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My Newborn has a Milk Protein Allergy

Earlier this week, I wrote about my newborn having bloody mucus in her stool and the possibility that it was a milk protein allergy. You can read about that here.

Yesterday, she still had the bloody mucus in the stool. It was a lot less than earlier in the week after changing her formula to similac alimentum, but nonetheless, we had to head to the pediatrician.

I brought along a stool sample for them to test. The pediatrician put some of the “clean” stool onto a card to test if blood was it in & it was positive.

We also discussed the possibility of her reacting to the large amounts of ginger I had that passed in my breast milk. She said it would have definitely passed through her system by now, so that was ruled out.

Little lady also has a fissure, but that was ruled out because any blood from a fissure would have only been on the surface. Since she tested a portion of the stool that was deeper where there shouldn’t have been any blood, we’re certain the blood is coming from internally.

Now what does this all mean? The pediatrician has diagnosed lil lady with a milk protein allergy. This is not just a lactose intolerance issue. It’s the protein itself.

The pediatrician said if I wanted to go back to breast feeding I could, but would need to alter my diet to avoid the protein. We can’t do soy formula either because most babies who are allergic to milk protein also typically develop an allergy to soy protein.

I spoke to a friend of mine who is a nutritionist because I didn’t fully understand what it meant to have a milk protein allergy. Here’s what she said I need to do if I want to go back to breast feeding:

Avoid all products containing the milk protein, like casein, whey, etc. Which means lots of label reading. For instance, my husband eats a soy cheese from Trader Joes, but it has casein which is a milk protein. So basically, no assuming. And yes, if dairy is a big part of your diet lots of changes for you.

I did some more research online as she suggested. I found the following on KellyMom.com – which by the way is a fantastic website for baby related information. She has a very detailed explanation about food sensitivities. Here’s what she has to say about milk protein allergy:

Breastfed babies who are sensitive to dairy in mom’s diet are sensitive to specific cow’s milk antibodies, in the form of proteins (not lactose), which pass into the mother’s milk. Cow’s milk (either in the mother’s diet or engineered into formula) is a common source of food sensitivity in babies. Cow’s milk sensitivity or allergy can cause colic-like symptoms, eczema, wheezing, vomiting, diarrhea (including bloody diarrhea), constipation, hives, and/or a stuffy, itchy nose.

If your baby is sensitive to dairy in your diet, it will not help to switch to lactose-free dairy products. The problem is the cow’s milk proteins, not the lactose. Cooking dairy products may reduce but will not eliminate the allergens.

A significant percentage of babies with cow’s milk protein allergy will also react to soy. Most dairy-allergic babies will also react to goat’s milk or sheep’s milk. Some will also react to beef.

If your baby is only a little sensitive to dairy proteins, you may be able to relieve baby’s symptoms by eliminating only the obvious sources of dairy (milk, cream, yogurt, butter, cheese, sour cream, ice cream, cottage cheese, etc.); you may even be able to eat small amounts of dairy without it affecting baby.

If your baby is highly allergic, it will be necessary to eliminate all sources of dairy proteins, which requires a careful reading of food labels. See the Hidden Dairy “Cheat Sheet” ().

I eat a lot of milk protein. I eat cheese, drink whole milk, eat milk chocolate, ice cream … lots and lots of whey and casein is the bottom line. I’m not sure I can pull this off because ultimately if I go this route, it’s not just me who needs to alter their diet… it’s the entire family in order to avoid contamination. That would include my mom, my grandmother, my husband and my lil man. So, now life has gotten a lot more complicated.

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