Not sure whether to continue breastfeeding or not

Natalie - posted on 01/12/2010 ( 17 moms have responded )

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My baby is almost 4 months old and has had some tummy issues since she was born. I'd say she was almost colicky, very fussy in the evenings at night from the beginning and it seemed to improve after 6 weeks only to have gotten a lot worse since 3 months. I've been worried that she's sensitive to dairy and eggs so I've tried cutting that out of my diet, which might have slightly improved the problem. I had switched to lactose-free milk but just learned that this won't help a baby who's sensitive to cow's milk protein so that may be why I saw little improvement. However, I am walking a fine line of getting too thin, and cutting out dairy is drastically reducing the amount of calories I get in a day and I feel like I am starving myself. So I started trying to introduce lactose-free formula in the last week by giving her only 2 to 3 ounces a day to get her more used to a bottle, and at the same time started eating more dairy again. Now in the last few days she has become horrible to put to bed at night, which has always been problem only now she'll only go after being walked to sleep, and she also is now wide awake several times a night and won't nurse well and again has to be walked until at least drowsy. She also hasn't seemed to be eating as much and hardly nurses at bedtime or in the night when she wakes, and gets very fussy like she wants to eat more but something's bothering her. She's all smiles in the night a lot, too, in between the fussiness, but as soon as I walk with her she's calm, until I try to put her down awake. She also hasn't been pooping as much now, and when she does it's a thinner consistency. I don't know if this is something developmental that she's going through, if she's teething (she's recently started drooling a lot and gnawing on her fist), if she really does have a sensitivity to cow's milk protein, or if she's just messing with me and wanting company at night. The problem isn't nearly as bad during the day........ she's all smiles most of the time and she normally does great when I put her down awake for naps and let her fall asleep on her own, although she does have some fussiness when eating still. I suppose it could be that breakfast is usually when I consume most of the dairy and it gradually gets into her system as the day goes on, making her fussy in the evening and now throughout the night?! This is my third baby and has definitely been the fussiest and hardest to figure out! I'm just wondering if anyone has any suggestions or might know how I can find out more about whether she's got an allergy or not. My pediatrician seems to be dismissing any of this by saying she'll outgrow the fussiness by 4 to 6 months, but something is bothering her and I just want to figure it out! I don't really want to quit breastfeeding entirely but am wondering if she might be better off on a special formula. I got some Enfamil Nutramigen (for babies w/cow's milk sensitivities) from the pediatrician to try next but I'm kind of afraid to throw anything else into the mix just yet since I really think her system is having trouble. Sorry this is so lengthy.......... I'm so confused and exhausted and wondering which way to go........ hoping things will improve on their own in a few weeks after 4 month mark! :-0

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Erika - posted on 02/02/2010

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And by the way, if in the end it turns out to be some allergy issue and you have to stop breastfeeding your baby entirely don`t feel bad or selfish, only you know what`s best for your baby.

[deleted account]

It might be useful to talk with a breastfeeding counsellor (La leche League?) - they have the experience and information to help you and your baby sort things out.

Something that might help - the best indicator of a baby getting enough breast milk is several wet nappies a day and some pooey ones.

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Erika - posted on 02/02/2010

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I think you should talk to your baby`s doctor about how much this concerns you and also have him check baby for allergies or food intolerance, if he still doesn`t act as if it`s important maybe you should look for another Dr. There are a lot of things you can do to relief babies from colics (as posted on all the messages above) than just waiting for baby to outgrow it, you just have to find out what`s causing it. Babies at this age don`t know about manipulation or messing games, if something is bothering them they`ll let you know.

Amie - posted on 01/19/2010

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There is a possibility that your baby might be going through a growth spurt. This generally happens around 4 months of age. My daughter had been sleeping through the night for 2 1/2 months and then after we returned home from Christmas she was not sleeping through the night until just this last Sunday. She was very cranky during the day because she was soo tired since she was getting up more frequently to eat. If she is going through a growth spurt and trying to increase your milk supply supplementing formula is not a good idea. If you have to do this be sure you pump also to help increase your supply. Of course I think you should have the milk allergy ruled out. And as always breast milk is easier on a baby's tummy than formula. You just may have to alter your diet some, but I would consult a doctor on the proper ways to change your diet. 4 months is also the time when most babies start teething. You may not notice any teeth until 8 months or more but the teething process has likely already started. Your milk supply will decrease through out the day. My daughter will gulp and sometimes drink so fast in the mornings that she will choke herself but then at night she will eat for a little bit then unlatch and look around a bit then latch back on and eat a little more and will do this off and on for 20 minutes or so. I would not worry about thin poop. Breast fed babies will have very thin poop. It is if they are straining too hard to poop that you should be concerned. Good Luck!!

[deleted account]

I had issues with extreme fussiness while I was breastfeeding; very colicky baby, crying from 11 pm to 2 or 3 in the morning. I was advised by a 6-time breastfeeding mom to "block nurse" my daughter. What this means is, nurse on one side for a long block of time (I chose 4 hours), no matter how many feedings she chooses during that block. This increases the amount of hindmilk the baby gets and reduces the amount of foremilk. It worked within 24 hours! I didn't change my diet, I didn't give her gas drops, nothing else changed. It was seriously a miracle for us...give it a try for a few days and see if it gets better!

Lily - posted on 01/17/2010

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My daughter was having the same problem. I breastfeed her during the day and give her a bottle of formula right before bed. She had to be nursed or rocked to sleep. She was really fussy and would cry hysterical everytime we put her down to bed. She was clearly tired but wouldn't go down for bed. We knew there must be something wrong with her but coudn't figure out why. She wasn't taking the bottles well. She would suck and then pull out. I tried similac, enfamil and good start formulas for her. She was vomiting & spitting up quite a bit.

We went to the doctor but she wasn't very helpful. I think our baby has reflux because she wasn't gaining any weight for the past week and was not eating or sleeping well. The doctor prescribed us zantac but didn't try it because we wanted to avoid giving her any medication. Instead we decided to stop giving her formula. It turned out that was the best thing we did for her. Ever since we stop giving her formula and strictly gave her only breastmilk, she went down for bed easily and would sleep for 10 hours. I thought she had a sleeping issue but she didn't. It was the formula that was upseting her. I thought she didn't like bottles but she takes them fine now!

Trust your instincts. If you think there is something bothering her, it is!

http://www.askdrsears.com/html/10/T10600...

One of the best things you could do with babies w/ reflux is to give them breastmilk and take them off formula. You should also avoid eating anything that will cause gas because it will only reflux worse. I hope this helps. Good luck!

Heidi - posted on 01/16/2010

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Why are you so judgmental of other parents and the decisions they make? Every parent is going to do what is right for their family. We are supposed to be on here to offer each other suggestions and support...not to constantly pass judgment. If you know so much about how to raise kids and are such a perfect mom, why are you on here? You obviously don't need help from others and since you know so much maybe you should be spending your time writing your own book that you could then tell us to read.

And yes there are other non cow's milk options. I used oat milk, almond milk, rice milk depending on what I was using them for. I don't know who on here you are referring to as selfish. If you are talking about me, you don't know me and have no right to call me sellfish. Everybody is human and makes mistakes sometimes and I was not going to have my son suffer again if I made another mistake. I don't see how that is selfish.

Noreen - posted on 01/16/2010

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Well that's a little selfish, don't you think?? My daughter who is almost 4 months old is also allergic to egg and milk and I switched from cow's milk to soy milk. Which by the way has the same amount of calories in it. I just think it's a little selfish to switch to formula because YOU can't drink milk. Eat more peanut butter and a well balanced diet minus milk.

Katy - posted on 01/16/2010

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Have you tried probiotics or colic calm? If you google these you will find out that it can be very beneficial for colicky babies. The probiotics treat the source and the colic calm treats the symptoms. Along with switching to soy products I had to give up caffeine and carbonated beverages. Caffeine can stay in a babies system for 80 hours, and the carbonation can also cause gas.He also has acid reflux so he is on baby Zantac. If your baby is fussy at feedings it could be the acid coming up while they are trying to eat. This combination of things worked for my baby. It's tough but our pediatrician told us that no formula was as easy on a babies tummy as breast milk.

Yvonne - posted on 01/15/2010

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i was having the same problem with my son now 4 1/2 months old. i had a low milk supply so i had to suplement some formula. i was useing similac and have now changed to sensitive (lactos- free). he is doing alot better and spitting up less but he still fussed after i gave him my milk. i started putting 1 oz of my milk with 2 oz of formula with every feeding and it seams to be working. i have noticed he is less fussy. i dont want to stop giving him my milk and this has been a simple solution. i hope this helps. oh one more thing when i started useing formula he stoped nursing so i full time pump now.

Heidi - posted on 01/15/2010

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You can determine if it is an issue with your supply by pumping to see how much you are producing. That is how I knew that I didn't have a supply issue; I was producing more than enough. And if she doesn't want to take breastmilk from a bottle, which you could always try, that is another indication that something is wrong. My little one was fussy taking it from a bottle as well.

I would dismiss the advice that you would definitely notice something different in her diaper. My little one was suffering from cow's milk protein allergy for at least several weeks before his diaper looked any different. Again his pediatrician said that most parents come in complaining of colic; a blood test usually has to be done to determine if blood is present in the their stool because it can be invisible to the human eye. (The same applies to stool from adults so it makes sense.)

Most formulas are cow milk based with soy formulas being the biggest exception. Nutramigen contains cow's milk but it is broken down so that babies with cow's milk protein allergy can digest it easier.

And by all means, if your gut tells you that your babies cry indicates that something is bothering her, trust your gut. There is a difference between a cry from a baby that is just fussy at night and a baby that is bothered by something and may be in pain.

The link below contains some reviews by other parents who have used Nutramigen. You may find some of it useful.
http://www.enfamil.com/app/iwp/enfamil/p...

Angela - posted on 01/14/2010

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I think a good idea would be to contact someone from your local LeLeche Legue. These are women that have a lot of the answers you are looking for... Now if you are not feeling your breasts fill up and notice your let downs I would say that your milk supply could be down. There are many things you can do to bring that milk supply back up. You can start by going to your local natural store and buying Blessed Thistle and Fenugreek. If you take three tablets of each for a few days it can help in your milk production. But I am not a doctor...It is just something that worked for me. If your milk supply is fine I would ask you if your baby recently had a round of vaccination shots... and if so that could be aiding in the fussiness. Also you are around the 16 wk mark which means he could be going through another growth spurt or starting to teeth. Both would cause him to be more "colicy" than normal. I wouldn't try implementing formula at all and breastfeed him as much as possible.

If this is a breastfeeding issue you should write to Dr. Jack Newman he is the breatfeeding guru and returns emails within 24hours. He will have some great suggestions. I would definitely exhaust all possibilities before turning to something like formula. If it does have something to do with a milk protein allergy look at the label of formula to see what it is made out of.

Sarah - posted on 01/14/2010

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My daughter was exactly like this (and still is some nights) and she's just gone 4 months old. I too wondered if it was a dairy intolerance, but turns out it was part acid reflux, part developmental. Babies are creatures of habit and with the sleeping especially i made the 'terrible' mistake about a month ago holding her while she went to sleep during the day, or walking around with her as she fell asleep, and guess what, now she won't sleep during the day without me doing that. It got to the point she was doing it at night too, but i wasn't having any part of it so we broke that habit pretty quick. Potentially the 'colicyness' in the afternoon or evening isn't even diet related, baby can just be overstimulated and over tired and voicing their feelings by crying (or screaming in my daughters case). I have to say i have noticed a huuuuge improvement in the last week or so, my daughter has even started sleeping through the night a few nights during the week. I would try everything else before you cut the dairy out of your diet or give up breastfeeding. The other thing is if it was a true lactose or dairy intolerance bubby would be having mucousy or bloody stools. You can always try cutting out dairy completely for two weeks, not giving formula (your right, adding something else to the mix is probably not beneficial) and strictly breastfeeding. If things get better then you have your answer, but if things don't then at least you haven't stopped breastfeeding for no reason

Lia - posted on 01/13/2010

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my son has a cow's milk protein allergy so he was put on neocate lcp milk and he has now been changed to pepti-juniour and he is so much better on this milk, it has stopped him screaming and he is so much more settled and happy. it is also hard with food because you are not sure about milk but it does say on them if it is milk free, organic foods are good, rusks are ok.

Heidi - posted on 01/13/2010

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Oh, my! I have been in your shoes before. I just posted a comment on this yesterday on another post so I have copied and pasted below with a few changes based on your post.

The term colic is thrown around so much, however, lots of babies have colic because they have a cow's milk protein allergy. Symptoms of cow's milk protein allergy include colic, nasal congestion, skin rashes such as on their little cheeks, and if severe enough pulling their little knees up to the chest (abdominal pain). He also fussed during feedings; I started pumping and giving to him from a bottle but the fussiness continued. My pediatrician and I did not look at several symptoms together which would have led her to the diagnosis. For example, the skin rash on his face was simply baby acne, so she thought. And the fussiness during feeding could have been slight reflux although he was not spitting up enough for that to be of concern. You may or may not notice a difference in their stool. I was really concerned when my 2 month old started pulling his knees up to his chest during bowel movements. Shortly after a diaper with black stool sent us to his doctor immediately. They tested his stool and there was blood in it. According to his dr., cow's milk protein allergy is a frequent diagnosis in her office and usually the parents are complaining of colic. A simple blood test on stool that can even look normal will show that blood is present in the stool. So just because you don't see blood doesn't mean it isn't there; typically parents are bringing in normal looking poop. Therefore, colic should not be taken lightly because it could be a symptom of an allergy/milk protein intolerance and bleeding in the digestive tract. I would press your doctor to check your little one's stool for blood. If the dr. won't do it, I would get a second opinion.

Also, babies with cow's milk protein allergy are often sensitive or allergic to soy so switching to a soy formula may not always work.

Things to try:

If breastfeeding: a STRICT dairy free diet for mom. Lactose free milk or formula won't do the trick. Lactose is like the sugar substance in milk. However, it is the milk protein (casein and whey) that the babies can not tolerate. When I say strict diet, I mean strict diet!! I had to cut out a lot of things from my diet. You can't just cut out milk and cheese. You have to cut out butter, cream and half of the processed foods in the grocery store! Eating out can be tricky too. I had to check restaurant website menus to review the list of ingredients in an item or, in nice restaurants, talk to the manager to ensure I wasn't eating anything containing milk or products containing milk.

Soy intake should be in moderation or eliminated as well because these babies often have problems with soy as well. Soy is also in almost everything!

I purchased a book called "Go Dairy Free" by Alisa Marie Fleming. It was very helpful! It contains a lot of information about dairy-free diets and it also contains useful recipes for cooking without dairy products. It has info on how to use different types of milk in cooking. For example, substituting rice milk when a recipe calls for (cow's) milk, etc. GoDairyFree.org is also a useful resource.

If formula feeding: Nutramigen!!

I saw drastic improvements within a day of going dairy free (which even meant giving up my morning biscuits!) and also with Nutramigen.

Just so you know, I did the strict dairy free diet for 6 weeks (even during Thanksgiving!). It was tough at first but then I got the hang of it. One month after the diagnosis, his stool tested negative for blood so the strict diet was working!! Oh, and I had to throw away my entire supply of frozen breastmilk that I pumped before the diagnosis because I am sure it all had trace amounts, at least, of cow's milk. I cried!!

I was concerned about my own health and that I wasn't getting all the nutrients that I needed. During the month of December I was more sick than I have been in the last 3 years. I came down with bronchitis which kicked my butt while caring for an infant. No sooner than I recovered from the bronchitis I was sick with a severe cold that lasted weeks. And then....I made a mistake and accidentally ate something not realizing that it contained cream (wasn't labeled in the ingredients very well) and my family suffered because of it. That one milk-containing item that I ate caused 3 days of extreme colic and pain for my little boy. That was the straw that broke the camel's back. I could not stand to see him in that kind of pain and that fussy ever again. So I immediately threw in the towel on breastfeeding and immediately put him on Nutramigen. (It can take weeks for milk to 'find its way' out of your body/milk and the same goes for your little one.) Within a day of putting him on Nutramigen, the colic ended! The little rash-like dry skin on his cheeks also cleared.

Nutramigen is some smelly stuff and and isn't cheap but it is WONDERFUL!! I did notice a difference with Nutramigen vs. Nutramigen with Enflora. The Nutramigen with Enflora seems to cause less spitting up for my little boy. I have heard the same from other moms also, however, some moms say the opposite. If the allergy is really severe, I see where there is a product called Nutramigen AA but I don't have any experience with it.

The good news: Most babies outgrow cow's milk protein allergy by the time they are a year old. AND...within a week of going dairy free my little one started to consistently sleep through the night. It was bowel movements that was waking him up during the night before his diagnosis.

I was in your shoes once and I was determined to stick to the dairy free diet so I could continue nursing him until he was at least 6 months old. However, overcome by emotions seeing my little one in pain, I threw in the towel. I still feel guilty sometimes but then I think about the pain he was in and I know that Nutramigen is probably the best for his health as well as my own. I am proud of the fact that I was able to continue to nurse 6 weeks after his diagnosis though. Some moms give up almost immediately because the diet really is very strict. So whatever you decide to do you have my support!

Also, we will very slowly introduce solids into his diet because he has a history of food allergies. We will be starting with rice cereal at 5 months old. At 6 months old, working with our pediatrician, we will start introducing other foods to him slowly.

I hope this is helpful. Best of luck to you! I am happy to answer any questions that you may have should you find out that cow's milk protein allergy is the problem. It sounds like it is based on the info you provided.

[deleted account]

What you are describing sounds exactly what I was going through with my son. The drier poops and very cranky at night... It turned out that my milk supply was low and I didn't know it. He was hungry and needed more to eat. In order to make milk you body needs 500 extra calories and plenty of liquids. i would stick to your normal diet, and try nursing her say every 2 hours on both sides. And don't let her go more than 3 hours without eating at night. It might also help to eat a bowl of regular (not quick cooing or instant) oatmeal once a day. Remember it takes a few days for your body to pick up on milk production so it could take a couple of weeks to be where it needs to be. Also, on the output once she is eating enough her poops will be loose and seedy, but she may only go once every few days. Good luck and fell free to message if you want to! (Babies this age won't mess with you.. there has to be something going on....) The other thing I learned was that milk supply is the lowest in the evening after the baby's been eating all day.

Brandi - posted on 01/12/2010

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If you are concerned about allergies you definitely should try holding off on formula. They say to wait til 6 months to introduce anything, including rice cereal, to a baby where there is family history of allergies. My daughter was 4 months on the 3rd and she has been acting differently the last few weeks as well.. super fussy and crying, bowel movements have changes as well, and she stopped sleeping through the night which she had been doing from the first week. She could be having a growth spurt or teething or it could be something I'm eating... I don't know but I think its better to just wait and see what happens in the next few weeks. Sometimes they just go through phases. Try to stick with the breastfeeding! It is so beneficial for your baby. And have you ever thought of trying soy milk, soy cheese and yogurt for a short time? You can also try goat milk products as well. Depends how determined you are to keep breastfeeding! Good luck!

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