Baby Doesn't Do Well on My Breastmilk - Anyone Else?

Updated on June 29, 2010
D.C. asks from Draper, UT
19 answers

My baby is 7 days old and she doesn't seem to do well on my breastmilk AT ALL! On her 3th day, I noticed signs of reflux (just like my 3 yr old had) and started her on Prevacid. She was still being so fussy, horrible stomach pains, spitting up and diaper rash beginning. I thought that the gas was due to my let-down being too powerful and she was sucking in too much air. So I started pumping and giving it to her in a bottle. Didn't help. We switched her to soy formula while I pumped and dumped for a couple of days to get all of the possible allergens out of my milk (so I'm now not eating any cows milk, nuts, broccoli, etc - which is SO hard to do). She is doing fantastic on the formula, no more diaper rash, no more pain, gas is under control.
Then this morning I started to re-introduce breastmilk and she is fussy, gassy and not doing near as well. So... can someone's breastmilk be toxic or bad???
This happened with my first daughter too, but I continued to give her breastmilk until 6 months because I was told it was the "best" thing to do. I don't know if it is worth torturing all of us again. Any thoughts?

What can I do next?

  • Add yourAnswer own comment
  • Ask your own question Add Question
  • Join the Mamapedia community Mamapedia
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

So What Happened?

Hello all and thank you SOOOO much for your support and advice. I finally found an answer... I talked to my pediatrician and a lactation specialist. I didn't want to give up breastfeeding without a fight and without an answer or I would have felt like I had just given up. One thing I didn't mention is that I am a MAJOR overproducer (like pumping 8-9 oz every 3 hrs). When I talked to the lactation specialist and told her that we are all lactose sensative, she actually asked me if I happen to be an overproducer. After I told her how much milk I was producing, she told me what was most likely happening! Most women that produce normal amounts of breastmilk have a bit of foremilk and then hindmilk that follows. With overproducers we produce a TON of foremilk and normal amounts of hindmilk. Well, the foremilk is pure lactose!!! So, it is the perfect storm. It's not what I'm eating, but how much milk I am producing!!! Can you believe it!?! The entire reason I stuck it out with my first is because everyone was telling me that breastmilk helps immune systems, which in most cases I'm sure is true. But, my 1st born was the sickest child of any of my friends - constant ear infections, strep throat, weird bacterial infection, and needed ear tubes, tonsils and adenoids out at 18 months. Now I know why - when you are lactose sensative - pouring lactose into your system actually LOWERS your immune system! So I was giving her exactly what she didn't need and couldn't handle by giving her my lactose-rich breastmilk. Ugh!!!!! I refuse to do it again to this little pup and am trying to dry up and continuing with soy. Thank you Mommys out there for your support again!

Featured Answers

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

R.S.

answers from Salt Lake City on

I know you've already cut out a lot of foods, but I'm going to suggest one more - chocolate. I noticed with my baby that when I eat chocolate, he gets a tummy ache and spits up - a lot. He's also allergic to raw milk products (which we found out after he developed a HORRIBLE rash all over his body and pushed for some allergy testing). Now that I've cut those dairy products and chocolate out of my diet, he's doing wonderfully! Good luck.

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

D.M.

answers from Denver on

Consult the Dr. My son had a milk protein intolerance, but it didn't show until later. Being gassy and fussy and in pain is not good for anyone. If formula works better, than switch to formula.... breastfeeding is not always best. I remember feeling like "I" was making him miserable and he'd cry and scream and arch his back... formula made us both feel better! Do what you feel is right.... because it is! Take care.

More Answers

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

J.P.

answers from Denver on

Hi--
I went through this with my oldest, and knew how to avoid it with my second. It absolutely sounds like food sensitivities to something you are eating. Breast milk is absolutely the best thing for your baby. Your baby is not allergic to your breast milk, but something you are eating. It sounds like you know the top seven allergens--gluten (wheat, rye, some oats, and barley), soy, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, dairy, shell fish. Corn can be hard to digest. Take her off the prevacid--it can cause long term damage in infants. It teaches the body to stop making acid, which it needs to digest protein. When you take her off, if she has been on it too long her body will not make the acid it needs to digest because he body grew to function that way. A natural cure that works just as well as prevacid is giving her a tincture of catnip and fennel--any health food store will have it. Just a few drops should do the trick. It takes 7 full days to get milk protein out of your milk, so the few days you pumped and dumped may not have been enough if it is a dairy allergy. Also, dairy is hidden in everything--anything that has casein or whey in it is a problem. You'll find it in everything from bread (sometimes it has nonfat dried milk powder) to french fries (if they are breaded or soaked in milk like they do at Red Robin) to salad dressings. Gluten is usually the other big problem with infants---it often causes a rash that is like little red dots all around the anus. Both these allergies will cause reflux like symptoms--it's her body trying to get out the offending things.
Both my children are super sensitive and I am practically an expert on all this now. I successfully breast fed both of them after figuring out all this. I am happy to help you further and give you more suggestions for making you and your daughter happier. Oh, trying taking marshmallow root--or drinking Mother's milk tea--as it has soothing properties for her tummy and will get into your breast milk. I could go on and on--let me know if I can help further. Also, our allergies and sensitivities are crazy, so I can give you all the help you need on menu ideas that will work for the whole family that you can still eat. Once you have the resources it's actually much easier then it seems to you now.
Good luck and congrats on your new little one!
J.

Follow up:
I just read the "So What Happened" response and it's making me crazy and I have to say something. The lactation consultant is only partially right. Babies are specially designed to digest lactose. We lose the ability to digest lactose after toddlerhood--because most mammals no longer drink milk after toddlerhood. The amount of foremilk means that the baby is digesting too fast and some of the lactose is entering the small intestine without being broken down and that is causing irritation. By simply expressing some of the foremilk before the baby eats it would solve the problem totally.

2 moms found this helpful
Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

L.D.

answers from Modesto on

When a baby is miserable on breastmilk it's not worth it to breastfeed. As a result they will underfeed and still not get enough of the "best" nutrition. What good is the "best" nutrition if they aren't getting enough of it? Eating will become a dreaded thing if it makes her feel bad. WHat a choice for a baby: to be hungry or to eat and feel crappy? Breastfeeding is not best in this circumstance, although some will disagree. It doesn't mean your milk is "bad" either-she simply doesn't tolerate it. Your baby may or may not have a true reaction to dairy but soy should be a true last resort. Try a milk based formula to see if she tolerates it (milk based is best), if not switch to Nutramigen (non milk based, hypoallergenic) which is next best. Soy is estrogenic and quite frankly doesn't have enough all around nutrition to be used for anything but as a last resort. Nutramigen is pricey but well worth it. Good luck to you!

1 mom found this helpful
Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

E.L.

answers from Kansas City on

I have been where you are with all 3 of my kiddos. I would switch to formula for a few days and baby would be doing wonderful and then I would switch to breastmilk and my husband would come home from work and could always tell the days that I had switched to breastmilk. It might have been the extra protein in my milk. I made a permant switch to formul and was better all around. Like was said, breastmilk is not always better, do what is best for the baby and yourself.

1 mom found this helpful
Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

M.W.

answers from Boise on

I don't think it is worth the torture.

Follow your instincts and give her formula if she likes that better.

1 mom found this helpful
Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

J.H.

answers from Dallas on

Like others have said, it can take 2-3 weeks for the cow's milk protein to leave your body and for your daughter's gut to heal and start being 'normal' again. My son has the same issue; he is sensitive to the protein in cow's milk, so I've cut out all dairy. There is dairy in almost everything - I just eat fruits and vegetables, some grains, but everything I eat is whole food, no more processed stuff. I've felt really great since doing it, but it was really hard in the beginning to cut out what I was used to!

1 mom found this helpful
Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

A.S.

answers from Denver on

The bottom line is your baby needs to eat. If you've found a formula that works, go with it. No, there is no reason to torture yourself over breastmilk, though you'll get a lot of people who will disagree. Personally, my milk ran out at 4 months....it was eat formula or not eat. I wasn't going to jump through hoops to try and bring my supply up, it really only mattered to me that my DS have a steady diet and now he's a happy healthy boy who eats everything in sight. You need to do what is best for *everyone* and if it means formula, so be it. GL!!

1 mom found this helpful
Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

M.H.

answers from Denver on

I just read your question again and saw you cut out milk already which was my suggestion. It has to be something in your diet. Maybe it IS milk, but it is also soy (I am allergic to soy) - try another type of milk or no milk at all for a couple of days.
Keep trying- you'll get it!!

B.W.

answers from Minneapolis on

It can take two weeks to get the dairy out of your body.
It sounds like its your letdown, and that you aren't letting her empty your breast but instead switching her to the other side. She only needs one breast per feeding, and when you are engorged you need to nurse one breast for two feedings, then switch to the other breast. Latch her until letdown, and then unlatch her and let your milk spray into a towel, relatching her when it stops spraying, then let her nurse on breast for two feedings while you are engorged. This ensures you are giving her hindmilk, which is what she needs to grow and thrive. Foremilk is watery and it will make a child gassy, spitty, and unhappy if they have too much of it. At 7 days old, she should have the orange or yellow seedy breastmilk poops, that look like dijon mustard. If her poops are stringy and green like wet lettuce or mucousy, its too much foremilk.

Nurse her on one breast for two feedings in a row, letting your letdown into a towel and not into her mouth, and relatching when your letdown stops spraying. I can almost guarantee that she's getting too much foremilk and thats the problem. Its an old wivs tale that baby needs to be switched to the other breast after 10 (15,20, etc) minutes. Nurse her one breast only, as long as she wants, as often as she wants, and nurse one breast for two feedings until your milk is no longer causing engorgement, then switch to one breast per feeding, and only one breast so she empties the breast and gets all the hindmilk.

B.W.

answers from Pocatello on

Have the same issues with my new baby. First it takes 3 weeks sometimes more to get milk out of your system. Second do not feed a baby Soy, it has hormones in it and they have found it is causing reproductive problems in the kids later in life(Parents Mag). Use the Alimentum. We ran out of the Soy a few days after I read about the problems with it, and had two cans of the lactose free. He does ok, but still screams. So we are going to the Alimentum (Purple can Similac) to see how it goes. My baby is just at 3 months, and we are weaning him onto formula. I don't want too. But it will be fine. The first 4 weeks were horrible with the screaming until I took milk out of my diet. Hang in there mama. You'll do fine.

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

M.W.

answers from St. Cloud on

I would consult your doctor for sure. My kids were both BIG spit uppers on my breast milk but it didn't seem to really bother them so I never altered my diet.

As for the soy formula....... I"ve read that it's really not good for babies (or anyone). It is linked to problems later on in life. I would be VERY hesitant to continue her on it.

Also call a lactation specialist. They will have more experience with problems in nursing. I'm sorry I don't have any great advice.....

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

C.V.

answers from Kansas City on

Have you called the pediatrician and lactation consultant?That's what I would do.And tell them that you understand that breast is best and want to continue but this is what is happening and that it happend to your oldest daughter.I have heard there's a way to test your milk.I agree,breast is best,but not if she is sick,then she's not getting the nutrients!It sounds like an allergy but I am puzzled being that you tried cutting out things and it made no difference!I've never heard of breastmilk being "bad!"

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

T.D.

answers from Cleveland on

It can take a couple of weeks for dairy to be completely eliminated from both your and her body. You also need to make sure you are eliminating ALL forms of dairy from your diet including those hidden in foods. You may also find that it isn't dairy at all or even a combination of multiple things. You could try eliminated wheat, eggs, tomatoes, caffeine etc. You don't have to do it all at once. Just pick one and stick with it for a couple of weeks to see if she improves. Even if you decide to switch to formula you are possibly only prolonging having to deal with the allergy/intolerance without giving your daughter any of the benefits of breastfeeding.

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

A.D.

answers from Salt Lake City on

Hi D.,
With three children with food allergies, I believe that breastfeeding is the best. I only nursed my second son for five months because it was AWFUL! Screeming all the time, gas, spitting up etc. After trying about every formula, we finally found one that worked (Alimentum), so I quit nursing. Since then, I had my third son who also has the same problems, but worse, and no formula worked for him so I have been forced to breastfeed, and I am so glad. It has been such a work in progress with much trial and error and many sleepless nights full of both him and me crying! But, he will be one years old next month and we are still successfully breastfeeding. He is big and healthy (23lbs) and I totally attribute it all to being a breastfed baby. Babies with food allergies have a compromised immune system as it is, so I just wanted to offer him the best that I could to help prevent any other illnesses and hopefully out grow these allergies. Honestly, it is a challenge, but you can do it if that is what you believe. Only you can decide if it is going to work for you, but it is completely doable. For a whole year I have completely eliminated Dairy, Soy, Eggs, Nuts, shellfish, broccoli, tomatoes, zucchinni, peas, green beans, blueberries, blackberries, etc. etc. and the list goes on. Now I am someone who LOVES food. This has been quite a challenge for me, but full of very valuable lessons. I have learned so much empathy for other people who permanently cannot have these items. ie:my other kids with allergies. You can do it!! It has taken a lot of research on my part. The three pediatricians that I have seen don't have much experience in a case this severe so I have done all of the leg work. We have not done the allergy testing yet because it is so costly and we are already doing what they would suggest. (the elimination process) but, when he is a little older, I do plan to get it done. The best place that I have heard is Primary children's. (We also live in Utah.) I would love to give you any other information that I have and other contacts that might assist you. Good luck with this. Be persistent and listen to your instincts. They are more sensitive than we know. Email me if you want any more info that I have and I will get you my number.
......an afterthought.. are you on any meds that could be possibly be upsetting him?
A. [email protected]____.com

A.G.

answers from Houston on

i really think you should contact the la leche league, they can assist you further. breast milk is the answer, sorry, i know formula seems as it is, but there are just too many coincidences in childhood obesity and autism, allergies, immunity issues, that seem to be prevelant during the times formula use was at its peak.

good luck to you

A.K.

answers from Pocatello on

The same thing happened to my fourth child. I never had a problem breast feeding my other three before her. She couldn't keep any breast milk down or she was gassy and fussy. We ended up switching to soy formula after a week and I missed being able to breast feed with her, but in the end she was a happier baby which made me a happier mommy.

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

S.H.

answers from Salt Lake City on

My son had similar problems. I decided that breast feeding just wasn't going to work. It got to the point that the thought of breast feeding was making me upset. I quit after 3 weeks. They say breast milk is best but I believe that it is not if the baby is miserable there fore you are miserable. YOU have to decide for yourself. There will be people that say you should of kept with it and other that will say it is ok to do formula. I am here to tell you that if you are miserable knowing that your baby is miserable then go to formula I promise you your baby is going to be healthy and happy with formula and you will be better off. YOU need to decide what is best for you and your baby whether it is formula or breastmilk. Do you really want to go through having a baby that is gassy, spitting up and the diaper rash or a baby that is happy with formula and therefore you are happy and enjoying your baby. I don't believe that your breast milk is toxic. I just think that your baby prefers the formula. Look at it as you would a certain food that you don't really like but will eat but you would prefer something else that you like better. I hope this helps! Good luck! You know what is best for you and your baby I promise you will do what is right for you!!!

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

J.A.

answers from Denver on

I am a breastfeeding advocate. I breastfed my 3 children until they were 2 years old. BUT if it feels like you are torturing her and she is doing fine on the formula, let it be. The most important thing is to bond with your baby and not be stressed out. Good Luck and Congratulations!

For Updates and Special Promotions
Follow Us

Related Questions