Baby,  Food,  Mom Life

Adjusting to Life Without Dairy (and Soy)

I’m sure you’ve all heard of a baby with a dairy allergy, maybe you even know one (or have one), but I didn’t realize just how common it was until we went through our own reflux and allergy journey.

District Baby was extremely fussy as a new baby (that momma hiding in the bathroom crying kind of fussy). I had heard dairy could upset their stomachs, so I would try a day without dairy here and there and when it didn’t work I figured it wasn’t our issue and went back to my pizza (seriously, this was my main food group when DB was new). We tried everything! Colic calm, gas drops, probiotics, holding her up for 30+ minutes after feeding, tummy massages, bicycling her legs… everything. Nothing worked.

Around 6 weeks a doctor recommended I give up dairy and soy, and she meant REALLY give them up. She told me it could take up to two weeks for all of it to exit my system. She alternatively said I could try special formula, but since DB would not take a bottle that option wasn’t for us (more on this later). I did it. I committed. I talked to other moms, I read every label, I called every restaurant. I gave up every spec of cows milk protein & soy out there. We also caved and started giving her a low dose of baby Zantac.

It. Worked. It was an honest to goodness miracle; we had a whole new baby! She was happy, she smiled, she didn’t scream all the time. I’m going on almost three months without dairy or soy (apparently soy is also an irritant) and I would not go back for anything as long as I am giving District Baby breastmilk. Seeing your baby in that kind of pain is not worth all the pizza & Chinese food in the world.


Tips & Favorite Products:

  • Protein/veggies/grains/fruit. Go back to basics.
  • Add avocado to everything — another df/sf mom recommended this to me and it’s great! Anything you would have cheese on (think Mexican dishes) substitute with avocado. Sandwiches? Add avocado. Heck, just eat an avocado (I drizzle mine with balsamic dressing).
  • Read every label and watch out for whey, casein, & soy lecithin.
  • When dining out ask your server to make sure the kitchen can prepare your meal on a clean surface (it’s ok to be annoying — this is your baby!).
  • Enjoy Life products if you have a sweet tooth: chocolate chips, chocolate chip cookies, chocolate cookies, chocolate bars (these are completely allergen friendly, I LOVE them!).
  • Udi’s for bread products (especially if you are also gluten free).
  • SO Delicious for dairy free ice cream (or you can also just switch to sorbet).
  • Daiya vegan cheese is also soy free (be careful a lot of vegan products that are OK for the dairy allergy are made with soy).
  • Peanut or almond butter (the natural kinds). I eat tons of this.
  • Nuts in general!
  • Berry bowls (just confirm they don’t use dairy).
  • Silk Almond milk is my personal preference. Ripple Pea Protein milk may be better for you, but I just couldn’t adapt to it.
  • Check your salad dressings & mayos, even the balsamic vinaigrette or mayo “made with olive oil” may actually have soybean oil in it.
  • Butter: Earth Balance Soy Free.
  • Bobo’s Oat Bars (I personally like the lemon poppy seed and I get them at Union Kitchen Grocery).
  • Outshine (or other fruit based) popsicles (a great summer treat!).
Acai Bowl from Henry’s Sweet Retreat in Bethesda



Restaurant recommendations (may be local to the DC area):

  • Cava Mezze (allergen menu here).
  • Chop’t (allergen menu here).
  • &Pizza (their vegan cheese is Dayia, so it is soy free. I also just get a pizza without cheese but tons of other toppings).
  • Chipotle (allergen menu here).
  • Shouk (Vegan Israeli inspired street food).
  • Fruitive (I love their antioxidant berry bowls).
  • Territory meal delivery (this is amazing, if it’s in your area and you want to try leave me your email, I will send you a code… you know momma ain’t got time to cook!).

It’s a good idea to look for chains, they generally provide allergen menus. I’ve also found that I have better luck in “nicer” restaurants, they seem a little more accommodating. Salads, Mexican food (sans cheese), burgers & plain ole meat & veggies have become my diet.

It’s hard, but you adjust. After all, it’s only a short chapter in our journeys!


*Special thanks to Sarah Shaw Photography for the featured image in this post. Also for the image in our header!

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