20 answers

Weaning plus Dairy Allergy - What to Do?

I can't quite figure out how to do this. My daughter is almost 13 months and still nurses about 5 times a day. She has a dairy allergy so we haven't been able to replace feedings wth milk. We tried soy milk and she seems really adverse to it, only taking a little if we water it down. I know that's not the healthy, filling drink she is used to. So what should I do? Is it ok to cut feedings if we are not replacing them with milk?

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

A huge thank you to all the advice on different types of milk and how to switch over. It is a very emotional process on top of the allergy, so I appreciate the input and support.

More Answers

Whatever you do, don't just trust your doctor on this one. I love my doctor, but he's no nutritionist, and every time I turn around, he's telling me to cut dairy. It was the first thing he told me to do when my daughter had excema, and I made the choice, excema or not, she needs the essential fats, protein and calcium inherently present in organic cow an goat milk, not calcium fortified soy etc which is OK sometimes, but not a good full time substitute before 2 years of age. The fats alone in milk are crucial for brain development. So FIRST, find out how to replace those elements effectively or continue to nurse if you possibly can. Second, be absolutely SURE she is allergic to dairy-get lots of opinions. Dairy allergies are EXTREMELY over diagnosed and a lot of kids are having very valuable nutrients taken away. Good luck! ps, We're healthy vegetarians too, I get it, that soy is supposed to be the end all be all substitute, but it isn't and there are a lot of studies showing that too much soy is harmful. Foods made to look like other foods -milk, cheese, patties, etc, are HIGHLY engineered. We do occasional soy milk, occasional organic tofu, and for a real treat, occasional soy dogs. But don't replace all her milk with soy!

1 mom found this helpful

Babies, both breast and formula fed, often don't take right away to the new milk. If she is a good eater otherwise, I would choose a time to give only soy milk in a cup, at least warmed to room temperature. I wouldn't water it down- it just takes some getting used to. Be sure not to give in and allow nursing at that time. Cont to substitute other feeds until she's doing mostly milk from a cup. Bedtime feeds are usually the last to go.
Good Luck!

Hi Kelly,
Been there done that -- 3 times. We went to Almond milk. I also don't bother with milk very often. I give a calcium/vitamin D supplement daily. My kids drink 100% fruit juice fortified with calcium, 1/4 juice to 3/4 water. Or they drink plain water. As long as you have a healthy diet you dont have to worry. I would say - keep on nursing if you can tho- there's nothing better than MOMMY's Milk.

Good Luck!

My son has a dairy allergy as well.He hated the soy milk when he weaning. Have you tried the very vanilla flavor by Silk. Its tastes like a vanilla milk shake. I did this for a little bit got him use to the taste texture etc. and the halfed the reg with vrt van then put him on the all reg. Good luck. Oh also if u are looking for good recipes dairy free. Allergykids.org is great. Bernadette

My son had a dairy allergy, we did not do our research and used soy and ended up with a severe soy allergy. We now use, and should have used coconut milk.


when I weaned my daughter we switched to fortified rice milk. It is fortified with calcium and vitamin D. I made sure to give her fish oil for good fats and plenty of avocado. You DO NOT NEED cow's milk to get all the fats she needs. My daughter is now 28 months and has never drank cow's milk. She is way above average in her language skills and she has an amazing memory. Cow's milk is way overrated and yes dairy allergies are very common. Good luck!

You are not cutting nirsing feedings and replacing them with milk, you are cutting nirsing feedings as they are being relaced with food feedings. Milk will not really replace a full meal, between age 1 and 2 milk consumption should not exceed 16-20 ounces per 24 hour period. I have heard as high as 24 ounces. So, if your child is eating regular meals, or as your child begins to eat regular meals she will be getting most of her nutrients from the food. Make sure she has a balanced diet and she will be fine.

My son had a milk sensitivity. At the recommendation of his gastrointestinal doctor, I nursed for 13 1/2 months. I couldn't even have milk products of any kind (any milk based ingredient like casein etc.) or he would have blood in his stool. He grew out of it, at 10 months we introduced yogurt, then a month or two later cheese then milk. But, having had to research and find alternatives while nursing and planning for the possibility of a full blown allergy I found many alternatives. Talk to your doctor about toddler formulas. Infant formulas do not provide enough nutrients for toddlers so they have toddler formulas. Not a nutritional equivalent but for taste cocnut milk (not canned coconut milk for cooking) but the brand So Delicious


has a coconut milk drink that does not have the soy aftertaste or the sweetness of rice milk. It had the least distinct flavor and their coconut milk ice cream in any flavor is a taste equivalent to Breyer's.

I found alot of useful information through vegan and Kosher for Passover sites and other allergy websites. And talk to your pediatrician. If they are not as helpful as you would like, (many don't have alot of training on food) then see a pediatric nutritionist allergist gastrointestinal doctor, etc. Our pediatrician, gastrointestinal doctor were both very helpful but I supplemented their guidance with food info I researched myself.

Hi, I agree with the other poster who suggested expressing breastmilk, and mixing with the soy milk, and gradually increasing the fraction of soy while she gets used to the taste.

The other option is, of course, there is no hard and fast rule that says you need to stop nursing at 1 year. If you need to, for any reason, that's fine - I'm not trying to give you a hard time about it. But if your only reason is that you think you should stop at 1 year because that's what most people do, I'd encourage you to consider staying with it for a while. There are a lot of resources online on extended nursing if you are interesting - and in many other countries, moms nurse until their babies are 2, not 1, which is what the world health organization actually recommends.

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