Dairy Sensitivity & Breast Feeding (And What Formula Can I Use?)

Updated on August 18, 2010
J.S. asks from Kalamazoo, MI
18 answers

I've determined my 15 week old baby has a dairy sensitivity to my breast milk (to the dairy I consume). I eliminated dairy at 8 weeks old and her "colic symptoms" improved tremendously (over 2-3 weeks). I tried a couple slices of cheese at 13 weeks and the horrible pain/screaming came back so cutting it out again for a few months. Two questions:

1. Has anyone else experienced this and any advice? I think it's simply trial & error of re-introducing every few months and seeing how she responds (has she outgrown it yet).

2. If I wanted to do formula (as a supplement), what are my options? The 2 cans in my pantry either have nonfat milk as #1 ingredient or are soy based (which I've read dairy sensitive babies will most likely react to as well). I'm only looking at formula because I might have 1 night away from my baby and I can't seem to pump more than an extra ounce in the morning so I can't build up any supply for her.

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answers from Philadelphia on

Similac puts out a hypoallergenic formula called Allumentin. My friends son was on it because of dairy sestivitity. She later down the line found out he had other severe allergies as well. This formula is a little more expensive, but should really do the trick. I believe the rival companies also sell versions of this. Good luck.



answers from Pittsburgh on

My doctor thought my son had it (I insisted it was reflux and i was right, lol) but i did cut out dairy for a bit (only for a week or two) and the doctor gave me some enfamil nutramigen (sp?) to supplement. It is for babies with colic due to a cow's milk protein allergy. My friend's baby who has it bad has to be on that formula as well.

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answers from Buffalo on

my 2nd son was lactose intolerant so I did not consume dairy at all unless it was lactose free. (lactaide) I did this until he was 12 months old then I introduced lactaide whole milk when the doctor said it as time.

I never did formula so I cannot answer that one. I just kept sneaking dairy once and a great blue moon to see if he had out grown it, it took till he was 24 months old til he out grew it.

Good Luck!!



answers from Washington DC on

My daughter had a dairy sensitivity when she was really small , so we used Similac sensitive (lactose free) , a lactose free formula will only work if her issues are with lactose , if it is the milk itself then you would need a milk free formula (soy or something like that). Yes it is trial and error , I took my daughter off regular formula at 6 weeks old and didn't try her again until she was 7 months and she was better , she is now 2 and can drink milk , eat cheese and yogurt etc.



answers from Harrisburg on

You can stick with soy based dairies for you.

For baby, you can get formula from Walmart which is highly rated and they have a soy based one as well. Cost does not mean better.

K. B
mom to 5 including triplets

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answers from Lancaster on

My daughter was like this - I eliminated all dairy while breastfeeding and had a new baby in a few days!
You could try the soy based formula - many do well with it. My daughter was so sensitive she really didn't do well witht that, so we used Nutramigen by Enfamil - expensive, but it worked! Good Luck



answers from Fort Wayne on

Talk to her pediatrician about the formula. They should be able to recommend something for you.



answers from Pittsburgh on

I had the same problem with my daughter. Generally if the babies react to dairy in your breastmilk, they react to soy as well. My daughter did. So I cut out all milk and milk products, including casein and whey, as well as all soy. It took till she was 8-9 months before she could tolerate it in the breastmilk.

Formula causes MORE digestive issues than does breastmilk. Formula contains artificial ingredients. That is not a route I would choose.

The BEST breastfeeding resource online is kellymom.com Here's a link to her info on the subject http://www.kellymom.com/babyconcerns/food-sensitivity.html



answers from Boston on

My son had a dairy allergy which we determined around 4-5 weeks old. I eliminated all forms of dairy from my diet and he was totally fine. It was a very difficult thing for me to do, but I thought it was worth it :o) It also took off the baby weight in an instant.



answers from Scranton on

Honestly stay away from anything that is soy. Most people don't realize the dangers of soy. There are estrogen mimicking properties in soy. They just don't need it!
Stick with the breastfeeding for as long as you can because even though you may have to cut out eating dairy for a while it's a small sacrifice, because it may help lessen your child's dairy allergy for the future. The longer they are on breastmilk the longer the are getting the healthiest form of nutrition. Some children can grow out of it. There are lots of other great options in the mean time. One natural thing is Bubble Be Gone. You can check www.vitacost.com. This will help. There is also Gripe water, and chamomile tea. This can help with gassiness in the baby



answers from Indianapolis on

My best friend's son was allergic to dairy and she breastfed for a year, not consuming any dairy products except once every few months to "test". She did a dairy elimination which solved his issues, indicating that he was not allergic to soy products (the pediatrician confirmed that there was no blood in his stool after she eliminated dairy for a period of two weeks). Have you continued to consume soy products when you eliminated dairy? If so, and if she is symptom free, then it is probably just dairy so soy based formulas will be ok.

It would be best to test the formula first before you leave for a night. I had to leave my breastfed baby for a night and my pediatrician suggested I give him a bottle half breastmilk and half formula a couple of times to make sure there wasn't a sensitivity to the formula. The half and half mixture is easier on the babies tummies and if there is an allergy, you will still be able to tell.

Good luck! As my friend can attest, it isn't easy to give up dairy as milk is present in many foods but it was worth it for her!



answers from Pittsburgh on

I could write a book about this I think.

1) As you've noticed from all the responses, it's very common. Some babies outgrow it by 6 months, most outgrow it by 12 months, and a few never do. I wouldn't try again until 6 months, because it's unlikely she'll outgrow it much before that anyway. If she's still allergic at 6 months, wait to try again until 12 months. In the meantime, Rice Dream milk (rice milk) is a good option for baking and for on cereal (I wouldn't drink a glass of it though); and Earth Balance butter is good. Veggie Slices cheese is ok. These are all sold at most Giant Eagles (I notice you're in the pittsburgh area). If you want more tips, feel free to message me. I've been doing it for 6 months now and my shopping list is pretty good now - I found frozen rolls without milk, cookies, etc. My little one hasn't shown any reaction to soy, but I try not to overdo the soy in my diet, just in case (so, for example, I think the butter I mentioned is soy, but the milk isn't).

2) Nutramigen by Enfamil and Alumintum by Similac are both made without dairy or soy. They are very expensive, thank goodness you (and I) don't have to use them full-time. But in a pinch, they work. I use the Nutramigen now that my little one is starting on cereal because it's easier than trying to pump extra to make oatmeal cereal with.

Good luck!



answers from Philadelphia on

I experienced it with my son and cut dairy out. It worked and several months later we went back to dairy and he was fine. I don't know if it was colic, dairy issues, or just not getting enough milk. Either way hings resolved and he was much happier. I started drinking rice dream rice milk which wasn't to bad. I never supplemented so I can't help you in that department unfortunately. Iff you need to increase your supply, pump/feed first thing in the morning and then pump 1 hour later. Do this for seveeral days and your supply will build up from the extra pump session. just a tip from a lactation consultant. good luck!



answers from Cincinnati on

my son had a slight allergy to milk based formula (he broke out in ecsema on his head) and we tried soy milk but he wouldn't eat it (the stuff smells disgusting!) so I weighed to option of him having an itchy head over him not eating and went back to milk based formula, however when he did eat the soy formula he did have a lot less gas (he was never colicky but we always had to burp him three or four times) and spit up a lot less, so that was a major plus


answers from Milwaukee on

My daughter was the same way till 12 months old.... I had to give up on breastfeeding because ANYTHING that had diary in it made her sick and gassy. So we used Parent's Choice Lactose Free Formula, we did try a few others but this is the one that worked best for my daughter.

Look for lactose free and try a can of that, maybe even ask your child's pediatrician if they have a lactose free formula that you can try for free. Otherwise look for various lactose free formulas and try a few to find out which one works best for your daughter.

At 13 months I did the switch my daughter to whole milk and it went very smoothly. She does have issues that when she has too much diary she gets constipated but she no longer throws it up like she did when I was breastfeeding from birth to 2 months old. sometimes a baby's stomach still needs time to develop and lactose is very hard on the stomach so will create problems for the baby. I was the same way when I was a baby, but there were not lactose free formulas yet and now I am still sensitive to lactose (some days are better then others) because my stomach never had the chance to develope without the invasion of what I was sesitive to.



answers from Pittsburgh on

Hi- I had these same troubles 11 months ago. My son seemed to have a milk allergy, I gave up all cows milk, all soy & all caffeine. He seemed to be getting better and then he seemed to get worse. He had stomach pains and would constantly throw up, but I was certain that I would proceed with breast feeding and not give-up. Our doctor prescribed ZANTAC (which doesn't stop the puking, but does ease the acid part of the reflux) and we made an appointment with A G.I. specialist. My son had everything checked, turned out there was no allergy to milk itself, but there was a possible side effect caused from lactose, but the G.I. doc said that unless there was blood his stool then there was probably no cows milk allergy. I was also told that I could stop breast feeding him, but that I may find issues with the formula as well. STOPPING WAS A LAST RESORT FOR ME, so we stuck with it AT TIMES USING A WARM WATER BOTTLE TO EASE THE CRAMPING and yes it was a trying 6 months, but his belly did seem to be getting better as time went on and he didn't cry or throw up any more then he had in the past. When he turned 9 months old, we suffered the loss of my Mother- it was devastating and I was stressed a lot and didn't produce milk the way I had in the past, so I started to wean my son and give him formula. This was an issue, because he had cramping & puking with the milk based formula- and our pediatrician said no to the soy based K. because of the flavanoids causing issues with human hormones, so ended up we used and still use Similac-Sensitive, it's the orange one- lactose free. My son is 11 months old and doing fine! I will always remember those days of zero sleep, clothes filled with puke & Cries so treacherous, you would think someone was hurting my baby, but if I had it to do over I would continue to breast feed!!!! The bond that my son and I have is forever he is a great snuggler due to the nite-time feedings :-) I know this is long, but I hope it helps!!!! Good Luck!!!



answers from Philadelphia on

I would go to the store and look at all of the formulas. It sounds like you are on the right track with cutting out the dairy since you have linked it to bothering your child when you breast feed. May be also give her some mylicon drops because they are good for gas. I would also give the pediatricans office a call because they should know what to recommend with your daughter having lactose intolerant symptoms. Good luck



answers from Philadelphia on

As a lactation counselor, I guess I'm confused as to why you would want to supplement if you have nailed down the cause of the problem. If you are cutting dairy out of your diet, wouldn't you feed the baby as normal and then try eating diary in another couple of weeks/months. I would NOT recommend formula for this issue. That could not only complicate the issue with an allergy, but it will lower your milk supply overall unless you are really dedicated to pumping.

To build up your milk supply, I would DEFINITELY pump after every feeding. When is your night away from her? I would not switch to formula for just one night. Just my two cents!

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