Here, Julia, 36, tells the story in her own words.
L￼yeing up the milkshake on the table next to us, my mouth was watering. ‘I really want one,’ I told my husband, David, 38.
A few months pregnant, it was hardly unusual to have food cravings, but my desperate yearning for cheese sandwiches, milkshakes and ice cream was impossible to satisfy. Diagnosed as lactose intolerant when I was a baby, I’d had to avoid dairy all my life. ‘It’s not worth it,’ David warned and I knew it too.
Over the years, I’d tested my intolerance. But I always got terrible stomach cramps and diarrhoea if I ate even the smallest morsel. Any more than that, I’d come out in eczema. So I had got used to soy cappuccinos and dairy replacements. But now, pregnant with my first baby, I was suddenly desperate for dairy.
Then, one day, I was flicking through a baby advice book when I noticed a section about lactose intolerance. Some lactose intolerant mums can eat dairy during pregnancy, I read. It seemed to be that because the intestines slow down, food was more likely to be fully digested and absorbed.There could also be a change in bacteria in your body when pregnant which helps break down the lactose.
Whatever the reason, it gave me the confidence to try a small cheese sandwich. My first piece of cheese in years, it tasted so good. Expecting stomach cramps and a rush for the toilet, I couldn’t believe it when I was totally fine. ‘It’s amazing,’ I told David. ‘I can eat dairy!’ My GP was surprised, but said it did happen to some lucky women. ‘Just enjoy it while it lasts,’ she warned, saying I’d most likely be back to normal after my pregnancy. Enjoy it I did! Cheese platters, yoghurt, ice cream – I ate it all! And it was nice not to worry about what was in food when we ate out.
When Zara was born in February 2016, I breastfed for 13 months. For all that time, I was thrilled as I could still enjoy dairy. But sadly when I stopped, my intolerance returned – as bad as before.
‘No more cheese for me,’ I groaned, doubled over in pain. ‘I’ll have to get pregnant again!’ I joked.
A year on, I’m expecting another bub and my intolerance has disappeared once more. Usually it’s mums who let their kids eat ice cream as a treat, but I love that my kids have let me!
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