Nursing baby with severe food allergies

Nursing baby with severe food allergies

by Julie

I have a 7 wk infant who was diagnosed (2 1/2 wks. ago) with severe food allergies. In the hospital, I started her on breast milk and formula. After we got home, we did much of the same until we found blood in her stool. My 6 yr. old had the same thing so I knew what to look for.

Upon the doctors request, I put her on Alimentum. I decided to stop breastfeeding but the allergies continued. So we put her on Neocate and her symptoms disappeared.

I cleared my system of the allergens (dairy, wheat, soy and shellfish) and started breastfeeding + Neocate again. After 1 1/2 days she had vomiting, hives on her face, blood in the stool, and colicky symptoms. I stopped BF and the symptoms cleared.

My questions are numerous. And I would like to be as informed as possible.

  • Are the protein chains in breastmilk broken down like they are in Neocate (an amino acid based formula)?
  • If the protein chains in breastmilk are broken down, can I breastfeed if I track down the allergens?
  • I keep hearing how good it is to BF if your child has allergies. How do you BF a child with severe food allergies, without putting her life in danger?
Please help me find an answer to these questions, If you cannot help, could you point me in the direction of someone that could.

Thank you and hope to hear from you.


Need more information

Dear Julie,

This problem requires an in depth history analysis and a lot of detective work.

The short answer is: yes, identify the allergen, remove it from your system, and then breastfeed your baby. However, as you know, “identifying the allergen and removing it” is easier said than done. Contact me if you want one-on-one discussion on your problem. As well, you may want to look over my web page on Foremilk – Hindmilk Imbalance (broken link).

Regarding Neocate:
ABM (Artificial baby milk formula) like Neocate, Nutramagen, and Alimentium are predigested: they are broken down into the building blocks of what we call protein. The protein chains in baby formula are altered and they are not from humans (they come from plant or other animal sources).

Normally, protein chains are broken down by the digestive process, if something is wrong with the baby’s metabolism (if he is unable to breakdown proteins into amino acids), then it is called an “inborn error in metabolism” and this never goes away. I am assuming that the 6 year old can eat normally now so, if the situation is the same with this new baby, your baby probably does not have an inborn error in metabolism.

Sincerely, Marie Davis RN IBCLC