Navigating special occasions when you have dairy free kids can feel overwhelming and tricky, but it doesn’t need to be!
For my lovely peeps who have been here for a while you’ll know my daughter has an intolerance to the protein in cows milk (aka CMPI). We discovered this when she was about 6 weeks old (after days and days of sleep in 10 minute intervals, nappy explosions and constant crying) and once I completely eliminated dairy from my diet it was as though we had a totally different baby!
A few years ago I reduced the amount of dairy I consumed due to the inflammatory response it was having on my body (including bloating and just generally not feeling great) so I was shocked when I discovered the small amounts of “milk solids” I was consuming through products that had dairy added as well as the small amount (well, kind of small) of chocolate I was eating was enough to send my daughter’s digestion into turmoil.
In the 11 months since my daughter’s birth we’ve tried her with dairy a handful of times and each time I’ve only confirmed what we already knew. Her little digestive system just can’t tolerate dairy. She isn’t allergic thank goodness, but a day or two of nappy explosions and crying is enough to remind us why we don’t give her dairy.
Navigating special occasions when you have dairy free kids can feel overwhelming and slightly inconvenient BUT there are ways to make sure nobody feels as though they are ‘missing out’. This year I threw a dairy free Easter for both kiddies and they honestly loved it and didn’t notice the difference at all.
Here’s my TOP tips for navigating special occasions with dairy free kids:
- Get organised. In stores, the dairy free stuff goes SUPER QUICK (turns out dairy free is more popular than you might realise). Get into the stores a few weeks before the special occasion to get any dairy free supplies. For Easter I bought dairy free Easter eggs from a local health food store (Flannery’s), some carob bears (these may still have milk solids so these were only an option for my son), dairy free sugar free and organic hot cross buns (because I seriously suck at making healthy dairy free hot cross buns no matter how hard I try!).
- Think outside of the egg. Special occasions are so often not actually about the food. The food is just an accessory. Think outside the box when it comes to how you can celebrate and share a special occasion. We included stickers inside our Easter eggs, used plastic fillable eggs, bought they kiddies pyjamas and made it all about the hunt.
- If going out, make sure you bring something for your dairy free kiddies. So often people forget about the kids who can’t eat the ‘normal’ stuff (and that’s totally okay). Bring options for your kids with you so they never feel left out or deprived. Don’t make it a big deal, they don’t need to feel different or ‘special’, just give them their option and teach them to make the best choice they can for their little bodies. In our house we talk about how food makes us feel, so instead of feeling as though she’s different I’ll be teaching my daughter than dairy makes her tummy feel sick and uncomfortable. She can then choose how she wants her tummy to feel as she grows.
I filmed our morning for you to see how we navigated Easter with dairy free kids (watch it below).
You can also read about my son’s third birthday party where we skipped the processed stuff HERE.
How do you navigate special occasions with special diet/dairy free kids?
As a busy mum to two kiddies I know how tricky it can be when your babies are transitioning to solid food. As a new mum I was frustrated that I could only find recipe books for babies or older kids/adults and any recipe books I found that ‘might’ be suitable for toddlers were definitely not filled with nourishing options. That’s the exact reason why I created FEEDING FUSSY TODDLERS – Your go-to whole food recipe book for kids. It’s a compilation of my son’s favourite recipes (yes, toddler-approved!) and the one I rely on at meal times! I have my copy printed and sitting in my kitchen and I’d LOVE for you to have a copy too!
GET YOUR COPY HERE: FEEDING FUSSY TODDLERS RECIPE BOOK
*Suitable for all ages once established on solid food.