She didn't really show signs of lactose intolerance until close to age one. She had no digestive issues, other than mild spitting up. But there was no acid reflux or pain with it, just typical baby spit up, and my 2 older daughters had done the same thing. We did make the decision to not give her cow's milk ever, so once she was off formula she went straight to soy milk (at the recommendation of our pediatrician). She was actually on regular formula, which contains milk products, but we could only use a certain brand or it wouldn't sit well with her. Around 14months we tried a few items that had dairy- Goldfish crackers, organic yogurt, very small amounts of cheese. This was at the suggestion of our doctor. At first it did not bother her, but then she started to have nasty diapers and diaper rashes after eating certain foods. After one particularly tough day I decided to eliminate all dairy from her diet for a couple days- all her tummy troubles cleared right up. Now whenever she has any sort of dairy she has stomach upset ( and other issues that do not need to be described in detail). Over the past several months we have been very careful about keeping all dairy out of her diet, and that's not easy with a toddler who tries to eat anything she can get her hands on.
So what do you feed a toddler who can't have dairy? Definitely no premade toddler meals! (those are gross anyway) I have looked and they all contain some kind of dairy. With a toddler you need easy, fast, and healthy. Here are some ideas that my little one loves:
Scrambled eggs with toast
Overnight oats with coconut milk - this is her favorite breakfast
Cinnamon toast with fruit ( we use Earth Balance Buttery Spread)
Vans Organic Gluten and Dairy Free French Toast Sticks
Pepperidge Farm Cinnamon Raisin Bagels (Yes, they are dairy free!)
Grilled "cheese" bites made with dairy free cheese (she likes veggie shreds and Daiya)
Quesadillas, again with DF cheese
Veggie Dogs ( cut up into small, non circular bites), veggies, and fruit
Veggie and rice bowls- organic mixed veggies over rice with Daiya cheese on top
Hard boiled eggs, avocado slices, and a slice of wheat bread
Dairy free cereal bars
Banana or other sliced fruit
She eats what we eat, and all our dinners are free of dairy.
These are just a few ideas and a small list of what my Dairy Free Little One eats. She will eat just about anything we put in front of her so it's been pretty easy so far. We try to keep her diet full of fruits and veggies and there aren't many she won't eat. I am sure it will be a bit more challenging as she gets older and hits the inevitable picker eater stage that every single child goes through around age 4-5. (Trust me, even the very best eaters have a picky stage!)