7 Week Old Miserable, Not Tolerating Formula... Any Thoughts?

Updated on January 31, 2011
R.M. asks from Franklin, MA
16 answers

My baby is almost 8 weeks old, she was born 5 weeks early. She is formula fed (I was unable to breastfeed). Started on similac, then went to similac sensitive because she was so grunty and gassy all the time. this past week she has been very cranky, crying almost all the time that she's awake:(. and she's spitting up more, the chunky throw up kind. she's sleeping a real lot and that worries me too, but at least she's not miserable in her sleep. yesterday the dr switched her to alimentun. now she's throwing up even more, but its clearer and not yet digested. because she's so gassy, the dr wanted to try this formula switch before thinking acid reflux. but we called twice today, and they're having us give her a little maalox 4x/day. i am so tired and stressed but mostly just sad for my little peanut. i am going to look into taking her to see a GI specialist tomorrow. any thoughts or suggestions? could she be just getting used to the new formula? they don't want me to stop it yet because it's only been a little over a day. thanks so much for any info. or help!!! i wish i could take her discomfort away:(

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So What Happened?

wow, i can't thank everyone enough for their responses. we went back to the dr. again today and he put her on zantac. he wants to give her a few more days trying the alimentum. what i just still find bizzarre is that she's throwing up MORE since the switch. my pediatrician will refer us to a GI if there's no difference in 3 more days. apparently there's a prescription only formula that's even more hypoallergenic than the alimentum or nutramigen. he also checked her poop for microscopic blood and found none. today she is a little less cranky, but the throwing up is so much:( i don't know how she's not dehydrated. where's that crystal ball that tells me which formula will be great or her???

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answers from Chicago on

I agree try the soy could be milk sensitivity. That is what worked for us. Now I will say she did continue to throw up constantly with Similiac until we switched to enfamil soy which seemed to help a lot.

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answers from Augusta on

ask your dr about putting her on goats milk , or goats milk formula.
I was allergic to everything BUT that when I was a baby.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Tampa on

I would try - with an IBCLC's or Le Leche League Leader's help - to re-lactate. Most new Moms can and the issue you had at first should not be an issue now unless you have a diagnosed prolactin issue. Most medications ARE breastfeeding compatible - as any IBCLC or LLL Leader will tell you.

Breastmilk will probably clear up all those issues your very crampy/crying/hungry issues newborn has.

If you'd like help to get started - please personal message me asap

Funny how some Moms who've failed at breastfeeding one way or the other cannot be supportive of very factual information given by an experienced medical professional to a Mother who may want to try and nurse her baby again since formula is known to be problematic for many infant's GI systems and inferior nutrition to boot.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

It sounds exactly like what we went through with my son. The alimentum formula made it worse. We ended up taking him to the ER when he was 10 wks old because he was dehydrated. At birth my son weighed 7 lbs 12 oz; at 10 wks old he was only 6 lbs 9oz when admitted to the ER.

Please, if she goes more than 8 hrs without a wet diaper, take her to the ER!

We were admitted to the ER and the next morning they did an upper GI to rule out pyloric stenosis (without going through the ER it was going to take us over 4 wks to see a pediatric GI...there are very few of them so they are hard to get an appt with). Turns out he had extremely bad reflux. He was on reflux medicines until he was 1 yr old, and at almost 3 he still has episodes from time to time (but who doesn't).

Please don't let anyone tell you the breastfeeding will fix the problem or make you feel bad about formula feeding. I was breastfeeding my son but had to stop and give him formula (the GI dr had us thicken his feedings and we had to track caloric intake because he had lost so much weight).

We also had to keep our son upright and still for 45 mins after a feeding. The infant car seat only made things worse because of how it "squishes" their intestines.

If it turns out to be reflux, make sure you always have changes of clothes and stain spray at your finger tips! LOL I remember one night when we were on vacation, my son was 4 mos old, and it took 5 changes of clothes for him and 3 changes of clothes for me to get out of the condo and go to dinner.

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answers from Boston on

Have you tried putting mylicon drops in every bottle? They're basically flavorless and they aren't absorbed by the body, so there's pretty much no way for a baby to overdose (I think the bottle says no more than 12 doses per day). That might help with the gassiness.

I would give the formula a little more time. She's probably still working the old stuff out of her system.

Finally, just wanted to say that if anyone messages you, either publicly or privately, telling you that somehow you did this to your kid because you didn't breastfeed, tell them to go away. Lots of babies have digestive problems even when breastfed, requiring intense elimination diets for mom, but it's basically still the same process of trial and error there until it's figured out what's wrong. So while babies aren't allergic to breastmilk, lots of babies are sensitive to stuff in breastmilk, the same way that they're sensitive to stuff in formula.

Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

I breastfed my oldest until I came down with bad pneumonia which required heavy doses of steroids and had to then switch her to formula. We tried EVERYTHING...and I mean all of the expensive formulas on the market. Poor thing couldn't hold anything down and would literally scream from the gas pains. Our DR has 5 kids of her own and suggested we try the walmart brand "Parents choice Gentle formula". Two of her babies couldn't tolerate any of the other formulas either, including the Nutrimigen, Alimentum and soy products. She tried the walmart brand and found that for some reason they could tolerate that formula. At 1st I thought...now that is just silly since our daughter couldn't take the expensive gentle formulas...but I thought what the heck it's worth a try. Our daughter WAS able to tolerate the parent's choice brand gentle formula. After 2 days she was back to being the happy go lucky breastfed baby. Our 2nd daughter was actually allergic to my breastmilk and of course they had us try the expensive fancy pants stuff for a week or so and then I said hmmm....I'm gonna try parents choice again and sure enough the vomiting and gas attacks stopped. If it were me I would definitely look into a specialist to rule out GI issues with a premie but you may also want to give parent's choice brand a try as well. The only thing we can figure is perhaps it's not as strong as the name brands but we're not sure.


answers from Dover on

I am not familiar w/ alimentun. Since Similac didn't work, what about Isomil (soy based)? Keep a close eye on her to be sure she doesn't get dehyrdrated and since she is sleeping a lot (if she is sleeping more than normal).

My cousin had a similiar problem when he was little...the "flap" that closes and keeps the food down wasn't closing....don't know if that is a possibility or not. A quick procedure corrected it and he is fine and all grown now.



answers from Honolulu on

my daughter had bad reflux when she was a newborn also. we had put her on enfamil gentlease (the purple can) and worked like magic! GOODLUCK



answers from Savannah on

So sorry, I remember that! My youngest was throwing up, gassy, cranky, would scream sometimes...he also started devloping eczema. I got him one of those vibrating bouncy chairs (he loved the vibration setting; it soothed him) and I ended up making the switch to Good Start Soy. That helped tremendously, and the rash began going away fast!
I took him to one pediatrician 4 times in the month of A. alone!!! She was an idiot. (Or was I, for continuing with her so long?) I took her to another doctor and started crying as I explained his issues. We were there like 10 minutes and he said "He's allergic to milk! He may grow out of it a little after 12 months, but pull him off that and go to nutrigamin (however you spell it)". He would throw up even more violently if I breastfed which I thought was soooo messed up (I'm making my baby sick? I wasn't able to breastfeed my first child b/c he was 6 weeks early but now I can breastfeed and my son is throwing up?) Well, that didn't work for us that well, but I figured if milk was the problem, we would go to soy, and that worked fine. He's a strong happy perfectly healthy little lad now.



answers from Portland on

Poor little peanut. Poor mommy.

You may be doing these things already, but I have heard that some babies need to be burped much more thoroughly than others, every few minutes during a feeding and again after. On the shoulder in an extended body position seems most comfortable for some babies.

Also, are you propping her somewhat upright when she's sleeping? You might even try semi-sitting her in a carrier for some of her naps. That tends to help with reflux and spitting up.

Finally, look at the soothing techniques used by Dr. Harvey Karp, author of The Happiest Baby on the Block who explains why he calls the first 3 months the Fourth Trimester, and explains why babies run pretty much according to their own needs for the first 3-4 months:

How-to's: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G6KnVPUdEgQ&feature=re...

Enhanced sleep: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tk5MUOMecHI&NR=1

Interview: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iu0TtxO-ocY&feature=re...


answers from Washington DC on

I know the feeling of a preemie. My youngest, now 8, was a TOUGH COOKIE - pneumonia, stopped breathing, etc. I breast fed - but he was STILL screaming - even with my diet altered (no broccoli, etc.)...we did the drops for reflux to no avail...he had to sleep sitting up.

GI Drs. couldn't figure out what was wrong with him...FINALLY took him to an ENT - since he was a preemie with complications - he had not developed the ear canals....we had tubes put in and he was a HAPPY boy after that - granted it took us 11 months to get this figured out!!! The throw up stopped, the reflux stopped and he was a happy boy....have your ENT check her little ears...she might have the same problem my Pickle did....

It's also possible, even at this young age, she has Celiac disease...so wheat and gluten will upset her tiny little belly.

With Pickle (that's his nick name) we had to keep him UP for at LEAST 30 minutes after he eat (yes, even after solids), he STILL needed to be burped for a while afterwards too...he was a VERY difficult baby - unlike my first one!! DREAM!! But he's a trooper and a blessing!!!

I hope you figure out what's wrong with her.


answers from Cleveland on

I had a friend that had a baby with a similar problem. He threw up EVERYTHING; Similac, Isomil, lactose free stuff, low iron stuff, soy stuff, Nutrimigen, Alimentum, EVERYTHING they could think of. They ended up finding out that he is allergic to both milk AND soy. They ended up getting him put on Neocate, which is super expensive, but worked wonders. Keep pushing the doctors to figure out what the problem is! Good luck mama!



answers from Boston on

Our daughter was this exact same story. She was 5 weeks early and she would not nurse. I tried everything and even pumped for 6 weeks while still trying. It was very frustrating. And the formula kept giving her the same problems as you're having. It was awful. Only our girls gas was so bad she didn't sleep well either. I tried what the dr's said and it didn't help. I finally tried lactose free (I'm not sure if the formulas you have are or not). It worked wonders! I also paid close attention to what she did once she ate cereal and real foods. She refused oat cereal or any oatmeal and started checking labels. Things she ate with oats (cereal bars, cheerios, etc) gave her gas also. I was told this one was unusual, but it was the final change that gave us our happy non-gassy girl. It may also help to check with family members. I had no idea a lactose intolerance has popped up with two other family members until they were school age or that my grandma has digestive problems with oats. I was very surprised and there may be some issues hiding in your family too. Hope this helps!

I have also been told since then that if there is a medical intolerance or allergy and you can get your dr to file it, that some insurance companies will help with the cost of formulas that will work. It's definitely worth trying.


answers from Anniston on

my daughter had the same problems we changed her to soy similac for fussiness and gas and put her on an antacid and havent had a problem since she slept all the time wen she was that age and is still take 2 two hour naps aday i was told by the ped. when i asked she said as long as she will sleep let her she grows in her sleep and makes her brain more active it good for her but i would try the soy formula it really is easier on there little tummys. hope this helps



answers from New York on

I think going to the GI is a great idea. They will probably try zantac then prevacid/nexium. Also try holding the baby upright for 30 minutes after feeding. This will help with the acid reflux and throwing up if this is the cause. You may want to think of going to see an allergist too. We switched our son to soy, when the doctor assumed it was a milk allergy, and it made it worse. We then went to gentlease from enfamil and that worked really well. He did not have a milk allergy. I also think for some very special formulas, that insurance will cover them if the doctor writes a prescription for it. So check for that too. I am sorry that you guys are having such a hard time...it makes this time even more stressful then it already is. We have a ten week old and up until about week 8, she slept so much, I was worried too. Some days she slept all day and some days she was awake. A way to check for dehydration is to look at the soft spot on the head...if it is sunken in a bit then that is an issue. Of course a doctor will need to tell you for sure and if the baby is keeping no liquid down then of course that is a concern. Good luck!


answers from Provo on

I don't think it's her getting used to the formula. Normally you see a change immediately.
I would suggest burping her every 5 minutes when not feeding. Also my son loved laying across my arm. Have his head in my hand and him straddling my arm by my elbow. It helped him with the pressure with the gas. It was pretty much the only thing that kept him happy at times.
As for the sleeping a lot, she is probably going through a growth spurt. My son slept a ton during them. When she is awake, is she alert and not groggy or not aware of things? If she's not alert and she is groggy then I'd take her in to get checked to see if she is dehydrated.
Good luck! Your Peanut will get better! No fear!

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