a loss.  Do I keep nursing my baby if I’m hurting him? Do I really spend 15 minutes trying to get him to latch every single time he needs to eat?  I was so exhausted and my toddler kept telling me to make the baby be quiet please.  ‘I know honey, I’m trying,’ I would say. I talked myself out of the dairy free thing for a few days.  I told myself that it couldn’t possibly be the reason for his behavior, his pain. 

But this diet?  The one I’ve been following for six weeks now - let me tell you, I will never look back.  At least until I’m done breastfeeding that is. I started sharing about this a little bit on my Instagram feed and I’ve actually had quite a bit of interest from other mom’s regarding this topic.  Even those who aren’t mom’s have been messaging me questions and even offering tips and advice as I’ve seen a lot of people following the Whole 30 diet, which limits a lot of things, including dairy. 

Long story short, if you have been considering switching to an allergy free/dairy free diet - this post is for you. Below are the things that have helped me during the challenging times as well as some of my favorite substitutions and basically what I eat in a day to survive this switch.  

I will be honest and tell you that it.is.HARD.  Reading labels and cooking has been challenging, which is why I eat a lot of the same things over and over right now.  But I will tell you that the day after I changed to this diet, Riggins changed.  And over time it’s just gotten better. Within a week he was better, like almost completely. He stopped fussing, spitting up, and his baby acne cleared up so fast. He even started sleeping better.  And now that it’s been six weeks, I refuse to look back and feel so thankful to have my happy baby back.

So this is for you mama’s:

Remember Why: During the challenging times (like the times where you’re so sick of wandering the grocery store with two little one’s reading labels), just remember WHY you are making this transition. For me, I am willing to keep up with this lifestyle because I just can’t imagine seeing my baby scream like he was ever again.  It was heartbreaking and I felt horrible knowing that every single time he ate he would be in pain. 

Focus on what you CAN eat:  Since a lot of things contain dairy, soy, and eggs (those are the things I am avoiding), I really just try to focus on the things that I can eat every day.  Basically a lot of carbs and healthy fats.  I am not a huge fan of meat but I have had to increase my meat intake to ensure I get at least some protein every day - especially since I can’t have eggs.  The hardest thing for me has been giving up half and half in my coffee.  I am a coffee addict. One cup in the morning, iced coffee in the afternoon - daily.  Since I’m a huge fan of cream in my coffee, I’ve had probably 15 emotional meltdowns that I can’t.  I’ve opted for Almond Milk creamer which is definitely not the same, but my mindset is:  you can STILL have coffee.  It’s not the same but you can still have it.  So that is what I focus on.  I can’t have yogurt, but I can have fruit.  I can’t have eggs, but I can have turkey meatballs. I can’t have chocolate, but I can have Dairy Free Halo Top (which is amazing by the way). Focus on the things you can eat.

Reach out: Instagram has been a lifesaver for me. I used to be so timid about posting things on my story in regards to my personal life other than my kids.  But as soon as I started speaking into the phone and seeking advice from others like how do i make vegan bullet proof coffee?  or hey can someone give me their thoughts on dairy free creamers, I got immediate responses. And it’s been so wonderful and helpful and led me to other blogs and resources as I make my way in this journey.  Instagram is a platform that I truly believe is amazing for sharing our real lives.  It’s a great tool to connect with people, learn, and just overall be yourself on. My biggest advice is to never be scared to reach out! There are so many people out there going through similar things, or their own thing, and you just never know how the connections with others will shape your future. 

Take this time to learn: I am fairly knowledgable when it comes to living a healthy lifestyle. But the Dairy, Soy, and Egg thing? It took me a couple of weeks to get a handle on it. These three ingredients are in a lot of foods and had this never happened to me, I probably wouldn't have ever taken the time to learn about this topic. A lot of foods like breads, chocolates, sauces, all contain dairy and egg! I found myself picking up a lot of things I thought would be okay to eat and immediately putting them back. Use this as an opportunity to learn about nutrition and foods and what they contain. And when it comes to the ingredient list, less is more!

It’s Hard, Mama.  I know.  But take it from someone who has made it over the hump.  It’s doable and so completely worth it. For me, the best motivation in the world has been having a healthy and happy baby.  Take it one step at a time, you both deserve this. 

Below is what I typically eat in a day!

Breakfast:

Lunch:

  • Turkey Meatballs w/ Sweet Potato
  • Avocado Toast with Fruit
  • Turkey Sandwich with lots of veggies

Dinner:

  • We eat a lot of Chipotle because it gives me calories and my hubby loves it
  • Grilled Chicken, Steak, Salmon with steamed veggies
  • Turkey Tacos
  • Chicken stir fry with vegetables 

For snacks I eat a lot of Energy Balls, Costco tortilla chips with salsa and guac, apples, trail mix, and Lactation Cookies made with coconut oil and dairy free chocolate chips (this recipe I'll share soon!) And I try to drink 100 oz of water a day so that I can maintain my milk supply.

How about you?  Are you or have you been on an allergy-free diet?  What tips can you share with your fellow feeders?