Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Eliminating Dairy

DS3 is a gassy little guy.  He also has silent reflux.  And his nose has been stuffy for over a week.  This means I spend most of the night sitting upright in my bed holding him, with a little sleep on and off.  Yesterday I was so exhausted I decided to put him in bed with me and steal a nap during quiet time (after lunch everyone either has a nap or does something quiet like read).  I woke up to dh arriving home from work (around 3:30pm because he starts work at 4am) and learned the two older boys were outside flinging mud and that I had also managed to sleep through my brother knocking on the door and phoning.  So it's worth my while to figure out how to get DS3 to sleep so I can get more sleep at night!

I gave up dairy about 2 weeks ago. I LOVE cheese, yogurt, tzatziki, cream in my coffee... I eat a lot of dairy. So it's been an education and a half to see how dairy is in so many things. I feel like there's "nothing" to eat without dairy. But here's the research that makes me hope it will be worthwhile:

Dairy and other Food Sensitivities in Breastfed Babies

"If you think your baby is reacting to a particular food, then eliminate that food from your diet for 2-3 weeks to see if baby’s symptoms improve. If baby’s symptoms do improve, then this food may be a problem for your baby. Eliminating a food for less than 2-3 weeks may not be effective—cow’s milk protein, for example, can persist in mom’s body for 1½ - 2 weeks, and it may be another 1½ - 2 weeks before the protein is out of baby's system. 

Baby’s symptoms will usually begin to improve within 5-7 days of eliminating a problem food. Your baby may not improve immediately, however, especially if the reaction is to a food that has been a regular part of mom's diet. Some babies seem to feel worse for about a week before symptoms begin to improve. Sometimes it takes several weeks to see an improvement.

Breastfed babies who are sensitive to dairy in mom's diet are sensitive to specific cow's milk antibodies, in the form of proteins (not lactose), which pass into the mother's milk. Cow's milk (either in the mother's diet or engineered into formula) is a common source of food sensitivity in babies. Cow's milk sensitivity or allergy can cause colic-like symptoms, eczema, wheezing, vomiting, diarrhea (including bloody diarrhea), constipation, hives, and/or a stuffy, itchy nose. 

If your baby is sensitive to dairy in your diet, it will not help to switch to lactose-free dairy products. The problem is the cow’s milk proteins, not the lactose. Cooking dairy products may reduce but will not eliminate the allergens. 

A significant percentage of babies with cow's milk protein allergy will also react to soy. Most dairy-allergic babies will also react to goat's milk or sheep’s milk. Some will also react to beef. 

If you think that your baby may be sensitive to dairy products in your diet, remember that it can take 10 days to 3 weeks to eliminate cow's milk protein from your system—allow a full 2-3 weeks of dairy elimination before evaluating the results.

"You must also inspect all packaged, canned, bottled and prepared food in your refrigerator, freezer and cupboards and read labels. Look for five words: milk, cheese, lactose, whey and casein. There may be other words attached to the word milk solids, milk proteins, milk by-products. Eliminate them.

Do you like butter? Good, enjoy it. But, it’s a dairy product you say. That’s right, but it’s almost pure fat. There are 3 components to a milk product: sugar (lactose), protein and fat. Fat causes none of the problems that the milk sugars and proteins do. Enjoy it."

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