If you see me at a holiday potluck dinner, you will hear me quiz everybody if dairy is included in their dish. Likely, you will also hear at least one person ask if I am vegan. I might be dairy-free and I might only eat meat a few times a month but I am decidedly not vegan. I love my eggs and I would kill for a huge chunk of Brie right now. And, cottage cheese. Don't even get me started on cottage cheese.
I am dairy-free because Liza is still very sensitive to dairy. Allergic, no. Sensitive, yes. Via my breastmilk, Liza gets a very gassy tummy during the night and eczema flare-ups on her upper thighs. Via a stray sippy cup of milk, Liza screams periodically throughout the night until she finally passes gas and fiery red eczema that is painful to the touch.
Of course, the stray sippy cup or grabbed slice of cheese is a much rarer occurrence than her getting dairy via my breastmilk because that girl loves to nurse! I weaned Henry at a year with one of my reasons being that I didn't want a toddler obsessed with nursing. And, now that I have a toddler obsessed with nursing, I am quick to admit I was wrong. My toddler old obsessed with her milk is the best thing in my world. Nothing makes her happier, keeps her quieter and gives her more nutrients than the most perfect food in the entire world. And, it's free. And, it's mess-less. And, it's effortless. Can you tell I'm a fan? That is, unless I desperately need to eat a big fat muffin bursting with butter or snag a huge slurp of Mr. Messy's milkshake. Then I feel guilty, find the tube of Lansinoh lanolin for her eczema and prepare myself to rub her tummy periodically throughout the night.
Henry outgrew his dairy senstivity by 2 years and 9 months old so at 16 months, I expect to deal with a dairy-free Liza for at least another year. Henry's symptoms were a bit different but included eczema and I suspect his constant wheeze as an infant was tied to his dairy sensitivity. I certainly could beat myself up for not recognizing his intolerance until he was almost 2 but I am doing the best I can and I choose to be thankful the eczema mystery was solved. Period.
So, there you are. No. I am not vegan and I am not dairy-free for myself. I am dairy-free because I love my baby and my baby loves her milk. And, I am just fine with that.