Maintaining a dairy and soy-free diet for your MSPI baby is tough. Throw travel into the mix and it feels particularly daunting. But it’s completely doable. By taking some extra precautions and doing a little research before you depart, you can stop stressing and enjoy your vacation.
After traveling internationally with our bubba for the first time, I have five suggestions to share with you.
- Submit your dietary needs to each airline you are flying with. And reconfirm the requests if you have any delays or rescheduled flights. Unfortunately my flight was bumped back a day and I didn’t reconfirm, so I was only able to eat a small pack of almonds and a side of fruit on our 8-hour flight. And the flight attendants totally didn’t get it. When I explained our allergy situation they brought me two small cookies with butter in them. 🤦♀️
- Pack a large bag of backup foods. I recommend a meat snack for protein, such as EPIC lamb bars. They contain simple natural ingredients. Many beef jerkies have soy or milk for preservatives, so check the labels closely. Nuts (allergies permitting), dried fruit, Enjoy Life bars and Freeyumm granola bars are some other great options. Pack more than you think you’ll need if you have the space.
- Eat what you can when you can. Don’t worry if it hasn’t been long since your last meal. You may have fewer options than you expect at your next meal. For example, we had a delayed flight and the attendant gave us $45 in food vouchers that expired that day. We didn’t want them to go to waste, so I got a steak and fruit cup in the terminal even though I knew we’d get to eat on the plane soon. Little did I know that was the last substantial meal I would get to eat for the next 18 hours.
- Know that not everyone takes your allergy as seriously as you do. Some folks think “just a little dairy” won’t do any harm. Or they may not realize things like butter or preservatives do/can contain dairy. So ask as many questions about the ingredients as you can. Translate your allergies, questions and needs before you go if you aren’t fluent in the native language or traveling with someone who is.
- Be your baby’s biggest advocate. There were a couple times while traveling when I went 12 or more hours without eating “real” food. I could have and should have been more vocal about the necessity of me getting frequent, well-rounded meals while breastfeeding. Because certainly no one intended, or probably realized, I hadn’t eaten. On the contrary, I remember sitting down next to one of my husband’s aunts and she kept filling my plate with food when I was stuffed. She pointed to her bust, signaling that I was eating for two. And my husband gave me his entree one night because he noticed I couldn’t eat most of the courses we’d been served. Don’t get hangry, just speak up!