Going Dairy Free-Which Milk?

Part 1Soya Milk

Finding out you have to go dairy free when you weren’t looking to, can be a blow. Especially when your beautiful baby’s suffering adds time pressure. If you’re breastfeeding, there’s not even time for one more delicious, milky, decaf latte! Once the internal monologue, containing as much colourful language as an angry, drunken pirate, subsides, it’s time to get taste testing.

Choosing a dairy alternative milk can be quite an endeavour. Fortunately, the choice available these days is wide and far more cost effective than ever before.

Soya milk is probably the most well known and well stocked option. It’s competitively priced and available in fresh and long life formats at most supermarkets. With a neutral flavour which works well in both tea and coffee, soya milk is a solid contender and a popular choice. These days, it’s even possible to purchase an enriched version targeted at meeting the nutritional requirements of a growing toddlers.

On the downside though, it has a tendency to separate/curdle when added to hot drinks. After extensive experimentation to see if I could find an “optimum temperature” for use in hot drinks, I declared it a fail. The flavour was unaffected,to be fair, but the visual appeal of the beverage was all but lost! For me, soya milk=drinking coffee with my eyes shut!

Consideration might also be given to the phytoestrogens present in soya milk. As I understand it, soya products would traditionally be fermented prior to consumption. Soya milk, a relatively new product in the grand scheme of things, hasn’t been. While there is conflicting advice available about phytoestrogens and breastfeeding, it is something to factor into a decision about using soya milk. Concerns are being continually raised about regular use of soya products interfering with immunity and sex hormones (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/1998946.stm). So, it is certainly worth having a conversation with your doctor or dietician about switching to soya milk when breastfeeding or choosing a milk for your toddler.

It’s also it’s also worth noting that, for my second baby, use of soya milk was simply not an option. His allergy to dairy was sufficient to be evident through breastmilk and his allergy to soya turned out to be even more dramatic. So much so that he was unable to tolerate soya based elemental formula. I would advise all allergy mamas to approach soya with caution as many babies with a non-IGE dairy allergy (non-immediate cows milk protein allergy) are also allergic to soya.

So, in conclusion; if your baby or child is able to tolerate soya milk, it is definitely a feasible option when cows milk isn’t. The taste is neutral and fortified options are available for toddlers. Phytoestrogens and health concerns should be factored into the choice, as should the ever irritating curdling for Mama’s who like their beverages hot!

Allergy Mama score- 3.5/5

Up next? Coconut milk!

Xx Allergy Mama

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