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breast-feeding but not eating dairy products

(9 Posts)
Lucy123 Sat 29-Jun-02 11:12:23

My dd is now 6 weeks old. From 2 weeks she started to suffer from colic - not terribly but badly enough to make me want to do something about it. On Gina Ford's advice I started to space her feeds to 3 hours min (only loosly follow the routines though - there's no point in trying to wake her up if she wants to sleep! ). This helped but didn't solve the problem.

Someone on one of these boards suggests giving up dairy products. I thought about this and it made sense - she'd been much worse on days when I'd had cereal for breakfast or cheese for lunch. So yesterday I tried that (although I still have tea with a touch of milk - giving up cheese and icecream is bad enough). She was much better - hallelujah! And I didn't even space the feeds.

Now though I have lots of questions, but don't have a hv to ask (in Spain all you can do is make an appointment with the pediatrician - mine is one of those nasty brusque doctors and I'd really rather not.) hope someone can help:

1. Do I need to take calcium supplements? Or would eating small amounts of dairy be enough (have yet to see how much I can get away with - the little bit of milk in tea seems ok)

2. Do eggs count as dairy??? Can I eat crushed egg-shells as a calcium supplement (lodger suggested this)

3. She now seems to poo far less frequently (which is a bonus as it was previously every nappy), and when she does she poos less - should I worry? (it's very hot here - could she be dehydrated?)

4. What is it about dairy products that can cause reactions? can I just eat semi-skimmed milk and low fat yoghurt for example? (I am usually a very confirmed full fat person)

I know that's a lot of questions, and possibly I should visit the pediatrician anyway, but it's Saturday - any help would be much appreciated.

SoupDragon Sat 29-Jun-02 13:16:06

1) There are other sources of calcium - in the UK some fruit juices and bottled water are fortified with it. One of my books lists the following: Dairy produce, soya beans, sardines, salmon, peanuts, sunflower seeds, dried beans, grean leafy vegetables, tofu, almonds, sesame seeds and broccoli.

2) Not sure about eggs being dairy.

3) If the nappies are wet, she's probably not dehydrated. Quick check is to see if her fontanelle is dipped in. This CAN be a sign that she needs a drink.

4) Not sure here. It can be the lactose or possibly the casein (no idea what this is!) which apparantly "coagulates into large lumps on contact with stomach acid, which in turn have to be broken down into digestible molecules"

Hope this helps!

PamT Sat 29-Jun-02 13:17:02

Lucy, my DD is milk intolerant and can't have any dairy products whatsoever but she can have eggs. Some people are just lactose intolerant which isn't quite as restrictive but we have to avoid everything. Fortunately in the UK as this is quite a widespread problem most supermarkets sell soya or other alternative milks and margarine substitutes are also widely available, many of these are fortified with extra calcium.

There are some very helpful web sites which tell you all about the different milk derivatives eg casein, whey, lactose etc, help groups and alternative products. Try these -

they also have lots of links and might put you onto a spanish site. You could also try Allergy UK (formerly the British Allergy Foundation) which is linked from the above sites as they have lots of information for travellers, I don't know if they would post to Spain but perhaps someone in the UK could send the info on to you.

Alpro who make the Provamel range are an international supplier of soya products so their web site might be useful to you as they do a wide range of milks, yoghurts and desserts. As for calcium, I'm not sure exactly which other foods are a good source but I'm pretty sure that green veggies are, I can't think of anything worse than egg shell! And dehydration, I wouldn't go on the state of the poo as it is bound to change with the diet and might take a while to settle down, but you can check for dehydration by pinching the loose skin on the back of the hand if it goes straight back down when you let go it is fine but if it stays raised for a while then you need to get more fluid in. HTH

Lucy123 Sat 29-Jun-02 13:45:16

yuk soya! But you're right PamT I should try those things and those sites were very helpful, thanks (think maybe she had mild diorrhea before, and she was sick less yesterday too - I thought that was a coincidence). Also thankyou Soupdragon - I guess I'd better stock up on sardines.

I just hope that I can start eating milk again when she's 3 months (as mum says this is when colic magically clears up - presumably because the baby's digestive system is better developed). Has anyone else had a lactose intolerant baby who grew out of it?

Tissy Sat 29-Jun-02 15:02:21

I'm trying a dairy free diet for my dd's eczema (one week into 2 week trial + no difference so far)

Soya milk is fine on cereal, but it ruins a nice cup of tea. Soya yoghurt is FOUL!!!

PamT Sat 29-Jun-02 16:38:29

Tissy, what sort of yoghurts have you tried? Granovita Soyage looks a bit like Gloy paste and doesn't taste anything like yoghurt but Provamel Yofu and Sojasun *live speciality* (or whatever they call it) are quite good substitutes. I haven't tried the So Good ones, what are they like?

Lucy, you could try goats milk products, sometimes these don't have the same effect, though they are very similar products and are still classed as dairy. Some babies do grow out of it but I wouldn't bank on the magic 3 months colic date. Meanwhile, keep reading those labels. I forgot to say, Allergy UK can provide translations of all the milk derivatives which may be useful for you when you are shopping or eating out.

aloha Sat 29-Jun-02 18:03:37

I would take a calcium supplement if I were you. They are entirely safe in pregnancy and breastfeeding and very good for you anyway as very few of us get enough calcium at the best of times. YOu need one with vitamin D and zinc to aid absorption - I take Osteocare. I found nothing I ate made any difference to the colic which some people think may be due to a temporary lactose intolerance - milk contains lactose and casein. It is unlikely that the milk you eat would make your child allergic to b/milk but it is possible, according to the allergy organisations. People with severe histories of excema and asthma often give it up while exclusively b/feeding for six months. Cheese is very low in lactose anyway so you are mostly talking about avoiding milk here. Eggs are definitely not dairy - that term applies to milk and milk products alone. Colic does just get better on its own in the huge majority of cases. A mixture of inexperienced parenting (eg not recognising when your baby is tired, part of the problem in my case, I'd say) and an immature digestive system seems to be the main causes (second babies are much less likely to get it, apparently). BTW to get calcium out of fish it needs to be tinned fish and you need to eat the bones.

ionesmum Sat 29-Jun-02 18:05:53

hi! Our dd is currently on lactose-free formula which she has only needed from 7 weeks, so I am hoping that she will grow out of it although she is now 18 weeks' so no magic 3-month cut-off point for us! However, my hv's son did grow out of his intolerence at about nine months', and my doctor's nephew grew out of his milk allergy. I would have a look at the Vegan Society's website- for info on eating without dairy and a selection of recipes. Dd's poos firmed right up on a lactose-free diet, in fact I've started to give her a little fruit each day as she'd become a bit constipated. Still plenty of wet nappies though! Another sign of dehydration to look for is a dry mouth. I couldn't understand how you were supposed to tell until my cousin told me that the mouth really looks dry and looses its characteristic moistness.

mears Sun 30-Jun-02 12:54:32


Now that your baby's colic has improved it might be worth trying reintroducing the foods that you have cut out. You may well find that it is a particular food that is the problem rather than all dairy produce.That means that you may still be able to have the food you enjoy without radically changing your diet.
At 6 weeks your baby is also a more efficient feeder and perhaps that may be why symptoms have improved as well.
It is also not unusual for breastfed babies not to have dirty nappies for 10 days so don't worry about the change in stools. As long as she has wet nappies it is unlikely that she will become at this stage.
Good luck.

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