Inside: Our experience with the first stage of the milk ladder
My youngest daughter was born with a milk allergy. Not that we knew it at the time – I just assumed all was well and began life with a newborn as any mum would.
For the first 2 weeks of her life all was well besides a complete inability to latch on, which we would later discover was down to tongue-tie.
At around 5 weeks old it all began to go wrong. My calm baby became distressed after every feed, her discomfort was clear as she would struggle to sleep and produced explosive nappies every 5 minutes of the day.
She also had the most horrendous reflux – talk about unlucky! My newborn bubble was well and truly burst.
When you are new to allergies you really don’t know how to go about dealing with them. Back in 2013, there was no support online and I had to forge my own path.
My hope is that by sharing our experience and the knowledge I have gained over the years, you will find the process easier. I also want you to know that there is light at the end of the tunnel. Lily is now able to tolerate milk and is a happy and healthy child.
If you are not sure whether you are dealing with a milk allergy then please head over to my Cows Milk Allergy Guide, where you can find more information to help you as you get to grips with everything.
Starting the milk ladder with a little one when you’ve been dairy free for so long is nerve-wracking. We had an appointment with our dietician who basically put the decision in my hands and handed me a list of foods to try.
I have to say that I found it a complete waste of time and Google and my own common sense provided more value.
In a nutshell, you work through a series of foods that slowly increase in the amount of dairy they contain. Your body adjusts to the dairy products along the way until finally, you can tolerate them.
Some children get all the way to the top no problem, others only make it part way and have to stop for a while and others find they are not at all ready to move up the ladder. Everyone is different and so as a result there is no one-size fits all way of doing it.
Stage 1 of the Milk Ladder
The very first stage of the milk ladder starts with malted biscuits. The milk content is so low that it makes for the perfect introduction to the process.
Now, you can buy malted biscuits in all supermarkets (Fox’s Moo are a brand you’d recognise) but I had to make my own due to the fact that we were also contending with a soya allergy (I told you – all the bad luck!).
The upside to making your own biscuits is that you know exactly what you are putting inside.
Malted biscuit recipe
Here is the recipe for anyone wanting to make their own:
110g unsalted butter
110g caster sugar
175g self- raising flour
50mls evaporated milk
(water if mixture is too dry)
Preheat the oven to 180ºC (160ºC for fan ovens)
– Cream the butter, sugar and milk together and then add the flour to create a dough.
– Add in water as necessary so that you can roll the dough into a sausage.
– Once in a sausage shape, use a knife to chop the sausage into disks. You should be able to 30-40 depending on how thick you slice them.
– Bake them in the oven for 10 minutes or until they are golden brown.
Makes 40 small biscuits
Obviously you do not need 40 biscuits but they can be frozen – either raw mixture or cooked- for use at a later date.
So how did we get on?
I decided that taking it slow was the best approach. The dietician had said to start off with a whole biscuit but I didn’t want to go from absolutely no dairy and then flood her system. Remember, you know your child and what is best for them.
Day 1 – A 10p piece sized amount. She liked the taste (a bit like rusks) and had no reaction at all.
Day 2 – We doubled the size and she was absolutely fine once again.
Day 3 – Half a biscuit. She slept right through the night (one of the signs ass that she would wake screaming).
Day 4 – A whole biscuit and still fine.
We kept her on 1 biscuit a day for a couple of weeks. Again, this isn’t what the dietician had suggested – they had said to move straight onto stage 2 but I just don’t see the need to rush. We’ve waited this long, we can wait a little longer.
The next stage is digestive biscuits, with a subtle difference of switching malted milk for butter.
Head over to part 2 to see how we got on >>>