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Not sure what to do...

812 Views 15 Replies 13 Participants Last post by  celestialdreamer
My baby will be 6wks on Wed. He's EBF and gaining well (6lbs at birth, was 9lbs6oz last Tuesday at about 5wks). He's not the best nurser- pops on and off (even when he's not in pain from the reflux). He doesn't have a fantastic latch- good enough that I'm not sore, damaged, etc. but he's definately not as good of a nurser as my dd was. He has nasty reflux- my second dd had it but his is more severe. A good friend is an LC and told me that he could be having a dairy sensitivity. I cut out all dairy for 7 days and while the reflux is unchanged, he seemed better most days, fussy-wise. He was still obviously unhappy from the reflux, choking, etc. but after 7 days, I ate a bowl of cereal this morning. Starting about 2 hours later, he's been crying and vomiting curdled milk.
I'm really thinking he does have a dairy sensitivity.

The problem is, milk is really my diet staple. No kidding. I know it's not healthy, but I drink a gallon of milk by myself every 2-3 days. There are many days when I will eat 3-4 bowls of cereal, and that's all. Milk is my primary calcium and protein source most of the time. Has been for many years. I honestly do not think I can give it up for a lengthy period of time. My mom gave him a bottle of EBM the other day (she is the one who watches my kids when I need someone) and he did better with the bottle than he does nursing. *sigh*

I know he could outgrow the dairy sensitivity in a couple of months. But I also know that he might not. I just am not sure what to do. I don't want to wean him, but I keep thinking it's not realistic for me to give up milk for so long. My oldest was formula fed from day one and my second self-weaned a little after she turned 1.

Anyone btdt and had their baby outgrow a sensitivity relatively early? Any other advice?
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My DS had severe reflux (projectile vomited) and a milk allergy. I did cut all milk out of my diet. I switched to soy milk. It takes a little while to get used to the taste of soy but now I can't stand cow's milk. It takes 2 weeks to get the cow's milk protein totally out of your system. You also have to look for hidden milk (casein & whey are in almost everything). He stopped the vomiting at 7 months but still had the allergy. At 5 it seems to be better but he won't touch cheese & we still do soy milk for everyone.

Now the new baby is having reflux issues so I've had to totally cut dairy out again. For me, it's such a short amount of time in the scheme of things to do. With the milk allergy you'd end up spending a small fortune on the special formulas anyway. I love cheese, ice cream, & chocolate but I can live without for a few months (or years). :LOL

Sounds tough. I eat alot of dairy too (though not straight milk- mostly cheese) and it would be tough for me to give it up. BUT, your baby needs you. Gather some recipes and try to at least limit your dairy for a couple of weeks. Hang in there. Hopefully he'll outgrow it really quickly.

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I had to quit drinking milk with both mine for about 9 months with my first and 6 months with my second. I was a major milk lover also, but I gave it up and now I don't depend on it so much.

If you were to switch the baby to formula the problems for him would be worse because many milk sensitive babies have trouble with soy also. Plus, he would be getting a fourth rate food.

Its hard to give up things we are so dependant on, but if you were a smoker and got pregnant you'd quit right?

I'm sorry things are hard
I went through months of major issues in the early days of bfing both my kids. Its hard, hard, hard, but so worth it.

I really love this website for encouragement. I had it open 24/7 for a long time when I had trobles bfing my dd early on. She has valuable info. and is an amazinf writer. It might help you get through this time as it did for me.
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I know it's hard but if it was me I would do whatever it took to make my baby comfortable.

Your only other option would be to put him on soy ABM which is so inferior and its side effects can be quite distressing. A diet of nothing but soy for a human baby? When he could be having the perfect food?

Approx 25% of babies sensitive to dairy are also sensitive to soy and where does that leave you? with pre-digested ABM which costs a fortune and smells gross.
I cut way back on dairy when DD1 was having problems from it. Funny, though, turns out I'm also slightly allergic and I never knew it before I cut it out of my diet! Often we crave those things we are allergic to. That realization made it so much easier to drastically limit my dairy intake (but I have not totally eliminated it from my diet). I think you should give it a good try, and see if both you and your baby don't feel much better.
I had to eliminate dairy from my diet for a year after DS was born. Sometimes if we "overdo" one particular food item, it sensitizes the baby to it and they develop an intolerance to it. Since you mentioned you go through a gallon of milk every couple of days yourself, you possibly "overdid" it and your baby is a little sensitive to the proteins.
Ultimately you will have to ask yourself what is more important: your dairy, or breastfeeding your baby. As a dairy lover I understand how hard it can be, but I decided that I would rather eat nothing but formula myself and still be able to breastfeed than feed my baby formula. Thankfully it didn't have to be that extreme but I did live without dairy for a year. After a year I tested to see if DS would react and he didn't... he is now almost 2 and can eat dairy products himself. So he had a sensitivity but not a true allergy...
There are dairy substitutes for everything these days, so its not like you will have to eliminate the concept- just replace it with something else. There are lots of calcium-fortified milk substitutes out there, soymilk, rice milk, almond milk, hazelnut milk, etc etc. Lots of fake cheeses, soy yogurt etc etc.

By the way, if you do decide to eliminate dairy, you have to eliminate *all dairy* not just milk to test to see if that is the culprit... that means yogurt, cheese, and lots of "hidden" dairy ingredients like whey, sodium caseinate, casein, sodium steroyl lactylate, etc etc.
Too often moms will eliminate milk, but not all the hidden stuff, not notice a difference in their baby and decide that dairy had nothing to do with it- a dairy protein is a dairy protein, whether it is in the form of milk or casein... And like the pp said, it takes up to 2-3 weeks of total elimination for the dairy proteins already in your system to make their way out. So give the elimination a good 3 weeks before deciding it is/ is not the culprit.
Good Luck
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My DS is 9 months and is still sensitive to dairy and soy. Yeah, it's been tough getting used to being dairy & soy-free, but it makes such an amazing difference in DS. Just some things o keep in mind - like a few PPs said, a lot of dairy-sensitive babes are also sensitive to soy. If your DS goes on formula and is sensitive to soy then he would probably go onto Nutramigen or Alimentium. In these formulas the milk protein is broken down further, basically predigested. They are also very expensive, my little brother had to be on them. And some babes still have trouble with these specialized formulas.

Have you tried goat's milk? I get it at Publix, it's the only place in my little town that I can find it. I'm not much of a milk drinker, but I use the goat's milk in cooking or sometimes on cereal. I get goat's milk yogurt from our health food store, and for the first time today tried the goat's milk cheddar cheese.
I had planned on CLW and his sensitivities reinforced that idea for me. If he's not getting breastmilk then there's not much else he can drink, kwim?

Good luck.
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One thing to think about is that if you formula feed, you're either going to give a dairy formula, or a soy formula, and there are not-so-good things about each.

I never consumed as much as you
but when I was pregnant with Naiya I ate a pint of Ben & Jerry's every night. She was had awful reflux. I didn't want to give up dairy but once I did, it got so much easier. I wasn't even sure I could do it but once I gave up the ice cream the rest wasn't so hard. Chances are if you give it up short term, you could add it back in when he's 6 months old.

I know it's a hard decision. You're a good mom whatever you decide.
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I'm thinking, based on your poor babe's reaction this morning, it's a lot more than a mere sensitivity.

I used to love dairy. Loved cheese, ice cream, everything. Used to love fruit, too. And corn. And eggs. And trail mix. Over two and a half years ago, my third child was dxed with allergies to: dairy, soy, eggs, wheat, peanuts and treenuts, all fruit except blueberries, and too many veggies to list as well as latex (there are other allergies, too, like mustard and quinoa and cinnamon, but those are the biggies). These are full-blown allergies; I've seen the test results and I've, unfortunately, seen the reactions. He was a very sick baby and it took a lot of research and a lot of patience and a lot of love to save him. Those foods have been eliminated from my own diet for almost three years now. And yes, I miss them. I get frustrated sometimes. But, my child is healthy and that is simply amazing to me.

If breastfeeding your son is important to you, you need to eliminate the dairy completely. 50% of babies with dairy allergies are also allergic to soy; over 90% of babies with dairy allergies are also allergic to goat's milk. Your son's reaction this morning was pretty severe (remember that was a reaction via breastmilk--he wasn't even drinking dairy directly); I wouldn't play around with it or offer further challenges right now. It can take up to 14 days for all dairy protein to be completely removed from your system, a little longer before it's out of his, so the reflux could linger 3, even 4 weeks.

A child who is repeatedly exposed to an allergen is at high risk for developing a much more severe, life-threatening allergy; exposure keeps the immune system on hyper-alert.

If you feel like you really are unable to eliminate dairy, there are elemental formulas, containing only amino acids, no intact proteins. I don't recommend them. They taste nasty, they smell nasty, they are filled with corn syrup solids (mmmm...) and they can cost you up to $2000/month. Breastmilk is free. It's incredibly good for an immune system that is already taking a beating can always go back to eating dairy in a few years. Truthfully, I'm not going to tell you it's easy, but it is a small sacrifice to make for your son.
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My ds had the same problem- incredibly fussy, spitting up a lot, etc until I cut out dairy. I tried to slowly re-introduce dairy and he kept getting fussy so I gave up until about a week ago- he's almost 3 months now- and the milk in my diet doesn't seem to be bothering him now.

Breastfeeding is so important that if you can just cut dairy out for 2-3 months and see if his system has matured enough to handle the milk maybe you will be able to reintroduce milk...

even if you have to cut out dairy entirely (I know, I'm a big milk drinker too- it was sooooo hard) it is more than worth it to give your baby the only perfect food for him- your milk! it's hard to give things up but IMO it's soooo worth it when it comes to your child's nutrition.

And since you can't give him dairy formula and he's likely to be allergic to soy as might just end up with no options...stick with it! He's worth it!

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Thanks for all the replies.
I've been dairy free for 9 days, and battling mastitis
I am pretty sure it was brought on by my horrid diet over the past week or so- I just don't eat healthy and I realize how much I relied on milk to provide protein, etc. I'm working on eating better, though.

My ped. recommended giving him soy formula for 24 hours to see if it would make a difference. I bought a $25 can of ProSobee (her recom) and just couldn't do it. Thanks to info from 2 of my really good friends, I did a lot of reading about soy formulas and am just not comfortable giving it to him for a year, so I didn't see the point of starting him on it. Then I got really sick and my mom came to help so I could get a nap- there was enough pumped BM to give him one bottle, then I told her to give him the soy if she had to. Well, she tried and he wouldn't have any part of it :LOL Made a face and spit it out- but I can't blame him, stinky stinky stuff

So, I'm going to stay dairy free till he's 12 weeks or so, then try and reintroduce it and see where we are. Not sure what I'll do if he still can't tolerate it, but I need short term goals right now. He's actually doing really good the past few days- reflux is better and the vomiting has improved a lot, too.
Thanks again for all the replies and suggestions. I appreciate it.
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Good for you KZ. I know how hard it is to change dietary habits of a lifetime. Many moms find that having a child makes them more aware of nutritional issues for themselves as well.

Here is a great book for dairy free meals:

Feeding the Whole Family


Whole Foods for the Whole Family

The Family Nutrition book by Sears
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Hi, I'm usually a lurker
: ,
but I thought Iwould add my 2 cents.
Have you tried rice milk? Its somewhat cheaper than goat and soy, though still more expensive than regular moo. It tasted better,(well, okay, I liked it :LOL ) and you can get it calcium fortified. I don't know much else about it, so if anyone out there drinks it regularly, maybe you can fill in the gaps?

Well, good luck going diary-free. I have a pretty atrocious diet also, which actually seems to affect me more than baby(thank god for breastfeeding!) but I can definately relate.
The only way I can make sure I'm eating proper is to follow the same diet I did when I was pregnant.
Shekinah 5/10/04
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I just wanted to send you a
mama! I went through something similar for Anna's first few months. Only I listened to my stupid ped when he told me that she was just 'colicky', had reflux and eczema...which he said were unrelated and probably heriditary. On a hunch when she was about 3-4 months old I took dairy out of my diet completely (oh man was that hard!) and she was like a different baby! No more rashes, no more crying in the night, no more reflux! I started to rely on eating soy products like soymilk, soycheeze, etc...within another month she was covered in eczema again and was having diarrhea on a daily basis. I eliminated soy from my diet also (this was actually way harder for me than dairy because soy is in lots of stuff I like!) and she was completely better in about 2 days.

I've tried a few times to introduce those foods into my diet again, with no luck. I've also noticed that I feel MUCH better myself when I don't eat them. We did try giving my DD goat's milk when she was about 11 months, but she immediately vomited and had diarrhea for 3 days after the one time she had it. So we are now a non-dairy, non-soy household (its much easier if my DH eats the same stuff as us and we don't keep it around because its too tempting). Its been a really hard adjustment for me but so incredibly worth it! If I had just given up and weaned her after the cows milk allergy she would have ended up on that yucky non dairy/soy formula
I still cheat occasionally and have a small soy latte, or a piece of pizza now that my dd is older and not nursing as much
: ...but usually she ends up with a loose BM and a few patches of eczema the next day. So I'm trying really hard!

If you need ideas of what to eat, or just someone to complain to feel free to PM me. I say do some research on what you can eat, make a list to post on the fridge and keep up with it. It is worth it for both you and your ds! Good luck!

ETA: Ricemilk is pretty good once you are used to it. I liked soymilk better, but the ricemilk definitely works for us. Rice Dream chocolate 'ice cream' is pretty good too
Don't expect to like it the first time you try it :LOL It doesn't have the same protein or fats that other dairy products have, so its not as filling but it still helps with the cravings. Honestly most nutritionists will tell you that you don't NEED milk
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