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Top Tips for CMPA Parents

If you're like me, you may not have even heard of CMPA before your child was diagnosed with a cow's milk protein allergy. Here's my top tips from my experience of being a CMPA mum to help on your journey:

Be your child's voice. Babies and small children rely on you, their parent or guardian to speak for them. If you're not happy about the advice you've been given at an appointment, if you feel fobbed off or unclear about what to do as next steps - say something. Keep saying it, keep being your child's advocate until you're feeling comfortable. Always trust your gut and listen to that inner voice.

Find a great support network. First, the right professional support, ideally a qualified dietitian who can guide you through weaning and reintroduction. This needs to be referred via NHS GP and can unfortunately have long wait lists, so ask if there's a remote service available where you contact the dietitian over an app or phone. Find other parents who are going through the same journey, there are lots of great support groups on facebook for example which are great places to connect and share experiences

Know your nutrition. One thing I was worried about at first when starting out as dairy free was getting enough nutrients into the kids diets. Obviously calcium is an important one that most people are concerned about, but it's also important to consider iodine, protein, energy, vitamins D & B12 too. The good news is there's lots of natural sources of these nutrients from dairy free ingredients and its worth looking into the best sources to include in your meal plans. I always aim to include lots of them in my recipes too!

Check the ingredients on everything. EVERYTHING! Even if you buy something all the time, products can and do change recipes. Even some non-food based products like teething powder can include dairy, so make checking every label the norm.

Meal plan. Suddenly eliminating all dairy products from your diet can feel overwhelming, and it's easy to focus on the things you can't eat rather than all the things you can. Doing a weekly meal plan including all meals and snacks can reduce a lot of stress around having to think on the spot, and can save money too. Oh and if you find a safe snack that you or the kids love, stock up when it's on offer!

Experiment with alternatives. The recent boom in vegan living means there are now some amazing alternatives available at most supermarkets. You don't need to rule out creamy pasta dishes or yummy desserts, also worth bearing in mind there are a lot of 'accidentally dairy free' products which are cheaper than the free-from aisle.


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