January 18, 2009

Milk Allergy




Ryan and I both had a cow's milk allergy when we were born and as it turns out, Austin does as well. When he was born, Austin had trouble with his latch on when it came to breastfeeding and the lactation consultants think it had to do with his recessed chin. Since I was determined to give him the best start in life by feeding him breastmilk, I was forced to pump and feed him by bottle early on until I healed and the swelling went down. Well, after being introduced to the bottle so early, he constantly refused to feed at the breast. Ever since, I've had to take on double duty and pump and feed him by bottle everytime.

Well, on Thursday I decided to give him his very first taste of formula because my milk supply has started to decline due to the constant pumping and I was getting worried that we may have to start supplementing soon. I made up a bottle of the pre-mixed Enfamil formula the hospital gave us when we went home and he took the bottle of formula with no problems (although I gagged at the smell of the stuff). He seemed to tolerate it well, however, the next morning I got him up and noticed a red rash all over his little body. He was also not his usual happy self and fussed throughout the day and could not be consoled.

After much worry and discussion, we finally found out that the rash and fussiness were most likely the cause of a cow's milk allergy from the formula. We haven't noticed this with breastfeeding because only a small amount of dairy makes it into breastmilk and I have a lactose intolerance which makes me avoid most dairy products anyway. The formula, however, was made from cow's milk and that large amount of the milk proteins seemed to have affected him.

Since Friday, I have begun to take an herb called Fenugreek to help stimulate my milk supply and we are throwing out the supplementing option until we have no other choice or Austin reaches at least 6 months of age. I imagine at that time we will have to buy a hypoallergenic or soy based formula which is more expensive than the cow's milk kind, so we will take advantage of our free food option for as long as we can!!

As for Austin, his rash has faded and is almost gone, but he has still been fussier than usual. We have taken him out to eat with us twice this weekend and have had to take him out of his carseat and hold him while we were eating to keep him from screaming. We also got a bad report card from the church nursery this morning and when I left dad in charge while I went to the grocery store this evening, he said Austin cried and cried the entire time I was gone. This is apparently normal behavior in milk sensitive infants and should subside shortly. I'm just glad we found this out early on, before we started him on formula full time!

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