Sunday, 24 February 2019

Joshua's Dairy Allergy One Year On

It's been just over a year since we discovered Joshua's allergy and I thought it would be the perfect time to share how things are now and what we've learnt so far. The first and only  post I have shared on his allergy is Why Our Three Month Old has Soya Milk because we had quite a number of messages and unwanted advice when we switched Joshua to SMA Wysoy. I won't go into it too much here because it's all in that first post but the guidelines are not to give soya formula for babies under six months BUT if you do your research, read enough medical studies and make an informed decision for yourself and your child, there really isn't that much of a concern to be had. You can buy it from supermarkets, it's suitable from birth and I believe if there really was severe health implications, you wouldn't be able to shop it so easily.

Also, if we were raising Joshua vegan, no one would've said shit to us.

We had the full support of our health visitor when changing Joshua to Wysoy and that is the advice we stuck with. Our GP was very unhelpful on numerous occasions and another told us she had no idea about formula so couldn't help us. From the minute we gave Joshua that first bottle of Wysoy, it was like having a different baby. We couldn't believe the change in him and making that change honestly gave us our happy little baby back. 

Having a baby with an undiscovered allergy is like having a baby with colic but ten times worse. It's heartbreaking and until you find what is right for you, for us it was a soya formula, it can honestly feel like the end of the world. 

The SMA Wysoy is a couple of quid more than usual formulas in supermarkets but if you go down the GP assisted route you can get some formulas on prescription. SMA Wysoy is actually available on prescription too but we were refused it so purchased* ourselves. 

(*I am very much of the belief that if you have an item put on prescription that is also available to buy in a pharmacy over the counter and you can afford to buy it, then you really should. This doesn't include large quantities of items.)

I'm pretty sensitive to lactose myself so I've always been quite aware of milk being in everything but when you really do have to check every little thing, it can be quite full on and some things do slip through the net. In the last year we've had three occasions where Joshua has had something with milk in and each time, mere hours later it was like having our upset, colic like baby back but now we thankfully know exactly what to do to relieve the problem quickly. 

We started weaning at four months with baby porridge mixed with his formula milk until five months when we started to introduce different flavours of puree. Weaning early was the right decision for us and it worked really well, we stuck with traditional weaning because I couldn't think of anything worse than baby led, it terrifies me and Joshua is a pretty good eater now so we have no regrets. He loves a wide range of food, anything spicy and would live on blueberries if he could, the boy is obsessed with them! 

The biggest learning curve is checking every single packet as I said previously because milk is in things that it really shouldn't need to be! Why is everyone so obsessed with milk?! I've become the mum that checks and checks again, I take Joshua's own lunch to everything and intercept food being given to Joshua without my consent which drives me mad! I just don't understand people who just give other people's children food without checking first. Thankfully I am surrounded by some fabulous people who always check before giving Joshua anything and we always tend to meet in places that have a great vegan menu which makes ordering for Joshua much easier. 

I know I've mentioned the vegan thing a couple of times now, we're not raising Joshua vegan, Arran and I both eat meat and we do offer it to Joshua too but aren't forceful with if he eats it or not. I do however eat vegan when I got out with Joshua, ordering one meal we can share together is cheaper and as there are so many vegan options available now, I find it much easier and more reassuring as at least I know there isn't any dairy in it. There's a huge focus on allergies in restaurants now but the majority of brands aren't training all their staff because of cost or you're only able to order from a manager who is doing ten other things which means waiting half hour to place an order with a hangry toddler which isn't doable so vegan it is! 

One thing I did find quite difficult was what to switch Joshua to once he turned one, everyone bangs on about oooo it's time to switch to cows milk but I really wasn't sure on our options. Could I just switch him to normal soya? Could he have almond, coconut or oat milk? Is there a toddler equivalent? Who knew! In the end we bought one of each and tried him on them all and then eliminated what Joshua didn't like. We did also find that Alpro do a 1-3 years growing up milk but it's not available everywhere so we can only get a few in when we shop with Ocado. More often than not, Joshua will just have Oatly which he seems to love and I've switched to it recently as well. We just warm it up for him and he's good to go! 

Joshua eats a really varied diet and he 100% does not need cows milk to thrive! Cows milk has such a detrimental effect on the human digestive system that I cannot understand why there is such a push for babies and toddlers to have it when it's scientifically proven they can get the same benefits of cows milk from a healthy balanced diet with multivitamins (which you're recommended to give with cows milk too). 

Anyway, I am not a pediatric doctor I've just researched a hell of a lot due to regularly being met with questions from people regarding our choices.

In the last six months we have had a pediatric dietitian appointment which was not great and Joshua's one year review which did go much better than I was expecting. The pediatric dietitian appointment was last August and I found it really unhelpful, we were discharged at the end of it, we still do not know if Joshua's allergy is dairy or lactose and I don't think we ever will. It's just going to be a case of us learning to control it and look out for triggers when we eventually try and introduce it in a few years. 

The main objective of the appointment it seemed was to introduce the Milk Ladder which is a chart on how and when to introduce dairy, the ladder was full of biscuits, cakes and peculiar meals. It seems like a really unhealthy way to do it and it's not something we'll be trying. The UK seem to have this odd fascination with pushing everyone on to dairy and the doctor's insistence at doing this to Joshua really pissed me off especially when I told her he'd accidentally had something with dairy five weeks prior to this appointment and had had an awful reaction but she didn't seem to care, she still said we should try the milk ladder to which I retorted that she wouldn't be pushing this so much if we were raising him vegan which she eventually admitted no she wouldn't be. 

The other reason for trying to introduce dairy was because it would be easier for us, which I think was a ridiculous statement for her to make. Eating dairy free is relatively easy, you just need to check check check and there are so many more options available it's easier than ever, it was so much harder not even four years ago! I just don't believe you should potentially make a child ill so it makes life easier and I was glad to walk out of that doctor's office.

Joshua's one year review took place at 16 months and again we had the full support of our health visitor with what we were doing and how we were handling Joshua's allergy which was such a relief. We've had little to no guidance and done everything by ourselves so to have that bit of reassurance really helped. We had a slip up a few weeks ago with a weaning biscuit which had always been dairy free but this particular flavour wasn't so we know to not start introducing anything yet, in the mean time we'll continue to make delicious dairy free food for our scrummy toddler. 

Has it been hard on occasions? God yes! Do I sometimes wish we could share a cheese sarnie instead of having to smell awful Violife? Definitely but I'd rather our son was happy and healthy. I've learned how to create our favourite meals without dairy, I've explored so much more vegan food than I would've done otherwise and we have some firm favourite restaurants in Southampton now. 

Joshua's allergy doesn't define him, he knows no different which is why you'll never hear me refer to him as an allergy baby, he's just Joshua, our Joshua and we love him no matter what. 



  1. Milk allergy mumma over here too!! The dieticians haven’t been much help to us either and we were discharged when they were fiiiinally happy we would just l leave it all be but now the consultant pediatrician has re referred us back and I’m dreading it ����‍♀️ we’ve been back and forth since she was 4 months old and it’s never a positive experience! I don’t understand why we can’t just be left living the Oatly dream!! It’s like you say, if we were vegan they’d leave us alone!

  2. Yaaaaas Joshua, we buy Oatly too! He makes good choices :) It's so crazy the unwarranted and frankly wrong you get on journeys like this; motherhood or dietary requirements. Combine the two? I don't even want to think about the made up science you've heard haha. Bless you for sticking with it and knowing what's right for your baby, and good for you for trying different things yourself, too <3 It's all a learning curve.


  3. This all sounds like it is so challenging and frustrating for you! I’m so glad that you are starting to find what works for Joshua and you’re sticking with it - hopefully it will only get better!

    Kat x

  4. It's so challenging when you have to adapt so much isn't it but you've done a great job with this Alice and done Joshua proud x

  5. You are doing so well, and he seems so happy and healthy, and that really is the main thing!

    Erin || MakeErinOver

  6. Looks like Joshua is soooo happy! You've done a good job! x

  7. I’m so glad you’re finally at a point where everyone is happy! We struggled with my nieces cows milk allergy for agesssss until we could reintroduce! It’s so hard because you don’t realise that there is dairy in pretty much everything!

  8. You’ve been so amazing though it all and he’s such a happy and beautiful little boy.

  9. Wow I feel like I've written this post myself! My daughter is also allergic to dairy and your experience is pretty well identical to mine. It definitely gets easier over time (my daughter is now 2.5) and honestly at this point we probably won't ever introduce dairy into her diet even if she outgrows the allergy because why? lol Cow's milk really isn't all that great for humans. I have a dairy intolerance myself so its been rather easy finding out my daughter couldn't have milk either since I've been in the habit of checking for dairy for so long anyway. Totally relate to you with other people trying to feed your kid without checking. Ugh, THAT struggle has been real! And then you get the people who think your child should 100% have dairy in their diet (no matter how ill it makes them) and you're a horrible parent for not giving them the nutrients they need!
    Anyway, I went off a bit there! haha Really enjoyed your post and just wanted to let you know that you're not alone in the milk allergy struggle :)

    Renee @ Maritime Mama


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