Tuesday, October 12, 2010

This Dairy Free Life

James has already taken us on some domestic adventures, one of them being a huge lifestyle change for me: living completely dairy free. When I say completely, I mean it. James, like Monica, has a dairy intolerance, meaning that he cannot digest casein (the protein in milk) properly. So, anytime he gets casein in his system (via breastmilk) he gets abrasions in his colon and blood in his diapers. Oy.

I cut down on dairy about two weeks before his due date in preparation for such a situation. Monica was also dairy intolerant as an infant, and once you have one child with that condition, it is more likely that you will have another. Even the little bit of dairy I was getting right before and after James was born (via occasional cheese and small amounts of dairy in dressings and prepared foods) was too much. By three weeks, he had colitis symptoms. So, I have been completely dairy free for over three months. Milk is in so many things...cake, cookies, brownies, nougat, cereals, granola bars, pretzels, chocolate, sherbet, some deli meats and sausage, bread, salad dressings and the list goes on.

Many people may ask why I am even doing this. Why not just switch to formula? Believe me, it's a tempting option. However, James is a really good nurser. He is growing very rapidly (as evidenced by recently posted pictures) and he is happy. Monica had the same issue as he did but she was NOT a good nurser. She was fussy and miserable and therefore, I was pretty miserable. There's no morale buster like a baby screaming at your chest 8+ times per day. We also found out that she was having a hard time eating and getting enough food for proper weight gain. For Monica, switching to bottles was a stab at achieving sanity once again.

Dealing with Monica's dairy free life helped prepare me for my dairy free life. I learned a lot of shortcuts for getting the calories I need without relying on milk, cheese and ice cream. Using rice protein powder, adding extra oil, feasting on potato chips and treating myself to coconut milk yogurt and coconut milk ice cream have been essential. I also did a lot of web research for Monica's dairy free diet and found MSPI Mama. She has a great blog with tons of recipes for people dealing with Milk and Soy Protein Intolerance (MSPI).

Though I totally miss pizza, and that will be the first thing I eat when I can have dairy again, I am at peace with my current way of life. James will not be nursing forever, nor is it likely that he will be dairy intolerant forever. Monica has grown out of her intolerance and enjoys cheese, cookies, cake and the like with the best of them.

I've decided that living dairy free is a sacrifice I'm willing to make for James. Yeah, it means skipping out on dessert (most of the time), pizza, and eating out at restaurants as much as I would like. But, living dairy free will not be forever. There will be a time, once again, when I'll get my cheese and eat it too!


Reenie said...

great post Andrea! James is clearly a happy, healthy, and growing little man! I'm so proud of you for making the hard sacrifice (and I'm sure it makes your thrifty hubby happy too ;)

Andrea said...

Well, it makes Thrifty Hubby happy on some levels. Our grocery bill is actually higher due to the specialty items and the ridiculous amounts of food I eat while nursing. I need to eat a lot, which really adds up! However, I'm pretty sure we're saving cash by skipping out on the super expensive formula that James would need and the lack of eating out at restaurants. I think Kevin will always be looking for ways to save money, no matter what. :)

Kara said...

Your post is very inspiring Andrea. It's wonderful to see such a positive spin on sacrifice. Thank you for sharing. <3, Kara