Infants with Allergies And/or Reflux

Updated on September 02, 2010
K.C. asks from North Richland Hills, TX
14 answers

Okay, so my boy will be 8 weeks on Monday. I've posted before about his congestion that he's had for almost 6 weeks now... (we have an air purifier and cool mist humidifier in the room running all the time). Last night had to be the worst night. Poor baby could not sleep at all!! He was so congested that all he did was cry (of course, making it worse) I've read that reflux could cause congestion, as well as sensitivity to milk in his formula. I've bought the Enfamil Prosobee to try and see if that is the problem. Does anyone know how to decipher which it might be? I'd ask his pediatrician, but he wasn't fact, it felt like he was in rather a hurry to get us out the door (I guess Medicaid patients just aren't as important?). Anyhow, he's usually always sitting up in his bouncy or in mine or my husband's arms. He cries right after eating and tends to overeatbecause I'm assuming he's hurting and the formula coats his throat for a bit so it doesn't. But, his tummy is always hurting and it's like his feet are permantly at his tummy while eating and right after. He gets constipated alot...and everything I try for him doesn't work it seems... um..I hope you can understand that lol...
So, I guess my question...if you've had an infant with either of those, did changing the formula help any with those symptoms? I'm at a loss as to what to do for him.
(oh, and can they diagnose asthma this early? i have pretty severe asthma and allergies..didn't know if it could be hereditary...)

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answers from Clarksville on

Hi MommyToThe4th,

I had a similar experience with my soon to be 1 year old, daughter. When she was 2 weeks old she started producing excess mucus. It wasn't until 2m that her ped suggested she had reflux. I used a product called colic calm, homeopathy, essential oils, various positions and I eliminated all dairy from my diet(I breastfeed) and we noticed an immediate difference. Within 2-3 months she was totally mucus free and her reflux is cleared up. If you think it's reflux, it almost always is a result of a food intolerance.

Hang in will get better.

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answers from Detroit on

Went through the same symptoms for the first eight weeks with my son (he is now 11 months old) and the doctor did nothing. I also have asthma and allergies. We tried EVERY formula out there and nothing worked. He would only sleep upright in his car seat and slept very little. On Thanksgiving Day he cried for 12 hours straight, we took him to ER and they found a spot developing on his lung and realized that he had bad reflux and it was starting to cause pneumonia. He was put on Zantac right away and they put him on Nutramigen formula by Enfamil. It is expensive, but necessary. Within the first week he was a completely different baby!! No more crying after feedings, no more legs curled to his tummy,no more gas, no more spit up and finally some sleep. We haven't had any problems since, only if he misses a dose of Zantac I can tell he has a little reflux by his cough if he bounces around too much. He will be one years old in two weeks and is still on the Nutramigen. You can buy it anywhere, but we sometimes go the the Drs office for samples or get Enfamil coupons.
Get him on an RX and Nutramigen and you will be amazed at the changes.
Also, on a side note...Little Tummies makes a product called Gripe Water (it has been around for decades). It is a homeopathic tummy soother that works like magic. When your baby is fussy give him a drop or two and he will calm down immediately.
I feel so bad for you and your son. Relief is on the way, I promise!
Good Luck!

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answers from Columbia on

oh boy! same exact situation i was in about 8 months ago with my little girl. We switched her to the nutramigen formula *due to colic* and put cereal in his bottles, yes a lot of people frown upon it but it helped with her reflux. since then i havent had as many problems with her congestion, yes it still comes back every once in a while but i buy some saline nose drops*little noses from walmart* and we use those 3 times a day 1 being right before bed, give her a little tylenol and usually she gets better within a week. I dont think theres a way to get rid of it completely, and her newest dr said it was due to reflux, all i was told to do was continue to use the cereal and when she starts getting congested again just add an extra scoop of cereal into her bottles until it goes away.. i hope this helps, i know how miserable it can be with a baby thats congested and you cant do anything about it

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answers from Dallas on

I am so sorry your son is going through this, and I know how difficult it can be for you as a parent. My son had severe congestion and relfux as a baby and grew out of it when he was 11 months old. I had to stop nursing him because of it, and we put him on Nutramigen formula. It is expensive, but I think you can find it on eBay for less.

You may want to tell his pedi that you want your son to see a gastrointerologist (Sorry about the spelling!). We saw one who was also a pediatrician. That may help with the diagnosis.

I agree with those who have posted about having him sleep on a bit of an incline, for instance in his car seat or bouncey seat. That does help, especially if he has pain from reflux. I haven't tried Gripe Water before, but I have heard great things about it from other friends!

Also, in the last three or so months, I started my son (2 1/2) and daughter (1 1/2) on a supplement, which has really helped them with their allergies and eczema. I have heard other moms using it who have had results when it comes to infant reflux. I honestly wish I had known about it when my son was a baby! Send me a message if you'd like more info about that.

Best of luck to you!!! God bless.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Philadelphia on

Sounds like reflux, especially with the crying right after eating and overeating. And reflux can definitely cause congestion.

As far as the constipation, if he has small pellet or hard balls instead of soft or liquidy stool, then you should definitely talk to his pediatrician about this. Babies this young are rarely truly constipated (small hard stools) and if they are they should be evaluated by a doctor. But babies this age do often go days at a time without pooping (which is normal) and may have some discomfort as they adjust to this new feeling...but I bet the misery your baby has is more from the reflux than from the lack of pooping.

Milk protein allergies in babies usually causes them to have blood in their stool or causes them to vomit a lot. An intolerance to lactose (which is in most milk-based formulas) can give the baby diarrhea, or bloating/gassiness. Soy formulas don't have milk proteins or lactose, so if you switched to these you should know if it makes a difference within a week.

However, my money is still on reflux. Do you ever here him gulping, gagging or choking after he feeds and then crying right afterward? Does he arch his back and scream? Does he spit up a lot (and, more importantly, when he does spit up does he sometimes cry)? Answer yes to any of these and it makes the reflux even more likely.

If you get to the end of this and you do think its reflux, then I think the best treatment is Zantac. You can try:
- thickening his bottles with some rice cereal (although if he is constipated, the rice cereal isn't going to help things)
- keeping him upright for a while after he feeds
- putting him on a baby sleep wedge or putting something under his mattress or the foot of the crib to make the mattress be on a slight incline (not enough so he slides down, but enough so his head is somewhat higher than his feet)

But if these don't work, then go back to the pediatrician and tell him/her that you are worried that your baby has reflux and it is making him miserable. Zantac has been used for a LONG time in babies and is quite safe. It's even used in many tiny premature babies in the intensive care unit. Depending on what dose your doctor starts, you will know within a couple weeks if it works (it takes a week for you to see the total benefit, and then if they started the dose lower they may need to try to increase it if its not working). And if it works, and it takes away your baby's pain, it's amazing.

Good luck! Hope he feels better soon!

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answers from Saginaw on

My youngest daugher had severe acid reflux and never had congestion issues. She was breastfed so as far as formula Im really not sure if changing would help or not. If he is constipated you might try a soy formula. My oldest had to be on soy formula cause she couldnt poop with the regular formula. I would try to find a new dr, all 3 of my kids, and myself were on medacaid and my drs didnt ever trear us badly. I was high risk for all 3 and my middle child was always at the drs and specialists for her reflux, and my baby was at childrens hospital as well. If your dr is a jerk it is proly just him, and not your insurance. My daughter was put on some prescription meds but they never helped. All we could do for her was short, frequent feedings, that way she never over ate, and for the first 15 min she couldnt lay down. If you are on medacaid have you tried WIC? Alot of times they can help with different things like this. I would go back to his dr though, tell them something is wrong! I totally believe in mommy intuiton, it has happened to me twice! If they will not see you or brush of your concerns then find a new dr. Good luck!

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answers from Minneapolis on

I've had two with reflux, one of whom also had a dairy sensitivity. The dairy sensitivity we figured out because he had diarrhea in addition to crying. Then when I cut out all dairy from my diet (I was nursing) and used a soy-based formula, the symptoms got better. After a month we gave him milk-based formula and he was screaming and having diarrhea in about 30 minutes. The doctor suggested we try my son on Zantac based on his symptoms. I was skeptical, but it seemed to help, so we continued that for a few months and then he seemed to out grow it. My daughter had more symptoms--lots of spit up, making a funny noise when she breathed, etc. So, I definitely wanted to try the medication and it has helped. She's still on it at 14 months. I guess it could be respiratory allergies too. We tried little allergies for my daughter. It's just an ointment you put on the outside of their nose. It's supposed to trap allergens and is safe for babies. I'm not sure whether did anything for her, but I felt better that I was at least trying something. Good luck in figuring it out.

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answers from Dallas on

My son had bad congestion at 4months old and after a week of not being able to get rid of it my doctor put him on 3 days of breathing treatments and it cleared it up immediately and has not had a problem since. He wasn't diagnosed w/Asthma although my daughter had asthma from 2yrs old up until the beginning of 1st grade she seemed to have outgrown it. When I called the nurse at my Dr.'s office she told me that if the congestion didn;t clear up on its own after a week I needed to get him in right away!! Im wondering why after 6 weeks of not having gotten rid of the congestion is your doctor not very concerned?? I would be seeking a second opionion. My doctor is Frank McGehee(pronounced McGee) and he is over off of 6th Ave near the Hospital District ###-###-#### He is part of Cooks Childrens Network. He is WONDERFUL I trust him whole-heartedly!! Have never ever one time felt like he gave me wrong advice or did not care about the issues I was dealing with!! 8 weeks seems awful young to deal with clearing up congtestion on his own!! And 6 weeks seems WAY to long to not have gotten it cleared up by now!! I think the issue is congestion can lead to Pneumonia(sp?)! I wouldn't risk it!! And although you've gotten a ton of advice about switching formula..I wouldn't keep waiting on trying new formula to see if it works. You need to get the congestion cleared out first and the breathing treatments can do that. THEN u can see what formula works best at not contributing to that from here on out! Good Luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

My son has a milk allergy and he spit/threw up a lot after eating. Soy formula did wonders for him. I switched him at one week old. Huge difference. He still spit/threw up but not nearly as bad.
He was also constipated. I gave him 1/2 an ounce of White Grape juice daily. Helped a ton! Pooped great after that! It was actually told to do this by his pedi. But only white grape juice. Nothing else.
His pedi told us to let him sleep in his carseat or upright swing to help with his horrible congestion. He would wake right up if laid on his back. At this age, babies only know that they can breathe through their noses. So they get scared and can't breathe. I found a bassinet with the upright position for him to sleep in. Turned out my son was allergic not only to milk but also to our cat! Thankfully my mom took our cat.

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answers from Dallas on

You are going to think I am crazy but you need some "pink salt" ---I only know to get it from Chalmers Wellness. My sister took her 4 week old in for reflux symptoms and Dr. Chalmers sold her a 13 dollar bottle of "pink salt." She breastfeeds so she personally mixes like 3/4 tsp of the salt in water and drinks it every morning and the baby gets it in the milk. If your baby takes a bottle, you would just put a pinch in his bottle (making it equal 1/8 tsp a day). Within two days the reflux was nearly, five months later it is still gone! I am not sure you can use any salt but this one is a large bottle for 13 dollars and I sure wish I knew about it when my daughter was a baby!!!

Look him up: it will be worth the drive or see if you can get it closer to you....



answers from Dallas on

My heart goes out to you. First thing I would recommend is looking for a new pediatrician if at all possible. Just because you are on Medicaid does not give the Dr. the right to hurry you through your appt. I am sure that you can find one that will listen to your concerns. Your little boy may very well have a problem with the milk protein. I was start by switching him to soy formula and see how he does. The other thing I would recommend is getting a probiotic for him. Most definitely he has a battle going on in his intestines and he needs all the good bacteria in there fighting this imbalance. Shaklee has an excellent one called Optiflora. It is no fun as a Mom to see your child in pain. Most people don't realize that our gut is just an important to how we function as the central nervous system. Most of our immune system is effected by our gut.

If you are interested I can send you a link to call that talks about Raising Healthy Kids in a Pizza and Poptart world and I also have one on natural ways to treat asthma's and allergies.

I will add you both to my prayers.



answers from Dallas on

HI, good Morning,
im sorry that you and your baby and going through this.
My son went through this, and i ws told he had a allergy to protein in milk
i was switched to Alimentum Formula. EVen though its $26 a can.. WIC helped me for the first six months of age. ALSO, i had to give him MIralax in his milk to help him with Gas and his stool. You will get through this.. I hope this helps.



answers from Dallas on

My son has been on formula since his first week of life, and that's when we also discovered his intolerance for milk. As soon as we started on the soy based formula, he managed to keep it down and be a lot happier. We also had on hand Gripe Water and for those bad tummy aches we had gas relief drops. Those two items were especially helpful during the middle of the night or right after eating.

If he just has air-born allergies and not asthma, I highly recommend Children's Zyrtec (or similar) but ask a doctor first before using it since your baby is so little. My son spent time in the doctor's office for sinus issues like 6+ times a year...I thought it was nuts! What was happening was he would get an allergy attack and then it would turn into a sinus infection. Now at the first sign of sneezing and/or running nose we give him the Zyrtec and now he only sees the doctor twice a year. The reason why I like the Zyrtec is that it really stops the drainage and by giving it to him at night he gets a good night's sleep and it works all day. It works for 24 hours. I also keep Clariton on hand if he shows signs in the morning before he goes to school. Clariton is also 24 hours but has a non-drowsy formula.

Now I don't give my son the allergy medicine on a daily basis. I only give it to him when he needs it. If you're needing something on a daily basis, I would see an allergist. Maybe the allergist could also determine if your son's issue is allergy based or asthma based because sometimes they can go hand-in-hand. You can be allergic to something but it could turn around and give you asthma symptoms. So I would see an allergist first.



answers from Los Angeles on

I think a milk intolerance or allergy can definitely be the cause. More likely an intolerance, as that causes stomach pain and fussiness whereas an allergy causes hives/rash, possibly vomiting, and generally worsening symptoms.

As for asthma, no, they don't generally diagnose that until a child is around five years old. However, they may be able to tell you if he's likely to get it and showing symptoms that indicate he will develop it.

My son is allergic to milk (as well as eggs and dairy) and does have mild pre-asthma symptoms. He's three years old. If you do find out you are facing true food allergies and need advice, feel free to contact me.

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