Ditching Dairy whilst Breastfeeding

Photo by Jan Koetsier on Pexels.com

My eldest son was the gassiest baby. Always fussy, hard to settle and he hated lying flat. He would squirm and cry in pain after feeds and did not sleep well at all.

After some investigation and trying lots of burping techniques my doctor suggested cutting dairy from my diet.

It turns out there are a small proportion of babies who are sensitive to dairy and its one of the only food groups proven by scientists to cause gassiness/fussiness in little ones. This is because the proteins from the cow’s milk transfer into the breast milk. However, I am no expert and there are many symptoms of sensitivity of food if you suspect diary is the problem its best to speak to your doctor before you do something drastic such as cutting dairy out of your life.

But dairy was our problem and the solution was waving it goodbye for the next year.

For me the worst thing about cutting dairy out of my diet was that it wasn’t a quick fix. You see it takes between 2-3 weeks for dairy to leave your system. Then once you’ve committed, you have to keep it up, there’s no days off until you stop breastfeeding all together, and the slightest slip up sees an instant return of a fussy baby and a 2-3 week wait for it to subside.

Then there’s the reality of actually giving it up. You see giving up a food group is bloody hard. You have to be hyper aware of what you’re eating all the time. Eating takes planning now and going out can be tricky. I also didn’t realise the extent of my love for dairy until I had to quit it for a year.

Now don’t get me wrong the sacrifice is worth it to stop your little one from being in pain. But I’m only human and when your sleep deprived having one more thing to think about is so stressful. Even though there are dairy alternatives some of them just don’t hit the mark. For example I always remember going to make a cup of tea and getting the milk out only to realise this daily ritual was no longer. I tried black tea, I tried tea with soy milk (YUCK!) I tried herbal teas but nothing cured my craving for just your standard cuppa. Other foods I just couldn’t satisfy my cravings for were cheese, chocolate, and milo.

However its not all bad, after I finished breastfeeding my eldest I didn’t go back to dairy in my coffee I am a permanent almond milk convert. Not being able to eat a lot of naughty foods such as cakes and biscuits also helped me loose my baby weight quicker. I discovered lots of new recipes and became more educated on the nutrition of my foods and drinks.

There are a few replacements I would recommend over others though to make the transition easier:

Almond Milk: I much preferred almond milk over soy milk. However I am a fussy almond milk consumer and only like MilkLab Almond Milk.

Coconut Yoghurt: This was a godsend for my smoothie ritual and when I needed convenient snacks in the fridge. Nakula Coconut Yoghurt Natural is by far my favourite and still a weekly staple for our family.

Vegan Chocolate Coated Blueberries: a workmate actually gave me a jar of these as a thank you and they changed my life. You can get them from your local bulk-food store or Dr Superfoods website.

Nuttelex: As a mad butter lover it I thought I’d have a hard time replacing it. Nuttelex is great, it tastes great and works fantastically in baking.

Weis Dark Chocolate Ice cream: Ice cream is my favourite dessert and sorbet never hits the spot for me. Weis Dark chocolate ice cream is to die for and you’d never know its dairy free!

Good luck dairy free mumma

Mumma Z xxx

How I’m coping with two kids!

Being a mum of two is really hard. I have a newfound admiration for mums of multiples. I literally do not understand how you do it when kids in your household outnumber the adults. I get anxious enough thinking about all the things I need to pack for two just to leave the house. Let alone the amount of washing, cooking and entertaining!

A lot of people have been asking how I’m coping. The word cope literally means to ‘deal effectively with something difficult’. Yes we’re coping but life with two kids is difficult. Some days they’re both chirpy and I have no issues. Other days they’re both crying, and I have to decide who needs me more in that moment. 

I constantly feel guilty for not paying attention to each of my boys enough. My day revolves around putting one down to pick the other one up on repeat. I would literally pay someone to teach me how to get both of them to nap at once. 

No, I don’t have a routine for my newborn yet and I’m fine with that. In fact, I’m trying not to over think it all. The only structure that exists in our day revolves around my toddler’s routine:

  • Breakfast by 8am
  • Morning Tea 10:30am
  • Nap time 12:00pm
  • Lunch 2pm
  • Dinner 5pm
  • Bath time 6pm
  • Bed 6:30pm

Survival is key, and the activities that we do between these mealtimes are all about coping.

  • I keep books on the couch so that I can I feed on demand whilst reading to my toddler.
  • The TV goes on when I need a moment to prep food or change a nappy and I refuse to feel guilty for the screen time.
  • When I get a chance during my toddler’s nap, I set up activities outside such as playdoh or water table so that when he gets up, he has something to occupy him for 20-30 minutes.
  • His play table always has pencils and paper our ready to go. 
  • We go to the park if its sunny or walk around the shops if it’s raining just to get out of the house. 
  • Luckily my toddler loves babyccinos (just milk foam) and will sit quietly at a café drinking one so that I can have a coffee. I save this activity for mornings following nightmare sleepless nights.
  • Mum is on speed dial to lend a hand or take my toddler for the day so that I can catch my breath and prepare to do it all the very next day.

Coping with two is crazy but we’re doing it, and you can too. Don’t be too hard on yourself, you’ve got this one day at a time.

Mumma Z xxx

Sleep deprived Mumma! My baby doesn’t sleep

Help – My baby is a milk monster!

After my first son didn’t sleep through the night until 10 months, I had illusions that with my second I’d be better at the whole sleep thing and he’d be the perfect scheduled snoozer. Fast forward 4 weeks into his little life and I find myself up for 4 hours straight a night. Sleep deprived, desperate, and an absolute misery to be around. I’m constantly arguing with the voice inside my head that’s screaming at him to just rest, and the tears that are streaming down my cheeks from exhaustion. I know that exclusive breastfeeding isn’t for everyone, and many mums don’t even get the opportunity to do it. But it doesn’t make that reality of it any easier especially when it comes with little to no sleep. The whole thing seems unfair to me though. I follow the rules, I breastfeed, I burp my baby then put him down to sleep. But no one tells you what to do when every time your baby leaves your arms and their head meets the bassinet that they cry and don’t stop. No amount of rocking, singing, holding the dummy in their mouth settles them. Your partner can’t settle them and any amount of crying results in you having to settle baby again with more milk! You are physically and emotionally exhausted. Then the irony of it all is that your baby sleeps all day. Again, this is despite the fact that you’ve placed them in front of the window to let the sunlight teach them day and night. The fact that you’ve played with them, done tummy time and taken them out for a walk.

So, what to do?

Do you persist with the breastfeeding overnight or do you succumb to everyone’s advice that formula is the secret? 

Feeding is an interesting topic for me. As we all know ‘fed is best’ but would formula really be the ticket to sleep?  Always optimistic I went out hopeful to the pharmacy and got myself a lovely golden tin of sleep, or so I was told. Only to find out very quickly that my just like my first, my second won’t accept a bottle either. The golden ticket to sleep has failed me with both my boys.

Fast forward three weeks and sleep is getting a little better. He is waking every 1.5-2 hours still but my persistence with the feed, burp and put down method is finally paying off. We even got a 3 hour sleep the other night which you know for a newborn is cause for celebrations.

Here is my only advice to date.

  • Make sure that you give them a full feed. Sometimes I feed him on one side burp him and put him down. Then I quickly run to the bathroom and have a drink. Normally in this time he starts to grizzle so by the time I get back I pick him up feed him on the other side burp him then he’s ready to sleep.
  • I don’t always change his nappy at every feed overnight. I actually find this unsettles him too much. I know it’s supposed to help wake them up to have a proper feed but it hasn’t really worked for both my boys.
  • When he wakes between 3-4am he’s the hardest to put down in his bassinet after a feed because its the coldest part of the night, and I’m super snuggly and warm. So I keep an extra blanket and put this one on him after this feed it seems to help.
  • If I’m really struggling to stay away during the feed I play games on my phone, find one that keeps you focused but make sure to turn your phone to night mode so that the blue lights don’t interfere with babies sleep.
  • During the day I only let him sleep on me once- normally in the early evening. All other times I make sure I put him down. The only exception to this is if he’s been really unsettled then I reset him by having him have a long nap on me. The longer blocks they get in their day sleeps the better they sleep at night. it has something to do with them learning how to connect their sleep cycles.
  • The morning nap seems to be the most crucial nap to get him to sleep with otherwise I have a very cranky hard to settle baby for the rest of the day.
  • If baby has had lots of cuddles from different people I find he has a really rough night, so I try to reduce him being held to much by other people, and ensure he’s had adequate time on me during the day.

Its still tough though and I’ve had to accept a few things:

  1. Baby wants to be in your arms, they’ve spent 9 months in your tummy and its upsetting to be placed in a bassinet away from you.
  2. Mumma you are doing the best job. 
  3. This won’t last forever! Persist with the feeding, try the formula again. Try your hardest to find the energy to get up when baby cries, wake them up as much as you can by changing their nappy and give them a full feed, burp and cross your fingers and toes that as you lay them down in their bassinet that those little eyes close. This time will pass, slowly but it will. The bond that you are creating, the antibodies and nutrients that you are sharing with your baby are irreplaceable.

Mumma Z xxx