Friday, 26 September 2014

Noticing a dairy allergy / intolerance in a baby

If you've been reading my blog or following me on Twitter then you probably already know that my 6 month old baby girl, Isabelle, is dairy intolerant. We were 'lucky' that we found out when she was 11 weeks old as a lot of other babies are not diagnosed with it until a lot later - if at all! Looking back I am shocked that none of the health care professionals we saw realised what was wrong with my little girl although she had all of the symptoms of dairy intolerance! 
In hospital I didn't receive much help with breastfeeding apart from one very lovely student midwife who I'll always be very greatful for, the night staff kept offering me formula milk for Isabelle because she was continuously feeding throughout the night but I refused - I wanted to breastfeed my baby and I knew that if I started the bottle I probably wouldn't go back to breastfeeding. Luckily I had attended a pregnancy retreat run by mummy and little me, leaving me packed full of breastfeeding advice from expert midwife Alison Brown.

Isabelle very quickly came out in what they called 'baby acne' all over her little face... it looked as if my newborn was a teenager already with her skin! Then when we were home, Isabelle was very upset every time I laid her down so that bugaboo pram we got didn't really get used :( as she just hated laying flat. She was continuously feeding and her tummy was very hard full of wind. Everyone told me she had Colic so I started to use infacol and it did actually help her get some wind out. She also has eczema and had terrible nappies... oh the poor stained clothing! When Isabelle was 8 weeks I took her to the doctors as I noticed a tiny bit of blood in one of her nappies - they didn't even examine her and said she's fine just obviously hurt down there.... ? I don't know why I didn't question this at the time.

 
11 weeks old and Isabelle had an absolutely terrible night. Mummy had indulged in cheese on toast and loads of chocolate = baby full of dairy now! And it had been building up for the last 11 weeks. She woke up every hour to feed and cry and had so many nappies that Michael had to help me. We didn't notice the colour of the nappies until the next morning at 7am when I changed her after Michael had left for work, her poo was dark green like grass and there was blood in her nappy! Oh my god. I called Michael and told him and then I checked every nappy from the night - they all were the same. I was terrified. We got a doctors appointment and that's when I was told I'd have to stop breastfeeding as its a dairy allergy and  they'd give me special formula - I replied with Hell No, I wanted to make sure nothing else was wrong with my baby. So the doctor sent me to the local A&E and they could check Isabelle out. 

Turns out it is a cows milk protein allergy - the only way to 'really' know for sure is to cut dairy out of diet all together if symptoms go away then = dairy. They gave me details of a dietitian and made me an appointment, they gave me details of what to avoid in my diet and since that day I've been dairy free so that I can continue to feed my baby girl... don't feel too sorry for me, I've discovered pourtoi cookies - dairy free and oh so tasty.

Another big sign Isabelle was dairy intolerant is that she was incredibly slow at gaining weight and after 2 weeks she hadn't gained. As soon as dairy was out of her diet, weight gain started to improve alot! 

It's easy to see why so many babies go undiagnosed with cows milk allergy!
My advice to you if you think your baby might have a milk allergy - talk to your doctor or health visitor. Cutting out dairy if you're breastfeeding is actually easier than you might think and it's the only way to really know if it's dairy causing the problems. 

Mary-Kate, x
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