Weaning to Solids
For some reason weaning Missy to solids scared the crap out of me. For some parents it’s when babies get a fever, or baby is vomiting, or baby is not taking bottles. For all of those things, I was very calm with and didn’t really stress about. But introducing food to Missy unnecessarily freaked me out. But thankfully a friend had received two gifts of the same book, Annabel Karmel’s New Complete Baby and Toddler Meal Planner. This book turned out to be a lifeline. Granted, not all of the recipes are dairy free but with the meal planner suggestions and not adding in the cheese and milk I referenced the book every day to get started and to stay calm.
I’d never paid so much attention to food, to the variety of or lack there of, we were consuming in our home. I’ve read this in many places that once you become responsible for providing your children with nutritious food you re-examine you own intake. Like it’s far from butternut squash and sweet potatoes we were all raised!
Cheese – ok there was no real need for this but it came in handy as Missy got older to have some finger food options. All of the supermarkets seem to only stock Lactose Free cheese. The health food shops are the place to go. Violife was the only one we could find, I didn’t try it and took my husband’s word that it tasted a bit rubbery. But Missy loved it, until she tried real cheese 🙂
Soya Milk -There’s plenty of mixed opinions online on using soya milk as a substitute for regular milk or even formula. Some report that using soya milk as a baby’s main source of nutrition can impact their fertility at a later age. I haven’t found anything backing this up or proving it wrong either way. So for formula we continued to use Nutramigen until Missy was two. Read more about this in my Diagnosing Baby with Dairy Allergy post.
But we did use Soya Milk when cooking food, or mixing in with breakfast cereals. Also Alpro soya yogurts were perfect, Missy was lucky if we didn’t eat these on her as they taste fab. Other than that we just ensured everything we made or bought was dairy free.
I’ve always been open minded to using prepared food. When I discovered Ella’s Kitchen, Cow & Gate and Annabel Karmel food I was even more open minded 🙂 All the sachets and meals contain 100% organic ingredients and taste great, yep I’ve tasted a lot of them. Ella’s Kitchen have a great ingredient legend on the front of their packaging making it clear when milk or cheese is included.
Some of Missy’s favorite meals:
Organix fruit pots were also so handy, we always had one in the changing bag. The rice cakes are still a hit in our house, it’s like Hansel and Gretal around the house though as they can be found everywhere. Their website is very handy as you can filter by Dairy/Lactose Free.
Remember foods marked as lactose free are not dairy free.
For stage one of weaning, from 4 months, most of the sachets are dairy free as they just contain veg or fruit. Most of the baby cereals will contain milk as they are ‘creamy’ so ensure you always read the labels. Missy’s favorite was Cow & Gate Muesli which we were able to get in Tesco.
Out & About
Like with any baby it takes planning for days out or even weekends away. There isn’t a mum’s handbag in the country without a packet of raisins or Liga. Like the rice cakes though it can be like a treasure hunt in the house finding hidden raisins. I never left anything to chance even if just going for a coffee I always had dairy free snacks with us.
I can imagine being a dairy free adult eating out can be challenging. With a baby or toddler it can be a little easier as rightly or wrongly you get away with bringing your own food with you. Every time we cooked a dinner which could be frozen I’d pop 2 or 3 small portions into the freezer ready to defrost and use at the weekends. As a back up I always had an Ellas kitchen dinner in the changing bag. If we were leaving home and heading straight out to eat I’d heat the dinner up and use the bottle insulator bag to keep it warm. Works a treat.
Weekends away was another story. We do a good few trips to Limerick to visit family. Not only did we arrive for a weekend visit with enough changes of clothes for Missy for a month, but we would also have breakfast, lunches and dinners with us. Again, mostly courtesy of Ella’s kitchen.
Travelling abroad took even more planning. We went to Lanzarote when Missy was 15 months old. Before going I asked a colleague to translate “dairy free” and some other useful terms for us just in case. Thankfully we were staying in apartments which meant we could prep some veg and snacks each day. Again, Ella’s Kitchen dinners came with us and we cooked one or two meals so we did bring our own prepped food with us to the restaurants to avoid having to explain.
The local supermarket had plenty of alternatives to dairy milk which for breakfasts was ideal, we also didn’t need to worry about any translations as the signage was all very clear.
Next up will be the details on weaning Missy onto diary, a fantastic Christmas present not having to count formula anymore.