Our Baby’s Milk Protein Allergy: How We Battled the Big Bad Milk Monster – and Won

Chelsea's articlesThe following post was written by the wonderfully talented Chelsea Stanley. Chelsea is the VP of Mommy Relations over here at Incredible Infant. Bask in her real-mom encouragements through her thoughtful articles..


Our Baby's Milk Protein Allergy: How We Battled the Big Bad Milk Monster and Won - http://www.incredibleinfant.com

Once upon a time in the land of brats and cheese, a mama and her baby set off on a long journey.

They’d sail through a river of green poo, trek through a jungle of doctor appointments and battle the big bad dairy monster in order to reach their destination: the land of (allergy-free) milk and honey.

Along the way, there were blood-curdling cries, painful kicks to the ribs and many sleepless nights.

But they made it.  

We made it.

And we have survived to share our story with you, dear mama, in hopes that you will be equipped and empowered should you find yourself on the same long, exhausted milk-allergy journey.

Defining the Monster:
Milk Allergies 101

Before I delve too deeply into our story, though, let’s answer an important question:

What exactly is a milk allergy?

I don’t know about you, but I thought milk allergy was synonymous with lactose intolerance.

It’s not.

Lactose intolerance is an inability to digest the sugar lactose.  It’s extremely rare in infants.  

Your baby probably doesn’t have it. 

A milk allergy occurs when the immune system launches an attack against the proteins found in dairy (or other foods) because it thinks the body is in danger. 

Experts estimate 6-8% of infants are allergic to one or more foods.

Not sure if your baby is one of the 8%?  Read on, friend.

Green Poo and the Doctor Too

Our story begins at my son’s two-month appointment when we shared our concerns with our pediatrician.

He grunted and cried constantly.  His diapers were explosive, green and mucus-y. 

Breastfeeding had turned into an Olympic sport. 

Despite all these feeding challenges, his height and weight were off the charts.

His daddy, who could be mistaken for a Chicago Bears lineman, cracks the same joke at every. single. appointment:  “I wonder where he gets it from?”

I married a comedian.

Needless to say, our doctor wasn’t too concerned.  She suspected he might have reflux and gave us a prescription.  The possibility of allergies was mentioned as more of a footnote.  

If he didn’t seem to get better, she might want to check his stools for blood.  “Most people can’t see it with their naked eye,” she said. 

There Will Be Blood

But two weeks later, in a Bed Bath and Beyond bathroom stall, my naked eye saw it.

A flood of panic came over me.  

“This can’t be good,” I thought.

Within a half hour of dropping off the diaper at the doctor’s office (they have all the fun jobs), I received a phone call from the pediatrician herself.

Yep, that was a lot of blood.  I needed to cut soy and dairy from my diet immediately.  And it could take up to two weeks for us to notice any difference.

Battling the Big Bad Dairy Monster

I bid farewell to my beloved ice cream and jumped right into my new dairy-free life.  

Sadly, it wasn’t enough.

Another two weeks later, my son was no longer struggling to breastfeed.  He was outright refusing it.

The pediatrician had one more trick up her sleeve.  She suggested three days on a hypoallergenic formula like Alimentum.  If that didn’t work, we might be looking at multiple food allergies.

No difference.  

It was time to see a pediatric gastroenterologist.

If you try Alimentum and it DOES work, consider buying it in bulk. This little trick could save you up to $595 a year.

Our Knight in Shining Armor

By the time we saw the GI specialist, both breastfeeding AND bottle-feeding were failing us.  He just didn’t want to eat.

The doctor listened to our saga and told us that our son was a textbook case.  We learned that allergy babies associate eating with pain and often refuse to eat as a result.  

 He offered two solutions:

  • Switch over to an amino-acid formula like Neocate (the most hypoallergenic formula out there).  He could almost guarantee it would fix everything, but it was super expensive, and I really wanted to breastfeed if at all possible.

We chose option #2.  

The Land of (Allergy-Free) Milk and Honey

By four months, I had cut out all the foods he recommended, and we noticed a huge difference.

He was a whole new baby.  Happy, healthy, content.  I felt like I was meeting my sweet baby boy all over again.

Yes, there were sacrifices. Nursing was no longer an option because he had developed a fear of the breast.  Instead, I pumped exclusively until he reached eleven months.

But we made it.

Most milk protein allergy babies outgrow their allergies by a year of age, and our son fit the mold.  Today, he eats all sorts of foods with no issues.  

We survived and lived to tell our story.

Do You Need to Fight
the Big Bad Milk Monster?

If you suspect you might have a milk protein allergy baby on your hands, here are five lessons to tuck away in your parenting backpack for the journey ahead:

1.) Know what to look for.

The most common symptoms include:

  • Skin rash or flushed skin
  • Blood and/or mucus in the stool
  • Swelling of the face, tongue, or lips
  • Excessive spit-up, vomiting, or diarrhea
  • Difficulty breathing

2.) Be your doctor’s eyes and ears at home.

I am so thankful for doctors.  They can help my babies in ways that I can’t.  

With that being said, the doctor sees my child for fifteen minutes every few months. I am with him the other 125,000+ minutes.  

Doctors rely heavily on parental observations and input.   Help them do their job.  Keep notes, ask good questions and stay in constant communication.

3.) Go with your gut.

If I could do one thing differently on my journey, I would have gone with my gut and asked for a stool test at our first appointment.  It takes all of 30 seconds, costs pennies and could have spared my baby two weeks of pain. 

Woulda shoulda coulda, right?

Friends, God gave us mother’s intuition for a reason.  It’s not always right, but it’s usually pretty spot-on.  Don’t make my mistake. Go with your gut.

Make Your Baby's Naps Longer

4.) Do what works.

While you wait for answers, you still have to deal with a miserable baby.

My advice?  Throw your expectations out the window and do what works.  

Before I gave birth, I swore I wouldn’t introduce a pacifier.  But then my baby cried…and cried and cried…and I had no other option.  

Our firstborn did well with MAM pacifiers, this bouncer, these amazing swaddle blankets and Medela bottles.  

When little brother came along and had allergy issues, Tommee Tippee bottles and our Ergo carrier were saving graces.

No two infants are the same.   You have to find what works for yours.  

It’s all about survival, baby.  

5.) Choose a Healthy Baby and Mama Over Milk Type

I wholeheartedly support moms who want to keep breastfeeding their allergy babies.  If you are able, let me encourage you that the sacrifice is worth the reward.

Three quick cautions, though:

If you’re going to restrict your diet, do it under your own doctor’s supervision.

If your doctor tells you that your baby can’t afford to lose out on calories while you experiment with foods, then consider switching to formula.  No guilt allowed.

Remember that your identity has nothing to do with what you feed your baby. 

You’re doing great, mama!  Now go and smooch that baby of yours.

Helping Each Other Fight the Good Fight

Every good Girl Scout knows that the key to a successful wilderness outing is to “Be Prepared” (a box of thin mints may also help). 

I hope that my story has helped prepare you for the allergy adventure that may lie ahead.

I’m sure I’m not the only mama who has earned her “Be Prepared” badge, though.

Calling all milk protein allergy survivors!    

  • How did you survive your journey?
  • Which tools did you have in your backpack?

Help another mama earn her badge, and share your story in the comments.


Chelsea Stanley

Meet Chelsea Stanley

Chelsea is the ultimate boy mom. Whenever she's in distress, she can count on her three little musketeers and their sidekick pup, Sir Duke, to come to her rescue. If the task is too great, her Prince Charming of a husband saves the day with a magical elixir called Diet Coke from underneath the Golden Arches.   Get to know her and visit her blog, Daughter Redeemed.


Our Baby's Milk Protein Allergy: How We Battled the Big Bad Milk Monster and Won - http://www.incredibleinfant.com

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Comments

  1. Thank you for sharing your story!  Wow, I am really glad to see milk/soy/food allergy being discussed more often.  Each of my babies has been dairy/soy intolerant, and I’ve had to completely cut it out of my diet while nursing them.

    When my first was born he would projectile spit-up (he looked like a fountain) and developed a bleeding diaper rash that WOULDNOTGOAWAY no matter what we did.  At first I thought we had thrush, I tried every diaper rash cream out there, gave lots of naked time, and nothing worked.  He also continued to poop at every diaper change even when he was past the newborn stage.  Thankfully he wasn’t fussy, but I could not get the diaper rash situation under control and it was horrible for several months.  Finally, in desperation, I showed a picture of his rash to some other moms via an online forum and received the advice to cut out both dairy AND soy from my diet (even trace amounts).  I started strictly reading every food label and within 5 days my baby had started pooping like a normal baby, the diaper rash had disappeared (without any treatment!), and the spit up vanished.  Each time I would eat dairy or soy though the symptoms would come back.  When he was two he was finally able to tolerate eating dairy which was a relief, but my younger two children still have not been able to eat dairy without digestive issues.

    One thing that that was very difficult for me at first when eating dairy-free was how to get enough fat and nutrition in my diet, as well as finding recipes to cook.  I felt hungry a lot and lost too much weight within that first year of nursing my son.  Fortunately I was able to figure out new strategies with my third baby that helped me eat dairy-free without those issues.  So many more dairy-free food options became available (like coconut milk ice cream and Daiya cheese substitute), and I discovered that Paleo recipes provided me dairy-free/soy-free dinner recipes that actually tasted good and filled me up.  I became an expert nutrition label reader, and I think that helped our family eat healthier overall.

    Interestingly, my mom says that as a baby I had horrible colic, so I suspect that I also had milk protein allergy.  It must run in the family.

    • Danielle Miller says:

      Thank you for sharing your story, Rachel! This adds some helpful information too (regarding diet for mom!).

    • Thanks for sharing, Rachel.  I always joke that the best way to lose pregnancy weight is to have an allergy baby!  It’s not easy, that’s for sure.  I survived on guacamole, hummus, steak and dark chocolate coconut ice cream for seven months (okay, I guess it doesn’t sound sooo bad).  And boy, I don’t know WHAT I would have done without Pinterest.  In all seriousness, though, major kudos to you for battling not one, not two, but THREE big bad dairy monsters.  You rock, mama!  (And PS—my mom also described me as a high colic baby and the GI specialist said he could almost guarantee that I was an allergy baby “before it was a thing.”)

  2. We too survived a milk allergy! My daughter showed no signs until I noticed blood in her stool shortly after her one month appointment. After a trip to the pediatrician, I began to cut dairy out of my diet. Within two weeks I no longer saw the bloody stool. As my daughter started eating solid foods and got closer to her first birthday, we introduced dairy and she had no signs of the milk allergy anymore. I continued to Breastfeed my daughter until she was 16 months old. I have a two week old now and check her diaper constantly for blood, afraid she too will have the milk allergy. The hardest part for me was trying to explain that she wasn’t lactose intolerant and trying to find other moms going through the same thing. As I talked to other moms, every child had different symptoms. Let’s continue to share so we know more of what to look for in our little ones!

    • Danielle Miller says:

      Rebecca,

      You are so right! Sharing what you have learned with other moms can help them avoid some of the trouble we have had to face. It makes us stronger, right?!

    • Oh, Rebecca, I know that same worry.  When my second was born, I was devastated to learn that he had (worse) allergies. But going through it with my first gave me such good perspective.  I knew what to look for, what needed to be done, and most importantly, I could see the light at the end of the tunnel…a happy, healthy toddler!  I hope you won’t have to battle the milk monster again, but if you do…you got this!

  3. Sounds familiar! Through almost the same process we found that our son was allergic to the casein protein in cow’s milk, we ended up using Gerber Good Start Soothe (the purple one) and it was perfect. By 18 months he had outgrown it and is now drinking whole milk and eating cheese (his favorite!).

    Oh my goodness, I have a story though. When we visited the gastroenterologist he asked me to change my baby’s diaper before weighing him for a more accurate reading. Just before leaving the office, baby boy filled his diaper with some of that mucousy green mess. Doc wanted to take a sample to check for blood so he put the boy on the exam table but was not prepared for my son’s HATRED for being on his back, especially for a diaper change. Baby boy’s feet ended up in the green poo and it got everywhere! As I cleaned him up I realized that I had used the last diaper in the diaper bag when the doc asked me to change it. Agh! “Do you have any diapers here in the clicnic?” “No.” I remembered I had some out in the car so to last for the 10 minute walk to the car we fashioned an impromptu diaper out of paper towels and masking tape. Sheesh!

    • Danielle Miller says:

      Golly! Note to doctors: always keep extra diapers on hand! 🙂

    • So glad to hear your son is thriving, Crystal.  And oh my goodness, you lived my nightmare!  I’ve always been afraid of running out of diapers at the doctor’s office.  But if I ever do, now I know…paper towels and masking tape!  Ha!

  4. Thanks for posting!! My son was so colicky, he screamed for 4 hours at his sisters 9th birthday party. The Dr said he could be allergic to dairy but she thought he had reflux because he threw up so much. So I reluctantly put him on the meds for that but it didn’t help. He still screamed and cried a lot! He also got excema, had a stuffy nose often and had mucus in his poo. I didn’t really know these were signs of a milk allergy until after they tested his poo and I started researching. At his 4 month appointment she did give me a container for a poo sample and I finally sent it in and got the news on his 6 month birthday that he is allergic to milk. I was shocked, confused & upset I didn’t know sooner. At his Dr appointment, they told me to cut out milk and cheese for sure and to do the best I could. At that point he didn’t really have his fussy time in the evenings that often so he was doing a lot better! Now I’ve been dairy free for 3 weeks and I actually really like it! I thought it would be awful! He’s so much happier!! He also doesn’t spit up very much at all! I am a dairy lover and I’ve found so many good alternatives so I want to encourage other moms they can still breastfeed! Praying he outgrows it at 1 year old. He will be 7 months next week.

    • Danielle Miller says:

      Alisha,

      It’s just so good to know now, isn’t it! We found out about our daughter’s milk protein allergy when she had an anaphylactic reaction to formula at 7 months, yikes! I remember being sad that we had had to struggle for so many months too. However, our little ones don’t remember the struggle, thank you God! The good news is that, 1. 80% of children out grow it. 2. If they don’t, you really can live without dairy (though it takes a little bit of a lifestyle change).

      Thanks for your word of encouragement to other moms about breastfeeding! I second you on that!

    • I’m sorry it took so long to figure out, Alisha.  I can relate the feelings you described.  It’s so hard to see your baby in pain and feel utterly helpless.  Major props to you for educating yourself on the topic and taking charge.  You’re off to a great start…keep up the good (and hard) work!

  5. We found out our son has CMPI when I insisted on a poop test at the doctor’s office at 2 months.  A re-test at 4 months came back totally clean, so the pediatrician said I could try re-introducing dairy in my diet again, starting slowly with cooked dairy….1 piece of banana bread showed that to be a failure (back to very mucousy diapers the very next day — fortunately that was the only symptom we ever had!).

    How/when did you eventually re-introduce dairy? I can’t imagine just handing him a sippy cup of cows milk the day after he turns 1.  But I also hate the idea of continuously re-trying dairy in my diet every few months and upsetting his gut each time….  He just turned 6 months.  Any advice would be greatly appreciated! 🙂

    • Danielle Miller says:

      Lauren,

      I’m with you! Not fun to experience the results of a failed dairy test. I do recommend trying dairy cooked as you did. I think you could try again now that he is 6 months. A babies gut is much better developed by the time they reach 6 months (that’s why you can start solids at 6 months) If he can handle you eating butter and milk when it’s been cooked, this changes the protein, then you can try yogurt next. As far as his diet goes, I do recommend you do a blood test around a year to see where he is at with his allergy.
      The good news is that 80% of babies out grow this in a year!

    • That’s a tough one.  Our pediatrician advised reintroducing dairy into my diet at six months, but our GI specialist encouraged us to wait until one year (the point point was moot by then because I dried up at 11 months).  My husband and I were a bit on the conservative side after all he/we had gone through, so we went with the GI specialist’s recommendation.   Danielle is right, though…babies do have better developed guts by six months.  I think it depends on 1) your doc’s recommendation and 2) your own comfort level with the possibility of it upsetting his system.

      As for introducing dairy into his solid diet, we started out with 1 TBSP of yogurt per the GI’s recommendation.  After two weeks with no reaction, we then moved on to a small amount of whole milk.  By 13 months, he was eating all sorts of dairy products.  Again, it’s all about your doctor’s recommendation and your comfort level.

      Hang in there, mama!  You’re doing great!

  6. I am in love with this site. I have no success story to share, as we are knee-deep in these problems with my 7 week old right now. This article made me laugh and feel better, as an overwhelmed and exhausted Mama. Thank you….:)

    • Danielle Miller says:

      I’m SO glad, Lindsay! You are the reason we have this site. We want to help overwhelmed, exhausted mamas, that’s our mission!

  7. This comment made me smile, Lindsay.  I’m going to have to share it with my husband who thinks he’s the only funny one in our family!  I’m so sorry to hear that you’re in the middle of battling the big bad milk monster.  It is exhausting and overwhelming (I know!), so I’m glad this post offered a little encouragement and comic relief.  Hopefully you’ll have your own success story to share soon!

  8. So glad this information is out there for mamas to read. When we discovered a milk protein allergy with our six-year-old I felt out to sea! It was such a huge adjustment for the whole family.
    Anyway, thanks for this article!

  9. jenny blake says:

    Thanks Chelsea for sharing this! It’s really helpful!

  10. Thanks Chelsea! What was the process you took to eliminate the other foods beside dairy and soy? Everything at once or one thing at a time?

    • With my eldest son, the GI advised us to eliminate gluten for a week or two, then eggs for the same amount of time, then peanuts. I did two weeks without gluten. He was better but still didn’t seem to be completely better, so then I cut out both eggs and peanuts at the same time (mostly because we were getting impatient) and he was completely better within a week or two. To this day, we still don’t know what exactly he was allergic to, but eliminating the top five allergens helped immensely. Had he not gotten better, I would have cut out the remaining top allergens: shellfish, fish and tree nuts. And if he still wasn’t better after that, we would have either needed to switch to an elemental formula OR I would have needed to cut out some of the less common allergens.

      Whatever you do, I would highly recommend that you do it under a doctor’s supervision. They can make sure that your little one stays in the safe zone while you experiment. My oldest son was in the 99th percentile, so we had some time to experiment before he was in the “danger zone.” My second son, however, didn’t have that same luxury. He quickly dropped from the 75th to the 25th percentile, so it wasn’t in his best interest for me to keep on experimenting for weeks on end. In his case, we made the tough decision to switch to an elemental formula.

      One quick note…you may have heard of something called the “Elimination Diet” where you literally eat six foods and re-introduce one thing at a time. I personally wouldn’t recommend it for a nursing mother, but if you are interested in doing something like that, please make sure to consult with YOUR doctor first. My own doctor wasn’t too keen on it. Neither was my son’s GI.

      I hope you find answers, friend. It’s a tough process, but so worth it in the end.

  11. I found out my son couldn’t tolerate milk and have eliminated it from my diet. Now I’m transitioning to formula. Should I start with soy formula? He is 5 1/2 months. I’m confused if soy formula is good or not on everything that I read.

    • It’s confusing, isn’t it, Gina? Typically, doctors will advise you to cut soy and dairy from your diet (or formula) since the proteins are so similar. Your best bet would probably be switching to a hypoallergenic formula like Similac Alimentum where the milk/soy proteins are pre-digested so babies don’t typically react to them. If that doesn’t work (I sure hope it does!), your baby might be allergic to another type of food and you’ll need to talk to your doctor about Elecare or Neocate.

  12. I have a 5 month old who has been diagnosed with milk protein allergy. I have cut dairy from my diet since day 1, At some point I needed to start supplementing since he dropped weight. At 12 weeks We started with Allimentum ready to feed and he was OK. Still gassy but reflux a little better. Gave him powder Alimentum and stools started coming out white and with mucus, so back to ready to feed. Up until today we have not had one night of gas pains. GI said to do Neocate…. so we did and that night he was up every hour crying. So now I am back to just breastmilk supplementing with my frozen stash… He is still gassy … Frustrate. Anyone heard of baby reacting to Neocate? Or is he just fooling me and needing me to soothe him? I swear I need some words of encouragement cause I just ran out of options here. What I am goignt o do when I ran out of breastmilk, I dont make enough for him. He is on Zantac AND Nexium ….

    • Oh, Mari. I feel ya, sister! I shared the story of my first baby’s milk allergies in this post, but actually, my second baby was far worse. After three months of breastfeeding, I was forced to put him on Neocate/Elecare. And as much as you’re probably not going to want to hear this…it took awhile to adjust. Typically, baby bodies heal after a few days on formula, but our GI specialist encouraged us to keep trying for two full weeks. Unfortunately, our little guy’s gut was so eaten up from the allergens in my breastmilk that he still wasnt completely healed after that two weeks. I began to worry and found myself trolling online mommy boards trying to figure out if he could be allergic to Neocate. When we saw the specialist, I raised my concerns. While he was surprised, he asked us to wait two more weeks. He said its next to impossible for kids to be allergic to formulas like Neocate/Elecare because the proteins are broken down to their purest form. He was right. He rarely sees it happen, but it did take almost a full month for us to make the transition.

      Two suggestions: 1) Make absolutely sure you’re truly cutting out the foods you need to be cutting out from your diet while you’re breastfeeding (did you know there are over 25 words for milk ingredients?). Sometimes allergens can sneak into our diets even when we think we’ve eliminated them. 2) I would suggest trying your formula for at least two weeks. If it’s still bad, talk to your doctor. They’ll be able to tell you if you should keep trying or move on. (Bonus tip: if you haven’t already, go to Neocate’s website to score a free can of formula)

      Hope things clear up soon!

      • Thank you for this helpful post and this response. My 9 month old is on elecare, after a blood test confirmed cow milk and goat milk allergy (which nurse said that it is mostly a protein allergy and to avoid all milk-based, including soy). He has had severe eczema and hives. The elecare has not cleared up his skin, although his allergist said not to be surprised if it takes 3 weeks to clear up (I was hoping it would be sooner, we are in our second week and the itchiness is driving him crazy – can’t sleep through the night). He was already on formula (we tried good start and Holle, he had severe reaction (ER) to Baby’s Only – that one is 100% whole whey protein, which may explain his allergy to that particular protein). Your response gave me hope to keep him on the elecare and and wait (impatiently) for his skin to clear.

      • I’m so sorry to hear about your little guy’s eczema, Ruth. I hope his itching goes away soon! Hang in there, mama.

  13. Leandra says:

    My baby is allergic to milk and soy and can’t seem to tolerate Neocate (which is amino acid based) or any other amino acid drinks/foods. Any advice on this? He will be 7 months as of next week.

    • When you say can’t seem to tolerate…do you mean he doesn’t like the taste or he’s still having GI problems? If it’s the taste, you could try mixing it with breastmilk or the formula he’s familiar with. Start with 75% milk/formula and 25% Neocate, then after 3-4 days, increase it to 50% and so on. It can take a couple weeks sometimes. You could also try another brand (Elecare) and see if that works, but it’s not likely that would make a difference. If he is taking it, but still having GI issues after two weeks, I would speak to a pediatric GI specialist if you can. Most babies’ systems adjust after two weeks, but some (like my youngest) take longer to fully heal because their systems are so torn up from allergies.

  14. This site has been so helpful and enlightening!!! My 5month old has a CMPA. I discovered blood at 2m, watery, frothy, mucous green stools, and terrible GI pains in my LO. Thankfully he continued to nurse and remains steady in the 50th percentile. So far I’m not to happy with the level of concern my pedi has shown. They did test his stool for blood and it was positive, but no other tests have been run. He still poops, I feel excessively, and it’s always green. I currently breastfeed. I have cut dairy from my diet. I tried to reintroduce this past weekend and now he has a rash/exzema on his cheeks, and the mucous green stools are back. I’m wondering should I switch pediatricians? Is there specific questions/requests I should be asking? We have never seen a GI specialist…never even suggested. I’ve basically been researching and being proactive on my own. Help please!!!

    • Oh, Monica, I feel your pain! When my LO had issues, our ped didn’t show too much concern either because he was always in the 99th percentile. Ours was pretty quick to refer us to a pediatric GI specialist, though. If you live in an area where there’s a Pediatric GI specialist readily available, I would highly recommend that you see one. As for your pediatrician, I personally don’t know that I would switch over this one issue. The truth is that general peds have some experience/knowledge when it comes to allergies, but nowhere near that of pediatric GIs. That being said, if you’re noticing a pattern of disregard for your concerns, it may be time to switch. We’ll actually be doing a series on this topic in the near future. I know that’s not the answer you were probably hoping for, but it truly is a judgment call on your part. And I have full faith you’ll make the right decision for you and your sweet baby!

      In the meantime, green and frequent poo isn’t necessarily cause for concern with a breastfed baby, but mucus/froth/blood/fussiness are definitely red flags. Have you cut any other foods from your diet? You may want to try cutting the top allergens: dairy, soy, wheat, eggs, peanuts, shellfish. And also make sure that you’re truly cutting out dairy/soy. There are over 25 sneaky ingredients that include dairy/soy. The tiniest bit can throw things off again.

      I hope you’re able to figure this out and that your baby is able to eat without pain or discomfort. You are doing a great job being an advocate, mama. Keep it up!

  15. I just discovered this website and I love it. Recently I’ve reached out online for support as I breastfeed my 3rd baby who has reflux and colic as did my other two. I was reading Chelsea’s post about how some Mothers choose elimination dieting while breastfeeding to identify possible allergens. I eliminated so many foods from my diet while I was nursing my second child to the point where I ended up in the emergency room because my heart was affected by low levels of potassium. There they also discovered I was malnourished. My son was in the failure to thrive range. at that point I ditched my belief of breast is best and weaned him onto Neocate. He then thrived….gaining weight and continuing to meet his developmental milestones. Best part of all, he was so happy and pain free. Now my 3 month old is as reactive as my son was and I am working on weaning her to Neocate or Elecare. Its hard though, she and I both love our breastfeeding relationship but I know in the long run it will be for the best for the both of us. Websites like this supporting both breastfeeding and formula feeding help me feel supported during this tough transition.

    • Oh, Rachel! It warmed my heart to read your comment. I’m so glad you found Incredible Infant. When I discovered Heather’s site a couple years ago, I felt the same way. It’s a breath of fresh air, isn’t it? “YOU are the expert on your baby!” I just love that tagline and overall posture towards mamas.

      I’m so sorry for all you went through with your son. I know your struggle and feel your pain. It’s hard to give up that special breastfeeding relationship. You want to make it work, but you’re right, sometimes the best thing for both baby and mama is to make that switch. And thank heavens we live during a time when we have access to Neocate/Elecare so that our babies CAN thrive. I sincerely hope that your daughter will thrive just as big brother did. Thanks for taking the time to share.

  16. I have tried so many things post 5 month completion of baby ,but nothing was working out….As I hail from India , here one cartoon character “Chhota Bheem” & another one which is famous across the world “wheels on the bus” is extremely famous & kids can easily develop connect with this….while watching this cartoon my baby take the feed very easily & comfortably & 🙂 really he dont take a single pie if I pause this cartoon on youtube. My question is , how can I develop the habbit of taking feed regularly while he not watching the cartoon ?I have already visited many doctors but baby is not keen to take the feed.Kindly help & pls suggest what to do………..

    • Danielle Miller says:

      Pallavi,

      At 5 months babies really start to notice the world around them. If you want him to feed without screen time I suggest finding a quiet room to feed your little guy in. If you can, do it in a room without a television/computer, the quieter and calmer the atmosphere the better. If that doesn’t work at first then try moving his feeding back 15-20 minutes so he’s a little more hungry and motivated to take his feed. So, for example, if you usually feed him at 10 then try feeding him at 10:15 or 10:20. You don’t want him to be ravenous, just a little more hungry! Hope this helps!

  17. Its nice to read how this presents differently in different babies. My baby is fussy in the evening and at bedtime but always sleeps well. After finding big blobs of mucous a couple of times we had a diaper tested for blood and it came back positive. She spits up a lot, and its thick and curdled looking. Not like my other children’s spit ups’ were. I’m hoping it’s a breastfeeding oversupply issue, but eliminating diary and eggs just in case. She also gets a temporary rash that looks like acne over her cheeks for a few hours. I worry I’m jumping the gun on believing its an allergy but I think  I’m in denial 🙁  Her symptoms are really quite mild compared to what I’ve read, though. Any other babies present like this and have success eliminating dairy?

    Thanks

     

  18. franchesca knight says:

    Please be advised that “some” kids do not.out grow the protein allergy! We were told that our first would outgrow it.. took 5 mths to figure out what was wrong w him. He cried constantly and when I say that I mean every hr of the day. At 4 mths I told my husband I couldn’t do it. I needed help. I broke down. I felt like a failure. I finally put his symptoms into the Google bar and it pulled up the allergy. He had EVERY symptom plus some. Come to find out he’s got the protein allergy and a whey protein allergy.. with the 2 combined he will not ever outgrow it. He 8 and we have been to the er a few times unfortunately bc his spinter (sp) muscles there is one at the top of the stomach one at the bottom of the stomach and one at the bottom of the bowel, with his allergy all 3 swell shut not allowing him to use the restroom and causing him horrible pain. We now have a script for a high dose of benadryl it’s the only thing that stops the reaction. Our Dr told us it is 15x more potent that 1.25ml of benadryl if that helps. He has to take one every 15 mins until the symptoms subside. He’s had to take up to 4 before. Now baby brother was born 6 mths ago and I reconized the signs within 6 days of him being home. He was tested and has the same thing as big brother :/ we were told by an allergist that this is genetic. Come to find out I have it, my grandmother, brother and mom…. my husband has a less version of it and his dad has it as well. The allergist said since both parents have it the children will have it worse. :/ Before introducing milk products please becareful! At our allergist appt he told us that it can be put off to where the bowels can burst from not being able to empty and being to swollen and bloated. (Not to scare anyone just to let you know) my sons last er trip was bc he was in kids church and the kids pastor forgot about his allergy and brought the class chocolate chip cookies :/ he knows how many “big” ones he can have but these were mini. (He can have 1 slice of cheese-kraft American-a day anymore milk he goes into a reaction, with that being said he can have 2 chocolate chip cookies a day with going into a reaction- the chips ahoy in the red pkg or the Keebler w the mms in them,he takes the mms out lol) with that being said he wanted some cookies and wasn’t allowed to come ask us bc they aren’t allowed to leave the class so he guessed. :/ he thought 6 to7 of the minis would equal 2 big ones. He was wrong :/ within 10 mins of finishing them we were called out of our jobs-we ran the media and sound-the poor pastor was so scared as he was on the floor in tears balled up in the fetal position. We went straight to the er which is 45 mins from us :/ the check in desk didn’t believe us made them do x-rays ect. About 2 hrs later the Dr finally came in I told them the meds he needed and told them they needed to advise the medical staff upfront on situations like his. I tied to get them to give him an epi shot up front but they wouldn’t cuz they needed tests. They finally got ahold of his Dr to verify his condition. It was horrible that is the day we got the script to keep at home! God bless home some one on here can use this info. You know your babies better than any dr.

  19. When I was an infant I had a Casein allergy and my mom struggled horribly since nothing could contain dairy. They usually go away though. Mine was gone around twoish. I don’t now how old your child is now because I just came across this but depending on how old your child is you may discover your kid will grow up to be lactose intolerant later on or just hate dairy. I only drank soy milk once the allergy was gone and by 4 no milk. I now hate dairy products plain except certain cheese dip. I am very sensitive to yogurt which makes no sense though. I can only eat cheese in certain recipes an milk will not be tolerated if I can taste it at all in anything. I also don’t eat eggs ever now.

  20. Thanks this is brilliant at the moment I’m going trough the proses of find out what might be the problem is, I breastfeed and my baby is having these green runny music nappies with streaks of blood(very scary), I’ve been drinking soya milk now starting almond milk I found baby less gassy, I’m going to cut peanuts out too as I reckon that could be a problem too, as the nappies are the same! I’ve gone to the doctor and went to hospital also I think il bring a dirty nappy up too next time , as last time they didn’t bother waiting for a sample!!

    • It is scary, isn’t it? I’d definitely recommend having doc run a stool test. And it’s always a good idea to bring a dirty diaper/nappy with you! If the pediatrician does recommend cutting out dairy/soy, it’s important that you cut out ALL foods that contain those ingredients. We’re going to have a post on this topic up soon, but in the meantime, this website is super helpful: https://www.uwhealth.org/healthfacts/allergy/7380.html. Good luck, mama!

  21. I’m here crying because it’s been so exhausting. 1) dealing with a fussy baby who cries all the time 2) trying to convince dad that something is wrong and that I think it’s an allergy.
    My 8 week old has been (I feel horrible to say this) very difficult baby. She cries all day long inconsolably, it always happens after feedings, her body turns red, she naps for 10 minutes and wakes up screaming, her poops are always green and runny, she’s always congested and can barely breath.
    I took a chance last night and switched to a soy based formula. She cried with my breastmilk and formula so I decided to switch it. Today she’s been a different baby.
    Thank you so much for writing this. I’ve looked everywhere to see if what I was going through was normal. It doesn’t look like it and again thank you so much for posting this.

    • Danielle Miller says:

      Mayra,

      I wish I was there to give you a hug! It sounds like you’ve had a very, very long 8 weeks. Good for you for following your mama instincts on this one. I also recommend you try probiotics to help your little one’s gut find better balance.
      I hope this is the beginning of a much better chapter for you two!

  22. My LO has a milk protein allergy too. We tried 4 formulas before I asked the ped about Neocate. I almost had to convince her! She sent us to a ped GI who said stay on Neocate and wait it out. My guy seemed like he was doing a lot better, much less writhing around and less pain cries (used to be hours a day! Most of his waking hours were spent pain crying), and a ton less gas after a couple weeks on it. But now he “clicks” on his bottle and swallows all kinds of air. I think it’s really making him sick and the pain cries are starting back up. He’s on omeprazole, we’ve tried gas drops, tummy rubs, different bottles and flow rates, doesn’t matter. He loses suction and I can hear air gurgle down to his belly. He can only burp out so much! Even took him to a ped dentist and they didn’t know why he lost suction from the sides of his mouth every other suck. His #2 is still green and slimy after almost a month on Neocate. How long does this stuff take to work and his insides to heal? I’m so frustrated he seemed to be getting better, but now it seems like he’s getting worse again. Can’t tell if it’s the allergy, the air he swallows, or something else! He has reflux too and chokes on it sometimes. He’s super wakeful all the time and keeping him asleep especially with our crazy 4 year old in the house, is nearly impossible. Wondering if anyone had had these suction issues and if anyone’s kiddos took longer than a month to get better.

    • So sorry to hear your LO is still struggling, Andrea. They usually say to allow two weeks for Neocate to take full effect, but for our second LO, it took a little over a month. His gut just needed so much healing! In the meantime, I’d recommend asking your pediatrician or ped GI to run another stool test to see if the green, slimy poos are due to what he’s eating or HOW he’s eating. For the “clicking,” you mentioned pretty much everything I would have suggested. One thing you might want to try, though, is seeing a pediatric feeding specialist. We saw one for the LO who struggled to adjust to the Neocate, and she was a miracle worker. Feeding specialists can help you figure out if there’s something anatomically wrong, if it’s psychological, or if you need to change your method of feeding. For us, it was as easy as switching to cup and spoon feeding instead of bottle feeding because of the fear he associated with the bottle. I’m sure they’d have some helpful tips for you as well! Hope you get answers soon. Hang in there, mama!

    • Hi Andrea

      I know this post of several months old and you’ve probably overcome your feeding issues through weaning. Just to say I had my twins on neocate for 5 weeks and they reacted badly to it, they were starving themselves rather than drink it and it was giving them both terrible wind pain in their bowels. The dietician said the maufacturers changed the recipe a couple of years ago and added a new iron and omega 3 supplement and it could be one of those that our babies were reacting to. They’re now on Puramino  for 3 weeks. One baby is taking very little as I think he has a feeding aversion and the other baby is doing a lot better. I don’t know if this formula will work out any better, but they’re 14 weeks now adjusted(they were premature) and weaning early so hoping they’ll be well established on solids in a few weeks so it’ll be less important.

       

      Regards

      Mary

  23. Karen Cooper says:

    8 week old. A few stools with a trace of blood last week so I eliminated dairy and started supplementing with nutramigen. stools seem better but face, head and neck rash and hands always rubbing at his face and seems unsettled. Going back to work soon, not enough breast milk stored up since most was when I was still eating dairy what do I do? I’m thinking about stopping bf and switching to elecare/neocate completely. Any nutrition reasons why I shouldn’t switch? Love bf’ing but can’t stand to see my lo uncomfortable.

    • I feel you, Karen. It’s so hard to watch your little one suffer 🙁 Here are my initial thoughts, but you’ll definitely want to make sure your baby’s pediatrician is involved in this conversation. 1) Are you cutting dairy AND soy? When babies are allergic to dairy, they’re actually allergic to the proteins found in dairy, and the proteins in soy are extremely similar, so usually you want to cut out both. Here’s a really handy cheat sheet I found that helps you know exactly what to eliminate: http://www.uwhealth.org/healthfacts/nutrition/580.pdf. 2) Are you exclusively feeding him nutramigen right now? If you answered yes, then I’d be somewhat concerned that he isn’t more comfortable. I’d recommend having your doctor run a stool test (blood isn’t always visible to the naked eye). If there’s still blood, then the culprit might not be dairy or soy. It could be one of the other BIG 8 (wheat, shellfish, fish, peanuts, tree nuts, eggs) or something else. Your baby’s pediatrician or, better yet, a pediatric GI can help you figure out a plan for eliminating these foods. 3) You said you cut dairy last week. It can take a full two weeks (and in rare cases, longer) for allergy remnants to leave your baby’s body. I know it’s hard, but you really can’t know for sure he’s better until the end of that time period. 4) You’ve probably heard the adage “breast is best,” and that’s true…if it’s best for you and your baby. Ideally, if you can hold out until six months, your baby will have received about 90% of the medical benefits of breastfeeding. However, if you can’t do that, then know that he’s already received so much from what you have given him, and he’ll be just fine on Elecare or Neocate. With my first, I was able to push through a soy/dairy/wheat/egg/peanut-free diet and breastfeed until 11 months. With my second, I had to switch to Elecare at 2 months, and you know what? We were both better off because of it. Each situation is different, so talk to baby’s doctor (these are big decisions, so you really want input from an MD), your doctor (if you’re on an elimination diet), and choose what’s best for you. 5) If he does clear up, and you still want to breastfeed, then you don’t have to give up just because you had to dump some of your milk. You can supplement with formula until you get enough stored up. Maybe send him to daycare with formula, pump at work and then breastfeed when you get home? You can also try adding a pumping session or two. If you love breastfeeding, I hate for you switch merely because of a stock issue. But if formula truly ends up being best for baby and you, then that’s great too. You can still have precious bonding moments either way.

  24. My son was diagnosed with cow’s milk allergy when he was 2 months old. It was a very traumatic experience for me because there’s a lot of blood in his stool and he had underwent RBC transfusion. From then on, we switched to soy formula and he’s doing fine with it. Now, he’s 11 months old and I’m still very cautious to introduce solid foods with dairy. I just want to know your experience when you started introducing dairy to you LO.  Thank you.

    • It is scary, isn’t it? I’m so glad formula worked for him, though!

      I can tell you our experience with introducing dairy, but please please please make sure you’re consulting with your baby’s doctor before you introduce anything! This is just our experience and everyone is different.

      With both of my boys, we waited to introduce any dairy into their diets until age one. Some doctors will say you can try baked goods with dairy products baked in, but our pediatric GI felt it was safer to wait entirely. At a year old, we introduced a tablespoon of yogurt a day for a couple weeks. When we saw that they were doing okay, we then introduced whole cow’s milk. After two weeks with no bad reactions, we then incorporated all dairy into their diets. Most little ones overcome their allergies by age one, but if yours is still sensitive, your pediatrician can help you figure out other ways to get him the nutrition he needs.

  25. Hi. We adopted our sweet girl this summer.  She was born 5 weeks early and in NICU for 4 weeks.  I’ve suspected milk casein and lactose allergy all along.  She would scream, cry, claw at me, throw up, etc.  So, I switched her to Gerber Soy.  She does WAY better on that, however, about a month ago she broke out in a HUGE ezcema reaction on several parts of her body.  So, I thought I should get her off Soy (plus I’m not a huge fan of Soy).  I switched her to Goat’s milk formula.  Big mistake, puked it all up.  So, I tried Elecare.  She spits a good bit of that up each time and looks like she is gagging.  Now she will only eat half a bottle and then starts refusing it.  Which makes me think it is not sitting well for her as she eats it.  I can’t seem to wrap my head around what is really going on with her.  Is it casein allergy, lactose intolerance, an inability to digest certain proteins and or fats?  Thoughts?  And thoughts on what would be best?  Thank you so much.

    • Jill, firstly, congrats on your new adoption!  That is so exciting.  Thank you for reaching out to this little girl.  Reading through your situation, I would encourage you to go back to the doctor and have her looked over again – possibly asking for a referral to a pediatric gastroenterologist.  I know my own limits in regards to giving advice…they will be able to give you MUCH better answers.  Sorry I couldn’t be more helpful!

  26. Bernadette says:

    So glad I found this post, our 3rd little girl was born 21 Augustus 2015, end September on a Friday afternoon I noticed blood tiny bit in her nappy, the clinic sister said could still hormones passing through. She was a high maintenance baby, only fell asleep if I bounced on a pilates ball, would scream blue murder for no apparent reason. Monday morning we where off to a pediatrician, and there our journey started, I cut out all diary, 4 weeks later she had a massive blood nappy and we decided to go to a pediatric gastroenterologist. She was a angle from above, our little girl tummy was inflamed and so sore, she advised to put her Neocate immediately, 4 days later and she was a new baby. I pumped milk to keep breastfeeding demand up, reintroduced after I cut out, diary, soya, gluten and eggs. Wasn’t an hour and she was screaming in pain. We decided together with her doctors that I should stop breastfeeding. Since then we mived to Pepticate milk and she is the friendliest, happy, chrippy baby. We starting with solids next week and feeling like a 1st time mom. Doing research on how to go about. So hoping we are a text book case and we will be eating ice cream on her 1st birthday in 6 months.

  27. Hi ladies! I’m in need of help.

    My little boy just turned 1 yesterday and he’s super healthy. However, I gave him some of my mozzarella cheese stick a few days ago and after a minute or two, he started sneezing excessively (like 40 times in 4 minutes) and his eyes became red and itchy, his nose was running and eventually became congested. He kept rubbing his whole face (eyes, nose, etc). I immediately thought it was some kind of allergy. I remember this same thing happening a week or two ago, but I can’t remember what I fed him, however, I’m pretty sure it was cheese.

    I think he MIGHT have had some splotching on his face, around his lower cheeks and mouth, but I’m not too sure because he has eczema around his mouth. (He also has eczema all over his stomach, like a ton of little bumps that itch SO terribly and whenever I take his shirt off to change him he IMMEDIATELY begins scratching. He also has it on his legs and a few random spots on his forehead, temple, and knuckle.

    I’ve given him some milk, but I don’t remember any reaction to it. I’ve breastfed him from day one and never had a problem. However, a couple months ago he randomly had like 4 diarreah diapers a day for like 1 month and they were green or yellow and mucusy. But it stopped.

    Thoughts?

    Do you think he has an allergy? I don’t know why I wouldn’t have noticed earlier.

    I’m wanting to give him a tiny bit of milk and cheese, etc, at different times, to see what happens. Is this a good or bad idea?

    I just want my little guy to be healthy, safe, and happy.

     

    Thank you for any help you can offer!!

    • Kaitlin, it could be, but it’s hard to say based on one or two isolated incidents. Our pediatric GI recommended that we introduce dairy by giving our little guy 1 Tablespoon of yogurt each day for a week or two after he turned one. During that time, it’s really important that you don’t introduce any NEW foods other than yogurt and keep good notes. If he does okay with yogurt, then you can try cow’s milk for another week or two and see how it goes. If you’re still suspecting allergies, it’s really best to see a doctor. You can start with your pediatrician who will then either refer you to an allergist or GI based on what’s going on. Hope you’ll find an answer soon!

  28. Perhaps another mother’s opinion will help me decided what I should do next.
    At two months my son caught a cold and had horrible baby acne, runny and mucousy stinky green diapers. (20th% for weight)
    At three months doctor still attributes mucousy green diapers to his runny nose/ cold virus. baby acne gone(dropped to 13th% for weight)
    At the four month appt. Doctor said don’t change my diet and since I’m already supplementing don’t Change the formula (regular Similac) since his height and head curve are great, and baby is happy, Dr. is not concerned that the baby has dropped down to 8.9% in weight! Is my son getting the proper nutrition he needs for brain development etc? Should I go to another doctor for a second opinion. Current doctor said baby will grow out of it and any changes may cause other problems. Am I causing permanent damage to his digestive tract if we are not addressing a milk allergy? My other two children were always small but with regular diapers they always stayed on their 20% curve for weight.

    • Ivy, we asked some of these same questions with my second-born. It can be so stressful when you feel like your baby isn’t getting the nutrition he needs.

      Here are three thoughts: 1) The fact that his height has not dropped is promising. When our little guy was struggling to eat, we learned that the most important number isn’t actually weight, it’s height. So be encouraged by that. 2) If you haven’t already done it, I would HIGHLY recommend doing a stool test to determine if there’s blood in his stool. If blood is present, then you’re probably looking at an allergy. If not, it might be something else. 3) You should always feel free to get a second opinion. If I can dig a bit deeper, though, it seems like you’re having a tough time trusting your pediatrician. If so, that may be a relationship you want to reevaluate. These two articles might be helpful in deciding whether or not it’s time to find another pediatrician: Finding Ped Charming: Is your Pediatrician a Prince or a Toad? and Paging Dr. Right: 7 Questions to Find Your Perfect Pediatrician. Hope this helps!

  29. I am so glad I found this website! My daughter just turned six months last week and has had blood in her stool for about two and a half weeks. I took her to the doctor right away and they could find absolutely nothing wrong and you couldn’t see the blood in the stool sample we brought so they just told us to keep an eye on her. We went back the next day because there was definitely blood in her stool. So we sent a sample to the lab where it was confirmed. I initially thought the herbal supplements I had recently started taking were the culprit but after stopping those I did not see any improvements. We took her last week for her six month check up and the doctor suggested eliminating dairy from my diet as I am breastfeeding. I thought that was a little odd because of her age but I am willing to try anything. Today is day four of dairy free and the eczema patches she had on her legs are gone and the horrible diaper rash she had has cleared up but the blood is still there. I am concerned because she was six weeks premature so I don’t want to wait too long to do anything if there is a more serious problem. How long did you other mama’s wait it out when changing your diets?

    • We’re glad you found us, Emily! So sorry to hear about your baby girl’s issues. Blood in the stools can be so scary.

      Typically, doctors will tell you that it can take two full weeks for the elimination diet to take full effect. They might suggest pumping and dumping and using a formula like Alimentum or Nutramigen in the meantime. Maybe give your pediatrician a call (or consult a pediatric GI doctor) to see if that’s an option? Hang in there, mama!

  30. Amanda A says:

    We have struggled trying to feed for a little while now. She pukes a lot back up – at night we used to find her lying in her crib with her head just soaked and her screaming. We tried switching to enfamil AR as the doctor said it was reflux. It was ok at night but during the day she would be puking all over. Just had a green mucousy diaper today so I’m thinking we need to try cutting dairy and soy. She’s always had bad gas issues and a horrible time trying to poop. She’s been congested from day one. I really hope this works. 😩

    • Danielle Miller says:

      Amanda,

      Feeling issues can be really hard, I know! It’s tough to watch your little one be uncomfortable and wonder why. We have such a strong (God-given) desire to feed our babies and see them thrive!
      Take a look at this article about hypoallergenic formula so you can have this to refer to if needed. I’m also wondering if you might be interested in looking into the organic formula Holle. So many moms are speaking highly of this brand…

  31. Enja Stain says:

    Thank you for this post.

    I suspect my 3 month old has a milk allergy. She never had mucousy stools until this week after I had a mozzarella salad. Her stools are yellow and seedy throughout the day and then turn green and mucousy, with slight traces of blood, in the evening. She is terribly uncomfortable and cries almost unconsolably for up to 45 minutes. I’m hoping things will get back to normal soon.

    Any ideas why this happens in the evening?

  32. Rebecca says:

    I’m so confused my little girl is 12 weeks old and exclusively breast fed and from 4 weeks hasn’t been able to poo without the help of a laxative she even went 16 days with pooing then I put her on laxative. My health visitor suspects cows milk protein allergy but all you guys are saying you get explosive poo’s!
    I’ve cut out all dairy and We have since given her one or two bottles of nutramigen puramino formula every couple of days and she’s started pooing. We can’t see a dietician until she’s 4 months. Help I’m confused!

    • Sorry to hear that your little one is struggling, Rebecca. You’re right. Constipation isn’t a symptom I’ve dealt with personally, but it can be an indicator of a milk protein allergy. If you’re not completely comfortable with your pediatrician’s diagnosis, it may be worth following up with a pediatric GI specialist. Ours has been a real help with my two allergy babes. Hope things get better for you and your baby! She is blessed to have a mama who is advocating on her behalf.

  33. Caroline says:

     
    Hi There! Thanks for all the helpful comments on here.  I am just wondering if my 7mo son could possibly have a dairy intolerance.  He is incredibly fussy/crying nearly every waking minute & requires my attention at all times. I had resigned myself to it being behavioural until I spoke to a lady who described similar behaviour which turned out to be dairy intolerance. He has mild eczema around his hairline, behind ears, neck, trunk and back in sporadic patches & has had a congested nose as long as I can remember. He is on cow’s milk formula but I saw a doctor today who could not give a script as he is not presenting severe symptoms. She suggested I trial soy for 2 weeks to see if there is an improvement. I have also ordered an allergy test on a lock of his hair that I sent to Allergenics but results are not back yet.  The doctor did not offer an allergy test.
     
    I am just wondering should I avoid Soy also as I have read many babies will also react to this? Should I try a Hypoallergenic formula from the supermarket for two weeks if I can’t get a script or is this also unlikely to help?  Should I be pushing for a skin prick test?
     
    Thanks J
     

    • Hi Caroline,

      So sorry your little one is having a hard time.

      A few thoughts:

      1) Skin prick tests are very hit or miss at this age. Sometimes you can get false positives, so many pediatricians won’t recommend them. Did his doctor do a stool test? Typically doctors diagnose a milk protein allergy if they see blood in the stools. It’s an easy, cheap test that your doc should be willing to do.
      2) You are correct to wonder about soy. Babies who are allergic to dairy proteins are typically allergic to soy proteins as well since they’re so similar. Maybe try a formula like Nutramigen or Alimentum for two weeks and see if that helps? Many pediatricians will give you free samples if you ask. If you STILL don’t notice a difference, you may want to consider seeing a pediatric GI doctor. He may suggest an amino-acid based formula like Elecare or Neocate instead.
      3) Don’t be discouraged if you can’t get a prescription for a hypoallergenic formula. Even with an RX, it can be extremely difficult to get formula covered. Most insurance companies don’t cover the formula unless your baby has a VERY serious condition.

      Hope things clear up soon!

  34. Caroline says:

    Hi Chelsea,

    Thanks for getting back to me.

    1) No she didn’t offer a stool test. Perhaps because I said his poop seems fairly normal. I think it has been slightly muccusy a couple of times but never looked to concerning.

    2) I am currently trying a HA formula (6 days so far) from the supermarket but no change in symptoms but I guess this will not be very hydrolysed. I think I can only access Nutramigen or Allimentium online as I am in NZ.

    3) I think if we get a RX in NZ it is all covered, or we only have to pay $3 which perhaps explains the Drs reluctance to write me one.

     

    I should have the Allergenics hair test results in a few more days so hopefully that sheds some light otherwise might trial a more hydrolysed formula by ordering online.

    Thanks again,

    Caroline

  35. Hi Chelsea,

    Your article is awesome. And I can’t believe you made it through the elimination diet saga! I am 4 weeks in and definitely feel like quitting and switching to formula. I have had an appointment with a pediatric GI specialist and he confirmed an allergy and told me to eliminate soy (I was already off dairy). My daughter is 10 weeks and I have been off dairy for 4 weeks, and off soy for 2 weeks. Her stools are still dark green and mucus-y, so I have started to try to eliminate other things, and that’s where my question comes in. I have been gluten-free for 5 days, and am wondering, did you normally see an imporvement at that point? I don’t expect it to be totally cleared up, but I sort of expected to see the stools get seedier or less mucus-y or something. Obviously, for full effect I need to wait 2 weeks, but I was just wondering if you saw any progress as you eliminated things.

    Next is eggs then peanut butter!

    Thank you so much,
    Anne

    • Jenny Blake says:

      I’m glad our story gives you a little bit of hope, Anne. We’ve had two milk allergy babies, and you may not like this answer, but it really all depends on your baby. With our first, it did take almost two weeks for us to notice any difference. After I cut dairy, soy, and gluten, I cut peanuts, eggs and tree nuts all at once for sake of time. We still don’t know which was actually the culprit, but it saved us from an extra month of experimenting with no results. With our second, we switched to formula, and it took upwards of three weeks for his body to return to normal. Our GI specialist said a lot of it depends on how much damage has already been done. His system was really messed up, so his little body needed longer to heal. You are doing great, Anne. 4 weeks in…you can do this! If you do need to make the switch, though, give yourself lot of grace and remember that the number one goal is a healthy baby and mama. – Chelsea

  36. Heather says:

    My fourth child has a dairy allergy. As a newborn she spit up a lot. I don’t remember her poop being abnormal, the spit up was the only issue. She also would only fall asleep upright on our shoulders. At five or six months my mom fed her a little whipped cream off a piece of cake, and ten or so minutes later she had a rash on her face. A month or so later I tried giving her some yogurt, and then too she got a rash on her face fairly quickly. So we avoided dairy for her. I breastfed her till 18 months, and as long as I didn’t drink too much milk, she was able to handle it fine. She is almost three now, and still allergic to dairy as far as we know, as well as eggs and possibly rice. She also refuses to eat any meat, so it is really hard to get enough fat and protein into her. She eats oatmeal for breakfast and I try to add fat and protein to it in different ways (protein powder, almond butter, shredded coconut, etc).

    Now baby number five is a month old and I’m considering cutting out some dairy. He has had a bad diaper rash, as well as rashes on his face. He has had some green poop, and spits up, though not excessively.

  37. Wow, so many similarities with my number two. He was born a healthy weight but struggled to gain weight well. At three week we were given reflux medication. He spit up small amounts but the doc thought it was silent reflux. By this stage we could not get him to sleep for more than 30mins on his own. The majority of his day sleeps were in the Moby wrap on me. In the evening he’d have to sleep on mine or my husbands chest until bedtime where he’d inevitably end up sleeping in the bed with us. As it was the only way we’d get any sleep. He’d consitently sound like he was chocking in his sleep and always be pulling his legs up. Green AND black poos often. By 4 months old we had side car the cot up to our bed, so he was safe while sleeping with us. He’d often want to feed too often and it would hurt his tummy even more. The reflux medicine did make a difference so we were trying to ride it out but by 4 months I decided to try and cut out dairy. It did make a difference but he was still getting traces of it so was not very happy. I got a referral to see a Pediatrician who basically told me that I just had a difficult baby! I left the office crying and immediately searched for a specialist. At 5 1/2 months my son was diagnosed with milk protien allergy and put on prescription formula (as I was going back to work and wanted to be 100% sure there was no dairy in anything he was getting). In Australia we can get a perscription formula called Alfamino. It’s about $40 per month! It’s difficult to get the perscription though as it’s very expensive to make. My son then went from being in the 25% percentile for weight and height, straight up to the 75th in 6 weeks. He is now in the 95th! However he is 16 months old and the intolerance is still there. He has not out grown it at all 🙁 Any ideas how to slowly introduce dairy to build up his tolerance?

  38. Oh my goodness! I’m currently struggling with a 9 week old who I strongly believe has a milk protein allergy…

    Formula fed bubba that crys constantly especially after feeding like he is in agony.. Spits up after every feed and rubs his face all over me after like it’s itchy, arches his back and is just generally not happy.. Have noticed that his poos are green and have some mucus through them..

    I saw the regular paed this week and she told me he is just a ‘fussy and overstimulated baby’ *insert confused angry face here*

    Help!

    • Kylie, ask your pediatrician to test your LO’s stool for blood. It costs pennies and takes seconds. If blood is present, you are most likely dealing with allergies. Hope this helps and you get the answers you’re looking for. Stay strong, mama!

  39. Hello Chelsea,

    I am so impressed on how similar our stories are. With my first baby everything went perfect (breastfeeding, never had to give her formula, breastfeed for 16 months, never got sick, no reflux, no colics, no diarrhea, no vomiting and when she turned 6 months old she accepted baby food perfectly, all was good).

    With my second baby when he turned about 4 months old I started noticing that it became a constant fight to breastfeed him and when he turned 6 months old I introduced him to formula (instructed by his pediatrician), since he was not sleeping through the night and maybe my milk wasn’t heavy enough for him.

    That night when we introduced him to the formula was horrible, we had to call 911 as the nurse told us to do by the phone and we ended up in the emergency room because the baby wouldn’t stop vomiting 🙁

    To make our story short, it was 3 months of struggling with this, the baby couldn’t have any formulas, couldn’t eat baby food, the doctors told me to keep him 100% with my milk in the meantime we found the problem is/was, he had blood in his stool, diarrhea for 21 days, mucus coming out of his stool, I lost the count of how many stool test he had, blood test, etc.

    Finally we went to the GI doctor and more test were done and the same as you…. Result: allergic to the cow’s protein milk.

    I eliminated 100% dairys of my diet and I keep breastfeeding him and he also started drinking EleCare formula which is very expensive and is similar to the one your baby took. He just turned 11 months old 3 days ago and he still with the EleCare formula and I keep breasting him and of course he is eating more things now.

    The problem I keep having is that I still breastfeeding him all night long (around 5, 6, 7 times during the night). Why?, because on does three months that he was very sick I couldn’t give to him anything else and even though I was producing a lot of milk milk it wasn’t heavy enough to make him not feel hungry every hour or every two hours. So it became long nights for me…. and still… even though he has the formula (which he hates because it tastes horrible and it is a constant fight so he can accept the bottle and he also eats more food now) I have to keep breastfeeding him because he keeps waking up and crying and I just think and feel that he got very attached to me because that was the only the way he could find comfort when he was very sick and not eating anything else.

    Doctors have been telling us to let him cry 3-5 days during the night to make him stop eating because he shouldn’t be eating at night and I know that is true, but it breaks our hearts to let him cry. We really don’t know what to do in this case. We have tried to give him water but it doesn’t work with him and also formula in the middle of the night but he doesn’t just cry, he cries and yells when he sees the bottle.

    Chelsea, do you know or anyone knows which milk comes after this horrible formulas when they turn 1? I really don’t what to keep giving him the same formula because they also have one for when they turn 1.

    I would like to try almond milk or something like that but doctors says that it doesn’t have all the calories the baby need :/

    Well, this story of my or my baby came out very long….

    Maybe you can help me here….

    Thank you a bunch and thank you for sharing your story with everyone here… We are not alone!!!

    Mariana

     

    • Oh, Mariana. I feel you, girlfriend. My second little one was VERY similar in that he didn’t start sleeping through the night until a year and a half because he had grown so accustomed to being with me in the middle of the night when he was struggling. We did end up giving him water in a sippy and/or just snuggling with him because at that age it’s not an issue of caloric intake. I know it’s hard emotionally, but it’s not healthy for you or your LO to be up 5-7 times per night, friend. You both need sleep!

      As for what the baby drinks after a year…I would highly recommend talking to a pediatric GI. For both my kids, the pediatric GI recommended that we slowly introduce dairy to see if they could handle it because most kids outgrow the allergy by a year. We started with a tablespoon of yogurt each day for a week or two. If they could handle that, then we tried a very small amount of cow’s milk in a sippy/bottle and gradually phased out Elecare for cow’s milk. If that doesn’t work, there is an Elecare Jr that you can “graduate” to, you’re right. The pediatric GI may be able to offer other milk alternatives (goats milk may be an option), but definitely check with your doctor before offering something like almond milk in large quantities. Tree nuts are a common allergen so I’d hate for that to cause your little guy any more pain.

      Here’s hoping he’s in the “majority,” and his allergies clear up!

  40. Stephanie says:

    Chelsea,

    I have really enjoyed reading your blog. I have a 5 almost 6 week old baby that has been having green mucousy stools pretty consistenly and has been really irritable (sleeps ok though). A little over 2 weeks ago I took her to doctor because of fussiness and stools and doctor said milk protein allergy right off the bat. I am very familiar with it because my first daughter also had this sensitivity and I was dairy/soy free for 8+ months. I was able to eat soy leitchin and oil with my first child. With my first shortly after changing my diet she was better and was not having bad stools and rash went away. So now with my second little one, I have been dairy free for 2 1/2 weeks and completely soy free for over a week. At first I was eating the soy leitchin and oil but took it out after I noticed my daughter was not getting better. We even did nutramegin formula for 3-4 days during that 2 week span to give my system some time to clear but really did not see a difference with that either. My pedatrican has pretty much said my daughter may need the amino acid based formula pur amino and that I need to stop breastfeeding. I absoutley do not want to stop giving breastmilk and will do whatever I need too. The last couple days my daughter has had less stools and they are looking better (more yellow/brown). Her fusiness was better for the past couple days but now it seems worse again today. She also has some spots on her face, hairline and scalp. They come and go and have little spots in the middle with red circles around them, I have no idea if they are related to allergy or not. Also, just a side note she really never has blood in stools, saw one little speckle one time. About 4 days ago at the 2 week mark of being dairy free, I just stopped eating nuts, eggs and wheat too just to see because I am desperate. I never really ate fish.

    When you were trialing removing the different allergens from your diet did the doctor allow you to continue to nurse even though your little one was still having the bad stools? I am still nursing but nervous I am going to harm my daughter and cause a more serious reaction. And what made you decide with the second child to switch to formula? Last question lol, any food recommendations that are free of all the allergens??

    I an considering doing the puramino for a week just to see and then re introduce breastmilk and see how she reacts??

    Thank you in advance, I am one frustrated mama.

    • Hi Stephanie,

      I feel ya, friend. My third was born just five weeks ago, and we’re in the same boat…AGAIN!

      You are doing everything I would recommend doing so far. Dairy/soy free for two weeks (and some docs will say it can be more like 3-4 to see full healing). Then if that doesn’t work, trying a formula like Nutramigen or Alimentum for a few days while you pump and dump to see if milk/soy truly is the culprit. Then cutting out nuts, wheat and eggs and giving that a full 2-3 weeks.

      With my first, I was able to continue breastfeeding because he would still eat my milk out of a bottle and was still thriving. He, unfortunately, developed a fear of the breast and would only dreamfeed in the middle of the night at the breast. With my second, he was losing weight too quickly and outright refusing to breastfeed. I had already cut the top allergy offenders for the allotted amount of time, and the GI (same doctor for both babies) strongly recommended we switch to Neocate or Elecare because we simply didn’t have the time to experiment with cutting the allergens. After the “Big 8,” it’s really a guessing game.

      My advice would be to continue without those 5 allergens for the full 2-3 weeks (hard, I know) just to make sure. If she’s still not doing well, I would really encourage you to see a specialist. A GI specialist will have a better idea of what’s going on (is it really allergies or could it be GERD or something else?) and he/she may run some tests to make sure the plumbing is all working correctly. In the meantime, as long as your little lady is gaining weight and still WILLING to breastfeed, I don’t think there’s a problem with continuing to breastfeed. But as we always say here at Incredible Infant, “When in doubt, give DOC a shout!”

      I hope you find answers, mama. In the meantime, this post will help you with allergy-free foods.

  41. Elizabeth P. says:

    I wanted to reply to a woman with a 12 week old who posted back in May, but the reply button wasn’t working for me. I hope she figured out her baby’s issues! I wanted to say that my first son developed a dairy allergy around 6-7 months. He started solids right at 6 months and I gave him yogurt only 2 times. After the 2 bit of yogurt he got a very mild rash on his belly and from then on was extremely constipated. For 3 weeks the only way he could poop was with a glycerin suppository. It was painful and he would cry and cry. It was so sad. He also always had redness around his eyes. Everyone always said he look so tired. I cut dairy completely out of our diets, I was still breastfeeding, and after a week he has never been constipated again. I reintroduced dairy around 15 months and no reaction! Now my newborn has been extremely gassy, fairly congested, some vomiting, very fussy because of the pain. I have eliminated dairy and in 1-2 weeks the symptoms have cleared up!

    So YES, there are definitely a lot of symptoms that can indicate dairy allergy. You just have to trust your mom gut and do your best to figure it out. I just wanted other moms to know these symptoms. We had no (visible) blood in poop, diarrhea, ezcema, or some other more common symptoms.

  42. Thank you for this post. I came across this by googling food allergy in babies after I noticed mucous and blood in his diaper. My 9 month old was colicky from the beginning always with a green mucous lined diaper. I introduced him to oats at 6 months old and he vomited for 4 hours straight. I informed the pedestrian and he just blows it off. I then decided to cut gluten out of my diet and he is not as congested with normal mustard colored poop with a little mucous still. My pediatrician thinks I’m crazy. I am now going to eliminate milk. My daughter had a milk allergy and my husband has a gluten allergy. As a mom we need to trust our gut instict.

  43. My LO is 5 weeks old. He is my 3rd child and also allergic to dairy. I exclusively breastfeed… I just eliminate dairy from my diet! My question is what do you do when dairy accidentally gets into your system and baby is in pain? This is my third rodeo with this since my first two also had dairy allergies but I’m hoping to learn more tricks… I hate having to “wait” it out. Our experience has been this: right at/just before the 24 hr mark after eating dairy my kids start screaming/crying, kicking their legs and arching their backs… They won’t lay down so I usually put them in a front carrier and soothe with a paci and lots of movement . They eventually pass out. And it usually takes about 4 days of this all day long until it’s out of their system… Gripe water/gas drops do nothing…any advice or tricks?

    • I know it can be so frustrating when you have to wait it out, Sandi 🙁 One thing you could try is pumping and dumping for a few days and giving him Nutramigen or Alimentum in the meantime. Otherwise, every baby is different, so it sounds like you’re doing what’s best for your baby with the carrier, paci and movement. I wish I had more tricks up my sleeve for you. Hang in there!

  44. I know this post is older but I just wanted to share my story. My son is 11 weeks old today and was very fussy the first few weeks home. Breastfeeding was very challenging ( think we had thrush and a fast let down) but I was also convinced my son had a milk allergy. The pediatrician insisted that he was too young to be diagnosed and was gaining weight so well that he didn’t think that was an accurate diagnosis. Fast forward to several weeks later where I found blood in the stool and lots of mucus ( even after starting him in the hypo allergenic formula nutramigen) and the doctor thought it was likely an anal fissure that was a culprit. I resumed breastfeeding (actually got to enjoy it finally) and combination feeding with nutramigen. A few weeks in and everything was going well until the blood appeared again, along with more mucus, congestion and exzema. We were finally referred to a GI doctor and she said the milk sensitivity was very likely ( she clarified that an allergy would have even more of a reaction) and now we are solely on the nutramigen. Moral of my story, trust your gut instinct (pun totally intended) My boy is in the 90th precentile for weight and height so a baby doesn’t have to look malnourished in order to be diagnosed with an issue. Hopefully the blood clears up this time (didn’t clear after 3 weeks on just nutramigen before but the doc says it can take a while)

  45. My daughter had dairy intolerance and reflux when she was younger. She was placed on Nutramigen and Zantac and it seemed to fix her issues. Around six months we transitioned her to Gentlease and a couple of months later we began introducing small amounts of dairy into her diet. She is still on the Zantac. Her stools are now dark green and fairly hard. How can I know if this (the green color) is related to an ongoing dairy issue or just the iron in her formula? I’m thinking that since the stools are hard and there’s no observable mucous that it might be just the iron, however she does still occasionally spit up and has an often stuffy nose so I wonder. Any advice?

    • Jenny Blake says:

      Hi Jessica,

      Heather wrote an excellent article on poop! Imagine that! It really is an excellent resource to help try and help figure out what is going on in her little digestive tract. Here it is. Also, you might want to talk to your pediatrician about adding probiotics to his diet. Good luck, Jessica! You are a good mommy.

  46. Hi Chelsea

    I just discovered this blog after weeks and weeks of research. We gave my 5.5 month old baby her first bottle of formula and she swelled up like a bee stung her. Until that stage, just like your baby, she was normal, weight healthy, no mucus, blood or green stool. Never been to the doctor! She had red cheeks though, I never thought that was due to CMA. Now, I’ve cut out dairy and soy but her poop has been green an mucusy and I don’t understand. She is still breast fed and sometimes I add a little Neocate to her breast milk just to top it up. That being said, she’s only been diagnosed a week ago. I’ve been off the dairy not long enough to see her stools normalize. But she eats her solids, she naps, never cries….but she’s starting to get fuzzy during her evening naps. I haven’t slept, I just want to cry. I don’t know what else I can do.

    Anneke

    • I’m sorry you’re dealing with this, Anneke. It’s so hard to see your little one suffer. It sounds to me like you’re doing everything right so far. Unfortunately, it does take time. I would give it another week or two at least. Also, while the mucusy stools are alarming, I’m encouraged to hear she isn’t really showing any other symptoms. If things get worse, definitely revisit this with your pediatrician or pediatric GI. Otherwise, try not to let yourself worry too much (easier said than done, I know). You are doing everything you can do for her right now. Praying for peace and rest for you this morning, friend.

  47. Hello mommies! I am so grateful for the internet and am not sure how all of our parents did it without Google! Lol

    My second baby (just turned ONE last week) was a classic case of the milk protein allergy. As all of you already know, it was quite an adventure adjusting my diet and not accidentally consuming dairy (happened quite often in the beginning). We finally learned what worked and what didn’t with her and now that we are approaching the time to wean, our pediatrician has advised that I start introducing dairy back into MY diet first and then offer to her. We have tried it and all has been going well so far (!!!!!!!!!).. knock on wood!

    My question is, how did you all adjust back into the world o’dairy with your little one? I’m terrified of testing on her directly, although I’m feeling more and more confident as we haven’t experienced any symptoms after I’ve had different kinds of dairy so far.

    Thanks!

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