Dairy Free Breastfeeding for the First Time: 5 Things I Wish I Had Known

Caitlin Houston
3 min readJan 18, 2024

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Looking for tips for dairy free breastfeeding? Here are 5 things I wish I had known before going dairy free while breastfeeding for the first time.

It’s been ten years since the first time I cut dairy from my diet while breastfeeding my daughter with a dairy allergy. I recall crying on the phone with my Mom after that pediatrician’s appointment: How am I going to find anything easy to eat with a clingy 4 month old who never sleeps? I had enough trouble finding the time to cook in my new role as Mom, let alone sit down to eat a proper meal. I lived primarily off easy cheese sandwiches and processed foods loaded with dairy.

Mom and daughter in kitchen black and white photo lifestyle

There weren’t a lot of dairy free resources online and dairy free products in stories in 2014. I spent a lot of time googling “dairy free” and coming up with the same boring or difficult recipes. After a few weeks of dairy free living I felt lost, lonely, and hungry. Fast forward three rounds of dairy free breastfeeding to 2023 and it is so much easier to omit milk from your diet and love what you eat.

5 Things I Wish I Had Known Dairy Free Breastfeeding for the First Time

  1. It can take 10 days to 3 weeks to eliminate cow’s milk protein from your system, so give it some time. Also — if mistakes happen, they won’t go unnoticed. So be careful and…
  2. READ THE LABELS because dairy is sneaky and can be hidden in some of the least conspicuous food items (like bread). Here is a very helpful printable list of hidden dairy ingredient words.
  3. Lactose free does not equal dairy free. Once again, read the labels, ask questions when you’re eating something you did not prepare yourself.
  4. Don’t focus on what you can’t have! Some of your favorite dishes may already be dairy free — like my Moms’ escarole and bean soup. Yum! Restaurants can also be very accommodating if you mention a dairy allergy and have ways to omit dairy from their best dishes.
  5. Find what you love and stock up on it (especially if it’s on sale). Dairy free diets can get expensive if you are always trying and not liking products.
 Dairy Free Breastfeeding Mom Black and White

Don’t be afraid to go dairy free while breastfeeding!

Most children outgrow a cows milk protein allergy — all three of my daughters did! I am still following a dairy free diet for my own health. I just feel better when I’m not eating dairy and my IBS is much calmer. I have found I enjoy almond milk and Earth Balance butter way more than the real thing now. Don’t get me wrong — I miss cheese pizza so much (and pay for it when I eat it every now and again).

I’m not a professional dairy free dieter — yet. There are so many incredible vegan recipes out there I have yet to try! However, I have compiled all of the milk-free snacks you could ever want to eat. Check out my Ultimate List of Dairy Free Snacks here.

Something all parents should know is how to spot the signs of a milk protein allergy in an infant. It would have saved my husband and I a lot of stress wondering what was wrong with our baby! The most common signs of a CMPA are digestive symptoms (my baby had mucous in her stool).

Cows’ milk protein allergy (CMPA) is one of the most common childhood food allergies. 3 in every 100 babies develop CMPA in the first year of life.

Nestle Health Science

Want more dairy free information? Head to the Dairy Free section of Caitlin Houston Blog for recipes and shopping lists here.

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Caitlin Houston

Caitlin Houston is a Mom of three and creator of Connecticut based life + style site Caitlin Houston Blog.