The Unintentional Diet of a Postpartum Mom; When You Find Yourself Going ‘Dairy-Free’ Overnight

We are proud to say that these posts are not sponsored. Our editorial team of Bobbie moms and writers personally select each featured product. If you buy something through our links, we may earn an affiliate commission, at no cost to you.

We’ve all been there. Forcing ourselves to diet to look decent in a bikini, seamless in that bride’s maid dress, or squeezing your partpartum body into those already too tight yoga pants. You count calories, deny yourself yummy carbs, and even find time to squeeze in some workouts. Hopefully, after a few weeks or months, you see the wieghtloss you envisioned peeking through. 

There’s a level of satisfaction and gratification that comes with dieting for vanity’s sake. You look good and feel good. Your friends usually notice the change and you earn the coveted, “Girl, you look great!” Yay! The sacrifice and dedication paid off.

All of this expereince, however, does not prepare you for an unintentional, no-rewards diet. It’s the diet where you’re newly postpartum. You know, during that newborn stage when you’re stuggling to get any sleep and wondering if you’ll ever pee alone again. It’s the diet that isn’t calorie, carb, or sugar-based. It’s way worse. It’s a non-dairy diet. That means no cheese, no coffee creamer, no ice cream, no sour cream, no pizza, and worst of all–no nachos! 

Why go dairy free when nursing

Here are the two reasons I had to consider this diet as a new mom to my baby boy.

  1. A baby struggling with eczema.
  2. A baby with acid reflux.

Honestly, I never imagined I’d be dieting for someone else, EVER. I only dieted for something; a dress, a swimsuit, or a big vacation. I wasn’t prepared for the sacrifice it would take to diet for my baby. 

After all, I’d recently sacrificed my nipples to perfecting his latch for the first month of his life. I thought that was the worst of it. Don’t get me wrong, it was pretty traumatic learning to nurse. But, I didn’t know how tough it would be to sacrifice a part of me again. 

Reasons I went dairy free while nursing

So, here’s how this diet came to be: I noticed that his skin was red, irritated, and covered in very tiny bumps. I thought it was just the normal adjustment from being in utero and now being exposed to the outside world. After a month, I thought his skin would level out. It didn’t. 

Next, I noticed a problem after he finished EVERY feeding. He wasn’t properly digesting my breast milk. For such a tiny human, he would spit up quite a bit of what he’d just consumed. It was so bad that I feared letting someone hold him because he could projectile on them without notice. Have you ever watched someone’s reaction when a baby lets loose on them? It’s horrifying. After all, you don’t want them to think you’re raising a miniature exorcist. Or, have you ever worried that showering and putting on actual clothes would be a waste of time because you’d end up smelling like spoiled milk anyway? 

Aside from the social and hygienic implications, this and the skin issue worried me. Was something wrong? Was my baby sick? Was he getting enough nutrition to grow and be healthy? I needed anwsers to these questions.

When should you visit a pediatrician for your baby’s skin

Realizing I could only do so much without medical advice, I decided to visit with his pediatrician. To my surprise, she wasn’t worried at all. It was actually ‘normal’ for a baby to spit up. And, she said that eczema was pretty prevalent in new babies. Her recommendation for the latter was easy enough. She prescribed a cortisone cream to manage flare-ups and she recommended I keep him bathed and moisturized in delicate baby products. I could handle that easily enough. 

After talking to her about the amount and frequency of his spit-up episodes, she made another recommendation. The doctor recommended that I limit my dairy intake. It would actually address both issues with his skin and digestion. Honestly, I didn’t see this coming.  

I thought, “How, Why? Is this even possible?”

Apparently, it is.

How I changed my diet to dairy free while nursing

After reading loads of blogs and research, I understood it could help. I figured out that you could be extreme in your approach. For example, I read that one mom went so far as to look for completely vegan wine. (That’s dedication.) Or, I realized that you could take the more reasonable approach and just eliminate what you can. I chose the second option.

As I adjusted to the idea of my new reality, I began to make small changes in my eating habits. I cut out dairy creamer in my morning coffee. I tried to resist sour cream on my beloved tacos. I denied myself ice cream. And, I even left mayonnaise off my sandwiches. Don’t judge me. I’m a born and raised Southerner who grew up on that fatty goodness. 

Over the next few months, I tried my best to be mindful. Changing my diet helped better manage his skin and reflux issues, but it did not eliminate them. I still had to keep loads of bibs and burp cloths with me at all times. Honestly, I’m not sure if I should have gone through the trouble of altering my diet. At best it would temporarily relieve two issues that his body could eventually adjust to as his digestive system and skin matured. 

Is soy forumla an option

You may be wondering, “Why didn’t you just switch to a soy formula or non-dairy-based formula?”

I honestly don’t know. Other than not wanting to give up on breastfeeding or deal with switching him to formula and worrying we’d introduce other potential issues; I honestly don’t know. Several months later, I learned he would take to regular formula just fine when I weaned from breastmilk.

In conclusion

Now, at nearly two years old, his skin is less sensitive, and he drinks whole milk like a champ. He’s happy, thriving, and doesn’t care if I diet or not.

The fear of the unknown can be our biggest challenge as new moms. Looking back, I’d encourage other moms who face digestive and skin issues with their babies to simply do what’s best and most practical. Going on an unrewarding diet for the sake of giving it a shot to see if it helps, isn’t worth it in my opinion. However, going on a diet to help you feel more confident as a new mom is definitely worth it. 

The content on this site is for informational purposes only and not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Discuss any health or feeding concerns with your infant's pediatrician. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay it based on the content on this page.

The content on this site is for informational purposes only and not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Discuss any health or feeding concerns with your infant’s pediatrician. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay it based on the content on this page.