So. Callie’s digestive troubles. Ugh.
Here how it went down.
Last Tuesday, after extensive Internet research and advice from a doctor friend, I suspected that Callie might be sensitive to milk. Above all other suggestions, that one made the most sense to me since Gabby reacted so badly to regular formula when we started supplementing at 6 months. So that day I stopped eating the big dairy items. Cheese, yogurt, milk, ice cream.
On Wednesday I called the doctor’s office. I talked to the nurse on the phone and she suggested, since I had been feeding Callie super often because she was constantly giving me hunger cues, that I feed her on a schedule every 3 hours instead. She said babies feel stomach pain and associate it with hunger, when in fact they may actually be full.
On Thursday, since there was no improvements from the scheduled feeding, I called again. This time the nurse suggested that the next step was eliminate milk from my diet to test if that helps. Here’s the kicker, she said I should avoid all milk, even trace amounts. I had to read all ingredients and watch out for things like whey, casein, lactid acid, etc. You’d never believe how many things have milk products in them, albeit in a ridiculously small amount… Even in things that should not have milk at all, like McDonalds fries, for example! There’s some more obvious stuff l totally hadn’t thought of too, like butter (and everything cooked in it, so watch out if you think ordering restaurant veggies would be a dairy free option!), chocolate, and pretty much all baked goods. Jeeze! This was going to be harder than I though!
The dairy free diet didn’t seem to help much but I stuck with it for the weekend and went to see the doctor yesterday to follow up. Callie was weighed and turns out she’s not gaining enough weight. She should be again about one ounce per day. During the first 12 day, she had gained 14 ounces so that was more than ok. But in the last 26 days since the last doctor visit, she had only gained something like 16 ounces. About half of what it should be. The doctor said it was nothing serious or dangerous at all, but a clear indication pointing to a food allergy/sensitivity.
Back to the drawing board! If milk alone isn’t helping (or not helping enough), then the next step is to eliminate all common allergens: milk, soy, fish, eggs, and nuts. Whoa, doc, what’s left for me to eat?! I questioned whether it’d be smarter to remove only one food at a time so we know which is the offender. He suggested I remove all of them first so she can start gaining more weight sooner and be happy and healthy, then I can slowly try to add foods back in my diet one at a time to narrow down the offender.
Thankfully, he said I didn’t need to worry about trace amounts of these foods, so that makes it a thousand times easier! For example, I can have bread baked with milk and eggs, just not have a glass of milk or scrambled eggs. That is way more convenient since we tend to be out of the house often, so not being able to grab food while we’re out having fun with Gabby would be a huge lifestyle change. But with plan he was suggesting, I’d just have to be smart about what I ordered, not paranoid.
He also gave me a sample of specialized formula for babies who are allergic to milk. That way I can try to supplement her feedings with a little bit formula, to help her gain a little weight since her body may not reject that as much.
Wow, so… Yeah… I can’t tell you how tempting it is to throw in the towel on breastfeeding right now. I feel like I just keep making her sick! She’s not that sick, it’s not like she hasn’t gained any weight at all or lost any weight. But still, it’s not a fun feeling. We’ll just need to keep trying stuff until we find the right combo for her.