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Feeling picked on by HV but may be over-sensitive. Appreciate any thoughts.

(84 Posts)
abigboydidit Tue 22-Nov-11 22:12:14

So...here goes! DS is 6 months old and was EBF till we started BLW at the weekend. I gave him porridge fingers today and he had an instant and fairly severe reaction to the cows milk, so I called the HV to check what the next step was. She was perfectly pleasant but made more than one comment which I felt implied that the fact that DS was EBF may have contributed to masked the problem. For example, she asked how he reacted to formula and when I said he'd never had any she replied that no wonder cows milk was a shock to his system. The other comments were similar, nothing offensive and she was polite (one was about how hard it is when you breast feeding mothers seem to think you're doing the right thing by only giving breast milk... Erm, yes. In fact I though science agreed with us breast feeding mothers?!).

So, I have to go back tomorrow to see her & I would like to speak to her about how the comments made me feel (not in a nasty way! Just a chat to make her aware how her comments could be interpreted) but am worried that the emotion of everything that happened has made me super sensitive and I'm actually being a fanny totally ridiculous.

So - what do you think? Am afraid I can't remember all the comments word for word but it was really just a lot of sighing about how this could have been avoided/picked up earlier if I'd only given DS something other than BM. Don't hold back if am being silly - I'm feeling like a rotten Mummy at the moment so it may just be my attempt to deflect the guilt-trip!

gitinora Tue 22-Nov-11 22:23:34

My advice would be ignore whatever the hv says. They know nothing. They only seem to be good at saying the wrong things.
You sound like a lovely mummy.
Dont feel bad for only giving your baby bm for the first 6 months you did the right thing.

i wouldn't see her again. just ring in the morning and cancel the appointment.

what was his reaction like? you really need to see a GP so they can refer for allergy testing and see if there is anyhting else he is likely to react to.

is the HV linked to your GP surgery? if so I would mention to the GP that the HV has been giving very dodgy advice. if she is not linked to the surgery then I would make a formal complaint to whoever you complain to.. pct?

Wolfiefan Tue 22-Nov-11 22:29:43

As someone who has never managed to BF successfully-good on you. You have given your DS the very best possible start. We did have a nickname for such dragons. I really dont think it would be appreciated on here!

organiccarrotcake Tue 22-Nov-11 22:32:10

Personally I would do just as you suggest. Or, I might make a formal complaint. These comments are outrageous.

in my complaint i would point out that current WHO guidelines are to breastfeed EXCLUSIVELY for 6 months and that the health visitor was implying that doing this had led to an allergy, which is clearly wrong. she is giving out very harmful and incorrect information to people and not everyhone will know that she is wrong.
she needs re-training.

kd73 Tue 22-Nov-11 22:32:53

Ignore the HV, you followed the guidelines and EBF for 6 months is the recommended. Don't feel bad, you did the best thing for your baby.

DS1 EBF for 6 months but noted he had a milk / dairy intolerence when weaning and our HV told me to give him a bottle of cows milk and see what happened shock. Contact your GP and you can get formula on prescription, we used nutramagen (sp?) until he outgrew at around 20 months but that was primarily used for breakfast and cooking.

DS2 EBF for 6 months and fine!

I think HV are contracturally required to give out dodgy advice, which should be largely ignored by anyone with an ounce of common sense smile

GraceK Tue 22-Nov-11 22:38:08

YANBU - I'm regularly surprised by some of the stuff HV's come out with. Is there only one where you are? If not, the I'd try & see a different one, plus a GP to check out your child's reaction / allergy. If she's all you've got, then definitely pick her up on her comments - she's not helping anyone with such comments. Might take some printed out NICE guidelines with me to back up my opinions. Sigh!

Speckledy Tue 22-Nov-11 22:41:26

Ignore her! Why do you have to see her again? What nonsense it sounds like she's spouting. I can think of various babies of my acquaintance who have problems with dairy that weren't apparent until they were weaned. Why on earth would it have made a difference to find out sooner that he couldn't have formula when you didn't need to use it?

HeadsRollingInTheAisles Tue 22-Nov-11 22:46:09

She sounds horrendous. There's no need for him to have cows milk in his diet at all (although I know it's tricky to manage intolerances).

To me, breastfeeding him so far is obviously the very best thing you could have done in the circumstances. I hope she listens to you and learns something but it's doubtful!

iggi999 Tue 22-Nov-11 22:49:44

Cow's milk is not a "shock to the system" because you're used to bm, it a shock to the system if you have an allergy! What tosh. My ds didn't have milk other than bm till he was one, then had cow's milk and was absolutely fine - not to do with bf, to do with who is allergic to what! But well done to you hv for making you feel worse hmm

Hmm. So cow's milk is a shock to the system is it? So apple puree will be a shock too. And steamed carrots. And mashed parsnips. And banana.

Besides, I thought that the proteins in cows milk could get into BM anyway, which is why if you have a severely allergic baby you have to eat dairy-free yourself - so can't have been THAT much of a shock.

Mind you, if he had been FF you could have weaned him onto boiled fish eyes and he'd have been fine....... grin

organiccarrotcake Tue 22-Nov-11 23:02:42

OP, when you say a fairly severe reaction, it does sound like an allergy which needs to be looked at urgently (and for him to be screened for other allergies). I would really consider going to the GP urgently for an allergy screen before offering any more foods.

SirBoobAlot Tue 22-Nov-11 23:49:22

She sounds like an utter tit (pun intended wink) - report her. You also do not have to see any health visitor at any time.

What kind of reaction did he have?

festi Wed 23-Nov-11 00:00:40

ignore her, do not get into any discussion with her at the moment, cancel your appointment and book an appointment with GP make GP aware of her comments and your disatisfaction and make sure you get a refferal to dietition.

was it the milk or oats though that there was a reaction to? how can yiou be sure it was the cows milk?

My dd had an intolerence to cows milk, with hindsight there were signs from the intake from my BM, but did not become apparent untill 1.6 when cows milk was introduced. I had to push for a referal, but no allergy screening was ever carried out, I think that is unusual at this stage, it would be treated as an intollerence untill elimination was carried outr and even then would be introduce at intervals before being considered an allergy.

festi Wed 23-Nov-11 00:02:37

sorry my dd is 5 so maybe a bit out of touch, but is 6m a bit early for introducing cows milk? I always thought 12m + was recomended age, correct me if im wrong.

GsyGacheFiend Wed 23-Nov-11 00:10:57

The current advice I was given festi is that from 6m it is ok to use full-fat cows milk in food/cooking but you still give your baby their usual milk feeds (be it FF or BF)

OP YAdefinatelyNBU, as many above have said cancel your appointment, report her and go and see your GP instead.

abigboydidit Wed 23-Nov-11 07:13:20

Thanks everyone. Glad to get back up, as my DH did seem to think I was over-reacting... To fill in the blanks, he started to get welts on his face - especially around the eyes - as he was smearing it over his face eating. By the time I realised (it was hard to notice, given that his face was crusted with goo!), his top lip had started to swell and his nose was puffy. Basically, he looked like he'd been crying solidly for hours & anyywhere he'd touched his face with milky hands was raised & pink. Apparently that kind of reaction is unusual (is usually upset tummies etc).

The HV initially advised me to try him with a bit more but I queried this, given that his allergy response is now primed & the second reaction is therefore always expected to be greater. She then agreed and I'm going to see the GP with him today to ask for a referral to the allergy clinic. But the appointment is part of the baby clinic, which is HV led so I had intended to get him weighed etc while I was there and speak to her then. Am not an aggressive, confrontational type but I was similarly upset by a MW when DS was just tiny and I always regret not saying anything. Hence, am keen to try to talk to her and make her appreciate how hurtful her comments are.

As for the oats Vs milk allergy. Am fairly sure it was milk as he's been getting oats in his bath (contained in a pair of tights but the water is oaty!) for weeks because of eczema (yep - my boob milk clearly doesn't cut it! She also made a joke about that too now I remember) & he will accidentally consume some of the bath water when sucking on bath toys & touching the oat bag to his face and has been fine.

The part I'm dreading is that she also queried the oats Vs milk issue and has asked me to bring some milk/yoghurt with me to the appt to show them his reaction in a safe environment (ie with an EpiPen on standby). This seems pretty heavy handed to me and my intention is to refuse and ask for proper patch testing which doesn't seem so cruel. Or is this common practice to ensure if he is a high risk that I am aware and know how to treat it?

Thanks again everyone.. Appointment is this afternoon and am feeling braver with every post I read blush

MrsMuddyPuddles Wed 23-Nov-11 07:52:25

Good luck!
Since you hate confrontation, maybe bring in a letter of complaint? (Also she then won't fail forget to mention your concerns about her anti breastfeeding attitude to her supervisor.
Although I don't have research to hand to back me up, I was always under the impression that the opposite was true, ie that babies get exposed to the potential allergins through nursing.
Not to worry you any more, but I was once given an epipen instead of a patch test because even the tests can kick off a severe reaction. So what they're proposing isn't any worse (but if you bring anything, bring the milk you used, in case it's an allergy to something that got destroyed in the yougurt making process )

WoTmania Wed 23-Nov-11 08:14:43

No I don't think you are over reacting. Yes I do think you should complain. You HV would appear to be one of the ones (some are fabulous) who thinks that Breastfeeding is all well and good but is something you can take too far...

abigboydidit Wed 23-Nov-11 08:25:39

Thanks. Yes, WoTmania you have it exactly! It was as if she was saying "yes, I know we tell you to EBF for 6 months but we expect a little bit of common sense..."

MrsMuddyPuddles I suppose my concerns are doing this at a GP practice, rather than a hospital/clinic where all the staff actually know what they're doing have specialist knowledge of allergies. Plus, if his reaction is the same or similar to yesterdays, he'll have to spend another day with itchy runny eyes and a puffy scratchy face sad. But am equally prepared to do what's best for him, so if that is really the best option...

<pulls on her brave pants>

MumblingAndBloodyRagDoll Wed 23-Nov-11 08:29:54

Phone the office and ask for a different HV....I did and it save me a lOT of stress....they have to give you another....it's not your fault he had a reaction!

Rikalaily Wed 23-Nov-11 08:32:03

Eczema is another sign of dairy allergy, so that was probably the reaction he was showing to the milk protiens which were getting into your breastmilk. I bet if your cut dairy completely from your diet his eczema would improve pretty quickly.

You should definately complain, she's talking out of her arse and to tell someone to repeat the milk giving after a reaction is just downright dangerous. You can request a new HV at any time or just not see the HV at all.

CailinDana Wed 23-Nov-11 08:44:50

Her reasoning makes absolutely no sense. How would it have been better for you to find this intolerance when he was tiny? Surely it's better for him to have the reaction now when he's big enough for him to handle it and get over it quickly? If she thinks breastfeeding actually caused the reaction then clearly she's an idiot. I do wonder how HVs manage to be so out of touch with the real world sometimes confused

Speckledy Wed 23-Nov-11 09:04:32

abigboydidit, a friend's little boy, 7months, has exactly what you've described- quite a severe reaction wherever dairy touches his skin though the small amounts actually swallowed didn't seem to do anything to his stomach. She has been referred to the local hospital allergy clinic but there's a bit of a wait and so she isn't feeding him dairy in the meantime.

Hope you get on ok today.

As far as I know my friend didn't have to demonstrate milk causing an allergic reaction, that sounds a very odd request.

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