Category: Non-dairy

Different types of non-dairy milk

How to transition a dairy-obsessed toddler away from cow’s milk

As part of Sasha’s journey toward building a stronger immune system, I knew we had to transition her away from her beloved cow’s milk. Now I realize there are varying opinions about dairy, and we’re certainly not a dairy free family. However as I’ve aged, I’ve become more sensitive to dairy products and I’ve given up milk, creamer, yogurt and many cheeses (although I can’t bring myself to completely let go of cheese). Additionally, based on my experiences with Eastern practitioners, I’m more aligned with the theory that our bodies were not meant to drink milk past breastfeeding age nor we were meant to process another species’ milk.

As someone who was still drinking at least three “babas” a day in sippy cups, I can’t describe how traumatic this was for Sasha. When I first raised the idea, she cried so hard I felt like she was going to nominate me for “worst mother of the year.” But two months after making the switch, she promptly told on my mom who had offered her cow’s milk for breakfast. Not only did she rat her out, but she also told my mom that cow’s milk was “not good for her body.”

Here’s what worked for us:

  • Start laying the foundation a few weeks before you make the big switch. Because Sasha tends to get sick on a frequent basis, I wasn’t short on opportunities to start explaining why cow’s milk wasn’t helping her little body fight off viruses and infections or poop regularly (constipation is also an ongoing struggle for Sasha and I’m sure she’s going to be thoroughly embarrassed when she reads this as a teenager). To reinforce my messages to her, I would also bring up the subject during our visits to various practitioners. Eventually she stopped balking less at the idea and started becoming more curious about the change.
  • Let your child choose his/her new “milk.” We planned a special date to our local Whole Foods just to pick out some new “milks” to try. As hard as it was not to grab some additional groceries while we were there, I wanted this trip to feel special and all about Sasha so we only shopped for “milk.” She picked out five different varieties/brands which certainly wasn’t cheap but was definitely worth the investment in her long-term physical and emotional well-being.
  • Throw a taste test party. Continuing to play up this moment as something positive and exciting, we had a taste test party when we got home from the store. The entire family gathered around our kitchen island and watched as Sasha poured and tasted each one of her new “milks.” We cheered her on as she tried almond, coconut, almond-coconut and cashew finally landing on coconut.
  • Reward progress with milestone treats. After the excitement of the taste test died down, we experienced a few more tears that evening (and the following few evenings) at bedtime when reality sunk in. It took her a few days to get used to her new coconut “babas” but I kept telling her how strong she was and how proud we were of her for making good choices. I also let her have a small glass of chocolate almond milk here and there to acknowledge her progress.

Since giving up milk combined with treatments from the craniosacral therapist, regular visits to the chiropractor and regular use of essential oils, we’ve seen a big difference in Sasha’s ability to fight off viruses and bacteria. In the short time we’ve been back at preschool, she’s already moved through three colds without them worsening and moving into her lungs. Certainly there’s a part of me that’s already worried about the heart of cold and flu season since this year was so rough. But I do feel like we’re better prepared this time around and have many more tools to help us pull through the season!

With love, lipstick and lavender,