Does your child have a dairy or milk allergy? We’ve tried just about everything under the sun for dairy allergy alternatives. Here’s a list of things to try if you are dealing with dairy allergies at your house:
Alternatives to Milk
We buy So Delicious. I actually find it cheaper at Whole Foods than at my regular grocery store (which carries a good organic selection). The good thing about coconut milk is that is does not expire for months. When it goes on sale you can stock up and know that it will last. Coconut milk is good 7-10 days from the time you open it, and generally has a couple of months of refrigerated shelf life before opening.
You can read about the health benefits of coconut milk here. In short, coconut milk is high in Medium Chain Fatty Acids which are all kinds of good for you. I also like that it is fortified with calcium, magnesium and Vitamin D. I worried about how my daughter would get enough calcium without eating dairy products. The regular flavor of coconut milk has less sugar in it than cows milk. If you get vanilla coconut milk the sugar count goes up, but it’s still not as much as cows milk.
We cook with it, use it in cereal (it’s amazing in granola) and our daughter has been drinking it in place of whole milk since she turned 1.
I love the taste of almond milk. It also tastes great in cereal and to use as a milk substitute when baking.
Almond milk is what they call “shelf stable” so if you are traveling etc. it’s nice that it doesn’t need to be refrigerated.
Most brands of almond milk are fortified with vitamins and minerals and are a good source of antioxidants and Vitamin E.
The taste is not bad, but I do feel like it’s a watered down beverage. When thinking about nutrition, especially for my kids, I feel a lot better about coconut milk because of the added nutritional value. I think that rice milk is a fine substitute in cooking or poured in cereal. However if you have a toddler who still has substantial nutritional needs that would have been fulfilled by whole milk, it’s not my top choice.
If someone is diagnosed with a dairy allergy, soy seems to be the immediate jump that people take. A significant number of people who have an allergy to dairy will have an allergy to soy. My allergist said that the crossover is around 80%. As a matter if fact, the more time goes on, the more bad things I hear about soy milk for your health. Just Google “dangers of soy milk” and you’ll have plenty to read.
I’m not a fan of soy. However, I obviously can’t make any universal statements for the entire population.
We did the whole go to the local goat farm and buy fresh goats milk for the baby thing. I felt earthy and farmy and we stopped to pet the goats every time we went to the goat farm. You didn’t even have to check out with a cashier. There was just an envelope to leave your money in and a fridge with all of the goats milk in it.
Well, the goats milk smelled like a$&, constipated the baby, and made her skin rash out all over. Studies have shown that goats milk is more nutritionally beneficial than cows milk. This just wasn’t the right solution for us.
My daughter was allergic to everything. Even corn. The only formula she could tolerate was “Allimentum”. We called this “liquid gold”. It was really pricey and to be honest I’m not even sure of what it was made of. I’m amazed that she would drink it. She took this formula from about 4 months old until she was one. I was so happy when we could progress to a less expensive (and less stinky) option.
Even though it was stinky, I was glad that we had something to feed her!
Warming up refrigerated liquid to a temperature that a baby will take can be frustrating. Since all of our daughters options had to be refrigerated we were constantly trying to warm everything up.
My genius husband busted out “The Cocomotion” one night and it was all over! So much less frustrating to warm up the liquid formula or coconut milk (think about the middle of the night feedings). Plus, the Cocomotion warmed it up to a perfect temperature.
Our Favorite Dairy Free Desserts
Nothings worse for a little kid than being the only one who doesn’t get a treat. Think about birthday parties, desserts after family dinner, etc. etc. We try to be stocked up on diary free dessert items so that we don’t find ourselves in that pinch. It’s a bummer when we forget to grab something to take for her to a family party. Here are some of the treats we love:
Coconut Ice Cream and Sorbet (I personally like the mint chocolate chip)
We also used to cook with coconut milk or almond milk quite a bit. She tolerates dairy baked into things now so we don’t have to worry so much about it.
I know it seems overwhelming at first, but once you find what works for you and you integrate it into your new routine things get much easier. I’m actually happy that as a family we have cut down on our dairy consumption overall as a result. The real blessing of a food allergy is the fact that is makes us constantly think about what we are putting in our children’s bodies (as well as our own). As a whole, we eat much healthier because of the food issues that our daughter has had.
If you know me, you also know that I’m all about my voodoo medicine! We’ve had great success adding foods to our daughters diet through NAET. It’s been amazing. I’m a big believer in alternative medicine and credit so much of her progress to it.
How are you dealing with dairy allergies at your house?
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