This weeks 5th blogger guest post is from the lovely Hannah from Budding Smiles with her beautiful personal account of pregnancy, lifestyle and parenthood.
Today she is sharing with us the difficulties of weaning a dairy-free baby.
Weaning a Dairy-Free Baby
My son Toby is now 10 months old and we first realised that he had some sort of tummy issues within weeks of his birth, but it wasn’t until he (and us) had suffered nearly 5 months of silent reflux and constant screaming that a dairy intolerance was pinpointed as being the probably issue. By that time, I had stopped breastfeeding due to the emotional impact of feeding a screaming baby every 30-60 minutes throughout the day and I was starting to doubt myself as a mum. Thankfully, with the support of my amazing husband, family, friends and a change of GP surgeries, Toby started having prescription formula for the management of dairy allergies and almost overnight he transformed into a calmer, happier baby.
As he reached 6 months of age, we started introducing small quantities of dairy-free baby porridge which he gobbled up. He then started trying fruits and vegetables but after wanting to go fully down the baby-led weaning route resulted in some awful nappies and even more awful screaming from our poor boy, I became scared of giving him new things to try and before long, he was eating barely more than porridge, carrots, sweet potato and bananas because I was so fearful of upsetting his delicate tummy. A visit to a dietician was helpful in many ways, the main one being his suggestion of introducing a new food every two weeks so that we would know exactly what had upset Toby’s tummy should he react badly to something. From that moment on I had more confidence and he now eats a nice and varied selection of meals.
Toby is still dairy-free at the moment so I have learned how to adapt many meals in order to suit his need without feeling like he’s missing out on new tastes. We’re very hopeful that he may one day be able to eat dairy and what we don’t want is for him to never have experienced creamy or cheesy meals and therefore be really fussy should he have access to them as a toddler. Here are some tried and tested favourites:
Creamy chicken and mushrooms: Sauteed chicken and mushroom pieces then simmered in soya or oat cream alternatives with pepper and herbs to season. Lovely served with pasta (gluten free pasta is available if required)
Sweet potato and tuna fishcakes: I wrote a blog post about these little delights, which are made with sweet potato, tuna steak, herbs, breadcrumbs and an egg to bind it all together. Serve with mixed veg for a healthy, omega 3-filled supper. (Note: Young children should not have more than one portion of tuna every week or so, luckily these can be frozen and kept for another day!)
Baby-friendly curry: A very simple and delicious dairy-free curry can be made using korma paste, coconut milk and chicken/veg/tofu then served with rice. A splash of cream alternative or soya yoghurt can be a nice addition too.
Toby can tolerate soya so he is able to have bread products and soya alternatives, but I’m very conscious that many dairy-free cheeses and other products are hideously high in salt and/or sugar, so I only give him those in moderation and I buy plain soya yoghurt then mix it with fruit puree for a healthier alternative. As a family, we all now use dairy-free spread as well as oat milk on our cereal and I personally find those things to be much kinder on my own stomach too.
Raising a baby with a dietary intolerance or allergy can seem daunting, but good advice is out there so don’t be afraid to ask for support and be brave, experiment with the products you know are safe and you may be surprised what you can come up with!