When Annabelle was four months old we found out that she was allergic to dairy. Since I was exclusively breastfeeding her, I completely cut out dairy from my diet. If I had the tiniest bit, our poor baby would break out with a nasty diaper rash, eczema, screaming fits, and explosive diapers. It’s been a year and a half since I said goodbye to one of my favorite foods: cheese. We have been living a dairy free lifestyle for almost all of Annabelle’s time on this Earth so far. Fast forward to a 22 month old who still has a sensitivity to dairy AND a Momma who can’t handle her cheese/milk/butter either.
One would think that by now I would know all of the hidden dairy sources – I check food labels like it is my job and frequently harass waitstaff to make sure they check with the kitchen chef about the ingredients they use. If Annabelle has dairy, she gets the worst rash on her little bottom and she seems to develop a bit of eczema on her arms and legs. If I have dairy, my stomach bloats out, my mouth tastes funny, and I am often sick for a few days afterwards. Just this past weekend I decided to throw caution to the wind and eat a bit of my beloved cheese – as a result, I paid for my indulgences for two days.
Just this past weekend, poor little Annabelle fell subject to a dairy exposure due to her parent’s forgetfulness. We bought a big bag of Bold Chex Mix before we went to Connecticut. I let her gobble up as much as she wanted to keep her content on the plane. In around 6 hours, she had developed a terrible rash on her heiney that has now lasted 6 days. We have put baking soda in her tubby, rubbed Desitin and an all natural bum balm all over the rash, and change her diapers frequently. She still complains that her bottom hurts though and I feel awful for being the reason she is in pain. I felt it was about time I reminded myself of the ingredients that contain milk. One of my most popular blog posts is Breastfeeding on a Dairy Free Diet because it includes multiple links to various websites containing information about living dairy free. There are SO many different food items that we don’t even know contain dairy – like Soy “Meat” Products, Hot Dogs, and all sorts of fried foods. Did you know dairy free instant creamer contains milk?! Check the label – you’ll be surprised.
If you discover that your little one has a dairy allergy, or perhaps YOU have developed a dairy sensitivity, do your research! Be careful with what you put in your mouth. Print out cheat sheets to keep in your wallet and never hesitate to ask a waitress if there is butter in your dish. Your stomach will thank you.