Living with a food allergy is an all too common problem in today’s society, from the more openly recognised ceoliacs disease and nut allergies to the lesser known CMPA.
Cows milk protein allergy or CMPA is; in fact, the most common food allergy. Despite this, people remain largely in the dark about it, often confusing it with lactose intolerance.
An intolerance to lactose means the sufferer is intolerant to the sugars in dairy products and largely has symptoms that include stomach pains, bloating and wind. CMPA can have similar symptoms in cases that are less serious, but can be as severe as anaphylactic shock. Other unpleasant reactions include vomiting blood, hives and blood in stools.

Dairy-free lifestyle

Embarking on a dairy-free life, particularly as an involuntary choice because of an allergy, can be very daunting. The first time you walk down the aisle in a supermarket looking at thousands of labels can cause utter panic, since there are so many extra ingredients to look out for.
Many people, new to a dairy free lifestyle, may be fooled into thinking that lactose free is also dairy free. However, it isn’t, since lactose-free simply means that the offending sugars have been removed from the dairy. Another hidden ingredient to look out for is whey or whey powder, this comes from milk and some sufferers react to these highly processed ingredients particularly badly.
Organic grocery store

Challenges of having allergic child

Raising a child with allergies can be hard work and cause many sleepless nights and tears. Food companies change their ingredients all the time, so what was safe last week may not be safe this week and as a parent you can feel like a failure when your child is suffering. The best and safest solution is wherever possible try to make your own food from scratch, so you know exactly what you feed your child with.
But, in reality, it isn’t always possible as busy working families don’t always have the time to painstakingly prepare every item they consume. What is essential though is that if you do buy from the supermarket then check the packet each time you buy a new one, and then, when there is time, perhaps batch prepare some of your child’s favorite foods to freeze for using later.
Frozen dairy-free sorbet
Many babies and toddlers suffering with food allergies, and especially ones who have multiple food allergies, can become very fussy or have problems with food aversion. They also have trouble gaining weight, which can be distressing. When weening it is essential to get enough calcium and protein into the child.
From six months, yoghurts are a great way to get extra calcium. GMO-free organic soya yoghurts are a good replacement for dairy from one year, but many dietitains do not recomend soya for children, in particular for boys under a year because it contains compounds that can mimic oestrogen, the female hormone.
Moreover, many children with CMPA also have an allergy to soya. There are some yoghurts in the supermarkets or health food shops you can buy, some are quite popular but they are often also quite expensive, in particular the organic or GMO-free versions, and subject to recall if a problem has occured with their ingredients or a cross-contamination. Further, most of these are not calcium fortified.
A cost effective and easy way to ensure your child gets the extra calcium is this simple recipe that can be used with a baby formula, an alternative milk or breast milk.
Ingredients for dairy-free yoghurtMaddox eating homemade yoghurt

Homemade lactose and milk protein-free yoghurt:

  • 180ml of water and six scoops of formula or 180ml of the childs alternative milk/breast milk.
  • 1 tbsp of cornflour

Use a milk saucepan and mix the cornflour with a little water (or alternative milk/breast milk) to form a smooth paste and then gradually add in the remaining water or milk.
Cook for three minutes, stir continuously until the mixture thickens, take off the heat immediately when it does.
At this point, if you are using formula, gradually add in the formula stiring as you do.
You can serve the yoghurt plain, if you decide to do this, put the mixture in containers and put them in a cool water bath before storing them in the fridge.
A nice variation is to serve your plain yoghurt on chopped fruit or mix in a fruit puree after the mixture thickens, if you would like to make a fromage frais style yoghurt you can add a small amount of strawberry milkshake powder. Only use one tbsp or two because although the powders are usually calcium enriched they are full of sugar.
Another nice touch is to use an alternative milkshake to make a flavoured treat for your child: chocolate flavoured yoghurt is very popular in our house, you would make this in exactly the same way as above.
You can store your yoghurts in the fridge, and they will last 2-3 days. Always stir the yoghurt before feeding it to your child, it will look less thick and appealing.