Little Bear (or not-so-little bear, as a new blogfriend suggested yesterday!) is allergic to milk. Not my milk, that is, but to any milk or milk products that I might ingest during the course of an otherwise-normal day. If I have a sip of milk, bite of cheese, anything more than the tiniest bit of butter on a bagel in the morning, he becomes wildly uncomfortable and fusses all day and night.
But this isn’t a post complaining. I’m good with it now. I’ve found some solutions to help me get proper nutrition and stave off the shakes (snacking on almonds and nuts that don’t grow on trees, drinking almond milk with my cereal, skipping cheese toppings, eating chips with salsa instead of nacho cheese (oooh, I miss nacho cheese), feeding the yogurt to my toddler and enjoying his smiles instead of the yummy goodness myself, that sort of thing). What I want to talk about is the prevalence of such allergies.
I had no idea that milk allergies in infants were so widespread. The first person to mention it to me was my NYfriend who had to cut out milk, cheese, soy, eggs, wheat, most vegetables, and most good-tasting food while her children were nursing. She told me about this while I was still pregnant with my first — I couldn’t believe how dedicated she was! Now I see that her incredible dedication is even more widespread among moms than I would have ever expected.
Of the six moms in my postnatal yoga class, four of us are dairy-free. Three of us are really struggling with it, though, in terms of feeding the rest of our families and keeping enough protein in our bodies to help us feel strong again. The fourth is a nutritionist at the hospital. She says this is more common than anyone realizes. It must be, for four of the six of us to need to be dairy-free to keep our babies comfortable!
Of the four moms that happened to come to Widget’s playgroup today, three of us have had to go dairy-free with at least one of our kids. The fourth is expecting her second child and was intrigued with our stories, as her first one had colic (or, as I’ve heard it called, “the baby hurt”). Another mom then related her story and said, “You know, we thought my first had colic, but when I went dairy-free, her disposition improved almost as soon as the milk proteins were out of her system!” I’ve noticed the same thing with Little Bear.
I wonder if it’s not that so many more babies HAVE milk allergies as that we’re learning to label their fussiness as such, find the root cause, and help them improve their moods such that they don’t seem to “have colic” as much as “have sensitivities to milk (or other foods)”?
Wouldn’t it be amazing if we were actually finding solutions to colic in a percentage of newborns? Now, if we could only find a way for them to communicate their other (non-yes/no) preferences!