A mother's breast milk is nature's answer to gourmet baby food. Not only is it easier for your little one to digest, but it can also help to protect them against allergies and allergic reactions. Unfortunately, sometimes as moms we feel the pressure to be milk producing machines — and as much as we’d love to be able to produce enough breastmilk to feed a small village — it isn’t always as easy as we imagine. It’s important to remember that to be the best mom possible, you have to look after yourself too. Whether this means enjoying five minutes of alone time, indulging in a small glass of wine, or supplementing your breast milk with formula, it’s important to be kind to yourself.
As most moms know, your diet and the breast milk you produce are closely intertwined. What you eat daily affects your breast milk — and in turn, the little one who consumes it. According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, dairy is one of the most common food allergies — affecting up to 2% of children in the U.S. But what does this mean for breastfeeding moms? Put simply — you should consider going dairy-free — or at least lowering your dairy consumption — while nursing.
Here are three reasons why you should consider a dairy-free diet when breastfeeding.
Dairy Is A Common Allergen
If your baby is fussy after nursing or suffers from vomiting or diarrhea, they may have a food allergy. Sensitivity to cow's milk is fairly common in children; specifically, babies often experience an allergy to the protein in cow's milk — not the lactose.
Infants who have an intolerance to dairy often experience symptoms such as skin rashes, mucus in their stool, tummy upset and general discomfort, however, you can help to reduce these symptoms — or eliminate them entirely— by adopting a dairy-free diet while breastfeeding!
Moms Benefit Too!
Adopting a dairy-free diet isn't just beneficial for your nursing baby; it can also benefit you! Cow's milk often contains a synthetic growth hormone known as rBGH, as well as sugars and fats that can aggravate your digestive system and skin. If you suffer from frustrating pimples and adult acne, going dairy-free is often recommended as the first line of defense.
In addition, the protein in dairy has been shown to increase mucus production and inflammation, which can lead to a whole host of other health problems, such as candida overgrowth and thyroid issues. But more worryingly, several studies have shown a direct correlation between the consumption of dairy and hormone-related cancers, such as ovarian cancer. In fact, just one serving of cows milk daily was shown to increase the risk of developing ovarian cancer by 32%.
Dairy-Free Is Easier Than You Might Think
If your baby has an allergy to cow's milk, it's likely that even when they transition to solid food, you'll have to be mindful of it. By adopting a dairy-free diet while breastfeeding, you can educate yourself and become comfortable preparing delicious dairy-free meals. Don't know where to start cooking dairy-free? Check out our Pinterest board with hundreds of ideas, all great choices for breastfeeding moms.
Although the thought of giving up cheese may seem like a nightmare you can't wake up from, it's actually a lot easier than you might anticipate. Most grocery stores have plenty of delicious, dairy-free alternatives available to enjoy — plus, experimenting with food is fun!
Our protein powder provides an easy, accessible jumping-off point if you're new to a dairy-free lifestyle. Milk Drunk protein powders are all vegan, made with a pea protein that is less likely than whey protein to aggravate little one's tummy.
If going dairy-free makes you concerned about a lack of calcium or protein, don't fret! There are plenty of non-dairy calcium sources to choose from, such as oranges, kale, spinach, and broccoli.
As with most other parenting challenges, finding the source of your baby's discomfort is often a case of trial and error. It may take up to three months to eliminate cow's milk protein from your body, and you may not see the positives effects for a couple of weeks — but keep the faith mama, because a contented nursing baby will always be worth the sacrifice.