If your breastfeeding baby is showing a sensitivity to or has a cow's milk allergy from the dairy products you are eating, it may help if you begin by cutting out those obvious sources of dairy (think milk, cheeses, sour cream, ice cream, etc.) in your diet. However, in a few number of cases, some babies are extremely allergic to cow's milk proteins. If you find this to be the case of your baby, you will need to look closely at the labels of the foods you eat. You may need to eliminate all traces of dairy ingredients from your diet.
Lactose Free and Soy Products May Not Be the Answer
Before you go ridding your diet of dairy and replacing it with food from other sources, you should be clear that switching to lactose-free or soy products may not improve the situation. Babies with cow's milk sensitivities have issues with cow's milk antibodies that come through breastmilk as a protein, not lactose. These proteins are still present in lactose-free milk products. Further, some babies who have sensitivities or allergies to cow's milk protein also have problems digesting soy proteins.
But Will It Work?
It is common advice to tell breastfeeding mothers of babies with milk allergies to stop eating dairy themselves. However, there is little actual research showing this to be helpful. But because there is no harm to the baby if you stop eating dairy, it's OK to try. By doing so, in theory, you will reduce the chance of exposing your baby to the problematic proteins. It may take a few days to a few weeks to notice any difference (and in some cases it may not help at all).
Dairy Ingredients to Eliminate
You can use the following list to help you steer clear of dairy products, including those "hidden" dairy ingredients.
- Artificial butter flavor
- Caseinates (ammonia, calcium, magnesium, potassium, sodium)
- Cottage cheese
- Goat's milk
- Half and half
- Hydrolysates (casein, milk proteins, whey, whey proteins)
- Lactalbumin phosphate
- Milk (condensed, derivative, dry, evaporated, powder, low fat, malted, non fat, protein, skim, solids, whole)
- Rennet casein
- Sour cream
- Sour cream solids
- Whey (all forms)