Our Experience of The Milk Ladder

When Freddie was weaning, we suspected he had a problem of some sorts with full fat milk and cheese products. It was then  once he got to a year old and it was time to start replacing his formula milk with full fat cows milk that we found there was a problem. Every time we started to try and introduce it, he would have the most horrendous gassy stomach, his sleep would be non-existent, and he would be constipated. He also had some very nasty patches of dry skin on his back and his neck. 

Photo by Crissy Jarvis on Unsplash

We went to see our GP about it and they though that as mummy could not tolerate full fat milk products then neither could Freddie. We were then told to move him onto the toddler formula and try and introduce him to semi skimmed milk at 18 months old.

Once he was on semi skimmed milk he began suffering from the worse constipation where he was physically crying. The GPs then decided to put him onto movicol to help him. Even with this he was still having issues. Then his second birthday came along, and the poor thing ended up so ill with a nasty stomach bug. We couldn’t give him his milk as he kept being sick, so we gave him watered down milk. A week or so after that while he was still having the watered-down milk, we realised he had not needed any movicol at all. 

The GP then decided to refer him to the paediatrics at the local children’s hospital, while we made the decision to move him off cows milk and onto almond milk. Within a couple of weeks of making the change, his sleep was so much better and the nasty dry skin patches had vanished. 

The paediatrics at the hospital decided he was dairy and soya intolerant and referred us onto the dietitian team. We saw them last November just before he turned three and then again at the end of February. 

At our last appointment we discussed trying the milk ladder with Freddie to see if he reacts. We have decided to try this in the next school holidays so if there is a reaction at the start, he will not have to miss any of his days at playgroup.

What is the milk ladder?

The milk ladder is the reintroduction of milk to the diet of a child or adult who is dairy intolerant. 

How many steps are there?

From the information we have been given by our dietitian, there are six steps on the ladder.

How long does it take?

Step one looks like it will take us around three weeks, while steps two and three look to take around two weeks each. So, stages one to three will take us around seven weeks. To be honest I have only looked at steps one to three so far, as I don’t want to get ahead of myself and think about Freddie being able to have some sort of dairy again!

From the information we have been given steps one to three are designed for making homemade products so you can control how much milk product is in them.

Step One is a biscuit, starting with one each day for a week, then if tolerated move to two a day and if that is tolerated move onto 3 a day! This recipe makes 20 small finger sized biscuits with there being1ml milk and 0.35g milk protein per biscuit/cookie.


  • 125g Flour (Wheat or Wheat Free)
  • ¼ tsp Xanthan Gum if wheat free flour used
  • 50g Cold Dairy Free Spread
  • 2g (1 tsp) Skimmed/Non-Fat Milk Powder
  • Tip of a knife Vanilla powder
  • ½ – ¾ cup Grated apple/pear/pureed banana


  1. Mix flour, xanthan gum (if wheat free flour) and milk powder
  2. Rub in cold dairy free spread
  3. Mix in the fruit (add extra if dry) and vanilla
  4. Roll out and cut into finger sized strips
  5. Bake in oven on 180 for 10-15 minutes

Step Two is a muffin, starting with half a muffin a day for a week and moving to a whole muffin a day if half is tolerated. This recipe makes 6 muffins with there being 12.5ml of milk and 0.0875g milk protein per ½ a muffin.


  • 250g Flour (wheat or Wheat Free)
  • ½ tsp Xanthan Gum (Wheat Free Flour)
  • 2 ½ tsp Baking Powder. 
  • Pinch salt
  • 25g Sugar
  • 50ml sunflower oil
  • 250ml milk
  • 110g mashed fruit – apple, pear, banana
  • Vanilla essence to taste


  1. Mix flour, xanthan gum, baking powder, sugar and salt.
  2. Mix oil and milk together and add to the dry ingredients
  3. Finally add in mashed fruit and vanilla and milk through.
  4. Bake in oven at 180-200 for 15 to 20 minutes

Step Three is pancake. Again, starting with half a day for a week and moving up to a whole pancake. This recipe makes 6 pancakes with there being 21ml of milk and 0.735g of milk protein per ½ a pancake 


  • 125g Flour (wheat or wheat free)
  • 2 ½ tbsp Baking Powder
  • Pinch Salt
  • 30ml Sunflower oil
  • 250ml milk
  • 50ml water


  1. Add all ingredients into a mixing bowl and mix together
  2. Fry in a hot pan using oil of choice until golden brown and crispy.

I’m really hopeful that the milk ladder will work with Freddie and that he will be able to have at least skimmed milk or semi skimmed milk in the near future!


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