Food Suggestions for Possible Milk Allergy

Updated on June 03, 2008
L.M. asks from Rancho Cucamonga, CA
21 answers

My son just turned 11 months old. I March I transitioned him from breastmilk to a milk based formula. At this time is started to develop a rash but I did not link it to the formula. At the beginning of May we saw his Dr. and she took him off of all dairy to see if he was allergic to milk (I was also giving him cheese and organic yogurt). Two weeks after being off the diary his rash was gone. Although we have not seen his Dr. again it looks like he is allergic to dairy. I feel like I am constantly feeding my son the same things. He is at the point where he would rather feed himself than have me feed him. Does anyone have any suggestions on what I can give him? Thanks in advance.

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T.

answers from Las Vegas on

L.,

My now 19 month old is allergic to both dairy and soy proteins. We found out when he was about 4-6 weeks old because he was so sensitive he was reacting to the proteins passing through my breastmilk. After being dairy and soy free for 18 months while nursing him and then still being mainly dairy and soy free at home, I do have some suggestions. Dairy is really not all that hard to avoid. Soy is really, really hard to avoid because it is hidden in so many foods. So keep in mind that my list of stuff to eat is probably shorter than yours will need to be.

We eat mainly "whole" foods. Meat, potatoes, rice, veggies and fruits. We pretty much needed to go that route because most processed foods have either dairy or soy in them. To do a successful elimination diet you need to read the ingredients label on absolutely everything you buy. For the most part, my son eats the same things we do and we either cook it soft or cut it into little cubes for him. We've been doing this since he quit eating stage 1 purees because many of the stage 2 & 3 baby foods have dairy in them (and some have soy).

We eat lots of chicken (grilled, tacos, fajitas, kabobs - if you can make it out of chicken, we've probably eaten it), some beef, some pork.
We eat a lot of grilled meats because it is fast, easy, tasty and healthy. If you don't have a George Foreman grill, consider getting one. You pop on the chicken breasts, close the lid, don't really mess with it and they are done in about 10 minutes. Easy, easy. Many food like tacos can be made dairy and soy free by simply skipping the cheese and sour cream and making sure the seasoning packet you use doesn't have dairy in it.

We eat potatoes. Fried, baked, mashed (made with chicken broth instead of milk or butter), hashbrowns (if they are prepackage, check the label, some of them have dairy in them). We also eat sweet potatoes (I like the ones with the light beige skin and yellow flesh, not the darker ones with the orange flesh). You can bake them in the microwave just like a regular potato, put on a little salt & pepper and dairy free margarine (Nucoa cubes in the gold box are what we use but Smart Balance also has a dairy free one in a tub - I think it is the one in the green box but read the label to be sure).

We eat rice. Lots of boil in the bag rice. Either white or brown. Some of the "Near East" rice mixes are dairy and soy free. We eat the regular Rice Pilaf and the original flavors quite a bit.

I mix rice or pasta, black beans (from a can usually), frozen corn together for a quick meal. I use a combo of lemon or lime juice, olive oil, salt & pepper for "dressing." It is particularly good if you add take the time to add sauted onions and/or peppers and/or chopped cilantro. You can also add things like black olives or green onions or tomatoes for variety. I've served this hot or cold (rice is better hot, pasta is better cold but same basic ingredients - whatever I've got on hand). I've also done a pasta salad with chunks of ham, boiled eggs, tomatoes, green onions and mayo. Yummy.

My son loves eggs. Scrambled or boiled typically.

For snacks we do tons of fruit, melon, berries (fresh or frozen), wheat thins, ritz crackers, dry cereals, leftover food that we've cooked.

I've gotten more creative with herbs and spices because you lose a lot of flavor when you cut out dairy. But the up side is that you also cut out a lot of unnecessary fat.

We also make homemade chili (use chili powder and cayenne pepper instead of the seasoning packets), spaghetti (make sure the sauce doesn't have cheese in it - we use the hunts stuff in the can - traditional, garlic & herb or mushroom).

Banquet frozen chicken nuggets in the red bag don't have dairy or soy in them. I use them for a super quick meal occasionally.

We also do a lot of crock pot stuff because my husband and I both work full time and I also have an older child so easy is the way to go most of the time. We do corned beef, cabbage, potatoes and carrots. We do beef stew. We do homemade chicken soup.

My son also absolutely loves pierogies. I use the Mrs. T onion and potato ones (make sure you don't get a variety with cheese in them). I boil them until soft and then saute them briefly in a little dairy free margarine and finely chopped onions (yummy!) I usually try to give him some sort of a meat with them (one of Jenny O turkey sausages - like polish sausage - is dairy and soy free).

We also have bowtie pasta, cabbage and sausage fairly frequently. Boil your noodles, saute your cabbage (and I sometimes add onions or boiled potatoes or whatever I have on hand), cut up your sausage (again I use the ones that are like polish sausage - just check the ingredients to make sure the one you pick is okay) and saute that. Mix it all together, add a little dairy free margarine, salt & pepper for flavor. Fast, easy, yummy and makes great leftovers for baby-lunch the next day.

If you like to bake, rice milk can be used in almost any recipe that calls for regular milk. I prefer the plain rice milk but it comes in vanilla also.

I also give my son Similac Alimentum to round out his diet. It is a "hypoallergenic" formula. You can find it in grocery stores but it is close to $28 a can. I order it here http://www.i-medica.com/index.php?target=products&pro... by the case and get it for about $20 a can with free shipping. No formula is truly hypoallergenic so I'd recommend getting a can or two and trying it before you invest in an entire case. There are "more" hypoallergenic formulas like Elecare and Neocate but they are even more expensive. I'm not a fan at all of giving babies soymilk but if you aren't avoiding soy, that may be a possibility for you. I'd recommend that you read up on the controversy surrounding soymilk before you go that route. It contains a lot of plant estrogens and there is a lot of concern about giving it to young children and what long term effects that can have on their hormones and reproductive organs. I wouldn't give it to mine. If my baby boy started to grow boobs, I'd freak. I don't know a tremendous amount about it, but definitely something to look into. So I suppose even if my son could eat soy products, they wouldn't be my first choice. I was told early on that it is easier to avoid certain groups of foods than to find substitutes and I've found that to be true in many cases. Most of the substitutes are gross, expensive, and hard to find. And obviously, the more stuff you are avoiding, the harder it is.

Anway, I know I've written a book but we've been dairy free for a long time. Once you figure out what not to eat and then figure out what you can eat, it gets easier. Then it is just a matter of trying to find enough variety to not go crazy. My son also like hummus and guacamole (make your own or check the label - some have dairy in them) and those are great sources of nutrition and fat.

If you want to "chat" about it at all, my email is [email protected]____.com We've been living this way so long, we eat a pretty good variety of stuff.

I did try goats milk and my son reacts to it just as badly as to cow's milk. So we avoid basically all types of milk, cheese, yogurt, etc. This is a great link that includes a "hidden dairy checksheet" to help you decypher those food labels. http://www.kellymom.com/babyconcerns/food-sensitivity.html If you use a bunch of soy based products, make sure you read the labels. Some soy cheeses and soy yogurts have dairy in them. That wasn't an issue for us since we couldn't do soy either.

Oh, and as far as daycare, birthday parties and that type of thing, for obvious reasons I bring my own food. And we don't eat out much. Even in restaurants, they are always really nice and they may promise you that foods are dairy free but sometimes the ingredients they use aren't dairy free. Depending on how sensitive your babe is, you may need to be really careful. People are nice but it can be too complicated to leave in the hands of other people.

Since my son is older now, we've had more of an issue with him getting food from other kids at daycare (I have an inhome daycare lady that is fabulous) or even by grabbing food from my older boy at home. That type of thing happens and I'd recommend talking to your pediatrician about having some benadryl on hand in case your babe has a bad reaction. My son typically just screams for several hours. Not pleasant for either of us but not life threatening either. But we still keep benadryl on hand just in case.

Good luck!

:-)T.

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K.R.

answers from Santa Barbara on

Hi L.,
Great job on being tuned in to your child. I think every mom should be given a PHD in their kid! That is pretty much what being a mom is, learning all about your kid. Each one is different and each one has unique qualities and abilities and differences. Catching the milk allergy is going to help him sooo much! There are many things you can give him that are dairy free. Use rice milk instead of soy (the proteins are very similar) and he'll be fine.
I have two that are completely GF/CF (gluten free and casein free) and they eat just fine. You learn what you can give them and what you can't. You can get a book called "Special Diets for Special Kids" that is great. It is by Karyn Seurosi. Mainly written for children with Autism but the recipes are great and the information on substitues is worthwhile. Check it out. If you have any questions, don't hesitate to write me off list @ [email protected]____.com
K.

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D.V.

answers from Las Vegas on

All 3 of my kids inherited my milk allergy, and I can relate to what you are going through! It is very scary learning to cook all over again. I've been doing this for almost 6 years now, and I'm still not a pro. A lot of the ladies on this link have given good advice, which I won't bother repeating. I just wanted to let you know about something I've just recently learned. I'm not Jewish, but I've started shopping heavily in the "Kosher" section of the grocery store, particularly the frozen foods. It is against Kosher law to cook any animal in it's own body fluids (ie. milk), so if a meat product containing food (even gelatin) is certified Kosher, it won't have milk in it. That means Kosher hot dogs and Kosher deli meats are dairy free (most others have milk protein holding them together like glue or use caramel coloring made from milk). There are a lot of "Macabee" brand frozen entrees that are dairy free, and there is a company that makes Kosher non-dairy whipped topping (tastes just like CoolWhip) and coffee creamer. We use almond milk frequently because I don't like to use a lot of soy. Almonds are naturally very high in calcium, and the almond milk tastes great. Good luck with this.

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K.C.

answers from Los Angeles on

Hi L.,

My daughter is also allergic to milk. Her allergy is so bad I couldn't even breast feed her. She's been on soy products since 2.5 months. She's now 3. Unlike the rest of the mom's here, I've had better luck finding diary free products at the larger supermarkets than Whole Foods or Trader Joe's. There's more selection (and they're cheaper is a bonus!).

My daughter likes Whole Soy & Co. yogurts. They come in about 6 flavors. Her favorite is lemon.

We buy Toffuitti cheese. Veggie Slices which someone else mentioned aren't dairy free. Trace dairy works for some kidos, not mine. The fake cheeses are pretty bad tasting and have a strange texture; but my daughter has no idea what real cheese tastes like so she loves it.

The health food aisle will offer you lots of choices of Vegan snack foods. (Newman's Own makes a vegan "oreo" that's pretty good when you are ready for those kinds of treats.)

Breads aren't as hard as you would think. There are plenty of choices that are dairy free.

Margarine is a good butter substitute, but not all are dairy free. Again, some kids aren't bothered by trace dairy. Mine is so we use Nucoa Margarine when we need butter which is rare.

Meats are easier, but if they are processed (hot dogs, deli meat, sausages) you'll have to check the label since they often use milk proteins to bind the meat. 99% of labels list the allergens last in bold letters which makes it easier. Kosher meats are great also, since you can be certain no dairy and meat have been mixed.

An easy dairy free food is beans. My daughter eats all kinds of beans. Of course fruits and veggies are dairy free too. :-)

I found it was easier to avoid milk in "adult" foods. A lot of the baby meals and finger foods had dairy in them.

Birthday parties are the hardest. The food of choice is often pizza which of course is covered with cheese. And then there's the cake. I bring our own food and treat. Vegan restaurants will have desserts. Cherry Brook Kitchens makes dairy free cakes and cookies along with many other things. I've made their cakes for my daughter's last two birthdays and have had moms call me after for the name of my bakery. They are that good. You can order them online or some Whole Food markets carry them.

One of the helpful websites I found is http://www.kidshealth.org/teen/nutrition/diets/milk_aller.... They even have a link to a printable list of foods to avoid.

Good news about diary allergies is most people out grow them.
Good luck.
K.

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D.L.

answers from San Diego on

Jimbos and Whole Foods carry rice yogurt which my kids like. Also, my son had issues with cows milk and soy but did great with goat milk, so we made pizza, grilled cheese, quesadillas, etc. using goat cheese (jimbo's has the best price). There's also some pretty good ice cream alternatives now including one called Tomberlies (sp?), but it's pricey. I like it because it's made with coconut milk and has a lot of great qualities. Check out the nutrition and recipes section on www.bluedominoes.com. Kid-friendly recipes written by kids and then some more adult ones written by chefs. Some are GFCF, some are just dairy free. They can all be easily modified by using goat cheese.

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C.A.

answers from San Diego on

Health food stores are awesome! Also you need to find out if its a by product int he dairy or a chemical or the dairy its self. I been down the same road thank god our little one wasn't allergic to milk its self because it can be in most everything esp eating out! And I love this site for how to live without diary, http://www.wikihow.com/Live-Without-Dairy-Products

How to understand the allergy if he is allergic to dairy and it explain it all or you http://wishard.kramesonline.com/HealthSheets/3,S,88937

Also I would say ask a traditionalists about what to give him to be safe. Good luck.

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C.C.

answers from Los Angeles on

Hi L.,

I'm in the same boat - my daughter just turned 11 months and she seems to have a milk allergy too. I introduced yogurt, and didn't realize she started with a runny nose around the same time. Then after adding cheese, she developed a sinus infection and 2 doctor visits later, we realized she was allergic to milk.

I feel the same - it's hard to find new/different things to feed. Lately I've been giving tofu cut into cubes, but I'll try the soy yogurt that the other mom suggested... sounds like a good idea. I also started with the yolks of boiled eggs, which she seems to like too (but it gets messy!). It's hard when you only have two teeth! :D

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I.S.

answers from Los Angeles on

Milk allergy often goes hand-in-hand with Soy allergy so keep an eye out for that. Kids who can't tolerate cow's milk can often tolerate Goat's milk just fine so that may be worth a try. Beans, veggies, pasta, fruits, obviously are all great things either way...

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L.B.

answers from Los Angeles on

Hi L. my name is L. I'm writing you because I too am allergic to dairy. I cant drink dairy but I can eat it so you might try to see if he's the same. I don't want to bring any harm to you or your child but that's how it is with me so I thought I would share that with you.

Good Luck!
L. B.

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B.B.

answers from San Diego on

We have a milk/soy allergy that runs in my family and now my DD has been diagnosed. My sister, who is mom to 4 kids has dealt with this issue for years. The biggest help was to shop at Whole Foods. Please be careful because children who are allergic to the protein in dairy, often times have issues with soy as well. The rice dream brand makes everything from milk to yogurt to cheese. Also, there are snacks by many organic brands for children that are wheat, gluten, dairy and soy free. Fruits and veggies are another option. There are a few bread brands out there that are dairy free. Be careful with meats because many of them are marinated in dairy/soy protein base. I found out the hard way when I was feeding our kids turkey slices from the deli that are cooked in a dairy based broth. Just get used to reading labels! These days it is a whole lot easier because most food labels list the allergens on the side so you can just scan quickly to see if it includes dairy. Good luck!

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R.S.

answers from San Diego on

My girlfriend's kids are allergic to dairy and soy--and the fact the rash is gone says to me yes, allergic to dairy. So soy milk, rice milk---for milk and cereal stuff. Other than that---your snacky stuff should be pretty okay. Meats are obviously fine--is he so sensitive he can't have bread--which is made from butter? My friend did find a butter substitute on amazon.com. But there are loads of things to do---take it recipe by recipe! And wacky cake--a great cake that is non-dairy.

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E.T.

answers from San Diego on

Whole foods, henrys, and trader joes have a huge selection of non dairy foods check it out.

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M.S.

answers from Honolulu on

Hi L.,
We also have a son who is allergic to Dairy..he is now 5years old. I also breast fed my son till 11 months and since he was the youngest of my three boys, I already had an idea that he would have an allergy to dairy products since my second son did as well. The ingredient that affects most kids in dairy products is something called CASEIN. If you educate yourself about where CASEIN can be found in foods then you will be able to diversify his food choices and feel confident in what you are feeding to your son. A good online support group would be www.gfcf.com. They have lots of parents with GREAT recipe ideas and food advice as well as a food directory that you can refer to.
Hope any of this info. helped.
Aloha.

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A.L.

answers from Las Vegas on

My daughter also had a milk allergy. The good thing is this is a common one that they grow out of..until then avoidance is the best. They have some great alternatives that include soy milk and rice milk. I stayed away from the alternative cheeses.....they don't taste good. Try whole foods or traders Joes to look for great ideas and snacks that don't contain milk. Don't get frustrated, its hard but well worth it

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S.H.

answers from Los Angeles on

You could try goat's milk, goat yogurt (the flavored kind is probably more palatable) and goat's cheese - if your doctor OKs it. I know my mother in law discovered she is allergic to dairy but does fine with goat's milk products. Also, try rice milk in lieu of milk. It isn't full fat, though, so you'll need to give him more fat elsewhere in his diet.

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J.B.

answers from Los Angeles on

maybe try opening him up to a bigger variety of fruits and vegies. also you can give him tofu cubes or soy products. talk to his pediatrician and see what he/she reccamends. oh and theres probably web sites that can give you easy and child friendly recipies for children with milk allergies. good luck!

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B.M.

answers from Sacramento on

There are a lot of soy options. Go to Trader Joe's (if you have one close - if not, Whole Foods or Henry's Market). I get my 13 month old son's soymilk (best to use unsweetened per Pediatrician) and the unsweetened Rice Milk - he loves them!! They are also organic and I read that like over 60% of soybeans in the U.S. are genetically engineered so it's best to buy soy 'organic.' I buy their soy cheese and they have these GREAT gluten free/dairy free tiny little pancakes (heat them in the microwave for 45 sec)and I cut them in little pieces and my son chows them down! He just loves them!! They are a great 'first' food.
Tofu is a great option and they also have organic soy yogurt and fruit.
Good luck! :)

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T.T.

answers from Los Angeles on

Hello, L.,

None of us should be taking in dairy that has been pasteurized. (See www.realmilk.org) It is the source of so much disease in our country and the other leading milk-producing nations.

Raw milk is a superior food with many nutrients. Those nutrients can be utilized (including calcium) because they have not been heated and destroyed. Your son may likely not have an allergy to raw milk, which you can find at Whole Foods. I have a source for raw goat's milk, which is even more assimiable for the human body. (You can also find sources on the realmilk site I mentioned above.)

You may also obtain raw nuts, like almonds from your farmers' market. (Do NOT obtain raw almonds from Whole Foods or Trader Joe's or any store, as commercially grown almonds are treated with a chemical which has been linked to cancer.) If you are in Pasadena on Saturday morning, Walker Farms in that farmers' market has an excellent raw nut selection. Store them in your fridge. Take out a handful the night before and soak them in water overnight. The next morning they are 400-600% more nutritious, the enzyme inhibator has been released so they can be digested and they are 30% protein! Take 1/4 cup of those soaked almonds, add a couple of dates or two tablespoons of grade B maple syrup and 1 cup of pure water in a blender and you have a delicious, nutritious substitute for milk!

I hope this helps.

My very best,

T.

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A.S.

answers from Los Angeles on

My daughter also has dairy issues. We like the Veggie Slices for cheese. I haven't been able to find a yogurt she likes (we've tried soy and rice but none work). She's not a fan of regular soy milk but loves the chocolate one. Also our supermarket carry's a brand called Amy's that has a milk free macaroni & cheese and a soy pizza.

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C.S.

answers from Los Angeles on

My son is also allergic to all milk and milk-based products and has been since he was 12 mos. old. We give him soy milk as well as soy yogurt. Trader Joe's is a great place to get dairy free food. There's also soy cheese but you need to be careful. My son is specifically allergic to casien, a milk protein found in milk products. Some products that are 'milk free' contain this protein. Some soy cheese contains casien. Remember to read all the labels! My son not only gets a rash, he gets anaphylaxsis, where his throat starts to close and he has trouble breathing. We have an epi-pen that is always with us, just in case. My son loves soy milk. Give it a try and good luck!

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R.G.

answers from San Diego on

My son was diagnosed with being lactose intolerant when he was barely over a month old... because I wasn't able to breastfeed due to health reasons...
from what it sounds like he's like my son... my son can't drink lots of milk, (well he can tolerate a little now at 21 months, before he couldn't handle any)
but he could eat cheese, yogurts and things like that just fine... but in moderation.
So try things like we have that are lactose free... their are string cheeses that you can buy, yogurts, ice-creams, basically now they have everything... you just need to look harder... also a great help for me (cause I'm there too on trying to find foods and things) is going on-line
look up lactose intolerant diets or foods for toddlers...
it should pop up with information for you...
also, make sure to get something that states that he can't have milk for him like a little ID bracelette... most people think it's okay to give little tykes milk... and it generally is... places like daycares, church nursiers that type of thing where your not around need to be aware....
or they'll give it to them... and you'll have a sick child on your hands and you won't know why...
(my son's symptoms were that of upset stomach and diaherrea.. not rashes though)

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