If your baby has exhibited any of the following signs or symptoms ask your pediatrician to check your baby for a milk protein intolerance:
– Vomiting or frequent spitting up
– Bloated stomach
– Excessive Gas
– Blood in stools (can be microscopic)
– Green stool
– Mucus in the stool
– Excessive crying and irritability (particularly after feedings)
– Difficulty gaining weight
If your baby suffers from one or a combination of these symptoms she may be suffering from milk protein intolerance. If you’re nursing, experiment with cutting all dairy from your life for 2-3 weeks: that should be enough time to get any lingering traces out of your system. If you formula feed, look for an alternative hypoallergenic formula. Many babies with milk protein sensitivities also respond poorly to soy, so look instead for a hydrolysate formula. These formulas contain milk proteins that have already been partially broken down, so they are easier for babies with tender systems to handle. Different formulas work best for different babies, so you may need to try a few before you find what works best for you. Here are some you may consider trying:
These formulas can be expensive: you’ll get sticker shock no matter whether you’re transitioning from breastfeeding or a different type of formula. However, you may be eligible for help. If you work closely with your pediatrician to document your little one’s illness, your health insurance may be able to help you shoulder the burden of the cost. Blood in the stool is the number one sign or symptom of a dairy allergy or insensitivity, so it’s especially important to ensure your pediatrician documents that in your baby’s records.
It may feel lonely dealing with this issue, but you are not on your own. About 1 in 50 babies suffer from some form of dairy sensitivity and this is number is on the rise, though it’s unknown whether an increased number of children is suffering, or whether we are just getting better at diagnosing the issue. Regardless, it can be extremely disheartening to realize that whatever you’ve fed your baby, whether it’s a milk-based formula or breast milk containing dairy from your diet, has contributed to her illness. And while many breastfeeding moms are able to trim the dairy from the diets and ease their child’s discomfort, especially sensitive children may need to switch to a hypoallergenic formula in order to ensure their nutritional needs are met. It can be extremely disappointing for a mother to have to end a breastfeeding relationship earlier than planned but there is no shame in doing whatever’s best for your baby.