Our Cows Milk Protein Allergy and Reflux Experience

written by Bella Drew 19 February 2018
cows milk protein allergy

When Primrose was only two weeks old we knew something was wrong. Little did we know that she had cows milk protein allergy and reflux.

At only a few days old after eating her stomach would constantly growl and bubble. She had terrible wind, a snuffly nose, her nappies were green and contained mucus, she would violently vomit after every meal. She wasn’t just a little bit sick, it was projectile.

cows milk protein allergy

We had nights that we spent up the walk-in centre because she was screaming inconsolably for hours and refusing feeds. It was horrible. My instincts knew something wasn’t ok with her, I know babies cry but this was something completely different.

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I’ve always been told that a mothers instinct is always right, but I never believed them fully until I had primrose. Even though every single time they dismissed it as colic I knew it was something else. This wasn’t a colicky baby, this was a baby in pain and it broke my heart.

We were even more worried because when I was a baby, I was messed about a lot trying to get a diagnosis. It took them until I was 18 months to figure out that I had kidney reflux and was in constant chronic pain from birth. I was in and out of Great Ormand Street Hospital for years afterwards and even now my kidneys are still not perfect. I was extremely worried that Primrose had the same, this made me so anxious and helped me push for tests to be done as I wouldn’t want her in pain for almost 2 years of her life like I was.

After the fifth visit to the hospital at almost 3 weeks old, she was admitted and examined thoroughly. I couldn’t bear to see my little girl in so much pain so I stuck to my instincts and refused to leave unless she was seen. Even when they asked to see her feed and said she was fine, or saw her bright green mucusy diarrhoea and ignore it. I broke down and explained that I know deep down she’s not well.

cows milk protein allergy cows milk protein allergy

Finally, she was diagnosed with reflux. The nurse gave us some medication (Ranitidine) and said that it’ll stop her feeling the pain when she’s sick but it won’t stop her being sick. The nurse also suggested that she had cows milk protein allergy but she wasn’t 100% sure. This meant either formula (which was a definite no) or for me to cut dairy out of my diet for at least 6 weeks to see if we notice a difference.

We felt such relief that we finally had our answer.

The next few weeks her vomiting carried on being the same but her pain seemed to have gone. We finally had a happy little baby.

With her reflux, we got the odd night where her reflux would flare up and we would have to spend the night with her sleeping over our shoulder as laying down made it worse. But that was fairly rare. Even now she has the odd bad night but seems to be able to settle a lot easier than before.

cows milk protein allergy cows milk protein allergy

When she was about 8 weeks old we had our 6-8 week checkup and I asked the doctor if we could try her without the Ranitidine because I’m one of these people who doesn’t to unnecessarily medicate my child.

He agreed and we stopped the ranitidine to see if she was ok without it. He also suggested for me to try the milk ladder when she hits 3 months old, because her stomach may have matured a little to be able to accept some of the proteins.

Looking back now, I really wish they would have done an allergy test to find out if it actually is cows milk protein allergy as she still hasn’t received an official diagnosis, even her doctors just take my word for it so maybe it was in her hospital notes im not sure. Also, I wish I had asked for a dietician to support me in my cows milk protein allergy breastfeeding journey. Although I feel I am doing well.  

At 3 months old I started the milk ladder and failed at the first step, so we stopped and hopefully will try again at 6 months old.

After a trip to the doctors for her injections, we were out on Gaviscon to thicken the milk in her stomach to try and help her stop being sick. We tried this and it did not work for us. She had a terrible tummy ache and when she was sick it was so chunky and thick she was almost choking on it. So we stopped that immediately. 

Although we are now 4 months into our breastfeeding journey and I can definitely tell if something accidentally contained milk or if I eat too much soya. She has a tummy ache and it makes me feel so guilty, but luckily it only lasts a day or two, then she’s back to her happy little self. 


cows milk protein allergy

We are now pretty clued up on what I can and cant eat and apart from cheese and milk, I don’t really miss out on much dairy. I’ve read Laurens blog religiously and it’s like my Cows milk protein allergy bible! If your little one has cows milk protein allergy then definitely check her out!

If you think your baby has cows milk protein allergy then please go and see your GP.

Also, if you’re breastfeeding please continue to breastfeed. Your milk is healing to the stomach and will work wonders on healing it. Plus cutting dairy out of your diet may seem daunting but it’s actually really easy! I think I’ll write a separate blog post on this so please don’t forget to subscribe!

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