Over the past weeks I have had the pleasure of co-authoring with longtime client Jane Catherine Sherman. Jane Catherine, like all new moms, discovered there were some surprises in store for her and her husband as they integrated a new family member into their two career household. The challenges they faced involved food and how to integrate the sometimes conflicting messages heard from their pediatrician, family members, and their homeopath while responding to the responses from their sweet daughter.
In the first installment of this series Jane Catherine shares their experience with formula and the surprising solution they discovered. In today’s article she shares what happens when they are advised by their pediatrician, like all parents of one year olds, to begin the standard issue whole milk. Having reactions to formula was one thing but all toddlers need whole milk, right?
Feeding Baby Part 3: The Great Milk Debate
We were not a dairy free household, so when my pediatrician told me to start my daughter on whole milk I didn’t think twice about it. Yes, she did have issues with formula but my husband and I were fine with milk so it seemed like a natural choice. Besides, whole milk is meant to be the perfect food especially for picky toddlers – full of protein, calcium, vitamin D and vitamin B-12.
The first few weeks all went well, but then we started to notice a definite change in her digestion – more gas, bellyaches and painful constipation. We immediately started the Fig and Walnut Gemmotherapy protocol just as we had done when she was on formula. Unfortunately, this time it wasn’t enough. Her digestive system was already so inflamed that her symptoms kept getting worse. The constant runny nose started next followed by congestion and cough. We started a different Gemmotherapy protocol to combat the “cold” symptoms, which helped her heal each time she got sick. But, what we didn’t realize was that it was the dairy in her diet that caused these symptoms.
The final straw for me came was when she was diagnosed with croup and had a choking cough so terrible it would bring any mom to tears. Until that point, it had not even occurred to us that it could all be from the whole milk we had added to her diet. We just thought that these were normal toddler sicknesses and growing pains. However, by this time we had progressed from adding only whole milk to include yogurt and cheese also in her diet - all typical toddler staples.
We met with Lauren to discuss the croup diagnosis we had received. She made it clear that, from her perspective, the dairy in our daughter’s diet was the root cause of these problems and with the appropriate Gemmotherapy protocol and removal of dairy, she would be much better. We immediately replaced the whole milk with almond milk. This decision was definitely met by an onslaught of questions from our family. Where will she get her calcium? Where will she get the fat and vitamins? Whole milk is good for babies. There is no way that’s the cause. The same questions and concerns ran through my head, but I knew in my gut I was making the right decision.
Confirmation to me that we had made the right choice was the fact that almost overnight, my daughter’s symptoms improved. The rash on her face was the first to clear up followed by less gas and no constipation. The cough and congestion took a bit longer, but once it cleared up it hasn’t returned. We had spent a lot of time and energy with humidifiers, easy breathing rubs, eucalyptus oil, and sleeping upright in a chair, anything that would help her breathe and be comfortable. Now she’s been clear for over a month despite our crazy hot and cold weather.
To make sure she got all the same vitamins she would be getting from whole milk, we chose organic unsweetened almond milk fortified with calcium and vitamin D. I’ve seen some recipes for making your own fortified almond milk, which may be my next venture when I have more time. We also increased the amount of calcium enriched foods and fat in her diet including oranges, dried figs, almond butter, white beans and broccoli. This white bean hummus recipe is a fan favorite around our house. The white beans are easier than chickpeas to digest. I also substitute roasted garlic for fresh since fresh garlic can also upset some stomachs. It’s also great for “hiding” other healthy foods she may not want to eat that day.
If you or someone you know is interested in learning more about feeding babies and toddlers and keeping them symptom free I’d love to hear from you. Guiding new moms and families is one of the favorite parts of my job. Are you new to the Gemmotherapy products mentioned in this series? If so here is an article to get you started.
Be sure to join us next week as we share the final installment of Jane Catherine’s story. You’ll appreciate hearing where all this has led them as a family.