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

(2 Posts)
Benjy Sat 30-Aug-08 12:35:25

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've also posted this on the allergy and breast and bottle feeding boards because I wasn't sure which board would be the best home for it.

Saggarmakersbottomknocker Sat 30-Aug-08 17:33:39

Benjy - sorry that you and your baby have had a bad week. I have little experience of lactose intolerance (although they did suspect my dd had it - symptoms were vomiting, dark green very mucousy stools, weight loss).

I had intussuception as a baby. Lots of the symptoms you describe are indicative of it - except bowel movements often have a 'redcurrant jelly' appearance. I'm not sure that it would resolve by itself though so I think that's a good sign - if she gets very distressed again maybe it's worth a trip to A&E - they can diagnose quite quickly these days with ultrasound and x-ray.

Hope someone comes along with advice about the formula.

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