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Thread: SOS--Severe gas/abdominal pain, spit up

  1. #1

    Default SOS--Severe gas/abdominal pain, spit up

    My 3 month old son has had a history of projectile spit up since approximately 2-3 weeks of age. His pediatrician prescribed Zantac for assumed acid reflux, but we saw no improvement. In fact, his spit-up has gotten worse, at times continuing for up to an hour and a half past his last feeding. His pediatrician then instructed me to eliminate dairy from my diet, suspecting lactose intolerance. I did this for four weeks, but after the first week or so, noticed his stool change from standard BF yellow stools to dark green. His symptoms also worsened and are now coupled with severe gas, associated abdominal pain and reduced bowel movements. I wouldn't be concerned over the reduced/lack of bowel movements, but after 3 days without a BM (versus typically 3-4 a day) he was in increasing pain. We were sent to the ER where abdominal blockage and pyloric stenosis were eliminated (though the staff was amazed at how much gas they saw on an ultrasound). The doctor recommended I stop breastfeeding, stating it must be something I am eating.

    I refuse to give up breastfeeding (unless there is absolutely no other option). I believe there must be a way to continue to breastfeed without causing my son such agony. I am a 16 year (lacto-ovo) vegetarian, so when I cut out dairy, I slightly increased my intake of soy products in order to ensure I was getting in adequate protein. Could it be my son isn't lactose intolerant, but soy sensitive? Are his symptoms really due to what I'm eating? He continues to get worse (no temperature) and has been screaming in obvious pain (tender belly) for much of the past day and a half (I have had no dairy or soy today). Please help me!!!! I'm tired of being told to quit breast-feeding my son when I know it is the best thing I can do for him (more so if I could figure out what is causing him such agony), but it is killing me to see him in such agony.

  2. #2

    Default Re: SOS--Severe gas/abdominal pain, spit

    p.s. Not sure what this means, but I started back on (very limited) amounts of dairy after our ER visit and (immediately) my son's poop returned to its standard yellow.

  3. #3
    Join Date
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    Default Re: SOS--Severe gas/abdominal pain, spit

    mama, i'm not sure if i can help, but i'll offer my experience--and many s

    my baby reacts to many things that pass through my breastmilk: dairy, soy, peanuts/tree nuts, and gluten/wheat. dairy is the most common suspect in food sensitivities but it could be that your son is sensitive to other things. many babies sensitive to cow's milk protein are also sensitive to soy protein. egg, corn, and potato are also common culprits.

    i am puzzled by the connection between dairy and the color of your baby's poops. my baby has had green poos since about 2 months, plus gas, colic and spit up. all of these symptoms greatly improved after i cut out the suspect foods from my diet, except that she kept on having green poops for a long time. so i'm not of much help on this one.

    it takes a while for dairy to clear off your system though (at least 2 weeks, in my case more like one month). also, there's hidden dairy everywhere: bread, chicken stock cubes, crackers, potato chips, even some medicine. you need to eliminate hidden dairy (sometimes the ingredient will be whey, or casein, etc) too. soy is also everywhere in processed foods. it also takes several weeks for baby's GI tract to heal from irritation. so whatever you try to do/modify, you need to give it time.

    i guess the one thing that caught my attention was the reduction in your baby's poop frequency. this is normal for many breastfed babies. however, in case of irritation (such as in my baby's), the effect was the opposite: diarrhea. i have no idea what it means but i always thought irritation and food sensitivity were related to diarrhea, not constipation.

    i am curious: why did they send you to the ER suspecting abdominal blockage? that sounds serious. were there other symptoms?

    there are many ways to make breastfeeding work even when a baby has food sensitivities or allergies. in your case i might look for a second opinion from a different doctor, one perhaps more versed in breastfeeding issues.
    march 2011... the light of my life

    i love my little one

  4. #4
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    Default Re: SOS--Severe gas/abdominal pain, spit

    Google over active letdown and see if that sounds familiar
    Susan
    Mama to my all-natural boys: Ian, 9-4-04, 11.5 lbs; Colton, 11-7-06, 9 lbs, in the water; Logan, 12-8-08, 9 lbs; Gavin, 1-18-11, 9 lbs; and an angel 1-15-06
    18+ months and for Gavin, born with an incomplete cleft lip and incomplete posterior cleft palate
    Sealed for time and eternity, 7-7-93
    Always babywearing, cosleeping and cloth diapering. Living with oppositional defiant disorder and ADHD. Ask me about cloth diapering and sewing your own diapers!

  5. #5
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    Default Re: SOS--Severe gas/abdominal pain, spit

    Agree with PP. I have Overactive Letdown and my baby had many of the things your baby does. I've found block feeding helped along with letting the initial letdown flow into a clothe diaper for about 30 seconds before re-latching her.
    Definitely keep breastfeeding. It infuriates me when doctors tell people that when it is by far the best. And when most babies have some tummy troubles on formula anyway. Have you tried increases things like Avacado, cashews, olives, and olive oil? I know that can sometimes help. Good luck and let us know what works! Also I wouldn't be surprised if it was the soy or possible wheat that he is reacting to. Some babies react to eggs. But I'd try adding the extra good fats first and if that doesn't help at all then try taking out soy.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: SOS--Severe gas/abdominal pain, spit

    Definitely possible for a baby to be sensitive to soy and not cow's milk! Generally it's the other way round- sensitivity to cow's milk seems to be more common than sensitivity to soy- but that doesn't mean that's the case for your individual baby. So I would definitely consider cutting soy from your diet or at lest reducing the amount you're eating.

    FWIW, true lactose intolerance in a baby is incredibly rare. When a baby has a problem with dairy, it's with the proteins in animal milk, not with the sugars (and lactose is a sugar). Human milk is full of lactose, and babies are designed to consume lots of it. Babies therefore produce plenty of lactase, the enzyme that breaks down lactose and makes it digestible. Lactase production declines as you get older, which is why lactose intolerance is common in adults but almost unheard of in babies and children.

    That being said, sometimes babies go through spates of temporary lactose intolerance, when the amount of lactase they produce is not sufficient to handle the lactose in their diet. This can happen when mom has an overabundant milk supply (which would fit well with a forceful letdown issue- forceful letdowns almost always come from oversupply), or from illness caused by some sort of infectious agent. If you don't have a milk oversupply, some sort of illness could explain all the symptoms you're seeing.

    Definitely don't stop nursing, mama! This is almost assuredly fixable, and while I am sure the gas is horrible and you hate seeing your baby hurting, it is not too high a price to pay for the benefits you will both get if you continue to nurse.
    Coolest thing my big girl said recently: "How can you tell the world is moving when you are standing on it?"
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  7. #7
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    Default Re: SOS--Severe gas/abdominal pain, spit

    I had overactive letdown and my baby has a dairy allergy- it's a tough combination. I agree with everything the pp mentioned. And yeah, it's a milk protein allergy NOT lactose intolerance. Lactose intolerance is very rare in babies- when it does occur it's known very quickly as baby will not tolerate human milk at all.

    All I have to add is that up to 50% of babies who are allergic to dairy also react to soy. You probably need to cut out both and it will take 2-3 weeks for them to be out of your system entirely. Your son's allergy sounds severe enough to have some allergy testing done. It's not 100% accurate in babies but it can be indicated when the baby is in so much pain you are at the ER. Don't stop breastfeeding, but find a pediatric allergist that supports breastfeeding. Hugs, mama!
    Mama to five beautiful kids- 9, 8, 3, 2 and currently nursing our new baby girl born 1/20/2013


    "It should not be necessary to tell reasonably intelligent mammals to suckle and not dismember their neonates." ~Susan Blustein

  8. #8

    Default Re: SOS--Severe gas/abdominal pain, spit

    they sent us to the ER because his belly was bloated and very tender to the touch for several days. he didn't have a significant temperature (99.4), though. i should mention we are a military family and have limited medical expertise available through our base medical facility.

  9. #9

    Default Re: SOS--Severe gas/abdominal pain, spit

    thanks to all of you for the generous words of support and advice! i'll try cutting out dairy and soy now. as a (lacto-ovo) vegetarian, i feel like i'm running out of food options (he has exhibited reactions to peanut butter, too, so i cut that out several months ago) - how do i maintain my protein intake? i'm hoping he doesn't have a response to eggs, too!!

  10. #10
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    Default Re: SOS--Severe gas/abdominal pain, spit

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*clueless View Post
    they sent us to the ER because his belly was bloated and very tender to the touch for several days. he didn't have a significant temperature (99.4), though. i should mention we are a military family and have limited medical expertise available through our base medical facility.
    oh, i see. a tender belly might indeed be cause for concern. i am glad it wasn't any of the more serious possibilities!

    as for other protein sources, given that you're a lacto-ovo vegetarian... my only suggestion is beans and legumes. (and eggs if your baby is OK with them, of course). soups, stews, and if you need a quick snack, spreads... you can make your own white bean or chickpea spread so you can control what goes in (i can't have store-bought hummus b/c my baby reacts to tahini). i guess my only concern is whether the legumes would make your baby gassy. when my LO was younger she would get a lot of gas when i ate beans. now she's almost 9 months and i don't have this problem anymore. you'll have to try and see if it works.

    i'm not a vegetarian so i have upped my meat/fish/poultry intake to make up for the lack of dairy, soy and nuts, but i see this is not an option for you...

    PS. if you need a quick source of protein and energy, there are some hypoallergenic protein bars called "NuGo FREE" made with brown rice protein. they have them in two flavors (you have to check because NuGO also makes other bars without the "free" label, which contain nuts and other allergens). i eat the chocolate one. it's really not the best-tasting bar, but it serves its purpose when i am hungry and have no time to prepare food. you can order them by the box on Amazon.
    march 2011... the light of my life

    i love my little one

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