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breast milk intolerance?

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
My five week old son has had diarrhea (liquid run) for two weeks, painful gas since birth, and has been pushing off the breast while nursing periodically during the day (after eating for a minute his face turns red and he starts crying and pushing off repeatedly). I've been off all dairy for a month and now I've been off most vegetables for ten days on my pediatrician's recommendation -- and I don't think it's making a difference.
My pediatrician is starting to suggest that my son might have an intolerance to breast milk and that we might need to switch to formula, but I don't want to do that. I would love any ideas or suggestions that anyone has to offer. Thanks.
post #2 of 21
I did the dr sears elimination diet.
My son has many sensitivities and it rwally helped and was worth it!

Here is the link:
elimination diet
post #3 of 21
First, to MDC!

We have a whole board devoted to breastfeeding issues called Geting Started and Overcoming Difficulties. I will ask a moderator to move this thread there so you will get some more replies in addition to mine - we have quite a few experienced and knowledgable mamas who post here regularly!

By all means, do not switch to formula! There are any number of avenues to investigate before going that route. There is nothing better for your baby than breastmilk!

Are you working with a board-certified lactation consultant? You can find one near you by going to this link. Call around to find one who has experience with the problems you're describing. Frankly, your pediatrician is not the best source of advice here: US medical schools do not teach about breastfeeding or human nutrition, and most peds know only what they read in the "breastfeeding success" packages distributed by formula companies. Seriously. A lactation consultant actually has training in human lactation far beyond that of most doctors.

Next, did you have antibiotics during labor and/or did your baby have antibiotics after he was born? If so, his normal gut flora may have gotten killed off or not properly established in the first place. Even if there were no antibiotics involved, a good probiotic may be very helpful in getting his digestive tract healthy. Look for a powdered baby probiotics at your health food store or Whole Foods; Country Life and Jarrow are two brands that are good. Probiotics are completely safe. Put a little powder in his mouth every time you nurse him.

Next, have you gotten rid of ALL dairy? That includes reading labels for hidden dairy like casein and whey. Dairy is in all sorts of products including many "vegetarian" cheeses. It is hard to get rid of all of it, but it's worth a shot.Here is a really good page to read through about food sensitivities in breastfed babies.

What is his weight gain like? Is he gaining normally?

I'm sure some of the other posters here will have additional advice and suggestions.

Hang in there, mama! :bf
post #4 of 21

Some more thoughts...

Has your baby had any formula? Is he getting any right now? Cow's milk and soy are two of the most common allergens so definitely take him off any formula he's getting.

A google search turned up these articles you should read:

Milk Allergies and the Breastfeeding Family

Can a baby be allergic to breastmilk?

Other moms get bad advice from ignorant peds, too...

I assume your baby got tested for galactosemia in the newborn blood testing? That's one of the very few (very rare) disorders that would actually make it impossible to breastfeed.

Hope this helps!
post #5 of 21
My friend is dealing with this with her baby. The baby gets bloody diahrrea if she (the mom) gets even incidental dairy- such a bit of whey in a seasoning packet or cheese in some spagetti sauce. Diary is in so many things.

I feel for you- I have to eliminate foods while nursing- for my ds's eczema- it is hard but worth it. Like Jane said, soy is another HUGE allergin and soy sensitivity is most common in people who already have a dairy sensitivity.

Definitely seek out a lactation consultant before switching to formula- because formula is made from dairy or soy.

Good luck and welcome to the boards.
post #6 of 21
My breastfed daughter has multiple food allergies and eczema, and she has terrible flare-ups of eczema and runny poops if I eat dairy, eggs, nuts or wheat. You might try eliminating all of those. It is hard, but possible, and totally worth it to see your child healthy and happy!
post #7 of 21
Hi Ondie,

Are you sure it's an allergy? Is there any possibility that you have a strong let-down, and after a minute (when you begin to let down) your baby is pushing off because of that? If a baby is getting too much foremilk he might have diarrhea and gassiness. If you do have a strong let-down and the baby is pushing off and re-latching he may also be swallowing air while nursing, which might contribute to the gas.

Do you switch sides every time you nurse? Do you leak a lot? Have you noticed a strong letdown sensation? If you suspect this might be the cause, hop on over to the La Leche League website - they have great info on overactive letdown and foremilk/hindmilk imbalance (also do a LLL search for research by Michael Woolridge - he wrote a great piece on colic and bf management). I know of a couple moms who thought they were dealing with allergies when this was actually the issue.

Are there allergies in your family/do you have allergies? I agree with the other posters, it's waaaaaay too early to start thinking about needing to give formula - I'd definitely get evaluated by a good LC first!

Hugs to you and your little one.
post #8 of 21
I moved this to Breastfeeding for the reasons Jane stated above. Good luck and keep trying. It'll be worth it.
post #9 of 21
Just a note that if you do determine a dairy allergy, see some improvement but not enough, try cutting out beef too.

It can take up to 4 weeks for dariy to leave your system, then the baby's.

Good luck. Let LLL and a board certified lactation consultant be your guide. Pediatricians do not receive any lactation education in med school!
post #10 of 21
We had the same problem, and it ended up being a combination of things:

-reflux (bad enough that DS ended up on medication)
-a super-firehose letdown
and the biggie-- WHEAT!!!!

Have you tried eliminating wheat as well? It's worth a try.

You can do it!!! We're all here to support and help you.
post #11 of 21
I think your ped may be an idiot! shortly after birth my dd was diagnosed as being lactose intolerant (due to antibiotics-pneumonia).

my ped prescribed 1 tsp liquid continental lactobacillus with every feeding. worked like a charm, the first week dd gained a pound and gained sevel more the next week.

if you do decide to try formula, keep pumping as much as you can to keep you milk supply up and options open.
post #12 of 21
Babies are extremely rarely lactose intolerant. In fact, it would be so rare to lack the ability to digest lactose, unable to make the enzyme lactase, it has its own name, galactosemia. It is evidenced not by gastric upset, but by liver damage, blindness, jaundice and death.

Lactose is in all mammalian milks. It is neded to give your baby energy. Cow's milk formula(artificial baby milk) has it too, as well as added sucrose for added sugars a baby needs. Of course, sucrose is bad for you, it cause the sugar rush and may encourage a taste for it in older babies and kids, which is a problem...I could go on...

If you had antibiotics during birth natashaccat, your baby would not develop lactose intolerance! She would have her healthy gut flora (beneficial bacteria) wiped out, as would you. Antibiotics wipe out good and bad bacteria, they do not discriminate. This is one of the bad things about antibiotics.

Probiotics are highly recced for all humans who "need" to take anitbiotics (of course they are way overused, and our society is suffering as a result). Get some good ones from the refrigerator of the health food store.
post #13 of 21
I would second the probiotics and also removing the wheat (gluten as well). Do you have any family sensitivities to wheat or gluten? Unfortunately, people often don't talk about this or ewven know they are wheat sensitive.

Research says gluten does not go into the breast milk, but from my personal experience, my eating wheat/gluten when my ds was exclusively breast feeding created first diahrrea, then constipation after about 6 months.

With no gluten in the house, my children have no stomach aches or intestinal problems at all. They ate wheat crackers at a pot luck and were sick for two days.

I was told eliminate dairy and soy- which did nothing to improve my ds's problem. I suspect wheat is something that may be undervalued as a problem food.
post #14 of 21
Originally posted by DaryLLL

If you had antibiotics during birth natashaccat, your baby would not develop lactose intolerance! She would have her healthy gut flora (beneficial bacteria) wiped out, as would you. Antibiotics wipe out good and bad bacteria, they do not discriminate. This is one of the bad things about antibiotics.

Well that's what the PED called it, perhaps she just meant mild lactose intolerance, or was just trying to put it in words that she thought I might understand? The woman seems to be competant but is one to "talk down" to me.

For the Record...I didn't have antibiotics, my baby did bc she developed a serious lung infection at birth (whole other soap opera)....DD wasn't gaining (even though she was nursing often and I had lots of milk) and was pooping like crazy along with some hardcore poo burn on her bum. The ped sent dd's poo to the lab and they tested the PH and pronounced that it was too acidic. She (ped) said that dd had lost the bacteria that she needed to digest milk sugars and called this "lactose intolerance".
post #15 of 21
Did a little more research. Perhaps your dr was talking about secondary lactose intolerance.

Here is a link on that:

post #16 of 21


I wonder if your baby might have something called Milk Soy Protein Intollerance. My little girl did and her symptoms sound the same. I changed my diet so that it contains no milk or soy products (with the exception of soy oil - in any form or soy lechtin - these are OK). Beware, these products are in many processed foods, but after eliminating them from my diet, my daughter seemed completely cured and I have been able to continue breast feeding. The doctor says she should grow out of this by one year old.
post #17 of 21
Originally posted by DaryLLL
Did a little more research. Perhaps your dr was talking about secondary lactose intolerance.

Here is a link on that:

Thanks for the links...
yup that does sound like what happened to my dd. This whole conversation has really shown me how poorly understood this whole issue is. I'm not terribly fond of that PED but I'm grateful that she suggested probiotics unstead of lactose free formula. At the time I would not have know better or even thought to question my ped's advise.
post #18 of 21
You're welcome.

I wonder where Ondi is? I hope she didn't quit bfing!!!
post #19 of 21
Thread Starter 

Thank You!

Thanks to all the caring moms out there who took the time to answer me about my son's problem with diarrhea. I was blown away by the concern and the flow of useful information! The message about my strong let-down was perhaps the most helpful, as now I try to express a little before feedings and Joaquim seems to have a better time of it. He is gaining weight beautiful, still has runny stools, but since he is doing well - the ped has relaxed and I am breastfeeding away. Thank you everybody!

post #20 of 21
I'm so happy for you that it was something with such a simple solution.

FWIW, breastfed newborns are supposed to have runny stools, this doesn't go away until they start solids.
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