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Can someone talk to me about Intestinal blockage and Lactose/milk protein allergy?

(6 Posts)
Benjy Sat 30-Aug-08 12:31:23

I have a 7 week old DH, who is my first baby. I struggled to try and establish breastfeeding for a few weeks after getting off to a terrible start in the hospital: they started her on formula because she wasn't feeding from me. I didn't know this was common for the first few days of a newborn's life and had had a complicated 40 hour labour so wasn't physically and mentally my normal self and didn't challenge them. I've had lots of advice from mums here on how to re-establish breast feeding which I've tried but none of the suggestions worked and I am now formula feeding - Aptimal Easy Digest ready to use cartons - which is what the hospital gave her.

DD hasn't been well this week: she's been vomiting and bringing up bile as well as milk; her stomach is hugely swollen and hard after each feed; and she doesn't poo for a few days and then has diarrhoea and is in a lot of discomfort - red in the face, screaming, bringing legs up to stomach, etc. I spoke to my health visitor who I think thought I was a paranoid mum, told me there was nothing to worry about, but booked me in with the doctor at the GP clinic the next day (yesterday). On the way home from seeing the HV on Thursday, I bought some Colief lactase drops. This had an almost immediate effect and she is now pooing regularly, no diarrhoea and doesn't seem to be in as much discomfort, isn't screaming and crying near constantly.

I decided to take her to the doctors anyway and when I told her DD's symptoms and she examined her, she said she was worried, that she'd never seen a baby with such a swollen stomach and that all her symptoms taken together suggested an intestinal blockage called intussusception and started talking about sending her to A&E. She said it is normal for babies to vomit feed but not with bile and that if her not going for days was due to constipation you would expect stool to be hard and not diarrhoea when she does go. She sent me off in tears by this point to walk around for half an hour as I'd just fed DD to see if the stomach swelling went down before re-examining her. There was some improvement so she said I didn't have to take her to hospital, gave me the number of out of hours doc and told me to take her to hospital if problem worsens. We talked about other possible causes and she agreed that as Lactase drops had had such an immediate effect that lactose intolerance or an allergy to milk protein could be causing her difficulties.

I know that doctors can prescribe lactose-free formula and I wondered if someone could tell me more about these and also whether anyone has experience of intestinal blockage? DD is much better and the lactase drops seem to be working really well but I am still concerned. The doctor did say that maybe she had over-reacted but I now have the thought at the back of my mind that something is really wrong with her.

Would really appreciate some advice, particulary around whether or not it is worth pushing for some lactose-free formula. I think these formula contain soya rather than cows milk and I don't want to swap one problem for another if this formula might cause a reaction too.

BoysAreLikeDogs Sat 30-Aug-08 15:08:02

Bump for you

CantSleepWontSleep Sat 30-Aug-08 15:25:33

If lactase drops are helping then it doesn't sound like a milk protein intolerance. Doesn't sound like one even before that tbh, as my experience of it includes diarrhoea all the time, not constipation.

Hypoallergenic formulas are usually still made from cows milk, but are partially hydrolised, making them easier to digest. DO NOT accept a prescription for soya milk from your GP (some poorly informed GPs do give this, but it should be an absolute last resort after all other avenues have been exhausted). The well known ones are Nutramigen (usually first point of call as it's the cheapest, though is sometimes refused by the baby as it is quite vile!), Pepti-Junior and Neocate.

No experience of blockages, so can't advise on likelihood of that I'm afraid, but hope that someone can.

wehaveallbeenthere Thu 04-Sep-08 00:41:25

Try cutting the formula with more water. Feed little feedings instead of one huge one. The baby sounds like she is bloating and having gas pains. Does she (or he) pass gas that you notice? It is normal to. Everyone does. The human body is supposed to produce gas but you know how unpleasant it is to have stomach gas that you cannot get rid of.
If it is a blockage you can have some diarrhea. The nature of the stools with formula are watery anyway. Gently massage your babies stomach in a circular motion.
When you are feeding do frequent burpings and put the child over your lap. She shouldn't be vomiting more than she is taking in.
If this doesn't improve then consult with a different pediatrician. The bloated hard stomach is a concern. A baby should also have several wet diapers and a regular fecal messing. This should be measured by how much the baby is taking in. Keep a record of times and amounts. No one knows your baby like you do.
Also, try to get back into breast feeding. Shove the whole thing (aureole too, not just the nipple) into the babies mouth. It may not take the first couple times but eventually you will recognize when the baby is hungry. They will open their mouths and rub against your chest searching for the breast. Good luck and keep us posted.

wehaveallbeenthere Thu 04-Sep-08 13:58:45

Benjy, I totally forgot to mention that if your baby doesn't take to the breast you can still pump your breasts and feed with a bottle. This may help ease the tension of trying to breastfeed and you both will still benefit! I know LeLache League used to sell some really great breast pumps...be careful though as the suction on some needs to be adjusted to your comfort. I got one that reminded me of a mammary machine! After I adjusted it though it was fine. Start on the lowest suction and work up...not the other way around.

wehaveallbeenthere Mon 08-Sep-08 14:26:50

Benji, It's been a full month since you started this thread...how are things going?

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