Possible Formula Allergy

Updated on July 02, 2008
K.N. asks from Warwick, NY
30 answers

Hi all. My daughter is just 11 days old and we are feeding her Similac Advance but I think she may be allergic to it. Since we have gotten home from the hospital feedings have been going well with the exception of the night time feeding around 10:00. She eats just fine, but then vomits (not spit-up) everthing. We have been lucky that it has been on us the past couple of times, but sometimes she does it in her sleep. The doctor said to let her sit in a seat for a little while after eating to let her stomach settle, but it doesn't seem to be working. Also, her bowel movements have turned from the expected grainy mustard look to very wet. Does anyone have any experience with formula allergies? Should I switch to a new brand or try soy? Any help would me much appreciated.

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So What Happened?

Thank you all for your advice and well wishes. We went to the doctor and it looks like she has GERD (reflux). We switched her to Nutranigen, the doctor put her on Zantac and she sleeps in her bouncy seet all the time. It seems to be working so far. We"ll find out more when we go to the specialist in a couple of weeks.
Thanks again,
K.

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D.F.

answers from New York on

That use to happen to my daughter Brooke and it was because of her reflux. They changed her formula to Similac Alimentum, Hypoallergenic Formula.

Good Luck :-)

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M.T.

answers from New York on

K.,

I don't think it's an allergy to the formula or she would vomit with every feeding, not just the nighttime feeding. It sounds like acid reflux to me. My daughter had it as a baby and I couldn't even lay her down flat to sleep. I had to put her in her infant carseat inside her cradle and she slept the whole night.

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L.D.

answers from Albany on

K.,

I don't think she's allergic. If she was, she would be having a problem with ALL of the feedings, not just the late night one. Did you call the doctor and tell him sitting up doesn't seem to be helping and about her bowel movements?

As someone else said, sitting her in a chair will not help because it still bunches the legs up. She needs to be in a position where she is sitting up on an incline with her legs out in front of her if it is going to work.

Whatever you do, please don't just go changing formulas over and over. If you are going to try other formulas, you need to dicuss it with the pediatrician. I have always been told that you can't just mix brands and versions of formula because you will upset the baby's stomach even more plus you may not get a true "reading" of if there IS an allergy to a particular one or not.

L.

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P.M.

answers from New York on

I was just reading through some of the responses and even though some are good, you have to make the decision along with your ped. My thought that the Similac Sensitive makes a formula that is called Similac RS. What it is, is the same as Sensitive but has Rice Starch in it to thicken it. You won't notice that it is thicker, but it does so in the stomach. So you have the benefit of Sensitive with some rice starch in case of the acid reflux. You might actually be able to use the Sensitve during the day and feed the RS at night when the problem is worse. My niece did this with good results. I don't think it is true allergy but made a slight intolerance to the lactose.

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J.M.

answers from New York on

my daughter over the first two weeks got more and more watery bowel movements until full blown diarhea every half hour. it was horrible, going to the doctor all the time, her clothes were covered, her bottom got red. i cant tell you how worried we were that they would want her to go to the hospital for dehydration. we tried first soy which was almost worse, then went to ready to feed alimentum which smells gross. anyway, she was ok on it, but we tried them to use the powder and the diarhea came back. for some reason we could only feed her the ready to feed at a whopping $8 a day!!! i see you are taking the summer off, its still not too late to breastfeed. i am now breastfeeding my 2nd daughter, and its such a great experience, along with the fact that we didnt have any of those awful issues. there are many benefits even if you just do it for the time you are off, and then by the time you go back, her system may be better developed for formula or you could pump. if you are dead set against that, i would suggest prior to trying soy, get nestle good start. it cant hurt, we were able to change daughter #1 from the alimentum to good start at 6 months no problem, but i later wondered if she would have been ok on it from the beginning or earlier. milk based formula is preferred so it might be worth a shot. good luck

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K.A.

answers from New York on

Oh no, We went through the same thing with my daughter who is now 17 mos old. We switched to Similac Alimentum $27 a can. It was very expensive, but worked very well, she thrived on it. She now drinks rice milk with flax seed oil added for fats. She cannot tolerate whole milk, or soy. this is not the norm she is very sensitive. Try Alimentum soon to save yourself sleepless nights.

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C.L.

answers from New York on

Dear Kristin,

My daughter is seven months old. She has been on the hypoallergenic formula Nutramigen since she was two months old. She has a milk protein allergy. Her symptoms didn't really begin to appear until she was about four weeks old. Her diapers had mucus, she was very fussy during and after feedings and after going to the doctor, we found out she had traces of blood in the stool. Pay close attention to how she is during and after feedings. My daughter spit up a lot, but I am not sure if that were due to the allergy or the reflux which she also had. (Thankfully that has disappeared.) Also, if she is allergic, she may have blood in the diaper, but you probably won't see it. The doctor has to do a test for it. I would ask your pediatrician if you should switch to a different formula. Soy works for some babies, but if she has an allergy to milk protein, that won't help much. Good luck to you.

C. L.

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R.R.

answers from Rochester on

Something to consider before switching to soy formula is that soy contains natural plant estrogens. Giving a baby soy formula for all of their feedings has been compared to a baby consuming 2-3 birth control pills per day worth of estrogen because a baby is so small. Soy depresses thyroid function (it is goitrogenous- so is broccoli, but no one ever eats enough broccoli for it to really matter), and soy is also a high allergen food- one of the hardest to digest beans there is. Soybeans are not inherently bad for you I just think you should consider its plant properties and the impact of giving a newborn so much of it.

If it is allergies, look into making formula with goat's milk. Many people have done it with good results. Goat and sheep milk are the least allergenic of milks....

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L.S.

answers from New York on

Both my kids had the same problem. I ended up switching to isomil (similac soy formula) my daughter ended up having reflux & was put on zantac I would deffinatly try the soy formula & speak to your dr to see if you should switch permanently. They didnt vomit with every feeding but spit up alot.

D.D.

answers from New York on

Definately try a different formula. Maybe it's just something in the Similac Advance that isn't agreeing with her. Call the doctor to see what he/she recommends.

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L.L.

answers from New York on

That happened to us with our son, who is now 1 year old. We started out with the similac and he would throw it back up, 9 times out of 10. Our pediatrician switched us to the Nestle Good Start- Natural Cultures and he's been fine ever since. It sounds like the formula just needs to be changed? I would tell the doctor that it's not just spitting up, it's vomiting and that you are uncomfortable with that. He/she will hopefully recommend some other options for you! Good luck and congrats on the new baby!
Lynsey

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E.F.

answers from New York on

If it was the allergy I would imagine that it would happen at every feeding not just the one at nighttime. It sounds like it is just one of those quirks that your daughter will keep throwing at you to keep you on your toes. My son had to be in a sitting position for at least 5 minutes after feedings especially at night when he appeared to be eating the bottle in his sleep.

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K.N.

answers from New York on

Hi!
I had the same problem with my now 4 week old. She started out fine with the Advance, and just the last two weeks began totally vomiting the entire 10pm feeding! I could have written your post. My pediatrician said it was "normal" and not to switch the formula but my gut told me otherwise. I waited it out because of my ped's advice. She continued to vomit and was horribly gassy and uncomfortable, tot he point where she was waking up out of a sleep from the gas. FInally, two days ago I changed to Similac Sensitive after talking with more than a few people about their experiences. She is like a different baby these past two days. Hasn't thrown up once, hardly has any gas, and is napping and sleeping better.
I'm all for discussing it with your doctor, but sometimes, you have to trust your instincts!

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S.O.

answers from Binghamton on

We are just going through this, this week...

We switched to Enfamil Lipil A.R. yesterday and it works!!!! We feel her problem is related to reflux but this formula has done the trick and we are SOOO happy now.

Good luck!

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L.S.

answers from New York on

Why don't you try one of the formulas that are a little thicker for her last feeding, like Enfamil AR (I think it is) or maybe something with some pre-digested proteins, like Gentlease? Poop also changes after birth, and I thought grainy poop was more for breastfed babies. It all sounds normal to me.

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B.F.

answers from New York on

My doctor told me not to sit a baby in a chair after feedings, instead have the baby on an incline with her legs staight out. Rest her on a pillow on your lap on an incline. Babies have very small stomaches and if they sit in a seat their legs are bent and pushing on the stomache. Try feeding her smaller amounts of formula more frequently. She may have acid reflux and not a food allergy.

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M.K.

answers from New York on

I don;t think its an allergy because she does well during the day,

Perhaps your not spacing out the feedings enough?

or offering her too much at that time.

I suggest the same as the doctor, except put a pillow in her bassinette, to elevate her back, so she laying at an angle
her head elevate so the milk doesn't come back up.

I think the stools are watery because as you say she has had an upset stomache every evening. so its extra acidic.

If she were allergic, she would vomit everytime you fed her.
But this seems to be only when going to sleep.

Remember Similac powder can be thickened slightly, at the evenings,making it easier for her to keep it down aswell, where as the liquid is very thin and watery making it more difficult.

Listen to your doctor, to much formula switching can reak havoc on your babies digestive system.

Good luck,

M
Mother of 3

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M.B.

answers from New York on

hi...my son had awful diareah (sp?) at birth. he was on similac also. the Dr. took some blood work & he had a milk & soy protein allergy. But...he had diareah & throwing up all day long! after we found out about his allergy, he was put on nutramagin. that helped tremendously! you can ask the dr. to test for that, although an allergy would affect you child all day, every day. sounds like it could be acid reflux. get that checked out too.good luck!!

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D.R.

answers from New York on

Try Similac sensitive. We had to use this with our daughter b/c she had reflux and would vomit across the room!!! We also had to keep her upright after feeding her for about half an hour. At first she was breastfed and still vomited but keeping her elevated helped and when we did switch to formula, only the sensitive worked. Good luck!

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M.T.

answers from New York on

The one time a day vomiting wouldn't lead me to think of an allergy, but I'm not a medical professional. If a baby has an allergy to formula, it's typically to the main component, which is dairy or soy. II I were formula feeding, I would consult the doctor before making any changes in formula.

The liquidy poop would concern me and could be a sign of allergy, and I would definitely let the doctor know about that, particularly if it happens with every bowel movement. The grainy mustard poop is breastfed baby poop, formula fed babies' poop looks and smells like poop.

Good luck

M.I.

answers from New York on

Have you tried breast feeding?

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M.M.

answers from New York on

K.,

I am so sorry that this is happeneing. When my daughter was about 3 weeks old, she was crying uncontrolably after EVERY meal. We switched to Similac Advance Soy and Dr. Brown bottles. That really helped. Good luck to you both.

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A.F.

answers from New York on

my daughter started having explosive diarrhea after every meal after being on similac advanced for about 8 or 9 weeks. you might try soy if she is still having loose bowels. i also like the lactose free formula by Enfamil. some kids are allergic to the protein in milk-that is the nutramigen etc but others are lactose intolerant. try the lactose free one if soy doesn't solve your problem and then try the "hypoallergenic" formulas. try each one for at least 3 days.

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C.H.

answers from New York on

I went through the same thing with my oldest. For him it was his 7pm feeding. If we were out at someone's house We would be sure to feed him in the kitchen. We were told that it was reflux which can be worse at night. We changed from ready to feed formula to powder and that helped a little. I also slept him in his infant seat, so that he was not laying and that helped a lot. If your baby is not having a problem all day then it doesn't sound like an allergy. Try to think of anything that may be different at that feeding. I noticed that when daddy did the feeding is was a definate, however when I fed him it was sometimes avoided or minimal. sometimes daddys tend to rush through the feedings and try to skip a burp.

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K.K.

answers from New York on

Hi K.,
my son is now 5 months but we started out on similac advance for the first week. He did the same thing he was fine for awhile and then he started to vomit so our doctor changed him to similac alimentum and we were on that for two months until he became very fussy and continued to vomit. We finally switched to neocate which is a hypoallergenic formula that is very mild. My son has the occasional spit up but no more vomitted and he is very content. In the long process we also found out that he has a mild case of acid reflux. I would try a new brand and see how it goes. His bowel movements were also the same but i think that has to do with the formula. We did put him in the swing and help upright for 30 min but that did not help.I would try another brand and see how she takes it.

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K.H.

answers from Albany on

I don't know if it was an allergy problem. But, I used some formula samples with my daughter as well as breastfeeding so I could prepare for going back to work. I used Enfamil with Iron and she was very gassy, she spit up a lot more and she would cry and cry. I switched to the Similac Advance because I used a sample of that and it was ok. Now, she is fine. Every formula is different and affects the baby differently. I'm surprised your Dr did not suggest something else. She seems like she may have a problem getting the formula down. Is she gaining weight? Are you also breastfeeding or only formula? If it is only this formula and she is gaining weight, then she is actually digesting some of it. And therefore, may not have a problem getting it down. But, may have a problem digesting some of it and I would try something else. See if your Dr's office has other samples that you can try with her. If she's not gaining weight, there could be a medical reason for her doing so..such as pyloric stenosis. Check this site out...and call the Dr to ask. This seems possible. http://www.babycenter.com/0_pyloric-stenosis-forceful-vom...
Good luck.

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L.W.

answers from Rochester on

hi K.,
i had the same thing but not quite so early on i breastfed till my son was two but there were weekends that i had to go away on meetings and didn't pump before. after a few times of trying to get my son to take formula he drank some and would throw up something horrible, the doctor said acid reflux at first cause his dad had it but that was shot down cause it was only with the formula. we tried many different kinds before we realized he was lactose intolerant! i am and so is his dad and my mother is too but the thought never crossed my mind that he could be. his bowel movements were to the point of gagging while changing him after he had formula,runny and very smelly. thank goodness it wasn't often but after being gone for a weekend and coming home to that wasn't the greatest welcome home. try different formulas that don't have whey ( milk protein) in them if that doesn't work ask your ped. to recommend some brands of formula that might help.
wish i could say more.
let me know
L.

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A.L.

answers from Albany on

Hello K.,
Seems to me that if the little one were allergic to it, she who have symptoms the rest of the day. Could it be:
she's not hungry at that point--full sooner
is Dad home and playing with her in evening...even a
newborn can get hyped up
Is someone different giving her that bottle? Her
position might be different for that feeding and
pinching off the top of stomach.
Are you bathing her just prior to that feeding;
maybe she's getting hyped up by that.
All that said, I do not agree with cow's milk for ANY child. If you read up on it, humans do not have the enzymes to properly digest cow's milk until we are about 17 and lasts for only a few years. That's one reason why mucus is not clear..the cow's milk. I fed 3 kids only: soy formula and breast milk, some goat's milk, and later on used soy and goat to make pudding and icecream, etc.As they grew, I gave calcium supplements. They ate yogurt regularly, because the enzymes in yogurt make it as though it is already partially digested. Now, I was a little extreme, but the pediatrician always said it was like watching a scientific experiment first hand. They were strong, but not heavy, and when they did get a cold, the nose ran clear, water-like liquid AS IT SHOULD BE! I now have 3 healthy, median weight adult children.
Hoping the best for you..
Annie

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N.D.

answers from Albany on

Definitely try the soy. Get a blood test as soon as possible for allergies also. My 7 mos old we found out is slightly allergic to corn, wheat and whole egg. His eczema has improved since I took these things out of my diet (I am nursing). He had to be on the soy formula for a while while I was in the hospital and it seemed to work good for him. Good luck!

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D.C.

answers from New York on

Hi. We had the same issue with our daughter, now 9 weeks old. She was getting breastmilk and Similac advance. Her stool became almost frothy and liquid. Our doc said it may be a lactose intolerance. Is your baby feeding frequently? When I looked up intolerance, I found that it's actually just the babies' inability to break up the lactose quickly enough. So the baby becomes gassy, stools are frothy, and to soothe themselves, they want to eat sooner which adds to the problem of lactose buildup. If you google or search lactose intolerance in babies, you'll get more info. I wouldn't switch formula without talking to your pediatrician first, but we needed to make several switches before we gave Nutramigen with pretty good results. OR...it may be reflux? My nephew has it pretty bad, but it doesn't seem to bother him at all, he just spits up frequently. A formula change may help, and if not, there are meds your pediatrician can recommend. Hope that helps a little. Good luck!

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