Allergies are no freaking joke, and even the littlest humans can present with serious allergies as soon as they are born. According to KellyMom.com, a popular breastfeeding site run by a lactation consultant, cow’s milk protein allergies (often referred to as CMPA) are the most common allergies among babies. Symptoms include colic, upset bellies, rashes, wheezing, excessive spitting up, and in more extreme cases, weight loss and blood in stool.
If you are a breastfeeding mom whose baby has a dairy allergy, you often end up needing to remove dairy completely from your own diet because it can pass into breast milk. Any breastfeeding mom who has had to be dairy-free will tell you that it’s a royal pain in the ass (no more pizza and ice cream!), but many moms choose to suck it up and just do it — because moms are badasses, obviously.
One of the hardest aspects of being dairy-free is that dairy is literally in everything, so you have to become a detective, sleuthing out the ingredients’ list in everything you eat. That means that if you are eating at someone else’s house or a restaurant, you need to ask a million questions to make sure nothing you consume has dairy in it.
And yeah, you might end up annoying the restaurant staff a bit if you ask a zillion questions about the ingredient list, but you have every right to. Because — yes — even a trace of dairy can cause symptoms in babies with CMPA. And five hours of colic or a week of bloody poops aren’t really things that any mom should take lightly.
All of this is why one mom got pissed AF at a restaurant that allegedly mocked her simple request for a dairy-free meal. A mom named Fay shared a picture of a memo from the restaurant on the Facebook page Mama Bean Parenting. The photo contains notes made by the restaurant about Fay’s request to find out if the wine that she would be drinking at the restaurant had an allergen statement on it (which would list sulphites alongside dairy).
Warning: The restaurant staff’s comments about her question will absolutely make your blood boil.
According to Mama Bean Parenting, Fay and her husband had arrived at the restaurant for a birthday dinner. But when Fay’s husband caught sight of the restaurant’s “Visit Notes” (on the screen of an iPad that a staff member had left out on a table), the couple cancelled their reservation.
I mean, who wouldn’t?
“This is a photo of a restaurant’s comments about a customer with allergy requirements,” writes Mama Bean Parenting. “The customer in question is a breastfeeding mum who has had to remove dairy from her own diet because her nursling has a cow’s milk protein allergy (CMPA). She is not being picky, or fussy, or awkward…she is keeping her baby safe and healthy.”
She is not being unreasonable in the least. CMPA is a real thing, and this mom is simply watching out for the livelihood of her baby. Apparently, the unnamed restaurant in question (which Mama Bean Parenting told Scary Mommy is in Northeast England in the UK) did not take the time to educate themselves about CMPA. Instead, they mocked this poor mom in a restaurant staff memo that Fay’s husband happened to see.
Mama Bean Parenting tells Scary Mommy that when Fay’s husband was in the restaurant, he noticed an iPad that had been left on a table by the restaurant staff. When he caught a glimpse of his name and saw the offensive notes, he snapped a picture.
In the restaurant’s “Visit Notes,” one restaurant employee wrote “Wife’s b-day dairy allergy,” and under that goes on to make fun her, writing “may request tasting…wah wah waaaah!” And if that isn’t enough to make you want to give this moron a piece of your mind, in another note farther down on the screen, an employee wrote, “Fucking idiot whose wife is dairy free she needs to check if the fizz [wine] contains sulphites.”
Seriously? First of all, maybe take half a second to find out why people who must avoid all dairy need to check the allergen labelling on wine (check this out if you want to learn more about this).
But aside from all that, isn’t this an establishment that wants customers? These days, any restaurant that wants to stay in business needs to take the allergy needs of their customers seriously. After all, for some people, allergy attacks are life-and-death situations.
Besides the obvious rage that a post like this incites in us, it underscores the fact that being a dairy-free breastfeeding mom is hard a hell — and also something that most people just flat out do not understand at all.
Valerie, a New York mom of two, whose second child was highly allergic to dairy, told Scary Mommy that the life of a dairy-free breastfeeding mom was “extremely difficult,” noting that she had no idea that dairy was “in everything.”
Valerie’s son’s allergy presented as “stringy bits of blood” in his poop, and she was told by a pediatric gastroenterologist that going completely dairy-free was her only option. “The blood kept showing up in his stool until I eliminated every single trace,” said Valerie.
For Katie, another mom of two from New York, the symptoms that showed up in both of her kids were different but equally troubling. Her kids had such bad reflux that they’d projectile vomit within an hour after nursing. Going dairy-free changed that completely. “It was like turning off a faucet — no more spitting up or discomfort,” said Katie.
The good news is that for both Valerie and Katie, their babies eventually outgrew their dairy allergies, and now both their kids (and the moms!) can eat as much pizza and ice cream as they want (yay!). Thankfully, according to KellyMom.com, this is the case for most babies who have dairy allergies. But none of that means that their allergies in infancy should be taken any less seriously.
So listen up, restaurateurs, baristas, nosy strangers, and judgmental friends and family members: Allergies are real, and breastfeeding moms who have to avoid dairy — or anything else that causes an allergic reaction or discomfort in their baby — must be respected. For real. These mothers are not being overprotective, nagging, or annoying. They are simply looking out for the well-being of their baby.
And if you just don’t “get it,” or think these moms are blowing things out of proportion, take a minute to educate yourself on the matter. A quick Google search will do the trick. But most of all, don’t be an asshole about it. Just don’t.