help, need advice on dairy intolerance

Lindsay - posted on 03/30/2009 ( 9 moms have responded )




My 2 and 1/2 month old son has some sort of intolerance to breast milk. It causes him to vomit A LOT. It's important to know the emphasis on A LOT when reading this, because most people have a tendancy to tell me that some babies are just spitters, and that's not the case, because there is a direct correlation between his vomiting and when I breast feed as opposed to formula. It's not a normal amount of vomit/spit up.

We have tried everything, reflux meds, cutting things out of my diet, etc. At one point, our pediatrician had us put him on soy formula for a week, while I continued to pump, to give me a chance to cycle all the dairy that I had eaten out of my milk because we suspect a dairy intolerance of some sort. It helped quite a bit, but he still vomits a whole lot, and it is significantly better on the soy formula. I do NOT want to stop breast feeding, but I'm beginning to wonder if it would be better for him since he can actually hold it down much better. The tricky part is, he seems to be gaining weight fine, but my concern is it doing damage to him in the long run. I don't want the acid in it to damage his esophagus or anything, and if it truly is a dairy allergy I don't want it to hurt him in any other way. It has also caused his whole body to break out into a rash, which is another reason why it concerns me to continue.



Tammy - posted on 05/04/2009




My children have tons of food allergies and we have dealt with the reflux issue. I am also a nurse practitioner, so it was very hard for me to be dealing with all our issues and not have the answers right away. The benefits of breastfeeding go into adulthood with babies who have been breastfed, not to mention the benefits to the mom. Ultimately you have to decide what is best, but I would encourage you not to give up yet. This will be one of the most challenging things you will face, but it is well worth it to persevere, if you can. Human milk and cow's milk are VERY different and our bodies were not made to digest cow's milk. Cow's milk has whey and casein in it and they are proteins that many infants cannot digest. This is a milk allergy (to the protein) not to be confused with lactose intolerance (a problem digesting the milk sugar becuase of a lack of an enzyme to do the job). If you are avoiding milk, that means everything with whey and casein. You need a non-dairy butter spread (like Earth Balance which is actually healthier for you than margarine becuase it does not contain hydrogenated soybean oil). That means if something contains even a little milk you cannot eat it.

Also, remember there are other things that can be a problem. My daughter is very allergic to much so that we don't even have them in the house and we have an epi pen for her. This caused horrible reflux and at one point she was on both Prevacid and Zantac. She was colicky starting at about a month old and we even saw a specialist for her. You need to do an elimination diet to truly find out and keep a food diary of what you eat and how your baby responds.

My son refluxes whenever I eat anything with gluten and then breastfeed him. He is older now but this happened from infancy right on through. Also something that has been very helpful with my children is giving them probiotics (specifically Bifidus). Look for a Metagenics health care professional in your area to get pharmaceutical grade probiotics or go to your local health food store and see what you can find. It must be refrigerated or the probiotics will die. It comes in a powder and you can mix it with expressed breast milk and then draw it up in a syringe to give to the baby. Of course this is all general suggestions as your child is not my patient....gotta add the disclaimer, but hopefully you can look into some of the suggestions to see if they are right for you.... ;)

Remember that breastmilk is the easiest thing for a baby to digest as the body breaks it down more fully and with formula it is more difficult to digest and that is why breast fed babies need to nurse more frequently, they get hungrier sooner. That is a good thing because it means they benefitted more from the human milk vs. the formula. So, if you can make the dietary changes needed to help your little one, then you are doing him a huge favor by continuing to breast feed, but you need to decide for yourself what you want to do. If you are not determined to continue you are less likely to succeed. Like anything else, it can get frustrating when they cannot express why their tummy hurts but I know what a great satisfaction I had when things got better. It is always nice to stop nursing when you can end it on a good note and both mother and baby are ready, but that is just my 2 cents.

When my children were just babies, I modified my diet to the point that you would have thought I was nuts. But I eliminated all dairy....I mean eggs......and eventually no gluten. I also discovered my son gets the hives from cinnamon and strawberries and peanuts often cause a rash. Skin testing was all negative for my whatever it is, it happens during digestion. They did RAST testing (blood test) to diagnose the eggs for my daughter but that was the only positive result....everything else we had to figure out.

Just to help you know that I totally 'get' what you are dealing with.....our oldest daughter is adopted and EVEN SHE HAS ALLERGIES. She cannot have dairy and gluten bothers her too. So, in other words.....even without our genetics all our kids have food allergies.

Try eliminating the most common food allergens and then reintroduce them back in separately no closer than 3-4 days apart. Milk, Dairy, Eggs, Soy, Corn, Gluten, etc. Reflux usually improves as the digestive tract matures but with allergies, I found things were pretty bad regardless of the age. So you are wise to look at this. Truly, if you don't identify what the foods are now, they will just resurface later. We waited longer to introduce baby food b/c our pediatrician recommended this. So we started baby food at 8 months and introduced things slowly.

Some books you may want to check out are: The Breastfeeding Book by Dr. Sears, a book by Jack Newman (not sure of the spelling) on breast feeding, Gluten Free Living for Dummies and Super Baby Food (Ruth Yaron). The breastfeeding books are just supportive for what you are doing. The Gluten Free book will help you know what foods to eat if you eliminate gluten. The Super Baby Food book is about making your own baby food, but even if you don't want to make it, it give sood insight about when to start which foods based on which ones are easiest to digest. I would ignore the recommendation of introducing yogurt before age 1 especially when you think your son is allergic........I think they are just thinking about the benefits of probiotics (live active cultures).

Sorry to babble on about this. I hope everything works out for sweet little guy. Let us know what happens.


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Darlajean - posted on 08/09/2009



27 It help all my childern and me. Read everything on the web-site and listern to the Video. Dr. William Sears, MD FRCP is wonderful Pediation. Their are so many Doctors that support The Free Childerns Research Foundation, it Blessed us. Darlajean

Jessica - posted on 07/23/2009




Try lactose free formula. He may possibly have lactose intolerance. That's a start.......I know you'd like to continue breast feeding but there is a small chance that he's lactose intolerant and there's a low chance that he can't tolerate the lactose in breast milk. My son is lactose intolerant and did just fine on it and couldn't even tolerate soy formula

Melany - posted on 07/22/2009




I had to stop with my 2 sons for this reason but when it stated happening with my 3rd child I was determined to find another solution. And I did on the La Leche site it stated that sometimes you milk production can be "off" meaning that you are making so much that the balance of fore and hind milk is off. so when they nurse they get full on fore-milk mostly lactose and don't get to/not enough hind-milk. to fix this you pump before nursing. This and an elimination diet help completely!! And thanks to a FULL elinination diet I was able to learn of her vast intolerances! There is a ton of ingrediants in formula that can potentially be allergens namely corn and soyif a soy formula or milk even in a lactose free formula.Best of luck. it's great that he's growing well!

Laurie - posted on 05/02/2009




My son has a severe dairy protein hypersensitivity and my best advice would be that if you want to continue breastfeeding you will need to make some dramatic changes in your diet. I know you said that you cut out dairy out of your diet but milk protein is in a lot of stuff, honestly I think you need to cut out any and all food with any milk in it. That mean you need to read all labels, it is amazing what types of products contain some form of dairy!
There are lots of different types of reaction to dairy and the best way to truly know if that is his problem is to eliminate it completely from his diet! I know this can be a huge sacrifice for you but if you are capable and willing to do it I say more power to you and if not you gave breastfeeding a really good go of it and you should be proud of yourself for that! Best of Luck on this tough journey, I hope you find a solution that makes you feel good about your choice as well as helps your son thrive and be healthy! Good Luck

Kirsty - posted on 04/10/2009




hi there.

i stopped breastfeeding at around 11weeks and after a few different formulas i found that the s26 lactose free one helped my son loads.

he had reflux ontop of a lactose intolerance so of course he still vomitted but no-where near as bad as wen i was feeding him.

He cant hv soy-it goes right through him, so everything dairy he has is lactose free-i thought maybe he had a dairy intolerance to, but not the case.

he is now 25mnths old and a very healthy nd happy child. all u can do is try a few different things-your not going to actually hurt him and you'll know if something doesnt agree with him hence the rash-good luck :)

Michaela - posted on 04/08/2009




Hi there

My little boy was diagnosed with a dairy protein intollerance at 6 wks old, and it was the breast feeding that started me off thinking it was that because as soon as he took the milk he would bite down on me like he was in pain, it also used to give him really bad tummy cramps at night. he rarley slept for longer than an hour at a time an the only place he found comfortable was layed on my shoulder with his knees up high. he was put onto a dairy/soya free formula called nutramigen (the peditrician told us that the reason it was soya free was because that the soya contained similar proteins to the dairy and that most children who have a dairy protein intollerance normally have a soya intollerance). they also told me that if i was to have another child i should consider a dairy free diet throughout the pregnancy and through out breast feeding to help prevent this happening again. when he was just turned 1 an was still suffering to a degree i had him allergy tested at a local health food shop and this confirmed the dairy intollerance plus many other intollerances ie lettus, red grapes, carrots, tomatos, onion, soya, wheat the list was a long one but i took all these foods from his diet and 3 wks later i had a happy content little boy an he has resently just managed a slow introduction to all those foods (successfully) and i am going to try him on the dairy in the summer.

i know its hard to decide when you are breast feeding because you only want what is best so there is only you who can decide but if you do decide to stop breast feedin then at least you have tried i only managed 10 days,  but you need to think about your own health too.

good luck with your decission

Jennifer - posted on 04/03/2009




Have you checked kellymom? There is a ton of great info on there that may help you. After doing a quick search here is a page of info that might help.

If you are determined to breastfeed then you may have to go on a special diet. I know a couple of people who have had to do that in order to keep breastfeeding but I can't remember what all they had to cut out. It was A LOT. I'll try to find a copy of the diet they were on.

I agree with Amanda, there are lots of women who can't breastfeed for various reasons & they still end up with healthy babies. You can't beat yourself up over it if that's the case. I know it's hard if that's what you planned to do but it could be better for him. You're right that the acid could be an issue from all the vomitting. Also if he does have a dairy issue the more he's exposed to it the less likely it is that he'll outgrow it.

I feel for you. It's so hard to watch your baby throw up like that & also scary. I've seen mine do it several times & it makes you a wreck.  Mine can't do the soy along with the cow's milk so she has to take a pre-digested formula when I am not there to breastfeed.

Hang in there & good luck!

[deleted account]

Hi Lindsay

Not that I want to tell you to stop breast feeding but for the same reasons I ended up stopping at 6 months. You can only eliminate so much from your diet before you start feeling sick yourself. I kept eliminating things to see if they would help but in the end I hardly had enough energy to take care of him, do vomit laundry and clean up vomit. I know exactly what you mean by a lot of vomit!! Our son has reflux and a cow protein allergy so he is still on medicines and on hypoallergenic milk which has worked wonders for him. He's finally not spiting up, in pain and he's sleeping!

I also really did not want to stop so I had to reminded myself that I had breast fed him since birth so he did have some antibodies. That lots of woman don't breast feed at all, including my own Mom, and their babies are fine. Also try and remember to take care of yourself too. I remember feeling incredibly guilty every time he would get a reaction. I was constantly wondering what I did (ate) that was making him sick now. The stress won't help either of you.

Good Luck

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