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Signs that allergy might be causing your breastfed baby to wake frequently

post #1 of 37
Thread Starter 
Its coming up a LOT on this forum although this is the co-sleeping forum, and not a sleep problems forum per se.

:-)

But, I want to mention something that I posted buried in another thread. Babies who wake EXCESSIVELY frequently, like every 1.5/2 hours are VERY OFTEN waking because of some health issue. Not always, of course, but OFTEN enough to warrant looking into the possibility.

Allergies, especially food allergies, are a common cause of night waking. I hope this information is helpful. Its mine, so please don't repost without attribution.

Signs of allergy/sensitivity in a breastfed baby
-Honeysucklemama (2005)

What is NORMAL for a breastfed infant:

- The normal breastfed baby nurses about 7-8 times a day, takes two (or more) 1-2 hour naps a day, and usually sleeps 10-12 hours at night, waking about every 2-3 hours to nurse, with one longer sleep stretch of about 4-7 hours.

- The normal breastfed baby MAY spit up small amounts when burping, but the spitting does not seem to bother baby. Baby may be gassy, especially when a poop is on its way, but the gas is not horribly painful, and is easily passed. Baby may even sleep through the gas passing.

- Normal breastfed nurse for about 10-45 minutes a session, and seem content while nursing, and afterwards. They may fall asleep while nursing, or may coo and smile on and off while nursing. They do not seem distressed by eating, and are relaxed and seem content.

- Normal breastfed infants have fussy periods, and content periods. Although they prefer to be held, they are usually content in a bouncer or on the floor for reasonable periods of time (15-30 minutes) before fussing to be picked up. They have their fussy periods, but are usually easily calmed by holding, rocking, or nursing.

- NORMAL gain is an ounce a day until 4 months, half an ounce a day until 6 months, and then 2-4 ounces a week after six months.

- Normal exclusively breastfed baby poop is VERY loose, mustard yellow, and has little "curds" in it. It can be pasty or watery, but should not soak completely into the diaper. It usually has a "curried yogurt" smell, but does not smell foul.

- Normal breastfed babies stool at least daily until 1 month of age, and may stool every time they nurse. After 1 month of age, breastfed babies can stool as little as once a week.


Signs of allergy in a breastfed infant:

Physical symptoms:

- Spittiness: Large amounts RIGHT after nursing, or in-between nursing, or small amounts on and off all day. Baby has a lot of “wet burps” or swallows frequently during the day even when not nursing. Baby seems bothered by the spitting and has fussy periods when the spitting seems worst.

- Gassiness: Very frequent gas, or gas that is very painful and accompanied by painful abdominal cramping. The gas may be very smelly, and may seem to be more bothersome at night.

- Green, stringy, runny, and/or bloody poops: Allergy poops are often GREEN, either slightly green, or even the color of grass or army green. Stringy mucus can be found, and sometimes streaks of blood. Baby may poop unusually often, or VERY infrequently. Baby may seem unusually uncomfortable while stooling, and may seem (to Mom) to be constipated. For babies who stool frequently, the stool may be unusually runny and may soak into the diaper.

- Red allergy ring: Babies with food sensitivity will often have a red rash right around the anus. The rash can also spread and cause an angry rash all over the buttocks, or genital area, wherever the poop touches.

- Eczema or a red rash: Babies with food sensitivities often have eczema, or unexplained red, dotty rashes on their face, neck, and torso.

- Poor weight gain: Allergic babies tend to show a slow down in weight gain between 2 and 4 months, again between 4 and 6 months, and another one between 6 and 9 months. Allergic breastfed babies often gain well under normal starting at about 3 months, even though they may actually have gained very RAPIDLY at first.

- Congestion or cold symptoms: Congestion or a runny nose that hangs around for weeks and weeks and seems unrelated to any cold or viral infection can signal a food sensitivity.

- Repeated ear infections: Babies who are allergic to something in mom’s diet may have ear infections with unusual frequency.

Behavioral symptoms:

- Fussiness: seeming to always want to be held, and are rarely content when on their own. They often hate the carseat. The fussiness may not be soothed even by carrying, holding, or rocking. When younger, they might have been diagnosed with "reflux" or colic. They may have a definite evening colicky period starting at about 2-3 weeks of age that expands gradually to encompass more and more of the day as baby gets older.

- Poor sleep: Baby may not nap well and often wakes frequently at night, every 1.5 hours or two hours all night long. Baby may seem unable to nap alone during the day and may need to be held to sleep.

- Breast refusal: Baby seems to "fight" the breast. May cry, push away, or pull on and off the breast. May bite down and act agitated while nursing. May act hungry, and suck on hands or fingers, but still refuse to nurse.

- Bottle preference: Some breastfed babies will suddenly seem to only like bottles. This, really, is just breast refusal taken to an extreme.

- Infrequent nursing and/or short nursing sessions: Nursing well only every 4 hours or so, refusing to nurse at other times. Extremely short nursing sessions: nursing sessions of less than 5 minutes.

- Cluster nursing: Baby seems to want to nurse ALL the time. Mom may feel like baby is attached 24/7.


Allergy symptoms in an older infant:

Allergy symptoms in an older baby tend to be more subtle and may include sleep problems, frequent ear infections, frequent colds, slowed weight gain, and breast refusal.

Other possibilities:

Low maternal milk supply: A baby who is getting insufficient milk will often be VERY fussy, may seem to want to nurse constantly, cluster nursing for hours in the evening. Baby may sleep poorly, and wake often to nurse, and will have slowed weight gain. If low supply is the cause, other physical allergy symptoms will NOT be present. Allergy can lead to low supply, however, if baby is not nursing well. These babies, however, usually gain well at first, and have other confirming signs of allergy.

Hyper-lactation/overactive let-down: A baby who is very gassy, has green explosive poops, gains weight excessively quickly, and often chokes, sputters, or coughs when nursing might have a mother with hyper-lactation syndrome or overactive let-down. Usually this happens when baby is nursed frequently on BOTH breasts, on a schedule, or is timed at the breast. Babies will generally NOT be spitty, and will not have other physical signs of allergy like rash. OALD generally resolves pretty quickly by changing nursing technique. When changes in nursing technique do NOT resolve OALD, consider allergy as a secondary cause.

Reflux: The symptoms of reflux overlap with the symptoms of allergy because allergy can CAUSE reflux. Some reflux, however, is structural. Generally babies with structural reflux will not have stool changes, and will not respond to maternal dietary changes.

Viral infection or “tummy bug”: Viral infections can cause spitting, fussiness, and lower GI problems like runny, green, mucasy stools. The stool can be irritating and can result in a rash, or a red ring around the anus. Viral infections usually have a pretty sudden onset. The runny, mucasy, green stools resulting from a viral infection usually resolve in 2-3 weeks. Viral infections of the GI tract are more common in babies in daycare situations, or babies with older school age siblings.
post #2 of 37
thank you! my 9 month old baby wakes every 30 minutes, nurses once an hour at least, has horrible gas and cried for the first 7 months of his life nonstop. Also cradle cap has returned. (any thoughts on that?)
post #3 of 37
Some of the information you posted is not accurate.

1) First you say a baby waking every 1.5/2 hours is "VERY OFTEN waking because of some health issue", then say that breastfed babies wake every 2-3 hours to nurse.

A baby waking every 2 hours to nurse is NORMAL. It's important to say that. Repeatedly. Mothers in our society get a huge amount of disinformation about this.

2) "Bottle preference: Some breastfed babies will suddenly seem to only like bottles. This, really, is just breast refusal taken to an extreme."

No, it's not. Bottle preference is not a sign of an allergy; bottle nipples flow faster and babies don't have to work as hard. Some babies will develop a preference for a bottle because it's easier.

3) "Cluster nursing: Baby seems to want to nurse ALL the time. Mom may feel like baby is attached 24/7."

This is NOT a sign of an allergy!!! Cluster nursing is NORMAL; nursing is based on supply and demand, and babies cluster nurse to tell mom's body to increase its output. It's a sign that everything is going just fine.

Regarding sleep, you also specify how long babies 'should' be sleeping, but don't include any information on age. Many normal babies do not sleep for long stretches until somewhere after their first year - it's not a sign of an allergy!

I'm not sure where you got your information, but this really needs to be edited before someone gets confused.
post #4 of 37
I'd like to add something else about the list.

While many of the things are things that babies with allergies will do, EVERY BABY will do some of the things on the list at sometimes whether they have allergies or not. The list also doesn't quite set a clear context for things. For example, the needs of a one month old baby are rather different from the needs of a six month old and this difference is not the result of a problem.

I would say that if you are looking down the list and you see a number of things that your baby does and these things concern you, you should seek more information and more systematic information than can be supplied in a post, before you assume that your child has an allergy. Research shows that breastfed infants have fewer allergies.

http://www.perinatalweb.org/associat...s/positio1.pdf

Finally, while it is true that babies with allergies want to be held all of the time, it is also true that all babies want to be held all of the time. It's a core assumption that AP parenting makes about babies as such. It's not a pathology.
post #5 of 37

Thanks for that info

As far as the pp's critiques go, the op is a good place to start in determining if allergies may be a consideration. But it is always a good thing to get information from many sources.

Alas, it seems that my frequent-night-waking baby doesn't really have any signs of allergies. Hmmm, is that good or bad? lol (no, I know it's a good thing). He does like to be held a lot, and actually refused to be put down much until he was 6 mos. He did start gaining less weight, but that coincided with crawling and being happy playing on his own and not being held constantly.
Hmmm. Still worth considering that there is something causing night waking- maybe there is something making him uncomfortable?

Thanks for the post honeysucklemama

Becky
Keagan 11.5 mos
post #6 of 37
Thread Starter 

Hi again

Hi,

I'm sorry if this information was offensive to some. It certainly is not my intention to cause offense. BUT, I also think there is nothing wrong with me posting something that might be helpful to others. You can find ALL this information in other places, some in the very same references people post here and on the breastfeeding forum. I simply compiled it in a way that made sense to me, and to other moms who I have connected with who have allergic infants. In the end, if nothing there is helpful to you, you are welcome to ignore the thread entirely.

Trust me, though. When you HAVE an allergic baby, you'll recognize your baby in those descriptions.

Beyond that, on the specific criticisms, I never said that ALL of the symptoms were necessarily indicative of allergy, just that they CAN be. And, when many symptoms are all together in one place they can be indicative of allergy. LOTS of babies like to be held all the time, but a baby who is never ever content on the floor can be terribly draining for a mother, even the most dedicated AP mommy. SOMETIMES babies like this are legitimately suffering. Finding out if allergy is a possibility hurts no one, and might help a suffering mother/baby pair from being told over and over they should either "CIO" or just "deal with it".

Sadly, although a LOT of people outside forums like this get the "CIO" advice, within the AP parenting circle a lot of parents who have legitimate concerns get told "just deal with it". I don't really think either extreme is helpful.

I'm the mother of three allergic infants that I nursed for several years, I also am a lactation counsellor who specializes in the management of nursing problems in allergic infants and toddlers. The list is gleaned from both my experience, and from research. I post it so it might be helpful to other mothers who are questioning whether their child might have an allergy.

:-)

Yes, babies all have unique temperaments, and some babies definitely have a much higher need to be held and touched. THere is definitely nothing wrong with that. BUT, some babies ARE legitimately hurting, and no one realizes because moms don't have the information.

Often "high need" infants become totally different babies once their allergies were discovered and treated. Certainly, this does not mean an AP mommy should be any less AP, but it does make life easier for mom AND baby. I'm probably the very definition of AP in practice in just about every way, but I can tell you I'd MUCH rather have a baby that will sit down and play independantly once in awhile, than a baby who needs holding 14/7. AND, if the REASON baby needs to be held 24/7 is becase they are hurting, what possible gain is there in ignoring that possibility??

You can certainly post your objections, but there is absolutely no harm in anyone looking into the possibility of allergy.

Normal sleep cycles in an infant past the newborn period are 3-4 hours in length with a brief awakening period mid-cycle. Most infants who are past the newborn period will have SOME longer stretches of 4-5 hours at least once a night. A breastfed baby who persistantly wakes every 1.5/2.0 hours all night long well past the initial newborn period is usually waking out of discomfort. This does not mean that a baby who wakes that frequently necessarily has a problem, but it can. Often parents who HAVE babies like this are left to suffer needlessly for MONTHS because no one even suggests the possibility that the nightwaking they are seeing might NOT be normal and might be a result of some physical issue.

Incidentally, I did not contradict myself. What I said is a normal baby (after the early weeks) usually wakes about every 2-3 hours with ONE LONGER SLEEP STRETCH of about 5 or more hours. The uncomfortable baby is waking every 1.5/2 hours all night long with no longer stretches. BUT, you don't have to talke my word for it. The information on sleep cycles is out there. Unfortunately, this information is usually used to justify a CIO approach because a baby is waking "out of habit". I am simply mentioning that such frequent waking on a regular basis can also be explained by problems like allergy.

I can back up everything on my list with references from the literature, and personal experience, but it isn't really the point, is it? I'm trying to help other moms who MIGHT want such information since I've BTDT three times over.

Peace,

honeysucklemama
post #7 of 37
Thread Starter 
The flow of the nipple has been used to explain bottle preference, but there have been a number of excellent double blind studies in recent years that more or less debunk that idea. Few babies "prefer" the bottle no matter how fast the flow. AND, babies who do usually have a mother with low supply, are in pain because of some kind of mouth or ear problem, or have a food allergy. We are designed by nature to nurse, and nursing is pleasurable. When babies REFUSE to nurse in favor of a bottle, there is generally some reason other than the flow of the nipple.

Again, this is not intended to be a DEFINITIVE list, but a list that might be helpful to guide a mom into looking into the matter more closely. If her baby had several of these symptoms, there is no harm in looking into the idea??

Allergies are actually much more common these days that previously thought. It is estimated that fully 8% of the pediatric population has documented testable food allergies. Recent studies also implicate allergy in at least 33% of all colic, and at LEAST 50% of all cases of reflux. Some studies put the incidence of allergy caused reflux as high as 70-80%. Reflux is the number one most common pediatric issue in infants under one year, and perscriptions of reflux drugs like zantac are at an all time high.

If you have never nursed an allergic baby who have NO IDEA how difficult it can be, and most moms with allergic babies suffer alone for a LONG TIME before connecting with someone, anyone, who can help them. If ONE MOM with an allergic baby sees this list and gets help for themselves and their infants, then I'll be happy I posted it no matter how much flack I get.

Peace.
post #8 of 37
“We need to determine if unrealistic parental expectations, rather than infant pathology, play a role in creating parent-infant sleep struggles – one of the most ubiquitous pediatric problems in the country.” – Dr. James McKenna

I think it's wonderful that you want to help; that's why we're here. I am not trying to attack you; I have tremendously enjoyed your other posts, and agree that CIO can be the unfortunate recommendation for a nightwaking baby. But accurate information is also important in creating realistic expectations, and parents in our society get a HUGE amount of advice regarding sleep issues, not to mention breastfeeding.

First, anyone making a long list of pathological behaviors risks including behaviors that are normal. Typically the writer will offer a disclaimer up front that says some of the items on the list are normal; pathology is not a behavior, it’s a pattern of behaviors.

Quote:
Originally Posted by honeysucklemama
Trust me, though. When you HAVE an allergic baby, you'll recognize your baby in those descriptions.
Actually, I DO have an allergic baby, and also an allergy-free baby. And I recognize both babies in these behavior descriptions. That's a problem - as one pp said, all cosleeping, breastfed babies will have at least one (probably more) of these behaviors at some point. You don't specify in your original post, as you do in your subsequent posts, that one should be looking for multiple things. One could read this list and conclude that cluster-nursing, or wanting to be held frequently, or needing help to get to sleep is a sign of an allergy, and that is not accurate.

Quote:
Beyond that, on the specific criticisms, I never said that ALL of the symptoms were necessarily indicative of allergy, just that they CAN be.
You said
Quote:
Babies who wake EXCESSIVELY frequently, like every 1.5/2 hours are VERY OFTEN waking because of some health issue.
“Are VERY OFTEN” is categorical, and different from "they CAN be". Maybe you didn't notice your emphasis.

Also, you did not specify the age of the baby; did not say 'beyond newborn', as in your most recent post, but this information is important. For young babies waking every 2 hours is NORMAL, necessary for the establishment of a good milk supply, not something that should alarm a new mother.

You are talking about a subset of the total infant population: infants who cosleep AND breastfeed. Of all infants, these are the ones that tend to wake most often. As Dr. James McKenna noted in one of his studies (here), babies who breastfeed and cosleep nurse more frequently. If you look at the graph you will see plenty of normal, healthy infants nursing 5-12 x per sleep episode, which works out (assuming a 12 hour sleep episode total) to every 1-2.4 hours.

Quote:
Sadly, although a LOT of people outside forums like this get the "CIO" advice, within the AP parenting circle a lot of parents who have legitimate concerns get told "just deal with it". I don't really think either extreme is helpful.
I would say a recommendation that says that VERY OFTEN cluster-nursing infants who are "seeming to always want to be held, and are rarely content when on their own” have a physical ailment is extreme.

I can't think of a single bedsharing or CIO book/article that doesn't start off by saying a mother should first determine if there are physical signs of an allergy or other medical issue. And I would say your characterization that AP moms mostly tell each other to 'just deal with it' is grossly unfair.

Quote:
Yes, babies all have unique temperaments, and some babies definitely have a much higher need to be held and touched. There is definitely nothing wrong with that. BUT, some babies ARE legitimately hurting, and no one realizes because moms don't have the information.
I agree with everything you've said here, but your OP does not put it this way. It lists a series of infant behaviors that are completely normal and says VERY OFTEN the cause of these behaviors is physical. And it includes behaviors that have nothing to do with allergies, such as cluster nursing and needing help to get to sleep.

Quote:
Normal sleep cycles in an infant past the newborn period are 3-4 hours in length with a brief awakening period mid-cycle.
‘Beyond the newborn period’ many breastfeeding mothers will notice a previously long-sleeping baby suddenly wakes more often at night to nurse. This is not a sign of an allergy or other ‘problem,’ and it does not help mothers to tell them that if their child suddenly is wakeful, cluster nurses or needs help to get to sleep that there is USUALLY A PROBLEM, no matter what the cause. Jan Barger, IBCLC, Kathy Kuhn, RN, Kelly Bonyata, IBCLC

Quote:
A breastfed baby who persistently wakes every 1.5/2.0 hours all night long well past the initial newborn period is usually waking out of discomfort.
As Dr. McKenna has noted, “current clinical models of the development of "normal" infant sleep are based exclusively on studies of solitary sleeping infants.” McKenna's sleep research has shown that this is simply not true for breastfeeding, cosleeping infants. Again, see the above article by Jan Barger.

Babies receive up to one third of their total calories at night. Moms who work may find their breastfed, cosleeping babies waking more often to 'reconnect' than sahms.

Quote:
Incidentally, I did not contradict myself. What I said is a normal baby (after the early weeks)
You did not say 'after the early weeks'.

Quote:
I can back up everything on my list with references from the literature, and personal experience, but it isn't really the point, is it?
Yes it is. I have never read anything that said cluster nursing, wanting to be held, being "unable to nap alone during the day", or "need[ing] to be held to sleep" is a sign of an allergy. If you have specific references it would be helpful to share them.

Attachment parenting creates attached infants who frequently want to be held to sleep and can't nap alone. Cluster nursing is not a sign of an allergy. Just as you want to be helpful, I want to be helpful. Telling moms who are nursing their babies for the umpteenth time, who are tired, that their baby's cluster nursing, sudden wakefulness or wanting to be held is USUALLY the sign of a problem (of whatever cause) can cause undue stress on the mom and make her feel as though something is "wrong”.
post #9 of 37
chicagomom!
post #10 of 37
Thread Starter 

Hi, again!

Hi,



I'm glad I have some redeeming qualities.

I'm not a doctor, and I don't pretend to be. I don't even play one on television.



I'm not going to have a huge debate here which is not my intention AT all. I'm actually sorry I tried to respond point by point to anything. Call it a knee-jerk response. In other words: "how DARE you call me wrong", I'll SEE your expert and raise you two Ph.Ds. Blame it on the fact that I am always typing late at night when sleep deprived and grouchy. Blame it on ego, or moon spots, or anything you like.



Just so that you know, the list is part of a larger FAQ I am working on for a FA forum I co-host. The question "is my baby allergic" comes up a lot, and the list is a quick and dirty way for a mom to either realize she should look into the matter, or that it is unlikely. It has already been edited many times with input from other mothers of allergic infants, and is a work in progress. I will certainly look at what I have written in light of your concerns. At one point I did try to take into account ages and stages of development, but the list because too long, confusing, and unyieldy. There are entire books about what is "normal" at different points for a breastfed infant. I certainly can't reflect all that in a symptomology list of behaviors in allergic infants.

For now, if you'd prefer a disclaimer on the top (or near the bottom as it may be) I'll say that IN MY PERSONAL EXPERIENCE as a mother of allergic children, and from reaching out to other motheres with allergic children, these symptoms are often found in allergic infants.

I still hold by my insistance that an infant who wakes frequently, all night long, every 1.5 hours every night has some physical problem. Can I back that up with stats and research articles?? (Here I go again) Yeah, but it doesn't really matter. I'm not posting from stats and research articles, I'm posting from my experience.I have FOUND it to be so with both my own children, and the children in my FA group, most of whom had been told "its normal" and suffered for months and month before deciding that MAYBE something else was going on with their child.

You, of course, have no reason at all to trust MY experience, nor do I expect you to. But, I suspect that most moms reading this have the capacity all on their own to decide if my experience has any worth. In the end, we all post from our EXPERIENCE, and people have to decide on their own whether or not it is worth the computer it is typed on.

Hopefully a mom will move from a forum LIKE this one, to an LC or an allergist or someone who is adept at separating the possibility of allergy from what is not allergy. BUT, most parents don't even know to ask, or are given horribly bad information. Few pediatricians, and, sadly, many LCs don't know anything about allergies and the nursing infant. The MEDICAL response once allergy is identified is to hand mom Alimentum, or when that fails, Neocate. Many people in the medical establishment, and this includes certain populations of LCs, out right deny that a breastfed infant CAN be allergic to things in their mother's milk.

What I am saying is there is all kinds of information out there. (Including a LOT of information supporting CIO and other non-AP practices). Hopefully a mom who sees her child in those descriptions will be astute enough to look around and read and seek help. I doubt there is any great danger of a mom with a NORMAL infant abandoning AP practices in favor of CIO because she saw my list.



I'm trying to keep this light-hearted and I am DEFINITELY not trying to have an argument. I'll leave that to the guys on Monty Python. I'm trying to help other mothers that might be where I was 7 years ago, nursing a miserable infant, miserable, depressed, and seriously sleep-deprived with no one to turn to who had ever nursed a baby like mine. Getting told baby was "spoiled" by the CIO-crowd was no more comforting that being told "your baby is high needs" by the AP camp. Both advice was well-meaning but useless and isolating. I didn't need to be told by AP-parenting friends "that I was doing the right thing". I KNEW I was doing the right thing. What I needed was some help. Help virtually no one in any capacity (save one) could offer.

What my baby had was severe allergies. AND, once I found THAT out, I had a totally new baby. YES, still attachment parented, and YES still sensitive, dynamic, and wondefully needy, but OH SO MUCH happier. I still thank the good Lord for putting me in the path of that one LC who actually knew how to deal with allergic babies. At this point I'd certainly be a lunatic without her.



As for your specific criticisms, I'm not sure where you want to go with that. Obviously you feel I am imparting poor lactation information. And, obviously, I am just as certain I am not.



So, do we draw swords at 20 paces and duel? I'm not trying to be flip, honestly and I hope you don't take it that way. Should I post experts to counter your experts?? Should I trot out my CV and give you a list of 20 references?? Should I list my work experience and where I came up with my information point by point??

Honestly, I don't have the time and energy for that. And, if that is what is required to satisfy that I am not a dangerous imparter of bad information then I respectfully withdraw my list from consideration.



I "thought" I was being helpful to some of the mothers on this forum who might have babies with food allergies. There have been a few on this forum recently, like in the last week, who I'd bet money have babies with allergies and sleep problems resulting from such. One or two, especially the moms who have been posting here with "reflux" made my heart ache. I have soooooo BTDT, and I know I can help. So, maybe I just need to go back to offering one on one help as I always have been. And, maybe after I have been posting here for awhile you'll realize that I am actually not an idiot.



BTW, I really really like that bouncy and feel like that late at night when I am typing out silly things on forums instead of sleeping.

What I WILL say, however, is that lactation information is by no means uniform, and there are some areas where there is considerable debate. In addition, some well held (and written about) ideas in lactation have been recently debunked or changed. This is part of the genesis of lactation as a real science as WELL as an art and can only help improve the care of all nursing mothers. AND, there is even room for disagreement in the field of lactation science. In the end what matters is we are all trying to do our best for one another, which is why I bother to post anything here at all when I could just as well be in my nice warm bed with my lovely co-sleeping infant (and my in room 4 and 7 year old).



Peace.

Honeysucklemama (who has just figured out how to use those smilies and so apologizes if she used too many of them)
post #11 of 37
Thread Starter 
I forgot to add that if you are HONESTLY curious about where some of that information comes from, then I'd be happy to have a conversation with you. But, to be honest, I didn't get the sense that you were curious, merely that I was being "slapped down" as not being AP-friendly. Bad mommy... imparting bad information and making AP-parents question their judgement.



I know that is probably all in the interpretation and not your actual motivation, but there you go. As I said, sleep deprivation is not good for one's mood. I should really GO TO BED instead of sitting here typing with a sweaty baby on my breast. Sweet smelling baby bouncing away in time to my typing.



I understand that you are fearful that someone with a normal AP-attached infant might start to think their infant has a pathology, and that you are trying to guard against that. But, I will also tell you that there is also a danger that parents who are suffering with babies who actually have problems will be ignored by the AP community, or eventually turn to weaning or CIO out of sheer desperation.

When a mom is near desperation with sleep deprivation the knee-jerk "that is normal" is JUST as dangerous as the risk that a mom with a "normal" high needs infant might see a pathology where there is none. In fact, desperate moms are EXACTLY the ones who are most vulnerable to CIO and other baby-unfriendly techniques. I can attest PERSONALLY that the "CIO" people were easier to take than the AP friends who just kept telling me "its normal" when my mommy-sense was telling me something was afoot.

And again in parting is that silly bouncy I love.



Peace.
post #12 of 37
I’m sorry if you feel offended.

You said:
Quote:
I also am a lactation counsellor who specializes in the management of nursing problems in allergic infants and toddlers.
You started this thread, explicitly stating you have professional credentials. As such, your word carries more weight than an average mom sharing her own personal experience.

You have also stated that you have research studies to back up your claims.

Quote:
The list is gleaned from both my experience, and from research.
Quote:
there have been a number of excellent double blind studies in recent years that more or less debunk that idea.
But now you state that if I question anything you say, or ask for such research I am attacking you. I am not attacking you; as I noted previously I have tremendously enjoyed your other posts. But this one is different – you started this thread. You stated your credentials up front, referred to research and then gave an authoritative list of behaviors you believe are USUALLY associated with a physical problem. This list includes normal infant behaviors such as cluster nursing, a baby wanting to be held all the time, and needing help to get to sleep, items that come up frequently on this particular forum. You even started your post by noting that the things in your list come up frequently on this forum. Then you concluded that babies with these behaviors USUALLY have a physical problem.

I have never seen claims like this published in any study, on Lactnet or LLL. If you have research for these, it would be helpful if you would provide it. Otherwise, please change your post. You are not simply sharing mother-to-mother observations, you are offering explicitly professionally credentialed advice. So yes, your information does need to be accurate, and it is perfectly reasonable to question it. Sorry if you feel offended by that.

Again, what you wrote was more than mother-to-mother stories. You started the thread explicitly to offer advice to the many co-sleeping, breastfeeding women here; you stated your professional credentials, and you refer to research.
post #13 of 37
Quote:
I forgot to add that if you are HONESTLY curious about where some of that information comes from, then I'd be happy to have a conversation with you.
I've kept quiet, but I am HONESTLY curious about where all of that information comes from and I think it would be very kind if you could post these resources for others. Thank you.
post #14 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by SoHappy
I've kept quiet, but I am HONESTLY curious about where all of that information comes from and I think it would be very kind if you could post these resources for others. Thank you.
:
call me a sceptic, but I gotta do my own research before accepting any one person's statements. I do, though, personally agree with about half of what is in the OP, and think it is good advice, in general, and a good place to start in trying to determine the root cause of nightwaking problems.
post #15 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by honeysucklemama
I forgot to add that if you are HONESTLY curious about where some of that information comes from, then I'd be happy to have a conversation with you.
Add me to the list of moms who would like references to the research, please! I'm a research freak -- nothing like a juicy study to sink my teeth into. (My first Mothering article had no less than 60 references!) I'd also be curious about your lactation credentials...not to be snarky, but I wonder if you have the legal authority to offer medical advice. Otherwise, you need a big disclaimer in your info.

My first baby showed all of the behavioral symptoms you list, and some of the physical symptoms, yet doesn't seem to have any allergies (and we did go through all kinds of elimination diet stuff). He didn't nap. He didn't sleep well. At one point, he was waking every 45 minutes or so at night. He wanted to be held all the time and was usually not content. None of the usual activities soothed him. He had frequent ear infections and strange bowel movements. We have concluded that our difficulties were neurologically based, not dietary. His personality today, at age 8, fits with who he was as a baby. His sleep patterns matured as his nervous system matured, and now he sleeps well. But we were mystified when he was young. I read the literature, looking for clues, and found a few that pointed us towards the neurological basis of his problems.

Like you, we suffered through a lot of difficulties with none of the usual answers being at all descriptive of our baby. I understand the frustration and the desire to help other parents. But I'm sure you can see that it would not be appropriate for me to use my personal experience to advise other moms that their babies might have neurological problems just because they exhibit similar behaviors as my son!

OTOH, my second baby was just about the opposite in temperament from my first. She fit the "normal baby" descriptions much better than he did. She slept so well in comparison to DS that we almost cried. She took two naps a day! She slept like a "normal" baby at night! She was happy and easily soothed. Yet -- she wanted to nurse all the time. (I have NEVER understood those claims that normal babies nurse 7-10 times a day, etc. -- not my babies, and not any of my friends' BF babies -- more like 20-30 times a day! :LOL ) She cluster nursed. She fussed at the breast sometimes. She went through periods of night waking, and periods when she wouldn't nap alone. She had weird bowel movements -- a chiropractic adjustment fixed that, and suddenly her BMs were perfect breastfed baby poop. Again, we know pretty definitively that she has no allergies. And again, her personality at age 5 is very much in line with how she behaved as a baby.

I agree with chi-mom that those particular behaviors that she pointed out could be very misleading in the context you present them, in that they are NORMAL BF baby behaviors. Usually a diagnostic list like yours that includes symptoms that are also seen in normal populations will indicate that X number of symptoms should be present to suspect the condition, or that, say, the behavioral symptoms are only considered suspect IF they accompany X number of physical symptoms. Otherwise, you risk what you are seeing here -- confusion over perfectly normal behavioral/physical symptoms that in and of themselves do not indicate pathology. If you're going to offer diagnostic information (and again, you need a disclaimer if you are not certified to offer medical advice), you have to hold yourself to a very strict standard of accuracy.

Anyway, hope this is helpful in your quest to help babies and parents. Again, I'd like to see the list of studies backing up your info that you offered to share. Thanks!
post #16 of 37

Cluster nursing is not pathological

Cluster nursing is not pathological, and does not belong on a list of pathologies. ALL breastfed babies will cluster nurse; this is how they increase mom's output.

Mothering.com, Cynthia Good Mojab :

Quote:
Perceived insufficient milk syndrome or perceived insufficient milk supply occur when a mother actually has an adequate milk supply but misinterprets her nursling's behavior (e.g., fussiness, frequent nursing, consumption of formula after breastfeeding, etc.) to mean that she does not have enough milk (Hoover 2002, p. 219; Riordan & Auerbach, 1999, pp. 312-314). Because of this belief, the mother may introduce or increase supplementation. With the use of supplementation, her breasts are stimulated less, receiving the signal to make less milk, and a downward spiral of milk production begins. Thus, without intervention, perceived insufficient milk syndrome can lead to actual secondary insufficient milk syndrome.

Therapeutic interventions include thorough assessment and teaching, as needed, effective latch-on and positioning, behavioral feeding cues, normal feeding behavior (e.g., frequent nursing, night nursing, cluster nursing [several nursings in a shorter time frame than usual]); breastfeeding techniques such as breast compression, pumping or hand expression, and switch nursing (repeatedly offering the other breast after the baby has finished nursing from one breast to help increase milk supply); medical evaluation and treatment of the nursling; referral to mother-to-mother breastfeeding support groups; the use of herbal and/or prescription medications that are known to increase milk supply (galactogogues); and acupuncture (Hoover 2002 pp. 223-226).
(emphasis mine)

Making a statement that cluster nursing is a "sign of allergy in a breastfed infant" is not accurate, and could be harmful to a mother-baby dyad working to establish or strengthen their supply.
post #17 of 37
I've started this post several times, because I keep trying to think of a qualifier, but I can't come up with a good one. I keep trying to say the list might be good "if you added a disclaimer" or something else, but I just can't say it because there are so many behaviors on there that are totally normal!

Cluster nursing for a few hours is normal.
Waking every 1 to 2 hours is normal. (Tiring, yes, but not abnormal.)
Wanting to be held every single waking minute is normal. (Again, tiring, but not abnormal.)
Hating the carseat is sooo normal.
Needing to be nursed to sleep is normal.
Refusing to stay asleep unless Mom is in bed, too is normal.

And the way you've worded some of your information makes it seem as though these things are not ever normal. When you say, "Babies who wake EXCESSIVELY frequently, like every 1.5/2 hours..." it doesn't matter if you only say they are "very often" suffering from allergies as opposed to "always". Just the fact that you say "EXCESSIVELY frequently" makes it seem that waking that often to nurse is abnormal, when, in fact, it is totally normal. "Excessively" automatically means outside of the norm. I know you are using references, but you have to realize that there is a difference between a baby who sleeps in a crib and/or is ff and a baby who is bf and co-sleeps. Studies stating that babies only wake that much if there is some pathology are not based on breastfed, co-sleeping babies. As chicagomom already said, Dr. McKenna has done *extensive* research on mother/infant sleeping pairs and it is *totally* normal for a baby to wake that much. In fact, it would be abnormal for a breastfeeding, co-sleeping baby to wake less than that, according to his research. (Not to say that it is "bad", but it is outside of the norm.)

I also think saying a baby should be able to play happily on a blanket or bouncer for 15 to 30 minutes is totally inaccurate. They can't move, for goodness sake! Why the heck would they want to be all alone on a blanket instead of in someone's arms, where something is actually happening? I don't like sitting still for 20 minutes staring at the wall, so why should my baby? I could hardly put my baby in the bouncer to pee long after I eliminated her allergic foods. The problem wasn't allergies - she just loved being held!

I think you have great intentions and the list could be helpful, but there are waayyy to many normal baby behaviors listed as symptoms of a problem. Any average baby with a secure attachment to one caregiver could exhibit every single one of those nursing/sleeping/needing to be held behaviors and have absolutely nothing wrong with it.
post #18 of 37
Wow, I am fascinated by how aggressive this whole discussion has gotten. Had I come across this thread back in the early days of my son's food sensitivities, I probably would have found it interesting and useful - sort of. I do think that the list has way too many things that can happen in different circumstances, AND based on personal experience, a baby doesn't have to have several of the signs to have the food sensitivity. (I hesitate to call it an allergy). I guess my point is that it just isn't so easy to diagnose this problem from a list like this. It can present itself in so many ways. An unknowing (and desparate) mama may say "oh yeah, my kid has this sign and this sign" and jump into an unnecessary elimination diet. Or...she may see many signs that her LO doesn't have (as mine didn't) and go for a long time without addressing the food issue. Not every baby with a FA has a red ring...

Something else that this lists fails to address (and others have touched upon) is that some babies just exhibit these behaviors (nursing often, wanting to be held all the time, needing mom to sleep, etc) without any serious problem. Search for "high need" on here, and you'll come up with several posts.
post #19 of 37
Thread Starter 


How about if I went back and edited my original post to remove any mention of professional credentials and then simply stated that the list is derived from my own personal experience and the experience of a group of about 40 food allergy moms who helped me compile the list. Would that help? Then no one has to get up in arms about me acting as any co-called expert and leading moms down the wrong path.

I could also state that you are, of course, free to consider my experience invalid if you so desire. (I suspect most moms who read this forum are capable of discerning for themselves if my list is useful at all to them, and if they think that my experience has any value.)

I could also state up front that HAVING one or any of the symptoms does not mean that you have an issue, nor does having none of them mean you don't. As I said, I'm not trying to post a definitive list, just a list of behaviors that IN MY EXPERIENCE have been associated with allergy.



Would that douse the flames?



I suspect that is not so much the list itself, but the fact that I started out listing it with some so-called professional credentials. As a relative newbie to this forum I imagine it was really irritating to have me come out as some kind of self-styled "expert". I apologize. Mea culpa. Consider any mention of professional redentialling officially retracted. I'm a mom just like the rest of you. I happen to be a mom who has three babies with allergies, and I am regularly in contact with a group of moms who have babies with allergies. It was a mistake to say anything else at all, and I mean that honestly. I'm not being flip. I should have framed the list differently and I suspect it would not have raised people's ire.

I'm still willing to share with people where this information comes from, but I'm not going to do it here. I think this thread has gotten WAAAY too antagonistic, and I really feel like I am being attacked here even though I am really trying hard to be non-confrontational. As I said, I'm not going to match point for point, expert for expert, and I'm sorry that the thread has come to this.



Peace.
post #20 of 37
I wasn't trying to be aggressive. I think the list isn't a bad idea, honeysucklemama. It's just that all those behavioral things are normal.....
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