Problem with Milk?

Updated on September 21, 2009
J.C. asks from Webster, NY
22 answers

My 16mo old daughter has been spitting up and having diarrhea/very soft stool since birth. She was on milk-based formula and has been on whole milk since a year of age. She eats whatever we eat, and has a very healthy appetite. She was diagnosed at a year with beign anemic, which I thought odd, being on iron since birth. I voiced my concerns about her still spitting up each day, and her diarrha and terrible raw skin each time she had a poopy diaper changed. The pediatrician did not seem concerned at all, but I am. I decided to do my own experiment. I switched her to soy milk for two weeks. Within the first 48 hours, she had formed stool and no spit up. Three nights ago, I tried cow's milk for two meals. She spit up two nights ago, all over the place, and has had diarrhea several times, with a terrible redness when I changed her diaper. I put her back on the soy milk after she spit up the first time, but she had diarrhea again this morning. I want to go to my pediatrician with this, but would really like some imput from other moms with the same experience.

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J.M.

answers from New York on

Stick to the soy or rice milk if it seems to help her. My nephew has anallergy towards milk and milk products so he is ojn a casin frr diet, he is doing much better.

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H.D.

answers from New York on

It may be lactose intolerance or lactose allergy. Soymilk kids usually do not like. Doctors find it hard to diagnose this but my son had it-- when regardless of what the doctors said--- I switched to lactaid, all was peace. Try Lactaid-or any lactose free milk. My son liked it better than soy.

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C.S.

answers from New York on

Sounds like your daughter has a sensitivity to milk. My kids have only ever had soy milk after their 1st birthday. If you buy a full fat soy milk, its perfectly acceptable. (We like Silk Enhanced with Omega-3) I think your experiment proves that your daughter will be happier on soy.

Its ok to disagree with your pediatrician. Your pediatrician is there to guide you along, and provide input. But YOU know your child best.

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N.D.

answers from New York on

A lot of children have problems with cow's milk. I would remove it entirely from her diet. There are plenty of things you can substitute and if you are worried about calcium you can get supplements.

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M.F.

answers from New York on

you don't want to give children too much soy. try hemp or oat milk. FYI Milk does not form mucous in the body. It is also difficult to get enought calcium from vegetables.
And, don't follow advice without checking the facts.

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K.C.

answers from New York on

Milk is not all that it's cracked up to be. And millions of people are allergic to it.

Yet, non-organic food products are not in the best interest toward out health either. Eighty-percent of soy in the US is genetically modified. We are playing with mother-nature and that is not at all good. Monsanto (an evil place) says that they genetically modify seeds, etc to have enough food to feed the world. Before I'd switch to soy I would learn about genetically modified foods that hit the shelves in the mid-90s. It's not labeled and it's not the least bit close to natural soybean. Most people I know shrug this off. My daughter got soy formula the year before it was genetically modified. I did NOT give my other child - born 5 yrs later - any soy formula because it was after the change took place. In Europe, most folks are aware of the possible and potential harm this can do to health --- and is already doing to the environment.

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P.K.

answers from New York on

Sounds like your daughter is allergic to milk. Stick with the soy milk for a few more days and see what happens.I think you will see an improvement.

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D.M.

answers from New York on

Hello J.
It sounds as if your child is lactose intolerant I would first go to a pediatric gastroenterologist they are the experts with children's stomachs especially if your pediatrician is not helping I would definitely stick w/ soy milk or lactaid milk for now and see how that goes the diarrhea is not good either. I have 3 children and all of them were to a gi md for various reasons but not related to lactose intolerance and she was very helpful good luck D. if you are from jersey and need the md's name let me know

D.D.

answers from New York on

My 2nd grandson was diagnosed and treated for acid reflux for 3 yrs. My daughter did some research and experimented with his diet only to find out that he was allergic to cow milk. On a no milk diet which also excludes food containing milk Nate has thrived.

So I'd say go with your gut on this one. If you see a difference then stick with the soy. On her next visit let the doctor know what you are doing and what the effect has been. The good news is that children will usually outgrow milk allergies by age 6.

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K.H.

answers from Utica on

Hi J. C
I am sorry that your daughter has been through so much.
Are you convinced that it is a milk allergy? Sounds like you are, and if so don't give her any more. Now you sound like you could be stuck in the fact that milk is good for kids and they need it. I was there and mentioned that to the MD-- specialist in allergy at that. His reaction was that I was killing our son trying to not substitute. It was not easy to get past the nutrition of it all, especially since my in-laws were dairy farmers.
Getting an allergen out of the body may take up to 6 weeks, so you were fortunate that you could tell as soon as you gave the soy.
The book "Is this your child?" by Doris Rapp will be real helpful.
I have/had 4 children with milk allergy,and I was just diagnosed with lactose intolerance. I have lots of ideas, thoughts, and recipes that worked for us.
Write me and we can visit. I am probably old enough to be your mom, so hoped you've talked to yours and his.
God bless you with His wisdom
K. -- SAHM married 39 years --- adult children -- 38,coach used a meat base formula after hospitalized at 3 mos; 33, lawyer with the most allergies(soy was worse than milk)using all kinds of symptoms and twins 19 in college, both with multiple allergies.

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H.B.

answers from Rochester on

Remember that Mothers came before doctors. Doctors are needed but I believe God has put a special instinct in us for our children. I went through the same thing with my son who is now almost 20 months old. My doc didnt seem too concerned when he was an infant but I knew soymilkwould be best at the time and it was. I hoped her would have grown out of it by 1 but didnt so I have been using "Lactaid" whole milk ever since and that has been working great. He is also able to eat real cheese and some yogurt but reg milk he just couldnt do.
You can find the Lactaid brand at any grocery store and Wegmans has an off brand of the same thing.
Hope this helps. Email me if you want to talk more about it. [email protected]____.com
~H.

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E.E.

answers from Albany on

I would definitely demand a second opinion at your pediatricians' office. Maybe just make an appointment with a different doctor at the same practice. If switching her to soy milk makes her feel better, I say do it. Just make sure you give her a multi vitamin to cover all the basics. I give my 20 month a old disney princess gummy chewable multi vitamin every morning at breakfast.

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E.Y.

answers from New York on

My daughter is allergic to cow milk and eggs, but we didn't discover it until she was 13 months old. Fortunately, she was still on breastmilk until that time, so she only had symptoms when I tried introducing yogurt or foods with eggs. It can take several days for a food to completely pass through the body, so it's not surprising that she had diarrhea again when you went back to soy milk. You'll need to stick to a dairy-alternative for longer (like 5 days), and read EVERY package label extremely carefully to make sure she is not being exposed to any other dairy (like cheese, butter, cream, etc.) during that time to completely clean out her system from dairy and then assess how she is doing. No more regular cookies, baked foods with butter, grilled cheese, tomato sauce with cream, etc... If she is accidentally exposed to dairy even in a small amount, then you have to start the trial period all over again. Then, if you feel you are correct, ignore your regular pediatrician and go find a pediatric allergist. When the immune system is compromised because it is fighting off a "toxin" (dairy, in her case), it's not surprising that her body is having trouble absorbing other nutrients. If she is indeed allergic to dairy, it can take a long time before you can fully wrap your head around all the changes your family needs to make in order to keep your daughter safe. Sorry to hear about it. I can relate.

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N.H.

answers from New York on

Hi J.,

I have 4 children. Two of them were on Soy milk instead of whole milk from 1 yo to 2 yo. It worked well for them. Their response to whole milk was spitting up and just not liking the taste. They drink whole milk now and have no problems with it at all. Maybe it was just an adjustment period?? Dont know for sure.

Anyway, if your pediatrician doesnt want to look into why your little one is having diahrea and spitting up for such a long period of time, FIND ANOTHER DOCTOR!! Sorry, this is sometimes hard to do, but sometimes necessary. No baby should have to live like this and should have been taken care of when it first started. That is your ped's responsibility.

If soy is helping her, keep with it. If she still has rashes, I could only use Vaseline on my son (8), and I used Aveeno diaper rash cream for my youngest (almost 3). Both worked well, but my mother swore by cornstarch, which didnt work for my first, in 1992 (now 18). I finally used vaseline for her almost 1 month rash.

Diaper rashes are also linked to teething, so that may have also been some of the problem. It was an idea, but you may want to keep an eye on it.

If your daughter has any other problems, please do not hesitate to go to your doctor, or look for another one. If there are no other pediatricians in your area you can go to, try a family doctor!

When you go to your daughter's ped, do let him know of the "experiment" you did and how things worked out. What is he gonna do, tell you that you shouldn't have? It's done and it was not a bad idea and it worked, other parents do this all the time, and there are alot of kids put on soy for many reasons.

You should ask if there should be an allergy test done, or just choose to stick with soy, and try milk again in a couple months. It may be just milk that doesnt agree with her, or it could be all dairy - you didn't say how she reacts to other dairy products; yogurts, pudding, cheese, ice cream??

Try to document this stuff, and take it to her ped for them to look at. This will give them a better idea of what you are looking at; dairy allergy, or just weak reaction to milk.

good luck. And looking forward to hearing what your ped tells you! :)

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E.L.

answers from New York on

Hi!
It sounds like you've found the problem, she must be lactose intolerant since the temporary switch seemed to help. Also, I believe that dairy can cause malabsorption of iron in some people, so that might explain the anemia.

I have to say, it seems really odd that your pediatrician has no problem with your child having regular diarrhea, vomiting and diaper rash at this age. Are you comfortable with this person? Maybe getting a second opinion is in order.

best of luck and enjoy the fall!

E..

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A.S.

answers from New York on

J.,

I'm sorry to hear your daughter has been suffering for so long. It sounds like she may be lactose intolerant. The difference between lactose intolerance and a milk allergy is that lactose intolerance is an inability (due to a lack of the enzyme lactase) to digest milk, and a milk allergy is an autoimmune response to milk that usually results in a rash, hives, difficulty breathing, etc. Lactose intolerance is not life-threatening but does result in a great deal of discomfort (speaking from experience); many people with lactose intolerance can eat certain dairy products (such as yogurt or butter) or products that contain trace amounts of milk. A milk allergy is potentially more serious, and usually people with the allergy must avoid even the smallest trace to avoid a reaction. From the symptoms you describe, it sounds like your daughter is more likely lactose intolerant than allergic to milk, but this should be confirmed by a pediatric gastroenterologist.

As others have said, be careful about giving your child too much soy (and try to get organic soy products to avoid the genetically modified ones). I would also be uncomfortable with a pediatrician who did not have any problem with a child spitting up and having diarrhea and diaper rash for 16 months... you might want to ask around for recommendations for another doctor.

There are many more products available these days that are made without milk, and the new product labeling that went into effect a few years ago also makes grocery shopping much easier (after the ingredient list, it should say whether the product contains any typical allergens: milk, wheat, peanut, etc., often in bold letters). There are also lots of ways to get calcium besides dairy (or similar products like soy milk). Check out some websites such as this one for more information:

http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov/ddiseases/pubs/lactoseinto...

Good luck,
A.

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L.M.

answers from New York on

Hi J.,

This does not sound "normal". All babies spit up ocassionally and some have softer stools than others, but if there's constant diareaha and spitting up - there's a problem. Yes, you should consult a pediatrician, but NOT yours. Get a second opinion.

Your daughter may have some degree of latose intollerance, or may be allergic to milk. Since staying away from milk helped her situation, I would stop cow's milk.

Good luck.

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S.V.

answers from Rochester on

Your daughter is lactose intolerant or has a milk allergy. Same thing happened with my daughter as an infant. Put her on soy and call it a aday. And maybe get a new doctor since your didn't seem to pick up on that.

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C.G.

answers from Syracuse on

I know I am in the minority with this response, but I wanted to post anyway. I have done a lot of research on milk and calcium. Milk is one of the worst ways to get calcium - it's not as absorbable (sp) as other types of calcium. You (and your baby) can get calcium in so many other ways - spinach as a ton of calcium in it. I am a raw vegan so I do not eat or drink any type of dairy product. I have had my calcium levels checked and they are normal (if not, a little above normal). I have even had hormonal medicines affect my calcium levels before, so I'm not of the "norm" for calcium as it is. Your baby does not need to drink milk (nor does she need to drink soy milk). I would cut out the milk and the soy milk altogether since there are so many better options. If you are just adding in milk/soy milk to give calcium, then don't (just my suggestion). I know there are sites out there that contradict this, but there are also sites out there that collaborate this as well. I guess it's just what you feel comfortable with. My friend does not give her daughter milk either, but she does feed her yogurt. When she told her doctor that she doesn't give her milk, he didn't even question it or advise her to start doing so. Milk forms mucous in our bodies... not a good thing. Our bodies work in miraculous ways and if her body is not responding to milk, then don't push the issue. I hope this helps in some way....

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A.B.

answers from New York on

I am surprised that you waited 16 months before suspecting a problem with the milk. It sounds like your daughter has a sensitivity, possibly lactose intolerance. Your baby's doctor may not know very much about nutrition or alternative diets. You may need to do some nutrition research on your own and try different sources of calcium and other nutrients for your child. Contrary to popular belief your baby does not have to depend on milk or other dairy products in order to thrive.(The American Dairy Association would like us to believe that we all NEED milk.) Too much soy can also be a problem. A good book, that has a wealth of nutrition information, is "Prescription for Nutritional Healing" by James and Phyllis Balch. If you have a good health food store in your area, see if they have a nutritional consultant. You may also consider consulting a nutritionist.
Good luck!

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A.F.

answers from New York on

Sounds like
1) you have successfully diagnosed a relatively severe dairy allergy in your daughter
2) you need to get a new pediatrician

good luck!

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M.O.

answers from New York on

Dear J.,

I know I'm coming late to this, but I have some experience in this area with my own son, and I wanted to share a few things I've learned.

First of all, you sound like a FABULOUS mom! It is not easy, at all, to diagnose something your doctor has missed, and it sounds like you've done it. Wow!

Second, a lot of people who posted below suggested that your daughter may be lactose-intolerant. This does NOT sound correct to me. Lactose intolerance doesn't usually manifest until about age 6. Milk protein intolerance, however, usually manifests in children 3 and under. This sounds instead like a milk-protein allergy. The two are easily confused because, after all, they both appear in milk, but biochemically they're very different. Lactose is a sugar; milk protein is a ... protein. And it's significant in terms of basic dietary decisions, because lactose-reduced products won't help at all. Of course, get this checked out by a holistic practitioner or a pediatric gastroenterologist (many primary-care pediatricians are unfamiliar with it), but I'd be surprised to hear about a lactose intolerance manifesting so young.

And ... please continue to trust what you've observed and keep your daughter off milk! I gave my own son very limited amounts of milk (baked goods cooked with milk, never milk itself) until he was 2-and-a-half. From ages 1 to 2.5, he had chronic (and I mean constant) ear infections, a speech delay, and was just a sad, serious little boy. I got him off all milk at the advice of a naturopathic physician (I wasn't as smart as you, in terms of home diagnoses), and he now has a HUGE vocabulary (his preschool teacher says he's very advanced), he's constantly smiling, and he hasn't had an ear infection since.

Best wishes,

Mira

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