STOP! Is it Really a Dairy Protein Intolerance?
first few months of baby's life, many parents are quite concerned when their baby seems unusua
lly fussy or gassy. Often times, the mother's intake of dairy is inappropriately blamed for these
infant behaviors during the breastfeeding journey. Before a mother gives up eating some of the calciu
m and protein rich foods that she loves
Before a mother gives up eating some of the calcium and protein rich foods that she loves
and needs to maintain good health
it is important to do a thorough assessment of the infant and look for the true signs of a dairy protein allergy. According to an article by Herbert Brill, MD (2008) the true incidence of true dairy protein intolerance is only 0.4% to 0.5% of infants. Unfortunately, many more infants are diagnosed with a milk protein intolerance and mothers are forced to eliminate needed foods from their diet, or even just to quit breastfeeding altogether.
To avoid making a false diagnosis of a dairy protein intolerance in a breastfed baby, it is of upmost importance that healthcare providers are familiar with the signs and symptoms. Gassiness, fussiness and even green stools are not signs of an intolerance. Signs and symptoms will develop shortly after these proteins are introduced into baby's breast milk (so very early in the breastfeeding journey). True signs to screen for, according to GI Kids (2013) include:
-Vomiting (spitting up is normal too!)
-Inconsolable crying (remember, crying is normal, especially in infants through 12 weeks of age- key word is inconsolable!)
-Blood in the stools
-Babies can also present with wheezing, irritability, facial swelling, and poor growth due to poor absorption of nutrients.
There unfortunately are no diagnostic tests to diagnose a true milk protein intolerance, but, the treatment for a suspected case includes the mother removing all dairy and soy from her diet. It can take multiple weeks for all of the proteins to be eliminated from her system, so she must continue with the elimination diet for up to 4 weeks before evaluating the baby to determine if the symptoms have stopped.