When Sophie turned one, she abruptly stopped breastfeeding. On her actual birthday, she suddenly went from breastfeeding five times a day to only wanting bottles. My strong willed fourth child was going to dictate her weaning schedule, on her terms. As it was time to transition her away from formula, I gave her whole milk. Immediately, she started having horrible diarrhea, raw diaper rash, and crying as if she was in pain. My breasts were rock hard and incredibly painful. I felt rejected and my baby was in pain. To say that I was an emotional mess would be an understatement.
My pediatrician didn’t seem to understand my concern. He didn’t suggest any tests. “She’s one,” he said. “You should be weaning her anyway. She needs to transition to a diet of mostly solid foods. Why don’t you just give her soy milk?”
His lack of care blew me away. Sophie was just one, just barely one. And she was still tiny, born 3 months early. She wasn’t going to become a toddler overnight. She needed to gradually move to a big kid diet and still needed plenty of cuddle time sipping a bottle, getting the calcium and dairy that she needed to grow strong and smart. With a family tree studded with breast cancer survivors, I didn’t want to pump her full of soy milk either. I hated how he cavalierly substituted one for the other. Just because soy milk inhabits the same case as cow milk in the supermarket doesn’t make them the same product. We switched to lactose free milk and another pediatrician that day and all of our problems went away. Over time, we learned that yogurt and cheese pose no problems for Sophie, but ice cream is a big no no. Butter is fine as well, same with small doses of heavy cream in sauces. Through trial and error, we learned how to live with her lactose intolerance, without cutting dairy out of her life. In December, I participated in a Google Hangout about Lactose Intolerance with experts from the National Dairy Council. I wish I’d been able to have that time with the team a year ago, when we were struggling to find out what would work for Sophie’s diet. Here are two videos edited from the Google Hangout: the first discusses how lactose intolerance can be easily diagnosed and the second features low lactose food and drinks that can be tolerated if you are lactose intolerant. They’re quick – under 3 minutes each – and filled with really great information.
How to Test for Lactose Intolerance
Keeping Dairy in your Diet When You Are Lactose Intolerant