I can’t Breastfeed my Child. How to deal with a Milk Allergy in Babies
My baby is born and the nurse passes him to me to hold for the first time. I’m overwhelmed with immense joy. She tells me it’s time to try and feed. I choose to Breastfeed. So I hold my baby close and help him try to latch on. The process of feeding started out the same as with my first. Unfortunately, I didn’t know that my baby had a milk protein allergy. I want to share with you the ups and downs and how I learned to deal with a milk allergy. Milk allergy in babies is more common than I thought.
One of the worst feelings is when your child is suffering and you don’t know how to help them. I watched my son choke night after night. I listened to him cry because he was still hungry. It broke my heart that I didn’t know how to help my son. What was wrong? What could I do to fix it?
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Being Home with a New baby
All new parents struggle to find what works and what doesn’t. Teaching the baby about day and night is a priority. You are trying your best to take care of your newborn. My baby would eat, sleep and poop as all babies do. I Breastfeed during the day and used a bottle at night. The feedings and schedule went on day after day.
Feeding became a struggle.
Yes, he would eat but then most of it came back up. Feeding didn’t get easier. My son was spitting up almost everything he ate. Every feeding I would cover myself in a baby blanket (burp cloths were not enough). Doctors said he had reflux. He slept on a slight incline. We learned later something else was causing the reflux.
We continued with the feedings and the full cover up and tried what we could. Then at night, a new symptom started. He was chocking and gagging every time he would lay down. Again, we were told its reflux. Keep the baby upright 20 min after feeding. How am I supposed to do that when we want him to go back to sleep? During the day it was fine to wait 20 min before laying down, but what about night time. Things weren’t getting better.
He was barely sleeping. Not that he was always fully awake but was fussing, gagging or choking. It’s impossible to sleep when you’re terrified for your baby. When he would wake up your first thought is to feed and then we would start the exhausting procedure over again.
Going to a Specialist
Nothing worked, we went to a specialist. A Pediatric GI doctor. We switched to sensitive formula to help him. I was breastfeeding and using sensitive formula. After weeks still no improvement in sleeping or keeping his food down.
Then I saw something that scared me. There was a red line in his stool. There was blood in his stool. What was wrong? What is happening to my baby? I had no idea. We went to the doctor the next morning.
The doctor said it’s possible that he has a Milk Protein Allergy. They had to test the stool. So continue feeding my son breast milk and sensitive formula until we get 2 poop diapers tested. The test came back and he was allergic to milk.
I stopped breastfeeding at this point and used only sensitive formula. The formula did not help or change anything. Sleeping did not get better, and he was still spitting up heavily and still tested positive for blood in his stool. Back to the doctor, we go. My poor baby going through all this. Changed the formula again. We changed the formula 3 times before being put on ELECARE. Elecare is an amino acid based formula that doesn’t contain milk products. This is a special formula used when a child has a milk allergy.
We got some relief.
Finally, relief. He started eating better, restful sleeping no longer choking and spitting up after every feeding. My baby was happy and so was I.
Here is a list of what to look for and ask when dealing with a Milk Allergy.
Things to know and Watch out for when dealing with a Milk Allergy in Babies
1. Babies can have reflux without milk allergy, but it is also an early sign.
2. A rash develops
4. Keep a journal of feedings and sleep time. Record anything that continually happens or anything out of the norm.
5. When a baby has a milk allergy they can’t have any milk. That means either a specific formula or if Breastfeeding the mother completely goes off ALL DIARY. The mother would have to give up all dairy to see if the baby can handle that. To do this though, there is a period of a few weeks where you can’t feed till you cleanse your body of all DIARY. There is no cheating either cause that will affect your baby. I used the special formula.
6. If you see blood in the stool it’s a strong sign of a milk allergy. If you can, save that diaper and bring it with you to the doctor. Having the diaper will help. (With blood in the stool I mean a few dots or a red line. Anytime you see blood in the stool, call your doctor.)
7. If your child was tested and has a milk allergy many insurance companies will cover the cost for the special formula. If they don’t pay for the whole cost, they may pay a percent. This is not a formula you can buy at the local drug store. The formula has to be prescribed. If your insurance doesn’t want to cover it have your doctor write a letter as to why this is so important. That sometimes helps.
Try not to be too hard on yourself.
8. Try not to be too hard on yourself. As new mothers, we all try our best and that’s all we can do. It’s disappointing when you have a plan for you and your baby and it doesn’t work out. This is key. Remember this. You’re doing your best I know it.
(Refer to the Article from the American Pediatrics Association for the statistics on milk allergy) https://www.healthychildren.org/English/healthy-living/nutrition/Pages/Milk-Allergy.aspx
9. Milk allergy is common among infants and toddlers. 1 out of 3 children will have a milk allergy early on.
10. Many children outgrow this allergy. By age 1 to 1 ½ years old 50% of children will outgrow a milk allergy. By age 3-5 years old 80% of children outgrow it.
11. Talk to other parents that have gone through it to help with support. Feel free to comment below or write to me. I’d be happy to talk with you.
It’s hard to see your baby suffering. The stages when you are waiting for trial and error to figure everything out is the worst. Find comfort in knowing you are not alone and you will get through it. Babies are resilient and will be ok. Hope these tips on dealing with a milk allergy help you. Good Luck Momma!