Crying over undigested milk – Lactose intolerant babies

I haven’t had time to wobble a jelly this week so instead I am posting an article I had published in the local NCT magazine as I thought it would be interesting.

If anything its fairly topical as this article was published last week (thanks @suethomas for the link)!

My article in NCT magazine

My article in NCT magazine (Ealing edition)

Crying over undigested milk

“When child #1 was born, we were married to two ideas: breast is best and routine, routine, routine. We wanted to give the child the best possible start health-wise, and getting him to fit into our daily routine. The holy grail of sleeping through the night was achievable if we followed the experts – natural food, controlled crying, set bedtimes – getting into a routine as quickly as possible were our mantras.

Of course, it didn’t work. Firstly, my wife’s milk didn’t come through. After a few weeks of tears, pain and guilt, we swapped on to a bottle and baby was happy, and healthy. It really was wonderful that I was able to feed him. I really didn’t mind the nights. His gaze into my eyes as he fed was magical and warming. And secretly I was glad the breast milk hadn’t come through.

After the stress of deciding to go to the bottle was over, we fixated on the routine. Bath at 6pm, warm clothes, bottle, burp, sleep. That part was easy. Then at 8pm, he’d scream, so we fed him. 10pm, he’ll scream, so we fed him. Every two hours for about 6 months this happened. Twice he had a rigour attack, and was rushed to hospital – blues and twos in the ambulance. Every month he would get a fever temperature and off to hospital we went. The doctors repeatedly said “babies get ill”, nothing to worry about. The nights were tough, but the days at work for me were even tougher. Thank goodness for the grandparents who would relieve us for a couple of hours to get some sleep.

After 18 months of this – yes, 18 months – he was finally diagnosed with a milk intolerance. So when he woke up screaming, it was because his stomach was in pain. So we were giving him milk. A vicious circle.

I remembered when I was little having pains when I drank milk. So I did some research. 5% to 15% of White British people are milk intolerant compared to a massive 90% of Asians. 75% of African Americans are milk intolerant whilst 70% of Indians can’t stomach the white stuff. It’s all in our genes apparently. Westerners use milk in much of their cooking – cream, cheese, butter. But those in the East rarely consume milk. Can you think of a creamy Chinese dish?

It took us a long time to get over the sleep deprivation which lasted 3 1/2 years. Now baby #2 has come along we are a lot more relaxed. We were not fixated that the breast is the only option, we are more flexible in the routine and we take the nights in our stride. Baby #2 is also milk intolerant, but we picked this up within weeks and changed to prescribed formula quickly.

Time is certainly a healer. We are not reading endless books and taking experts “advice” as gospel. Instead we are able to trust our judgement. And we are all so much happier for it.”

From the archeology article in nature.com

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Categories: Allergy, Diary, Intolerance, Milk, nature | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

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3 thoughts on “Crying over undigested milk – Lactose intolerant babies

  1. Great article Dom!

  2. Granny

    Very well written and so true. ‘Experts’ go on about the average baby but there’s no such thing. Every single baby is an individual. Trust your instincts and ditch the books. Baby number 2 will be sleeping……like a baby soon……hopefully. When they’re teenagers you’ll be shaking them awake at lunchtime!,xx

  3. Claire Dean

    I agree with you about going with your gut instinct.
    I contacted my health visitor as we had concern with my 5th child, I didn’t get my milk so we put baby on formula. 2 hours after a feed, he would wake up screaming, was very windy, had constant loose nappies and a bum was that sore it was bleeding, and had tried all nappy rash creams and nothing helped. Contacted Health visitor and she recommend a formula and my GP prescribed it for him. Within days he was a completely different baby.

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