The Big Green Parenting Experiment

raising a healthy family in a toxic world

tiny tummy vs. cow’s milk

on September 9, 2012

Ever since Schy’s birthday, I have found myself saying “it’s tough to be one” when she gets a little cranky.  But it seems lately that it actually has been kind of tough.

It all started the other day with a diaper rash, which is pretty atypical for Schy. We cloth diaper, which eliminates chemical and irritant exposure through her diapers and we are pretty good about changing them often so she isn’t in a wet diaper for long. We were keeping an eye on the rash, but there hadn’t really been any change. It’s not huge, just 8-10 spots, but they did look a bit blistery. Fortunately, it didn’t really seem to be bothering her.

When we woke up yesterday, there were small pink spots all over her belly and lower back. They were out of the ordinary, but there were only a few. We decided to keep an eye on those, too.  Schy was acting like herself, didn’t have any sort of fever and the spots didn’t seem to be bothering her. Of course, they were bothering me. By the evening they had spread so we started to think back to the past week.

We had just introduced cow’s milk this past week, following her one year appointment. Everyone I know has started their baby on milk at 12 months so I didn’t even give it a second thought. It’s milk, for goodness sake!  Milk can’t be bad for a baby!  Well, we’re thinking that maybe it can.  For the first few days, she didn’t really know what to make of it.  She loves cold drinks, so I think that the flavor and consistency just threw her off.  She tried a few sips each day, but generally let them fall right back out of her mouth.  But on Thursday, we gave her a cup after dinner and she pounded it!  No exaggeration.  She pounded.  So we gave her more.  She had just a few more sips and then decided that she’d had enough.

The next day things started to go downhill in the diaper department.  I didn’t think anything of it.  It happens occasionally.  But by Saturday, we were looking at full-blown diarrhea and now a spotty rash on the tummy.  Hmmmm… is it a coincidence?  We figured that we would just wait out it, get through Sunday and call the pediatrician on Monday if there was no change.  Of course today, Sunday, we woke up with full body hives.  I caved and called the doctor’s exchange.  Although I’ve gotten better over the last year, I am still a pretty new, first time mom.  I know that all of you seasoned mama’s are probably shaking your heads out there.  I know, I know.  Call me paranoid, but this little girl is my life!  By my description, the doctor on call confirmed that she had hives and instructed us to give her Benadryl so that the reaction didn’t worsen.  She said that they could be caused by anything, soap, sunscreen, food, etc.

Looking further back, Schy had reflux as an infant.  I eliminated milk, whey, casein and most soy products from my diet since they tend to be the most common irritants.  It helped dramatically.  During this time, I had switched to almond milk and never went back because I liked it better and I generally felt better while I was consuming less dairy as well.  So, we’re  thinking that she may [still] have a sensitivity to milk.

Naturally, this got me thinking.  Does she NEED cow’s milk?  Is this just one of the many things that we as mom’s do because “it’s just what you do”?  I’m sure there are plenty of other sources from which she can obtain her dietary fats, calcium and vitamins.  Based on the way that I felt after cutting out dairy, I am beginning to question the need to drink milk at all.  Keep in mind that this is a new epiphany for me and I haven’t done any research or consulted my pediatrician yet.  But I do intend to.  I know that plenty of people with milk allergies and intolerances, not to mention vegans, thrive without the stuff.

I am just thankful that this is a minor reaction.   I know that food sensitivities can get pretty ugly.  I also know that many children outgrow such sensitivities so hopefully she’s one of them.  But my wheels are definitely turning, so for now I’ll look into alternatives and see what I can find.  As long as she is healthy, I really don’t care if she ever drinks milk.

Right now, we hold the cow.

To be continued…

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2 responses to “tiny tummy vs. cow’s milk

  1. Hot Mess says:

    You and my mother would have the best conversations.

    When I was a baby, I reacted poorly to cow’s milk, too. My pediatrician at the time was actually very against cow’s milk, as he felt most people are lactose intolerant to some degree. My mother gave me goat’s milk as an alternative, which I loved, and didn’t cause the same adverse reactions that cow’s milk did. Even now, I try to stay away from too much dairy as I’ve noticed my body just doesn’t like it. Very interested to see what happens next…

    • Alli Ferraro says:

      Hi!
      Yes, I think I may agree with that doctor! She has been a bit sensitive to cow’s milk since she was an infant. When I cut dairy out of my own diet for her benefit, I actually noticed how much better I felt. I never did go back to drinking milk and I have spoken with her doctor about trying almond milk instead. She was all for it as long as her diet was balanced otherwise. Thanks for sharing!
      Have a great day!

      ~alli

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