Hello readers! Over the 10 years that I have had my business, one of the most frequent questions I have been asked is “What do I do when I think my baby is reacting to his formula?”
Speaking from personal experience, this is one of the most distressing obstacles with which a parent has to overcome. You know how important a baby’s milk is in the first year and so when breastfeeding is not working or you think your baby is not okay with infant formula, the challenge can seem insurmountable.
First of all, I should explain that babies never react to breast milk itself but they can react to the foods that mom is eating and are therefore going into her breast milk. There will be people who tell you this is untrue but I am here to tell you that this is absolutely true. I have seen this with my daughters and also, had dozens of clients over the years whose babies have reacted to the foods in the breast milk they are consuming. When a mother feels her milk is causing pain or suffering in her child, she often decides that she had better stop breastfeeding. More times than not, reactions to infant formula end up being even greater than the reactions to the foods in the breast milk!
So what are some of the adverse reactions baby experience when being breastfed or bottle fed?
- Colic/excessive gas
- Reflux/projectile vomiting
- Troubles sleeping
- Ear/respiratory infections
If these symptoms are not addressed, they will grow into more symptoms and symptoms will grow into conditions and conditions will grow into more conditions and eventually disease sets in. If your child has any of these symptoms, please know that help is here for you!
The number one food that is being consumed by mothers that is causing adverse reactions in babies is dairy. If your child is experiencing any of these symptoms, try eliminating dairy from the mother’s diet. You will know within 4-5 days whether this is a culprit or not. It may be a culprit and there may be other culprits as well – I suggest looking into the common allergens and try eliminating them next.
Now, say your child is experiencing these adverse reactions from being on formula. You can first try switching their formula to GentleEase+ (contains soy and corn which are common allergens), Alimentum (contains soy) or Nutrimagen (contains no soy but contains corn). These formulas are hydrolyzed, which means the cow’s milk is broken down into its more easily digested components and therefore easier to digest. If these formulas also do not agree with your child, then you can add one or all of the following ingredients to increase digestibility:
- Breast milk – provided it does not contain the food to which your child reacts, just one ounce of breast milk increases the digestion of formula
- Acidophilus (the most common probiotic) – up to 1 teaspoon added to a bottle improves the health of your child’s intestinal and digestive systems
- Flax oil – up to 1 tsp of flax oil in each bottle provides essential fatty acids and increased digestion
Some parents contact me and tell me that they have changed their child’s formula and added these supplements into their bottles and their child is still suffering. The next step is to book an appointment with a chiropractor, cranial sacral therapist or cranial osteopath to relax your child’s nervous system. Usually, within one to two appointments with these specialists, you will see improvement in how your child handles their formula. If, however, this is still not the case, you have two choices. If your child’s symptoms are not horrific, then you may decide to just keep things the way they are until your child turns one, at which time, they can safely come off formula. Or you can make your own homemade baby formula. There are all sorts of recipes being provided by naturopaths for this very purpose. Here are two recipes that are being widely used at this time:
Rice Milk Infant Formula
Combine the below ingredients together and mix well, I prefer using the Magic Bullet for this job. Store in a glass container in the fridge for up to 48 hours, than discard. Try making a 1/4 of the batch first to see if your baby enjoys this option.
4 cups Rice milk (Earth’s Own Ryza brand Original flavor is my first choice)
1 tbsp Blackstrap molasses (iron)
1 tbsp Flax oil (essential fatty acid)
1tbsp Brown rice protein powder (heartlands organic is a good one)
1 tbsp liquid infant multi-vitamin
1 drop of D-drops 400 iu
1/4 tsp Infant probiotics (dairy free)
Genestra is the brand most often recommended for all above supplements but please consult with a Registered Holistic Nutritionist before introducing this or any other formula to your child.
Almond and Hemp Infant Formula
4 cups Almond milk
1 tbsp Blackstrap molasses
1 tbsp Hemp protein powder
1 tsp liquid vitamin C
1 tsp Genestra Pediatravite multi vitamin
2 mL’s Nordic Natural Baby’s DHA 100% Cod Livers
1/2 Capsule of Infant Probiotics (dairy free)
I do caution parents to do everything they can to mitigate their children’s adverse reactions to breast milk and/or formula before introducing solids. And when you do introduce solids, ensure that you introduce the solids starting with the most easily digested foods first. I have a DVD available for anyone interested in knowing how to introduce solids to maximize digestibility and avoid adverse reactions to food – it is called First Foods for Baby.
Your first days and months with your new baby can be the experience you always dreamed of when you look into proper nutrition. Please feel free to send me your comments or questions on this topic. I think you know by now how passionate I am on the subject of feeding children for their health and happiness!
Until next time,