Dairy Free Weaning
Hello and welcome to my dairy free weaning blog.
Before we go any further, I just want to say that you are all doing brilliantly and have come this far in your CMPA journey. My kids were both CMPA and I found that it was the practicalities of having children with CMPA that were the biggest problem. So, I will be mixing in a few tips for you in this blog that I came up with myself along with my expertise and knowledge of CMPA and as a paediatric dietitian.
The guidelines for weaning are that you can start weaning from 17 weeks and 6 months. It is not advised to wean earlier than the 17 weeks and it is not advised to delay weaning beyond 6 months. You may find that your paediatrician or your health visitor may suggest that you wean at 17 weeks if your baby has reflux. If this is the case it is not advised to follow baby led weaning at this age. It would be best to use pureed fruits and vegetables and not whole foods as there is a greater risk of choking. When you baby has reached 6 months and is a lot stronger you can follow baby led weaning provided your baby can cope with this. If in doubt ask your health visitor and they can advise.
A few things to do or get before starting...
Ice cube trays, or you can purchase weaning pots for the freezer.
Clear a drawer out in the freezer and have this as your dairy free drawer.
Purchase any of the following milks provided you have not been told that they are other food
allergies. Most people prefer oat milk but you can also use almond, soya, coconut, or hemp. Do make sure that they are fortified. Organic products will not be fortified and will therefore will not be suitable.
Custard powder or alternative custard pre-made with a milk that your baby can have, i.e. soya custard will not be appropriate if your baby has a soya allergy.
Dairy free spread, such as pure sunflower spread or a soya spread. You may find that a sunflower spread will be less expensive.
Make up a white sauce and freeze this in either ice cubes or your weaning pots. Any white sauce recipe will be fine, all you have to do is replace the milk and butter element with your alternative milk and dairy free spread.
Milks that are suitable to use in the recipe are: oat, soya (providing no allergy to soya, these will generally give the best flavour but you can use coconut), almond (provided no nut allergy) and hemp. You can also use your prescription milk in the recipes in exactly the same way. If you go to your prescription milk website you will find recipes that you can try using the prescription milk that you have.
Make up custard and batch freeze this as per your white sauce, again it is the same principle you can use the same alternative milks as listed above or you can use your prescription milk. From experience the alternative milk will give a better flavour.
You will find life easier if you have basic cooking skills as you can prepare most foods from scratch. Don’t worry if you have not, you can buy a range of non dairy foods that will help you.
Weaning a baby with CMPA is no different to weaning a baby without CMPA the same principles are exactly the same. So, if you choose baby led weaning or pureed foods or a combination, your baby follows the same pathway as any weaning baby all you are doing is replacing the dairy element of their weaning diet. I know I make it sound simple but try not to over complicate this and you will find it a lot easier.
Let's talk ‘labels’.
If the food item contains any of the following ingredients then you should avoid the product:
Milk Fromage Frais
Modified milk Buttermilk
Milk solids Butter
Non – fat milk solids Margarine
Skimmed milk powder Ghee
Cream Artificial cream
Whey and whey solids Crème fraiche
Hydrolysed whey protein Whey sugar
Condensed milk Whey syrup sweetener
Evaporated milk Casein Curds
Cream Cheese Hydrolysed casein
Starting off with weaning
Photo credit: Tanaphong Toochinda
Begin by offering baby 1 – 2 teaspoons of solid at one feed during the day. You choose which feed is going to be best for you. Some people prefer to choose a feed that is going to be more convenient if a solid food is introduced for example a lunch time. Or you may prefer to choose a time when the house is quiet and there are no distractions. Which ever you choose try to enjoy the experience as this is an exciting time for you and your baby.
The consistency should be soft, smooth, and thickish. Suitable foods are:
Milk free baby rice mixed with water or breastmilk, or an alternative milk or your prescription milk.
Pureed apples, peaches, carrots, parsnips, butternut squash.
Do not add salt, sugar or honey to your babies food.
Top tip: your baby only knows how to suckle at this point, they have not learned the skills yet to take food off a spoon. Move it around their mouth, push the food to the back of their tongue and they'll swallow. All of this takes a new form of coordination that they have not learnt yet. So do try to be patient, if your baby spits the food out it does not necessarily mean that they do not like the food they are just learning a new skill and they may need a little time to do this.
British Dietetic Association calcium food fact sheet
Take a look at my blogs for each stage of weaning.