I was induced at 42 weeks with a new drug that the hospital were using. Sadly without enough staff or training which led to a difficult birth. There were many complications for baby and I was beaten up quite a bit to save him. He ended up in neo natal intensive care being treated with antibiotics for a hole on his lung and inhalation of meconium. Due to his medical condition he was tube fed formula alongside me breast feeding.
A week later we were allowed to go home as the Doctors were satisfied with our progress.
We continued solely with breast feeding with a multitude of problems. I was given advice by the midwives and health visitors and we struggled on. However, it was becoming increasingly apparent that we were having more problems than other people. Little one would not lie down flat without screaming, he would sleep for no more than half an hour at a time, he had terrible reflux and colic and would comfort feed for hours. All of these were passed off as various different problems and we were told to persist. We were also giving Colief and Omeprazole at this stage to help the symptoms.
At 7 weeks old and after another long week of screaming, sleeplessness, and increasing vomiting we decided to bite the bullet and try lactose free formula. Due to my personal experiences with lactose intolerance we had an inkling that this may be the case for him too. The improvement was astounding. Overnight he improved vastly with colour returning to his face that we were too tired to notice had gone. Even we didn't think he could improve this quickly. Had we continued breast feeding then perhaps we would have ended up back in hospital with a dehydrated baby. Our suspicions were backed up by a visit to the paediatrician and he has been on SMA Lactose Free formula ever since.
The journey wasn't all plain sailing from here though. He continued to have reflux requiring Gaviscon. And extremely messy nappies were still common but the improvement was significant.
Here and Now
So today (Wednesday) we went back to see the paediatric dietitian for the first time since July. We managed weaning onto a lactose free diet and include very little dairy or soya. The occasional dairy challenges both intentional and accidental have shown there are still problems with lactose. However, increasing eczema and persistent messy nappies (despite a lactose free diet) make us suspect something more than lactose intolerance.
Past dietitian appointments have been less than helpful and lean toward "if you think there is a problem then avoid lactose and rechallenge regularly". Today was different. I was able to ask many questions and get informed answers. We discussed history, family history, current symptoms, diet and concerns. In conclusion the dietitian is cautious not to rule out cows milk protein allergy or lactose intolerance Although she feels that he should have outgrown lactose intolerance by now if it was caused by antibiotics at birth.
The Way Forward
The way forward is to challenge little one for lactose intolerance. If he still shows signs of intolerance we need to decide whether to proceed with a lactose free diet or a completely dairy and lactose free diet. As an alternative soya milk is considered safe as a main source of milk for children over 1 year despite my concerns over oestrogen levels (rice milk is not recommended under 5 years due to the levels of niacin).
So cautiously and through trial and error we will proceed. Let's hope today's appointment for me is as positive!