Formula and your baby

I spoke to a friend the other week about their baby and their formula. They had stopped breastfeeding so had decided to go on formula instead for a few reasons. But they noticed it took a few tries with different formulas before they settled on one, which seemed to work for a few weeks, then they had to change to another. I’m not an expert in this area, but it’s not uncommon.

When Emily was born, I tried for 2 weeks to breastfeed. I tried my absolute hardest to and even with the awful support from my supporting midwife, I tried but continued to fail. Which is why when I stopped, although I felt guilty, knowing Emily was putting on weight with formula, I felt a huge sigh of relief when the area midwife said I should do what I felt was right, not what other mums, parents and midwives might suggest. I was judged to try one milk but Emily spent a large amount of time throwing it up, rather than keeping it down, so when I chose the formula mum used with me as a baby, we found the one that worked and Emily liked it. We had no problems with it until we started weaning her.

I noticed that Emily experienced bad middle-of-the-night cramps every so often and, originally we couldn’t figure out what the reason was behind it.

I researched high and low on Google (never do that!) and still got none of the answers I was hoping for. At the beginning of last year, after a few weeks of no sleep, I decided enough was enough and we went to the doctor who asked if I could try and record a video to help with the diagnosis. Of course that was a difficulty but after 3 months of waiting she was seen by a doctor at QEQM and we were given some surprising answers.

The diagnosis was Emily was allergic to protein found in the milk, having that mixed with her formula was aggravating her tummy and causing a whirlwind of problems. He suggested a dairy free diet or adding Lactose-free milk in, wean her off the formula and all would be ok.

So we made the drastic change but she wasn’t interested in the dairy free products, no matter how much we tried but we were getting there, or so I thought. After a few weeks, Emily’s cramps came back, which made zero sense as we were doing what they had suggested. The doctor said to keep trying, but I didn’t like seeing Emily in pain.

So I did a little experiment. Emily on full-fat or whole milk, the recommended milk drink for babies over 12 months old, seemed to aggravate her tummy. But Emily on semi-skimmed milk was fine. No problems, no wind, no sick, no constipation, no odd twinges or anything to start a midnight pain, she was fine and I was happy. So her diagnosis was a little wrong. It was immediately assumed she was allergic to the protein in her milk, so that was that. She was diagnosed and that’s what we had to do. I dropped using lactose-free milk and continued to use semi-skimmed milk and she’s had no problems since.

Finding the right formula for your baby can be difficult. All baby formulas meet strict regulations to make sure they are nutritionally adequate for your baby – but choosing one can still be complicated. Research it. But HiPP has a great article that may be able to help you. Read it here.

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