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Ask an Expert: Dairy and Elimination Diets

I’ve been on a dairy elimination diet for several months. What is the best way to determine if by baby still reacts to dairy? Are there certain dairy products (cheese, butter, cream) that are easier for the transition back to dairy?

NANCY MOHRBACHER, IBCLC: The good news about a dairy sensitivity is that most babies outgrow it by about 6 months, some sooner. The most reliable way to know if your baby still reacts to dairy is to do a challenge. This means you consume dairy and watch for a reaction, which should occur with 24 hours. If baby reacts, you need to wait longer to introduce dairy back into your diet. Typically, babies react to the protein in dairy, so butter (which is mostly fat) is a good place to start. Cheese and yogurt tend to produce less of a reaction because they have undergone processing. If you try one of these dairy products and see no reaction, a glass of straight cow’s milk should tell you for sure whether or not your baby is ready for you to go back to your regular diet.
unnamedNancy Mohrbacher, IBCLC, FILCA is a board-certified lactation consultant in the Chicago area who has been helping breastfeeding families since 1982. Her books for professionals are used worldwide. Her books for parents include Breastfeeding Made Simple: Seven Natural Laws for Nursing Mothers, which she co-authored with Kathleen Kendall-Tackett, and her tiny problem-solving guide, Breastfeeding Solutions In 2013, Nancy released her Breastfeeding Solutions smartphone app (available for Android and iPhones) to give mothers a quick, go-everywhere source of breastfeeding help. Nancy speaks at events around the world.