Is it A Cows Milk Protein Allergy? Probably!

Cows Milk Protein Allergy: Trusting Your Instincts

When I was a first time mum I didn’t have a clue what ‘normal’ looked like. You have to just assume everything is fine really don’t you and trust that others around you will be able to offer support when you need it – and trust me you do need it. The thing is, if something isn’t right and nobody around you knows what is wrong, you can end up feeling very alone indeed.

When Gracie was a few weeks old she started having explosive green poos and screaming for hours and hours on end. People around me told me that it was normal, that all babies suffer with colic in the early weeks. So that was that, I accepted it as the norm and did all that I could to help ease her discomfort. We muddled through, with her refusing to nap in the day and only sleeping on our chests at night. We were all miserable and I felt as though motherhood was never going to be the dream I had imagined it to be.

When she was 3 months old I was at my wits end, nothing had helped and I could feel myself slipping further and further into despair. People still liked to offer their two cents – colic they’d say, but I knew it was something else.. it had to be! I know people say you shouldn’t Google things and to a point I do agree, except it was Google that brought me to people’s blogs, people sharing their own experiences of babies with the same symptoms as my beautiful baby girl.

All of a sudden I was met with stories of explosive poos, stories of babies who refused to sleep… everything slotted into place and I realised that it wasn’t normal to be having green frothy poos 10 times a day – that it was an indication of an intolerance or allergy. The refusing to sleep seemed to be linked to other things I hadn’t even realised were a ‘thing’ – the constant hiccups, the choking, the dislike of being laid flat, all indicators of silent reflux. Finally I had answers, she wasn’t suffering with “colic” at all! And yes I have used quotations there as I don’t believe there is even such a thing as “colic” – there is always a reason for the crying.

More research made me realise that the intolerance was linked to the silent reflux and so as soon as I cut out dairy from my diet she was cured! I can remember the first time she napped, it was like a miracle I can tell you. Suddenly my baby was happy, sleeping in some sort of routine and happy to sleep in her cot. I just felt so incredibly guilty that I’d made her wait so long, that I’d listened to others when I should have trusted my own instincts.

As a second time mum I was more confident and knew to keep an eye out for the symptoms. Unfortunately Lils did suffer too, this time with a full on milk allergy. No amount of cutting it out of my diet seemed to help and she would scream in pain 20 minutes after each feed. In the end I had to switch to prescribed formula. I was incredibly lucky that my doctor listened to me but I have friends who were told that all babies cry, that prescription formula was too expensive to give out willy nilly. Can you imagine?!! If you are starting that battle then please don’t lose faith, switch doctors if needs but trust your instincts and fight until you get what you need.

Third time around I was scared, I didn’t want to fight that battle again but knew I could do it if needs be. At 12 days old Wills started showing signs. Did I wait for a doctor to tell me what to do? No! I am his mother and I know what is best for him. I cut out dairy and in no time at all he was back to my happy contented baby. 🙂 He is 5 weeks old now and to be sure I wasn’t being too hasty I tried some butter at the weekend – he has had the runs and been cranky ever since. My initial gut instinct was correct and I will be telling the doctor so at his 8 week check.

Thankfully it seems that cutting out dairy is doing the trick for him, which hopefully means it is an intolerance rather than a full on allergy. So for now we are fine and he feeds so well that breastfeeding is going well. I have a breast pump that I am going to trial out at the weekend, which will give me a little freedom should I want a night out with friends. However, for whatever reason that I might need to switch to formula I won’t hesitate to fight his corner and get him the prescription he needs.

I have lots of people messaging me about their little ones, despairing about it all and if you are going through it too, I promise you it is always ok in the end. Lils has completed the milk ladder now and those dark days are far behind me. I now know that mummy always knows best, so never let anyone, be it friends, family or a doctor, tell you what is best for your child. You need to fight their corner and help them to be the contented little baby that they deserve to be.

What is your experience of milk allergies? 

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  • Reply
    Rachel Martin
    October 19, 2016 at 8:48 am

    Thank you for this post, as a FTM to be I think it’s great to find out information like this now, so that I can be mindful of it. X

  • Reply
    January 7, 2017 at 10:55 am

    Thank you for this – my son had silent reflux (diagnosed at 6 weeks by my lovely gp, after a different one had laughed at me and said there’s no such thing), tongue and lip tie (again after people told me there’s no such thing or that he was gaining weight so it must be fine) and the first few weeks were hell until we dealt with those and – miracle -happy baby who could be put down and an end to my reccurent mastitis! So many times having to trust my instincts 🙁

    I had never heard of the milk ladder but cannot tolerate milk, and only limited cheese – I was on soy milk as a baby. I thought my son’s colic was worse when I had dairy because of my intolerance, but when we started giving him some formula at 6 months he got terrible eczema. I have switched to hypoallergenic formula (it’s only a few $ more here in NZ) and guess what, the eczema is gone and he is more settled. The gp was friendly but a bit dismissive, said I and my son would have to go fully dairy free for 2 weeks before they could do anything. As it’s only mild I’ve been putting it off, but I think it might be time to bite the bullet and figure out where we really stand. I don’t know whether to talk to gp first or just try and figure it out, but where do you even start going fully dairy free?!!

    Thank you for your informative and inspiring posts! Sorry for my essay.

    • Reply
      January 7, 2017 at 11:58 am

      That’s good that hypoallergenic isn’t too much more over there. It’s more than double here! So going dairy free isn’t so hard once you get to grips with it all. The main culprits are baked goods and chocolates etc.. In fact a dairy free diet is pretty healthy as you live on meat and veg haha!! If he is ok on soya (unfortunately lily never was) then you can substitute cheeses and milks with that. If he can’t tolerate soya then I use rice milk and dairy free spreads etc. No substitute for cheese annoyingly but that’s about it. The best thing to do is make everything yourself and then you know exactly what is in it. Good luck!! xxx

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