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Allergic reaction to formula - what next?

(18 Posts)
Cydonia Tue 06-Nov-12 06:35:19

Hi, I originally posted in the breast and bottle feeding section and have been helpfully pointed in this direction.

DS is almost 24 weeks and EBF, except for the odd bottle of ready to drink formula which he's had maybe 3 or 4 times. On Sunday night DP gave him some Cow and Gate formula from a carton, he had a bit then pushed the bottle away and started crying, he was also sick. DP thought he was just having a strop, so I got the usual "he's been screaming for 45 mins, he wants you" guilt trip ( I'd been out about an hour! )

However when I'd calmed him down a bit he was still very red and blotchy in the face and rubbing his eyes constantly. His eyelids were red and swollen and he had a rash on his chest, though hard to separate this from the dribble rash already present. He was coughing, sneezing and a bit wheezy so we took him down to A&E.

The doctor examined him and said it was probably an allergic reaction to the formula and gave antihistamine and steroid. I asked if this meant he had a dairy allergy and he said not necessarily, it might just be that brand or something in the ready to drink formula that's not in the powdered ( he's never had the powdered version ).

So we went home, DS settled down and was back to normal yesterday. I'm now just a bit confused as to what this means and what I should do next. Should I see my GP about allergy testing? Or could this just be a one-off? Looking back he has had a skin reaction after messy play with custard, angel delight etc at baby group. He came out in a blotchy rash a bit like nettle rash but no other symptoms and it went within an hour.

I don't want to panic/ overreact but equally I don't want to risk him having another, more serious reaction in the future. He doesn't seem to react to me having dairy, though he does have quite dry rough skin ( not always baby soft like i expected! ) and had colic/ wind issues when he was younger.

Sorry for the long rambling post, basically I'm just wondering if anyone else has had a similar reaction and if so, what was the outcome? I don't really have any experience of allergies so sorry if I come across a bit clueless!

greenbananas Tue 06-Nov-12 07:42:35

Yes, you should see your GP and ask for a referral to a paediatrician who specialises in allergies. It does sound as though your baby could well have an allergy to dairy, and that he should be seen by a specialist.

Don't give your baby any more formula in the meantime - there are specialist formulas that your GP can prescribe, but best to stick to breastmilk for now as he has not had any problem with that. If you are thinking about introducing tastes of food any time soon, stick to 'safer' stuff like pure vegetables.

Getting hives on skin contact with dairy products is fairly common for babies who are allergic to cow's milk (my baby had a similar reaction when he was encouraged to play with fromage frais at baby group at about the same age).

Might be worth buying some Piriton - you can give 5ml if your baby gets hives, despite what it says on the label, but this should really be under medical supervision. Hope you get an appointment soon.

greenbananas Tue 06-Nov-12 07:44:39

Yikes, I meant 2.5 ml of Piriton, not 5 ml of Piriton!!! Never believe what your read on the internet!! See your GP soon...

If your baby does have a dairy allergy, don't worry, this is manageable smile

Cydonia Tue 06-Nov-12 08:52:38

Thanks, I'll make an appointment today. AIBU to feel slightly cheated- I thought breastfed babies weren't supposed to get allergies?!

freefrommum Tue 06-Nov-12 09:07:15

I agree with greenbananas, you should definitely push for a referral and don't be fobbed off. There are NICE guidelines on the diagnosis and treatment of allergies in children: publications.nice.org.uk/food-allergy-in-children-and-young-people-cg116/guidance

And how I wish the bit about breastfed babies not getting allergies were true but sadly it doesn't seem to make any difference. On the positive side, at least you can continue to breastfeed your baby safely until you get the referral and possibly a prescription for a hypoallergenic formula. Breastfeeding is still the best thing for your baby, even if it doesn't prevent them from developing allergies. Good luck and let us know how you get on.

Cydonia Tue 06-Nov-12 09:35:16

Thank you I will do. I'll read the guidelines before I go so I'm clued up. You're right, at least I can still breastfeed so he won't starve!

milkjetmum Tue 06-Nov-12 11:41:59

Just wanted to add my experience, dh and I both asthmatic/allergic so we were on the lookout with dd from an early age. Dd also had(has) rough skin (occasional excema) and had colic issues when tiny.

At weaning we noticed rash around her mouth after some fruit (apples/tomatoes) but that just stopped as she got older and otherwise all is well. She is prone to 2ndary lactose intolerance if she gets a bug, but colief/lactofree milk for a few weeks is all that's required (now that we know what is going on).

Of course I agree with above posts to see your gp and get referral. But just wanted to reassure that the symptoms you have observed could also have a mild outcome. (Dd bf to 13 months)

milkjetmum Tue 06-Nov-12 11:41:59

Just wanted to add my experience, dh and I both asthmatic/allergic so we were on the lookout with dd from an early age. Dd also had(has) rough skin (occasional excema) and had colic issues when tiny.

At weaning we noticed rash around her mouth after some fruit (apples/tomatoes) but that just stopped as she got older and otherwise all is well. She is prone to 2ndary lactose intolerance if she gets a bug, but colief/lactofree milk for a few weeks is all that's required (now that we know what is going on).

Of course I agree with above posts to see your gp and get referral. But just wanted to reassure that the symptoms you have observed could also have a mild outcome. (Dd bf to 13 months)

OHforDUCKScake Tue 06-Nov-12 13:33:45

My breastfed baby has lots of things bf babies arent supposed to have. Asthma, allergies, eczema. Which really are a product of the same thing.

The nettle rash is hives. It sounds relatively minor so he'll hopefully grow out of it soon. But if he is exposed more and more his allergies may worsen with each exposure. I read that this wasnt true, but unfortunately my son is living proof that it can increase each time.

Watch out for other obvious allergies on your weaning way, just in case. Eggs, nuts, wheat being the main ones.

KristinaM Tue 06-Nov-12 13:43:07

Think of it this way -if you hadn't breast fed your baby his allergies ( if thats what it is) might have been so much worse. So please try not to worry -see your GP immediately and just keep your baby away from other high risk food in the meantime eg eggs, nuts, wheat ( so no bread biscuits or pasta), chocolate , citrus fruits and tomatoes

We have a lot of atopic disease in our family so I didn't give any of these foods to my babies until about 10 months, although they started on other foods at 6 months

KristinaM Tue 06-Nov-12 13:43:31

Oops forgot to mention fish

babybarrister Colombia Tue 06-Nov-12 13:45:16

agree with sage advice above - definitely read the guidelines before you go and see GP - be pushy as you will need to be .....

Cydonia Tue 06-Nov-12 14:23:30

Thanks everyone! Have to wait til Friday to see the GP, my fault I suppose for saying it wasn't urgent. Til then I guess it's just fruit, veg and breast milk! I didn't think about other things, I tried to give him pasta last night, luckily he didn't want any!

Cydonia Fri 09-Nov-12 15:47:16

Just to update - went to see GP today. She said his reaction was quite unusual, as a dairy allergy would normally cause gastrointestinal signs such as sickness. I'm not sure about that, but she is referring us to the paediatrician/allergy specialist at the hospital so hopefully we'll get some answers then. This could take up to 2 weeks though so until then I just have to take him back if he has another reaction.

greenbananas Fri 09-Nov-12 15:54:19

Great that you got the referral. I know it probably seems ages away, but two weeks is not too bad really - we waited much longer than that.

Vomiting can be a sign of an allergic reaction, but it sounds as though your GP may be confusing allergy with intolerance. It's a common mistake, even among GPs. Still, the main thing is that you got the referral.

Agree with greenbananas intolerance would show as mainly gastro symptoms ( dd2 had dry skin bloating horrendous poo and gunky eyes) and an allergy would have the vomiting but also the skin reaction and in severe cases anaphylaxis. They r two different thing as intolerance symptoms would not show just on contact with the dairy as it would with an allergy. Hope ur referral comes through soon sad

Cydonia Fri 09-Nov-12 18:30:45

I thought that was the case with allergy v intolerance, would have thought a GP would know the difference! Still, she went straight for the referral without me having to ask so I shouldn't complain too much.

babybarrister Colombia Fri 09-Nov-12 18:45:44

Just don't rely on your gp for advice sadly ... Come back on here, épée are all much more knowledgablegrin

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