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Can someone talk to me about intestinal blockage and lactose/milk protein allergy?

(5 Posts)
Benjy Sat 30-Aug-08 12:33:38

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. I have also posted on the Allergy board.

AbricotsSecs Sat 30-Aug-08 12:40:00

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AbricotsSecs Sat 30-Aug-08 12:43:48

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AbricotsSecs Sat 30-Aug-08 12:44:53

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lizzytee Sat 30-Aug-08 22:17:27


I'm sorry that feeding your dd has got off to such a rough start. I've been looking at this recently and you should be aware that true lactose intolerance is very rare in babies as lactose is the main carbohydrate in human milk. According to the sources I've found it's much more likely to be cow's milk protein intolerance. However, I agree with the other poster that you should press to see a specialist- I would ask your GP for this although if a referral to a paediatrician is going to take weeks ( a long time in a small baby's life) I would be tempted to try and see a paediatrician privately, although how easy this is will depend where you are in the country. I suspect that a GP will be reluctant to prescribe one of the specialised formulas without a direction from a paediatrician or other specialist not just because they are expensive but also because they are not readily available over the counter and so can be a logistical nightmare for parents. But I agree, don't get fobbed off if you are really concerned.

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