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Allergies and intolerances

Dairy-free diet for mom - how long until things get better for babies?

13 replies

eskimomama · 29/04/2010 18:11


My DD has had a bad allergic reaction to dairy last week and I've been off dairy (and soy - just in case) for 6 days now. Her eczema got much better, but not the scratching, I'm praying there isn't another thing hidden...

For all breastfeeding moms who've been on dairy-free diets, how long have you been on it until you could see major improvements?

By improvements (other than better skin) I mean less scratching, and dare I say, less night wakings???
I'm pretty sure this is what was waking her up all night when I was eating dairy, but should it be another few weeks until the milk protein is out of her system?

On the web there is so much conflicting info, some say a week, others a few months... I'm so confused!

Any shared experience would be super helpful!!

OP posts:
agraves · 29/04/2010 22:18

50% of babies that are lactose intolerant also react to soy milk.
If your baby is lactose intolerant then he/she will react to breast milk or formula milk, as both contain lactose.

My baby was breast fed yet is in diary free diet, due to a severe gastroenteritis she had about a month ago.
She developed a temporary lactose intolerance.
She started using SMA LF formula, but she carried on having bad diarrhoea and terrible nappy rash.
The paediatrician explained that she can no longer process milk protein or lactose, therefore even Lactose Free formula was not being digested properly and sitting in her gut fermenting, hence the acidic stools and terrible nappy rash.
She is now on a diary free diet.
She is using a fully digested formula called Neocate, this helped with all eczema and nappy rash, she no longer vomits nor has diarrhoea.
Ask your GP for a prescription, because each little tin lasts for about 2 days only and costs around 45 quid. Also note the taste is revolting and it may take a three or four days for your baby to fully accept it. We use vanilla pods when cooling the boiled water, just so that it improves a bit the taste. Persevere though, you won't regret, Neocate is really good stuff, all nutrients your baby needs. The morning poos stink though! This is nothing to worry about.
So sorry you are going through this, such a worry when little ones are unwell! Good luck!

greenbananas · 29/04/2010 22:52

Don't know anything about Neocate as am still breastfeeding my dairy allergic DS. I reckon it was only a few days before I saw a real reduction in his tummyache and eczema, but estimates I read at the time said it would be about 2 weeks to see a serious improvement.

When by mistake I ate something containing dairy (or any other allergens that he reacts to), it was only a few hours before it affected my DS - i.e. about 2 hours to get into the milk.

Hope this helps. Maybe it's different for everybody...

nellymoo · 30/04/2010 11:36

Our experience was much the same as Greenbananas - a few days before there was some improvement in tummyache but probably nearer two weeks before the screaming really stopped, and the reflux improved! Her eczema remains as bad as it ever was, and I'm afraid to say that the sleeping has only begun to improve this week (so, 3 1/2 years later...sorry!). She has multiple food allergies though...

How old is your DD?

eskimomama · 30/04/2010 12:32

thanks all! very helpful to see I'm not the only one - my family thinks I'm dangerously crazy to cut off dairy as a breastfeeding mom...

DD must be only allergic to the protein (not lactose) as she is totally fine with breastmilk. Awaiting the hospital to call me to book for allergy tests...

I've read everywhere that Neocate has a revolting taste... poor little ones.
Is there any cows milk at all in it, even broken down? Doesn't look like it...
I think it's so strange feeding babies with such an artificial product... Won't have much choice though.

Also the doc told me that I should be safe eating processed foods containing milk (ie biscuits and stuff!) because the protein is already broken down in them... But I'm a bit paranoid, and I'd rather wait until allergy tests are done to start eating them again. I can survive without milk chocolate cookies :-)

Are you also eliminating absolutely everything containing milk products?

OP posts:
eskimomama · 30/04/2010 12:33

Nellymoo - she's almost 7 months now

OP posts:
nellymoo · 30/04/2010 15:50

I would disagree with yout doctor, I'm afraid. The protein in milk is not de-natured by cooking, or processing (biscuits etc). Afaik, this is only the case with egg protein. Whilst breastfeeding, I avoided all products with milk (caesin, whey, lactose...) in.

Neocate (and Nutramigen) are fully hydrolysed, so the protein chains in them will not be recognised by the body as milk protein. But yes, they taste and smell vile! It depends on how long you want to breastfeed for, but my DD never had a substitute milk, and went straight on to oat milk at 20 months. She gets plenty of calcuim, fat and other minerals from her diet.

There are plenty of other substitutes you can use to keep your calcium levels up whilst breastfeeding, if your family is worried, for example fortified oat milk. Though it is probably best to get some advice from a dietician if you continue to be dairy-free for a significant period of time.

greenbananas · 30/04/2010 16:23

Mm, I also disagree with your doctor - my DS has had a couple strong reactions to biscuits and breadsticks with tiny amounts of milk protein in them (he ate them by mistake). Because of this, I've eliminated everything with milk protein from his diet - and from mine too, as I am still breastfeeding him at 19 months and plan to carry on for a long time yet.

I know what you mean, eskimomama, about your family thinking you are dangerously crazy to give up dairy - my family said this too and so did the HV. However, my DS has never had to have any substitute milk and I'm really glad about that (I know what you mean about it feeling weird to give a baby an artificial product). I'm happy breastfeeding him, and because he has multiple allergies and it's quite hard to feed him a balanced diet otherwise, it helps me to feel confident that he's getting safe milk and some proper balanced nutrients.

eskimomama · 30/04/2010 16:37

Thank you both!! always better asking moms than having a theoretical advice...

I wish I can breastfeed as long as you...

Question about BF then, sorry if it's super basic - how many times a day do you bf after 1 year? Do you give your LO other liquids too (water/juices) during the day?
How do you do if you have to be away for the day (... or working!) - I can't express much anymore, it's like my boobs know exactly when DD is supposed to drink from me and they cannot be fooled....

OP posts:
nellymoo · 30/04/2010 17:07

Hmm, tricky question because I don't think I ever counted how many feeds she was getting, just as and when really. But I certainly remember that she fed a LOT at night (we co-slept though). During the day, she probably fed 4-5 times, but was drinking water from a cup by 8 months, and I would offer Oat milk or water at meal times after 12 monthsish.

I had a lovely dietician who gave me the confidence that my DD was certainly not missing out by not having cows' milk and that actually, after age 1, it really isn't necessary for children, and is certainly easy enough to get all the calories and nutrients they require in other forms. I was never able to express either, and by 12 months I had a coule of part-time jobs (not all day, every day) during the hours of which my DH would offer a cup of warm oat milk. She would never drink it if I was there though!

hobnob57 · 30/04/2010 22:07

eskimomama are you on a calcium supplement? If not ask your HV or GP for one as your bones will be being leached!

With DD1, I went back to work at 6 mths and couldn't express at work after 8 mths, so I had to try to wean her onto formula during the day. She was ok with pepti which is less broken down than neocate but tastes better. However, it was a 5-6 month battle to get her to take it in any quantity during the day so she was on calcium supplements too. It clicked with her when she finally gained full control of her cup near 1 year old. So at 1 I think she was having a morning BF, 2 cups of 4oz formula during the day and BFs when I got home and at bedtime.

With DD2 I go back to work at 9mths and am hoping that I may be able to get away without the formula during the day since I tried her with pepti and she didn't get on with it and I never seem to get round to trying neocate. Bottles are such a faff and at 5.5 mths the chances of her taking it are slim imo.

greenbananas · 30/04/2010 22:12

I don't count either, but my estimate is about the same: maybe 4-5 times during the day and loads at night (we co-sleep too and that makes night feeding very easy). DS has water sometimes during the day - I leave one of those sippy cups on the side and he just grabs it when he wants it.

I'm really lucky that I don't have to go out to work (I'm self-employed and do odd bits of internet-based work at home when DS is asleep) - don't know how I would manage if I had to leave him with anyone else. However, I have read that it's possible to keep breastfeeding even if you do have to go out to work - your boobs are clever like that.

eskimomama · 01/05/2010 13:57

Thanks all for the advice.
I was hoping the nightwakings were due to her eczema, caused by cows milk in my diet, and that things would get better soon... (sigh!!)

Nellymoo - I hope I will find a good dietician too. DD's dad is totally against dairy in principle anyway (he's intolerant).
I've read that oat milk is not suitable for infants allergic to gluten, but that it's the most suitable otherwise (richer than rice milk). Let's see what the allergy tests say first. I so hope she's only allergic to cows milk protein...

OP posts:
nellymoo · 01/05/2010 15:55

Oat's can be an allergen in themselves, but gluten intollerance is not the same as allergy (tends to be a marker for coeliac disease, and is not an allergen per-se). I'm not saying it's impossible, but CMP allergy and allergy to oat are noy usually linked in the same way as asthma/eczema/CPM & egg allergy are. Rice milk is an absolute no-no for under 5s.

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