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Thread: Constipation-- Dr. Says Milk Allergy???

  1. #1

    Default Constipation-- Dr. Says Milk Allergy???

    I am really getting frustrated with my daughter's ongoing constipation issues. A little background: She was EBF for 6 months and then we began to slowly add solids. It took her a few weeks to actually swallow anything, but as soon as she was actually eating, the constipation began. I stopped solids and then added only peaches, plums/prunes and pears back. The constipation never resolved but by that point, I thought that it was more of a holding issue due it being so painful before. We tried water, juice, warm baths, massage, and finally miralax at the suggestion of our pediatrician. Miralax didn't work because she wouldn't take a bottle from me (my husband works 4 10 hour days and couldn't get home in time to give it to her). We saw a GI specialist who put her on milk of magnesia. That finally helped, however this is the frustrating part...

    The GI specialist told me that she most likely had a milk protein allergy. So here are my issues with that diagnosis:
    1. Why didn't she have any GI issues prior to the introduction of solid foods? The first couple months, she had several BM each day. Then they started to space out and at about 6 months, she was going every 5-7 days, without difficulty and always soft. No diarrhea, constipation, foaminess/greenish, blood, etc.
    2. I have completely eliminated all dairy from my diet (including in baked goods). It is killing me... worth it if she really has a milk protein allergy, but not if I am merely cutting out a good portion of my diet.
    3. I am also losing weight. And it is weight that I really don't want to lose. I am 5'3" and I was 120 pre-pregnancy and that is what I was back to before cutting out dairy. Now I am down to 113 and if feel like I am dragging. It worries me that in altering my diet like this and losing the weight, I am not giving her as much nutrition as I should. I have substituted things, but there are times where I would normally grab a yogurt or have cheese and crackers for a quick snack and now I am grabbing chips or something else without any nutritional benefit. Sometimes I just get tired of fruits and veggies all day.
    4. After being off dairy for close to 2 months, we started decreasing the dose of the milk of magnesia. Within 1 week, the constipation was back. So we just increased the dose again.
    5. I have all of this milk that I pumped that is now going to waste if I can't give it to her.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2006
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    Default Re: Constipation-- Dr. Says Milk Allergy???

    Welcome to the forum!

    How old is your baby? Around 8 months or so, I'm thinking...? And can you describe her constipation issue a little more fully- how long did she go between poops, what was the poop like when she did go, what sort of behaviors were you seeing connected to pooping? Also, how did the issue start- was there an episode of withholding? And would you describe your child as being a strong-willed little person, or not?

    I am very much in agreement with you that if this was a milk allergy, you would almost surely have seen symptoms prior to the introduction of solid foods. The fact that your baby's constipation coincided so neatly with the introduction of solids really militates against this being a dairy allergy. I see no reason not to use your pumped milk- it's breastmilk, which tends to have a mild laxative effect. So even if your child does have a problem with some relict cow's milk proteins in your milk- which seems dubious!- more breastmilk would probably have more of a beneficial effect than a detrimental one.

    One thing you don't need to be concerned about is the nutritional quality of your milk, now that your diet is so curtailed. A mom does not have to maintain a perfect or even a particularly good diet in order to produce good milk. You could like on twinkles and soda pop and still make good milk, because your body dips into its own stores to create a nutritious product for the baby. Unless you are slipping into true malnutrition/starvation, your milk is fine. Still, let's work on getting you some better snacks and more energy! So, good non-dairy grab-and-go options:
    - beans and bean dips (like hummus) with crackers, bread, or veggies for dipping
    - bread with sliced deli meats, salmon or tuna salad, peanut butter, almond butter, or sunflower butter
    - trail mix (raisins, nuts, coconut flakes)
    - non-dairy yogurts (coconut yogurt, soy yogurt)

  3. #3

    Default Re: Constipation-- Dr. Says Milk Allergy???

    Thanks for responding. My daughter is 10 months old. After solids were established, she stopped pooping. Prior to solids, she would regularly go 5-7 days between pooping, but when she was actually swallowing avocado, she started going more often for a few days. Then we gave sweet potatoes and plums and she stopped pooping. She went 12 days despite the introduction of all of the P's, water and prune juice. No response to massage and warm baths. After two glycerin suppositories, she had a rock hard, incredibly painful poop, with blood at the beginning (I assume from a newly created tear). This was the only time that I saw any blood. I think after this, she began withholding because of the experience. She was straining, crying, guarding her abdomen which was hard even when she was resting, starting to get distended. We went so far as to have an x-ray to rule out anatomical issues or a blockage.

    It took us a couple months to get her back on track, and now that we are using the milk of magnesia, she is pooping every day, 1-2 times a day. I felt like we had her on a good pattern and she now finds pooping entertaining, so we slowly started reducing the dose. We almost had it cut in half and she went 3 days without pooping. When she did, it was not soft (not the rock hard poop as before, but not painless and soft either, definitely thicker than peanut butter).

    My daughter is definitely a strong willed little girl. She is quite happy, rarely cries, although she is starting to cry more as she can't do what she wants . She wants to go everywhere and get into everything and does get frustrated when she can't.

    Thanks for the snack suggestions. I do eat hummus with crackers and veggies. I eat a lot of nuts and nut butters, trail mix, etc. I tried nondairy yogurts but just couldn't get past the texture.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Constipation-- Dr. Says Milk Allergy???

    Ugh, I hear you on the non-dairy yogurt texture issue. Yuck!

    Everything you're saying makes me think the issue is withholding rather than a dairy protein issue. You didn't see any problems until that one bad episode. You have a strong-willed kid, and those are the kids who tend to have constipation issues (ask me how I know! ).

    When it comes to dealing with a constipated kid, the classic parental mistakes are to try to make the treatment as short-lived as possible, and to use the minimum amount of medication (Miralax, milk of magnesia, whatever) possible. But constipation is a chronic problem that requires long-term, intensive treatment- my kid's pediatrician says it generally takes double the time to resolve as it did to become a problem in the first place. So if it took 2 months for your child to become chronically constipated, you expect to treat for a minimum of 4 months. And you keep the dose of stool softener high enough to produce a soft bowel movement 1-2 times every day for a good long while before you try to taper off. You want to erase all memory of pooping being painful, and replace it with nice associations.

    Basically, what I'm thinking is that you tried to get rid of the MoM too early. But it also sounds like you didn't stop it entirely, which is great! Just go back up to the higher dose and be patient. You and your child will get there eventually.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Constipation-- Dr. Says Milk Allergy???

    Thanks. She is already back to nice soft poops. So I am not crazy to add dairy back into my diet? Any any reason why I can't add dairy back into her's? She loves yogurt and cottage cheese.

    I will definitely continue the mom for a couple more months before trying to taper off again.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2006
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    Default Re: Constipation-- Dr. Says Milk Allergy???

    I personally don't see a reason why you shouldn't add dairy back into your diet. However, it's probably best to keep it out of your child's solid food diet for now. It's a low-fiber food, and as such can replace more fiber-rich food in your baby's diet.

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