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Has anyone discoverd a milk allergy in the first few weeks when formula feeding?

(37 Posts)
scampidoodle Thu 17-Jan-13 11:36:11

I'm nearly 38 weeks pregnant with DC2 and want to formula feed as I had real problems breastfeeding DS (now 2.6) who we discovered has a milk and dairy allergy (it came to light when we started him on solids). I really disliked breastfeeding but couldn't get him onto a bottle, although I realise now that wouldn't have helped because of the allergy...

I've been advised by my GP and Health Visitor that this baby is more likely to have a milk allergy because DS has one and I'm worried how we will know this so early on and what might be done about it. The HV said the doctor would probably prescribe one of the hypoallergenic formulas as they did for DS from 7.5 months when he finally took a bottle, but I know cost is an issue with this. Has anyone fed the soya infant formula in the first few months? And how did you know that your baby had an allergy?

DS's reaction to milk has become steadily stronger and more obvious (and more worrying) but at first it was actually hard to tell and no one really believed me when I said I thought cow's milk was bothering him.
I'm really concerned that either an allergy won't be obvious and I might end up doing this baby some harm/causing them pain or that if it's spotted very early on I will be told to breastfeed or left with no option but to breastfeed, and I really don't want to do that.

Any advice appreciated... Thanks

HelenMumsnet (MNHQ) Fri 01-Feb-13 12:28:33


CMPA support have contacted us about some of the posts on this thread and asked us to post up the following statement...

"The survey on our site is simple market research, not clinical research. We invite our members and non-members to anonymously answer multiple-choice questions; no personal data is asked for or collected. The data collected
is simply to ascertain if there is want or need for allergen-free playgroups in the UK.

"All the images on our website are used with the full permission of any person or persons that hold the copyright."

MagratGarlik Sun 27-Jan-13 00:48:25

Are you also aware of copyright law wrt images on your site for which you do not own copyright?

MagratGarlik Sun 27-Jan-13 00:31:57

JoleneB, I have also taken a look at your website and the survey that you have on there.

Are you aware that your survey breaches all rules on ethical conduct of research? You do not have ethical approval to conduct any research, or collect data, you do not state what this data will be used for and you do not give participants the right to withdraw at any time.

If you are seriously intending to 'found' this kind of venture, you really need to be sure that you are not breaking the law whilst doing it.

I would urge you to please withdraw your survey and reconsider your venture without further advice regarding your legal position.

This is not a personal attack, but simply a request from someone who is experienced in clinical research to take care of your legal position in what you are doing.

MagratGarlik Sat 26-Jan-13 00:12:10

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

MagratGarlik Fri 25-Jan-13 21:23:57

JoleneB 25-Jan-13 13:46:31

"one of the conclusions they all come too is that milk allergy is more prevalent in formula fed babies than those either breast fed or given hypo allergenic formula"... "and that FACT...."

From the paper you cited, which, for reference is:
Saarinen, KM et al (1999), Supplementary Feeding in Maternity Hospitals and the risk of cow's milk allergy: A prospective study of 6209 infants", The Journal of allergy and Clinical Immunology, 104(2): 457-461

"Nevertheless, exclusive breast-feeding during the first 8 weeks of life *did not reduce the risk of CMA*"

or, perhaps you prefer another source from peer-reviewed literature, written by those pesky scientists you scorn whilst declaring something as FACT, so here goes, British medical journal is a pretty reliable source, I'd say.

Kramer, MS et al (2007), "Effect of prolonged and exclusive breast feeding on risk of allergy and asthma: cluster randomised trial", BMJ, 335: 815

"The experimental group had no reduction in risks of allergic symptoms and diagnoses or positive skin prick tests. In fact..." "...risks were significantly increased in the experimental group for four of the five antigens." "Conclusions. These results do not support a protective effect of prolonged and exclusive breast feeding on asthma or allergy."

The FACT is that what you are stating as indisputable FACT is not FACT at all. It is something which is as yet unknown because the research is still on-going by scientists (though clearly you are already streets ahead of those closed-minded scientists, who are so closed-minded that they are doing research to evaluate what is FACT and what is mumbo-jumbo).

Maybe, since you are hold scientists in such poor regard, you prefer not to take your information from peer-reviewed literature, considering web-sites as more reliable sources, but being educated, I'll stick with reading the primary sources.

You are also correct that this is a public thread and I have never told you what you can or cannot say, but you accuse me of personally attacking you when I simply asked what the source of your information is. The OP also clearly stated that she did not wish to breastfeed. You tried to advise that she should based on "facts" which are not established in the literature. Even the literature source you, yourself linked to disagreed with your argument.

JoleneB Fri 25-Jan-13 13:46:31

Margratgarlik, I think you may need to read my post again, I never wrote, nor do I believe that "breastfeeding prevents allergies" I simply said there is a lot of evidence that states introducing formula milk in the first weeks of life increases the risk of developing cows milk allergy!

And as for me contradicting myself, yes looking at those two sentences from separate posts looks like a contradiction, but as you are well aware none of these studies come to 1 single conclusion, one of the conclusions they all come too is that milk allergy is more prevalent in formula fed babies than those either breast fed or given hypo allergenic formula, and that FACT is clearly stated on many allergy websites, including the NHS's own!

It is entirely your opinion that breast feeding isn't right for milk allergy, you are entitled to that opinion as much as I am entitled to mine, and as this is a public thread I fail to understand what gives you the right to tell me what I should and shouldn't say to someone who has asked for advice!

I not only breast fed my own CMPA dd2, I also work with many parents/carers of babies with CMPA and other allergies, my opinions are based on my own experience plus that of assisting others, both in breast feeding and formula feeding. I did not and would never tell a mother what they have to do, only give relevant information so they can make the right choice for themselves, I believe that parents should receive all the relevant info, for not knowing can also be detrimental to mental health (that is from my own personal experience) finding out something you have done, or allowed to happen could have contributed to your babies health problems is far from a happy experience, I believe it's better to know these things before hand, as guilt from ignorance is a terrible thing to live with.

Thank you for completely proving my point about scientists though, and I agree, there is no point engaging in any further conversation with you!

Tammyhiles Fri 25-Jan-13 06:11:21

People who are allergic to cow's milk react to one or more of the proteins in it. Curd, the substance that forms chunks in sour milk, contains 80% of milk's proteins, including several called caseins (pronounced: kay-seenz). Whey (pronounced: way), the watery part of milk, holds the other 20%. A person may be allergic to proteins in either or both parts of milk. Use this allergy forum to discuss more about your allergies.

MerryCouthyMows Fri 25-Jan-13 01:00:52

My experience holds true that if first line relatives have atopic conditions, a child has more risk of developing allergies.

My DS2 and my DS3 have the same father (my older two DC's have different fathers).

I have asthma, and am allergic to salicylates, pineapple, kiwi, papaya, penicillin, Amoxycillin, erythromycin, wasp stings, and tannins.

DS2 & DS3's father has excema, chronic brittle asthma, is 'lactose intolerant' (has followed a dairy free diet for over 15 years, I believe given his symptoms that he IS actually allergic), and oral allergy syndrome.

My DS2 is allergic to Latex and Pineapples, kiwi, papaya, and has severe brittle asthma (life threatening).

My DS3 is allergic to CMP, soy, nuts (tree nuts and legumes), chick peas, lentils, pineapple, kiwi, papaya, and he has excema.

My older DC's have allergies, but not so many! My DD is allergic to pineapples, kiwi and papaya. My DS1 is allergic to penicillin and Amoxycillin.

I just wish I had known about the link. I would have followed a dairy free diet straight away while bf.

I agree with whoever said that bf a CMP allergic DC is truly a Hell that has to be experienced.

DS3 spent a year on Nutramigen, still displaying allergy symptoms, albeit less severe. When I eventually saw the dietician two weeks ago, she changed him to Neocate - and it has made SUCH a difference.

He is already putting on weight (TMI) the consistency of his poo is now solid rather than green and liquid, his excema is clearing up, he is sleeping better than he ever has done in his life - he's already asleep!! He doesn't need his reflux meds any more.

Yet my GP has been saying that he couldn't be reacting to Nutramigen for months...

(I think the cost difference between Nutramigen and Neocate may have played more than a small part in that though!)

MagratGarlik Tue 22-Jan-13 14:09:48

JoleneB, my second post was far from a "personal attack". You made a strong assertion that the OP should at least try to breastfeed attempting to back this up with "research". I was therefore interested in the research sources you were referring to, as the (many) I have read say that at best there is no conclusive evidence that breastfeeding helps prevent allergies and to state that it does help in such strong terms only adds to (often inevitable guilt) which many mothers experience if they chose not to breastfeed.

I absolutely agree with you statement that, "The thing is for any mother they should do what they feel is right for their child, and should be free to make their own choice on that, and should be supported by HCP's in whatever decision they make", however, many women are made to feel that if they don't breastfeed and in some cases, follow extreme exclusion diets (at the potential risk of maternal health and well-being), they are somehow less of a mother than ones that do.

You are, however, contradicting yourself on a number of points e.g. stating in your second last post that, "but the conclusion is always that CMPA is more common in formula fed babies" - note the assertion that the conclusion is ALWAYS, whereas in your last post, stating, "not all come to the same conclusion, as one wouldn't expect them too".

As I stated previously, I am pro-breastfeeding. I did it myself, as did all my family. In my home country, it is the usual feeding method for babies. But, this does not mean that it is right in all cases. In the case of the OP, she seemed quite clear that she did not wish to breastfeed and providing "data" suggesting that if she did not, her baby would run a greater risk of developing milk allergy is imo not helpful. As far as current research also shows, allergy types do not run in families but predisposition to allergy does. So, a child with a milk allergy will not necessarily have a sibling with a milk allergy, but his/her sibling will have a greater predisposition to allergies in general (which may manifest itself as a different allergy, or even no allergy at all).

Due to the contradictions in your argument and your assertion that anybody who enquires about the source of the information you are referring to whilst giving your advice is embarking on a personal attack, rather than simply curious (and open to the possibility of reading a source which might give evidence that would change my opinion, something the article you linked to did not do), clearly it is not worth engaging in further discussion with you.

JoleneB Tue 22-Jan-13 13:40:27

There was no scientific debate in your second post where you picked me out and asked me to reference the research, that is what I was referring too as a personal attack!

I understand how to debate, and if you look you will find, as I have previously stated, that there are numerous studies on this subject, not all come to the same conclusion, as one wouldn't expect them too. The study I linked just happened to be at the top of the list when I did a scholar search from my phone, I haven't read that particular one in full, but have read many others on all aspects of cma.

I agree immunology is very misunderstood, and hasn't been researched as much as other areas of medical science, but from the research that has been conducted it is clear that introducing bovine milk directly in to an infants diet can lead to milk allergy, what isn't understood is why this happens, there are theories regarding first line relatives with atopic conditions, imbalances caused in the gut flora and many more which at the moment are way out leftfield. What is even less understood is non IgE allergies and what causes them, there has been very little research done in that area, and only recently were they even recognised as allergies after being considered "intolerance" for a long time.

I never said breast milk is a magic pill, any allergens a mother is consuming are potentially going to pass through her milk to her baby and trigger atopic reactions, I simply said that there is research that suggests the early introduction of cows milk may increase the risk of triggering a milk allergy.

I understand only too well HCP's unwillingness to believe a baby can be allergic to milk (or other allergens) though breast milk, why do you think my daughter was undiagnosed for 6 months? What I don't understand is why you seem to be so close minded about the fact that the maternal diet can be suited to the infant and thus providing them with the perfect balance of nutrients to thrive? I know mother's who's children are so atopic they can't tolerate even amino acid formula (try getting a HCP to admit that is possible!) and are still breast feeding at 32 months, on a diet excluding dairy, all legumes, all nuts, all seeds except Sunflower and rape, eggs, rice, fish and molluscs, mushrooms and gluten. Formula certainly isn't a magic pill either!

The thing is for any mother they should do what they feel is right for their child, and should be free to make their own choice on that, and should be supported by HCP's in whatever decision they make, this seldom happens, I also know mother's who were forced to stop breast feeding by consultants only to find their babies couldn't tolerate formula, of any sort and are now having to use plant based milk heavily supplemented by vits and minerals, where as had they been supported in continuing to BF then they could have had a much better experience.

MagratGarlik Tue 22-Jan-13 11:42:39

I think you will find that you are confusing the difference between scientific debate and personal attack. This may be why you find scientists so hard to debate with! In the scientific process, you cannot just say "this is how it is, FACT - go look it up", because science is simply not that clear cut. To thonk otherwise is, with all due respect, naive. When scientific research is conducted, one must back up any assertions which are made with evidence (either their own, or someone else's) in order that the quality of the arguments can be evaluated. Hence the reason papers require referencing. As I have stated previously, immunology is one is the most poorly understood areas of science and research is being moved forward at a fantastic rate at present.

Breastfeeding has many benefits, but allergy prevention has not been shown to be one of them (there is a lot of research which actually suggests the contrary). Even in the paper you linked to their final conclusions state, "Nevertheless, exclusive breastfeeding during the first 8 weeks of life did not reduce the risk of CMA".

If you are advising HCP's (some of whom, I train btw), on management of CMA then I would suggest that you need to undertake a more critical evaluation of the literature out there. Breastfeeding is a wonderful thing, but it does not provide a "magic pill" which prevents all problems in all cases and suggestions that it does, does not do anything to discourage medic's distorted views that breastfed children will not have allergy problems - an incorrect view I have heard on many, many occasions.

JoleneB Tue 22-Jan-13 10:58:13

You began a personal attack on me by questioning my integrity, I wouldn't say something if I hadn't researched it or have experience to base it on. Regardless who conducted that study (thank you for reaffirming the fact that pepti is danone, if you'd read my post you would see I already know this!) there are many more to be read dating back over years, not all are conducted on such a massive scale but the conclusion is always that CMPA is more common in formula fed babies, and I'm sure you can't argue against the benefits of colostrum in those first few days?

I'm sorry you had such a hard time breast feeding you allergic child, and I do understand how challenging it can be, I did it for 16 months! My daughter wasn't diagnosed until 6 months, and it was very tough, but once I knew what the problem was and changed my diet things got better, and that is an experience shared by many mums who are supported properly.

I find it highly unprofessional that you challenged me publicly, you could have pm'd me had you wanted to know where to find the research, but it feels as though you are letting your personal experience cloud your judgment and in turn attacking me because you didn't agree with the advice I gave, which by the way was for the op to go and research it for herself, not to push my personal opinion of what she should do, I will keep that to myself as it is my personal opinion and I don't think there is a place for that here.

As for your scientific phd, that is all well and good, but it doesn't make you an expert in CMPA, infant nutrition or anything other than that which you study, and my experience of scientists is that most are close minded and set in their ways and very difficult to debate with, you haven't changed that experience today!

to the poster below, I agree, hypo formula from day 1 is the perfect option for the op, but it is not cheap and unless there are symptoms then it is unlikely the NHS will fund prescriptions for it, but if paying for it is an option it would be worth thinking about smile

galwaygirl Tue 22-Jan-13 08:40:25

My sister ebf her DD1 til she was about 8-10 weeks and diagnosed with CMPA and lactose intolerance. With her DD2 she was advised she would probably have the same issue but tried bf and then goats milk formula but said afterwards she should have gone straight to hypoallergenic formula.
Seems like there's a bit of debate about the likelihood of subsequent children having CMPA but why stress yourself out if the option of the hypoallergenic formula is there?

MagratGarlik Tue 22-Jan-13 08:31:33

Further, the hydrolysed formula used is Pepti Junior, which is acknowledged in the methods as being produced by Nutricia (which makes sense as Nutricia is the medical food arm of Danone, which is also the parent company of cow and gate, who used to make Pepti).

MagratGarlik Tue 22-Jan-13 08:15:23

If you read my post you would see that I exclusively breastfed my own milk allergic ds2, so no I am not against breastfeeding.

As for the study being funded by Nutricia, if you read the full article (as I did), not just the abstract, you would see that funding from Nutricia Helsinki is acknowledged at the end of the paper.

As you will also see, the authors say there is no significant difference in CMPA developing between the formula fed babies and the breastfed babies.

I am simply question the source of your strong assertions that breastfeeding would be the best thing in this case (breastfeeding a milk allergic baby can be pure hell BTW, which can only really be appreciated by people who have done it).

You on the other hand are becoming personally insulting and there is no need for that. You question my credentials add a scientist - I completed my PhD many years ago and have headed my own research group at a prestigious university. However, there is no need to get personal just because I question your information.

JoleneB Tue 22-Jan-13 07:25:26

MargratGarlick, questioning my integrity when I was only offering my opinion based not only on experience (I am founder of a non profit organisation focused on raising awareness and training for primary care health staff in diagnosing and managing CMPA) but also numerous medical and independent studies, is going to make one slightly defensive!

It only takes a simple search through research papers to find many many studies that have been completed over the recent decades, and as you claim to be a scientist I would expect you to be able to go away and find the research yourself rather than ask me to back up my comment.

Regarding the information I posted, which by the way just happened to be the first one that came up when I performed a search in my phones browser, confirms exactly what I said, that there is an increased (albeit a small increase) risk of milk allergy in infants who are fed cows milk formula at birth.

In my original comment I pointed out, that as first line relatives are atopic there is an increased risk of the new baby developing allergies (the op is already aware of this FACT) and also the increased risk of developing a milk allergy if cows milk is introduced in the early weeks. In this instance, if the infant was to be given the best chance of not developing cma then breast feeding for the first weeks (or at least first days to deliver the antibody rich colostrum) would be the best option. Of course this isn't going to eliminate the risk entirely, but would decrease an already high risk case, even if only slightly.

As for the study I posted being funded by Nutricia, I'm not sure what this is based on, the study was completed in Helsinki in 1999, Nutricia are based in the Netherlands, not Sweden. Also, if the study was completed by them don't you think they would try to used an amino acid formula rather than a hydrolised whey formula, seeing as neocate is an aa formula? Now I'm sure you could argue that nutricia are affiliated with danone, who inturn produce aptamil pepti, a hydrolised whey formula, but of course danone is a French company.

I'm not sure why you decided to pick on the advice I gave, perhaps you are so against bf that you like to push your views on to everyone else, but everyone is entitled to their opinion, and that was all I offered to the op, my opinion based on facts, and studies, and I stand by my original opinion, breast, at least for a couple of weeks would offer some protection against CMPA developing.

To the op, you do what you feel is right for you, if you truly hated bf then don't do it, if you think you can stand it for a week or two it would offer some protection, you could also express and bottle feed those first important feeds so that your baby gets the protection that is delivered through colostrum. No body can tell you what to do, it is your choice and your choice alone, having asked for options on a public board you have received information and you can now use it to make your own informed decision.

op I wish you the best of luck, whatever you decide and sincerely hope that your new baby is allergy free smile

MagratGarlik Mon 21-Jan-13 22:09:43

You are also aware, I assume that the research you linked to is funded by Nutricia - makers of Neonate?

Not many conflicts of interests there then?

redwellybluewelly Mon 21-Jan-13 22:08:42

I discovered dd had CMPI at six weeks old, she was EBF but was given all sorts of stuff in NICU via NG tube including formula.

She is now 2.6 and has continued with a severe milk intolerance. She has also still got silent reflux. She cannot have soya either. Weaning early wasnt an option and in fact although she now eats like a horseits been a battle

MagratGarlik Mon 21-Jan-13 22:00:10

JoleneB, no I don't need you to tell me how to find research papers, but you are very defensive in your response.

Of course, you will note that in the paper you linked to, the incidence of CMA in babies fed noon-hydrolysed formula (i.e. regular formula milk) was 2.4%, whereas the incidence in babies exclusively breastfed was 2.1%. The confidence intervals being too big to establish these numbers as significantly different. The authors themselves note that 'exclusive breastfeeding does not eliminate the risk' of developing CMPA and in fact if you look at what they are actually saying, they are saying that if babies require supplemental feeding, using hydrolysed formula (e.g. nutramigen and so on) is associated with a lower chance of developing CMPA than regular formula.

Of course, one possible explanation for this is that babies who are breastfed are exposed to cows milk protein at an early stage, as it is present in breast milk. Hence, the difference becomes significant only when exposure is eliminated in the form of destroying the protein by hydrolysis.

JoleneB Mon 21-Jan-13 13:32:00

Magratgarlik, as a scientist I'm sure I don't need to tell you how to find research papers, but here is a link to just one of the many studies that have been done on this very subject

scampidoodle Mon 21-Jan-13 11:07:22

Thanks for the advice. I think I'm still going to go with the formula and just see how it goes. I think I have a fear of breastfeeding after last time! Although I do appreciate that most of the problems were probably down to the allergy (plus a tongue tie initially, but that was sorted at 8 weeks). I will at least know what to look out for and hopefully the GP will be more sympathetic if i think there might be an allergy, rather than thinking I'm a neurotic woman who doesn't realise that all babies cry a lot and lots of them have reflux. I've also heard that getting a baby onto solids early can help with allergies (although obviously not if it's something that's already very obvious) so will bear that in mind.

NotAnotherPackedLunch Sun 20-Jan-13 17:50:53

If you could bear it it might be worth trying to breast feed initially (whilst having all the formula feeding supplies in place so you can drop breast feeding if it's not for you).

Breastfeeding my two DC were two entirely different experiences.

Feeding DC1 was not great for the first few months. The way she messed around drove me mad. DC2 was much more businesslike from the start and feeding him was a pleasure even when I had to go on to the exclusion diet for his allergies the actual feeding part remained fine.

freefrommum Sun 20-Jan-13 17:34:46

Sad thing was because DS was so difficult to bf that I started him on formula at about 8 weeks and initially he seemed to take to this better than bf so I reluctantly switched, not realising that this was in fact the worst thing I could do! If only I'd known that all I had to do was remove all dairy from my diet then things could've been so different. Ironic thing is I don't like most dairy except for cheese but deliberately made myself eat more of it as I thought it was good for my breastmilk! Hindsight is a wonderful thing grin

MerryCouthyMows Sun 20-Jan-13 01:03:33

I kept telling the HV and the GP that I had previously fed 3 older DC's, one who ALSO had TT and lip tie - and none of them were as difficult to feed.

The original reason for going dairy free was because a BF counsellor said that the dairy was obviously making his excema worse.

Neither the HV or the GP listened to me, I ended up bf for 12 months. The only way they listened to me was when I HAD to stop bf, due to meds I needed to start taking being incompatible with bf, and I put him on cow's milk. (He WAS over 12 months.)

He was seriously ill, projectile vomiting constantly, in hospital, wheezy, hives, watery diarrhoea te works. Only THEN did everybody listen to my suspicions - which were later proven correct with skin prick tests.

I had fed three older DC's, without any issue. But feeding DS3 nearly broke me, because it was just SO much more difficult.

I now know that he was still reacting to trace amounts of dairy in my diet, and also to the soya I had replaced the dairy with...

MerryCouthyMows Sun 20-Jan-13 00:54:44

Freefrommum - that describes DS3 down to a tee, the difficulties with bf - the arching, screaming etc. Many threads on MN about it, all put down to his TT and lip tie.

Nope, he actually has a severe allergy to CMP, goes into anaphylaxis from even secondhand contact. He is also allergic to soy (discovered at weaning age).

Was on a dairy free diet myself from 8 weeks old, he was weaned on a dairy free diet, stopped soy in diet on GP advice at 9mo, has been dairy, soy free ever since, and nut free since 15mo and first nut-based anaphylaxis.

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