Thursday, August 8, 2013

Got Milk??? Yes and No

I know I've mentioned it several times here, but for those of you who aren't reading this old blog daily - aka everyone but my mom - Anna has been battling with some serious congestion issues ever since she was born.

It started out as snottiness (of the drippy kind that comes out of your nose, not the act of being a snotty person) and has gradually gotten worse over the last 3 months. After several trips to the pediatrician (2 different ones at that), I've been assured that it's "normal" in newborns and can last up to 6-9 months. Whhhhhat? 

It doesn't bother her most of the day, except when it does bother her, and then it reallllly bothers her. But the worst is at night. She's actually a pretty good sleeper (usually sleeps from 7:30-3 or 4) but once she wakes up after that first stretch, she sounds like she can't breathe. If you've ever tried to suction out a baby's nose in the middle of the night, it ain't fun. Let's just leave it at that.

Anyway, one of my friends reached out on Facebook the other day to explain her experience with her son. When she described his congestion symptoms, they sounded exactly like Anna's! The culprit? DAIRY.

She said giving up dairy, combined with medication for reflux, totally helped clear up his congestion issues. I had never even considered that option, nor had either doctor suggested it, so naturally, I turned to Dr. Google. Oh the things we Google at 11:30pm at night as a mom. "Congestion Breastfeeding Dairy" gave me a bunch of results that said yes, if you eliminate dairy from your diet, it can clear your baby's congestion.

The trouble is, I love Dairy and Dairy is in EVERYTHING. Like, everything. 

To do a true elimination diet if you suspect a milk protein allergy, you have to cut all sources of dairy from your diet for at least 3 weeks before you can gauge the results. And not just the obvious sources, like milk, butter, and cheese (my favorite foods basically). It comes in other forms, like casein and whey. And chocolate. 

At this point, I am so desperate for Anna to breathe better that I will try anything, but I'm going to be honest... when I started thinking about giving up all dairy for a minimum of 3 weeks, I looked a little like this:

And did one of these:

I mean, what do people EAT when they can't eat dairy? I emailed my friend who is 95% vegan and she graciously gave me some tips. There's also a ton of information on, and I've been pinning some recipes and snacks on Pinterest.

I've done it for 48 hours now, and I won't lie, it's not great. The worst part is I lost my coffee creamer. You all know I can't live without coffee. And soy coffee creamer just doesn't do it for me. I'm drinking it and I feel like this:

But like I said, I'm willing to try anything to make my sweet girl feel better. 

Anna, I will be sure to flag this post for you some day when you tell me I'm a horrible mother for making you eat your vegetables. You're welcome.

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  1. Ha! Love your little comment at the end...what mothers do for their children! I've heard quite a few moms on the blogs that had to give up dairy while breastfeeding! I'm sure once you get used to it, it isn't that bad. BUT, getting to that point would definitely be an adjustment. Best of luck to you!

  2. Hey Audra - My sister had the same issue - if you need help or tips let me know and I can send you her email (She also happens to be a pediatrician :)) She was constantly surprised by what foods contain dairy - like McDonalds French Fries! What - why is there dairy in there? :) (in case it doesn't show up - this is Kate Lehman)

  3. Just catching up on everything and saw this post. Oh man, I feel your pain, Audra! Oren had colic as a baby and I was afraid it was a dairy allergy as well from my breast milk. I did just what you did and did a total elimination of all dairy for 4 weeks. In the end it didn't help anything. Which was good and bad at the same time. After the four weeks I just went back to normal and we rode it out and he eventually outgrew it. But heavens, those four weeks were tough. You're right, dairy is in absolutely everything. I was miserable and when I first started it I thought I was going to have a nervous breakdown trying to figure out what I COULD eat, which seemed like basically nothing. Never have I been so appreciative of what people with food allergies have to go through. Hang in there, one day this will all just be a distant memory!