Blood in Stool?? Help!!

Updated on May 10, 2010
S.L. asks from Oceanside, CA
23 answers

My daughter is almost four months old. At her two month appointment she had the rotovirus vaccine. On that day she started to have diarreaha and it has continued since. After a couple of weeks they tested her stool and found blood, and they said "milk protein allergy." I tried to eliminate all dairy and soy and they gave me neutramigin as a suppliment. It didn't stop, so we had her allergy tested. The blood tests came back ALL negative. The blood and diarreaha have continued so we went to a GI and she said to stop breastfeeding and use neutramigin. I did it slowly because my daughter does not really like the formula, and it seems like she is having more diapers and is fussy. I do have to add, she has never been fussy until now nor does she have any other symptoms like rashes or cries in pain. Has anyone had this happen? I am so torn. Do I listen to the Dr. and only use formula or go with only breastfeeding which is what I want to do. Am I putting my daugther in danger? Has anyone stopped breastfeeding and that didn't help their situation. I don't think the formula is going to solve the problem. Help Please!!!

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So What Happened?

I want to start by thanking all the moms who responded to my questions. I had been searching on the internet daily to find some answers, or comfort, and came away feeling more frustrated. After typing in my questions on Mamapedia, people responded that night. I finally starting to feel better as well as my sweet Delilah. I decided to go to straight breastmilk and am on a allergen free diet. It seem to be helping, but it has only been 3 full days at this point. I have to really look to see any blood and if I do it is usually a tiny dot if any. I know I need to continue to eliminate all blood, so I will. The diet hasn't been that bad. I spoke to a friend who has been so helpful and has me set up on the right things to eat. I really think my baby girl and I are on our way thanks to all of you.

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answers from Savannah on

I would get a second opinion as well. I don't understand why you would have to stop breastfeeding and switch to formula if all her allergy tests came back negative.

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answers from Fort Wayne on

Just because she might have a sensitivity to milk doesn't mean that you can't breastfeed. You'll need to cut all dairy out of YOUR diet so that she doesn't get any though. But, if the tests came back negative, I'm not so sure that she has an allergy. Did they do any type of GI test on her?
I think I would get a second opinion. It doesn't sound like they are being very thorough. Seems like they already have a diagnosis in their heads and are refusing to look at anything else. If you can afford it, I think I'd take her to the

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answers from Dallas on

In this case, I would get a second opinion. Are your nipples cracking and bleeding at all when you breastfeed? If they are, that is where the blood is coming from. If not, maybe it IS milk protein allergy, in which case all you need to do is eliminate milk from your diet while nursing. Have you done this already and theres still a problem? Hm. Get a second opinion.

Keep trying with the formula in the mean time and pump your milk so you don't dry up just yet. I know that nutramigen tastes bitter and breastmilk tastes sweet, so no surprise there why she is having trouble taking it. She will come around though, my daughter did, we had to supplement with that formula for her. Let us know what happens, and good luck!

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answers from Las Vegas on

I would definitely get a second opinion, see if you can find a more breastfeeding friendly doctor. They will work with you and see what they can do to keep you breastfeeding. I think you should try cutting everything out of your diet (I know there is information online about this), you can only eat a few things that are known to be safe, but if you eat that for a few days (or more?), you should be able to tell if the breastmilk is affecting her. She would stop having the symptoms you describe. Then you just slowly introduce things back into your diet, and watch her for problems.

Also, if the diarrhea hasn't stopped since the vaccine, why didn't the doctor look into that as a cause? That vaccine has previously known to cause problems (I know it has been changed, but it still hasn't been around that long, so something could be wrong with it), she could have some continuing problems from that.



answers from San Luis Obispo on

Wow, I am so sorry this is happening to your daughter and to you. I really have no advice about what may be happening, but I wanted to give a breastfeeding solution. If you try and switch her to formula, make sure to keep pumping your breast milk so you can go back to breast feeding if the change to formula does not work. Pumping and freezing your milk is a pain, but it can be worth it if you end up needing the milk later.



answers from Los Angeles on

My daughter also went through this from 3 mo-5mo- at which time we were referred to a GI specialist. I will say though that our Ped and the GI specialist never suggested to stop breastfeeding but rather go on a VERY STRICT no dairy diet. When I first began cutting dairy at 3 mo, I just did the obvious dairy but soon found out that the blood streaks were still apparent... So, I realized I had to read each and every label (be so careful, there is hidden dairy bi-products- whey and casien in everything! But you probably know this...) For us, the strict diet helped. I'm sure you are doing that already but if not, maybe try being extra strict or even try cutting eggs and/wheat. Torture! Even the slightest bit of dairy would cause her to have a blood streak in her diaper. We also did allergy testing and it only showed that she had a few "sensitivities" but no true allergies. I continued breastfeeding throughout but did eventually get her onto the neutramigin for maybe 1 bottle every other day (it tastes so terrible that it took a long time to get her used to the taste).

Anyhow, not sure if I've offered any help other than what you already know but if it helps, she did just seem to eventually outgrow the blood streaking, however, she is 2 now and still drinks 1/2 rice milk and 1/2 cows milk (until I take her to back to the allergist for another allergy panal). If the neutramigin sets your mind at ease (no blood) then I think it's a great option - I remember how stressful it was to see the blood in their diaper. :( However, if you think it's not dairy related at all and caused by the rotavirus vaccine (I hadn't even thought about that in our case- humm), then I would obviously continue breastfeeding. Like all the other mommies said, get a second opinion. Good Luck!!!



answers from New York on

If you are still seeing blood in her stool I would get a second opinion. I'm not sure if breast milk can affect her, maybe contact the La Leche League.



answers from Davenport on

Did they test an actual stool sample or did they do a blood sample? Blood in stool is common in a C. Diff infection. It is detected by checking a stool sample. It can be a common infection in children that are on antibiotics, but children are catching it now even when not on antibiotics. If they did not test a fresh (within 30 minutes) stool sample, I would request it. Either way, I think you need a second opinion.



answers from San Diego on

I bet the problem has something to do with the rotovirus vaccine. I seriously doubt that your breastmilk is the problem!! That is the best food for her! Find a natural doctor, N.D, or an osteopath, or a good pediatric chiropractor to help you figure it out. Western medicine caused the problem, and I bet they don't know how to fix it!

Good luck! I am sure it has been upsetting. Get some holistic support, and your daughter will probably be fine.

Also- there us a site for reporting adverse vaccine reactions- you will have to google it, but it is worth reporting this to warn other parents as well as checking out the site to see if there are other reports of similar problems caused by this vaccine.



answers from San Diego on

I had this same problem with both my babies. I switched my son (1st born) to Enfamil Soy formula at 3 months when it was finally clear the problem. He was a new baby in 2 days. Slept awesome, and blood and diarrhea went away!!! Our ped told us he had a 50/50 chance soy would work so we tried that before neutramigin. It worked for my son. When my daughter had the same issues I knew right away what it was and switched her too, she also thrived. It was heartbreaking not to nurse anymore, but my babies clearly couldn't tolerate my milk. My son was able to switch to cows milk at one year with no issues. My daughter was almost 3 before she outgrew the issue. She also couldn't have cheese or yogurt until then. I gave her all soy until almost 3 yrs old. Now she is 4 1/2 with zero allergy issues. My son is 7 and he is strong and very healthy as well. I know they say breast is best. Not all babies are the same. Do what you feel is best for yours, don't worry about what other mommies think. Best of luck to you and your little one.



answers from San Diego on

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answers from Los Angeles on

Im thinking that they've asked you to put her on Nutramigen because it is a constant. What I mean is: the ingredients of formula doesnt change. Breastmilk, on the other hand, is always different, depending on what you've eaten.

Right now, the doctors are trying to figure out what your daughter is allergic to, or irritated by. If you kept breastfeeding, they wouldnt know from day to day because your milk would be different each time. By having her on formula, they can observe her, and figure it out better. And from what Ive read, Nutramigen is very good for sensitive babies. There are few others too. I want to say that Neocate is another formula for sensitive babies (milk protein allergy).... But it could be a different allergy. Lactose, or whey... Ive head that Goat's milk is better for some babies, although it is difficult to get goat's milk formula powder in the US.... They have it in Australia.

Keep reminding the stressing to the doctors that this literally started on the day of the Rotavirus vaccine.... Good luck!



answers from Los Angeles on

Where in her digestive system did the GI say the blood in her stool was coming from? I think that's the key. She could have something that has nothing to do with formula or breastmilk.

Doctors have been fobbing women off with the "stop breastfeeding and put them on formula" for years when they didn't know what they problem was or if there even was a problem. The bottom line is, breastmilk is a human being's natural food for the first years of life. As women, our bodies are made to make it and our babies need it. Formula is 2nd best and always will be. For various reasons many women would rather use formula, but to say to you that your infant is better off on formula, is absurd and some kind of bias.

Get a another opinion! Mention that the problem started the day she had the rotovirus vaccine and the negative test results for milk protein allergies. If it were my infant, I'd want her tested for matter what doctors say, I know for a fact that sometimes people DO GET something from vaccines.

Good luck!



answers from Atlanta on

HI S.,

Get some additional opinions. Medical doctors don't understand the importance of breastmlk and I can't think of any reason that breastmilk would be an issue. Breastmilk builds the immune system and fights off problems. It has the perfect proteins. There should be a Naturopath that can give you additional information and you can also consult a doctor that La Leche League will recommend.

Blood in the stool can be many things. I had it as a child and the doctors did all the wrong things to me. Formula usually contains chemicals that irritate and break down the immune system as well. Please get a second and third opinion from other sources. Your little one will thank you.

God bless!




answers from Los Angeles on

Dear S.,
I know how frustrating it can be when even the doctors don't know the exact cause of a problem. I worked in a pediatric office for 14 yrs, and I have to tell you, we had four pediatricians in the office, and there were times when patients had to see all four of them in order to find the answer. It's the same thing with specialist. Blood in the stool is never normal. Continue to seek the advise of other G.I. specialists until they find out what is going on. Don't give up! it just takes time. Good luck...



answers from Santa Barbara on

Hi- I had to respond to you because I really feel your pain. We had a child with severe colic/Gerd and one Gastroenterologist said to do the same thing, the other said that that often does not work either, and then often it's too late to go back to breastfeeding. He just suggested breastfeeding, but eliminating all milk from my diet. This required quite a bit of discipline, but it was so worth it- use coconut milk as a substitute for fats. Of course, your situation may be different, but if you suspect the rotavirus vaccine, I would start with an infection specialist. Your breast milk is so precious and might be the best key in your baby getting better. I hope you get some answers and I am so sorry that you are having to go through this.



answers from Los Angeles on

I just wanted to give you my story to compare with yours. I was also told it was a milk protein allergy, but things worked out differently.

My son was only a few weeks old and had been super fussy all of his life when I notice blood in his stool. The doctor said that it might be a milk protein and possibly soy allergy. I stopped eating all dairy and soy which was difficult becasue soy is in almost every processed food. I didn't eat out because I could not be sure if it was 100% dairy and soy free. I stopped beastfeeding for a few days and gave him Nutramigen. Even though I pumped, I still lost a lot of my supply so when I went back to breastfeeding I had to supplement 50% of the feedings with Nutramigen. Since then, he has been much better. The fussiness and blood in stool dissappeared almost immediately. I have been told that babies usually outgrow the milk protein allergy at about 4-5 months. Since my little one is 6 months this month, I had a small amount of dairy yesterday to test how he was doing. So far, so good.

I hope this comparison will help you.



answers from Portland on

When you say that they all came out negative, do you mean that her blood tests did not show that she has an allergy? If so, I suggest that breast feeding could possibly be the way to go. If she has allergies then you would have to not eat the things to which she is allergic.

I have two suggestions. The first is to see a pediatric allergist and see if you can get a more definitive answer concerning allergies. Blood tests for allergies are not as accurate as skin pricks. I think that allergists rely mainly on pin pricks.

If you're concerned about the pain of pin pricks be assured that they are not too painful. I've had pin prick tests and so has my granddaughter when she was around 4 or 5 months old. The prick is very shallow; just enough to break the skin. For the most part the only discomfort comes when the test is positive and an itchy hive appears. Finding the allergy is worth a few minutes of discomfort

I would think that the reason her blood test for milk protein allergy was negative is because you haven't been giving her milk. The test shows a chemical that the body produces in reaction to the protein. Since her body is very new it may have not built up enough of that chemical for it to show after she's not been exposed to the protein. This is just a guess on my part. A pediatric allergist would know.

The second is to try going for a couple of weeks feeding only Nutrimagen but pump so that you can keep up your milk supply if the Nutrimagen only doesn't clear up the stool. I believe that breast milk is the best except in certain circumstances.

My daughter found my granddaughter's current allergist by talking with a school nurse. I don't think he's listed in the phone book as specializing in pediatrics but she knew that he did because of students attending school.

You definitely want to know about your baby's allergies before you dry up your milk supply if breast feeding is important to you. There are reasons other than allergies that could be causing stool in the blood.

You are not putting your baby in danger if the Nutrimagen doesn't help. You do want to find and stop the cause of blood in her stool. I've not heard of a baby dying as the result of allergies. If I were you I would continue to breast feed or pump until a pediatric allergist examined your daughter and heard his recommendations. You should be able to get an appointment quickly.



answers from Los Angeles on

This may or may not be very helpful- my daughter also had blood in her stool as an infant and we ran a ton of tests; I also went off dairy- nothing worked and the allergy tests were all negative. However, I continued breastfeeding the whole time, and eventually the blood just disappeared and a couple of months. It was very strange. So perhaps in my case it was a temporary reaction to something I didn't remember, or something else, which I know is not that helpful, but I just wanted you to know that sometimes it goes away on its own. Perhaps it would be helpful to keep breastfeeding and then monitor the symptoms to see if they are getting worse. Maybe they can do a test for allergies to soy or wheat, which are common as well, or you can try eliminating those from your diet for a while. Breastfeeding is so important for so many things that try to keep doing that if at all possible. My daughter is 2 1/2 now and totally healthy, hardly ever gets sick and no allergies that we know of. Best wishes.



answers from Los Angeles on

Hi S.,
sorry to hear about what's going on...i know first hand what you are feeling as I went through the same thing with my son. His blood in stool started when he was 3mo's old and I did everything including elimination of all typical allergens from my diet as he was an exclusively breastfed baby, that did not work. I took him to a GI specialist who did a "baby" Colonoscopy to rule out something more serious than allergies, thankfully it was concluded that it was allergies to unknown substance, it was recommended that I stop breastfeeding and that I start nutramigin as well. Pediatrician encouraged me to switch to formula, GI supported my decision to continue to breastfeed exclusively and monitor blood in stool with regular GI checkups. This is the option I went with as I did not want to stop nursing (never switched or even tried formula). "The blood in stool continued until my son was 14 mos (given clean bill of health at 16 and 18mo and told not to return to GI unless I had concerns) and I continued to nurse until he was 19mos. The amount of blood was microscopic by before my son turned 5mo, so the GI was not concerned and I felt comfortable as my son was gaining weight appropriately and did not appear to have any negative repercussions from continued nursing. So, what I am trying to say is that if you feel comfortable and your daughter is thriving and she is being monitored regularly by the GI or pediatrician(as long as pediatrician can test for blood in stool) then I would continue to nurse and consider eliminating formula, unless it is needed to supplement your production. I hope this is helpful and if you want a second opinion from a GI, I would highly recommend Dr. Bahar ###-###-####), the only negative thing is that he does not accept any insurance, he will bill your insurance, but you pay upfront at each visit and insurance reimburses you if you qualify. Hope this is helpful and good luck, I know how scary it can be, but trust your gut.



answers from Los Angeles on

Since the test came back negative for milk protein, have you considered cutting gluten out of your diet. I think it is in formula as well. It might be worth a shot. Alot of people are gluten sensitive and it can do alot of damage.



answers from Los Angeles on

do you own snakes, lizzards or anything like that? if you didnt wash your hand properly and you own pets like these then your baby can have salmonella poisioning. have the drs check for that if you own these animals or if you feel that you need to. these twin boys i used to wash got it and needed to be on pic line meds. this illness is horrid to go through it almost killed on of the boys i watched. they were about 4 months when they got it to. salmonella is passed in feces and not washing your hands well. i dont want to frighten you at all by this but just saying it as a possiblilty.



answers from Los Angeles on

Sorry that this is gonna be long, but I wanted to share my experience...

My son had blood in his stool as well. The first time we noticed it was when he was 4 months. We were out of town, and took him to the ER. They did blood tests and weren't able to find anything. We had to change his formula for 30 days (we were supplementing), but I was able to keep giving him breastmilk. The bleeding stopped on it's own (it was only a couple diapers).

Just as he was turning one, he had it again (we had stopped nursing at 6 months). He even had one diaper that had just blood in it (he hadn't pooped). We were about to switch him to cow's milk from his formula, but we had to wait, and they had us switch his formula again to Allimentum. We had to take him off dairy completely. They did blood tests, allergy tests, stool tests...he's not allergic to ANYthing, and none of the dietary changes made any difference. So they sent us to the GI dr. She had us do a Meckle's Scan, looking for Meckles Diverticulitis (releases acid into the stomach, causing bleeding) That was pretty traumatic for my son, and they didn't find anything.

The last thing the GI dr tried was a colonoscopy. She was looking for polyps. She believes that was the cause, but the results of the first one were not difinitive to her satisfaction, and she ordered another one. That was inconclusive as well. She said the only other thing to do at this point would be to tag his blood cells and follow them, to find the source of his bleeding. He would need to be actively bleeding in order to for this to work. The last incident of his bleeding was back in February. So, we really have nothing concrete to tell us why he was bleeding. I think it was polyps; they're caused from straining while pooping, and they can twist off and resolve themselves.

Also, in all of this time, my son never showed signs of pain or discomfort. His appetite never changed, his dimeanor never changed.

I'm sorry I don't have an answer for you, I know how frustrating this is. Even now that he's not bleeding any more (at least for the time being) I hate that we never got an answer.

Bottom line: I never stopped nursing when he was bleeding and I was nursing; he had the bleeding even after I was no longer nursing; changing his formula or diet never had any effect. Milk allergy is simply the most common cause that Dr's see, so eliminating dairy is the go-to solution, until a different cause is found. There are so many things that could cause the bleeding. If you're not comfortable taking your baby off breastmilk, then don't.

I really hope this gets resolved quickly, and that it's nothing serious. Best to you and your baby girl.


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