My two boys were breastfed for the first three months of their lives, with a bottle top up as they were seriously hungry babies. I tried feeding them myself entirely but they would eat for an hour then be starving an hour later. Giving formula as well created more work (washing up, sterilising and preparing bottles) but at least it meant I stuck with breastfeeding for as long as I could.
In the early days, feeds could take up to two hours. Throughout the day T2 would bring back gulps of milk, and at least once a day after finishing a bottle he would turn into the girl from the exorcist and projectile vomit the entire quantity of milk right back at me. Not good seeing as I used to give them their bottles while they were sitting in bouncy chairs facing me (after they got too heavy for the one in the crook of the arm, one between the legs feeding trick). It meant not only did T2 end up covered in sick, but so did I and the bouncy chair (and the ten muslins I had strategically positions around us waiting for the disaster to happen) thus creating three new loads of washing to add to the already toppling stack. Sometimes even T1 got soaked too, bless him.
The Health Visitors told us it was definitely reflux, so we worked our way through the various thicker milks like SMA Stay Down and Cow and Gate Comfort. We weaned at four months on their advice as we were told this would help, but nothing made any difference (eating real food just meant more lumpy sick to clean up). We took him to see the doctor many times and he insisted it was reflux and it was normal for a baby to sick out a block of vomit (think how the water comes out of a fireman’s hose and you get the picture) that fired about a metre away and kept on coming and coming in waves until there was nothing left. Likewise apparently all babies have about twenty small sick incidents throughout the day, that’s just what babies do (yeah, right!) I was obviously just an overly concerned parent as he was still gaining weight.
I’m not going to use this space to complain about the lack of support or interest from the health professionals, only to say that they were bloody awful and it took over six months of daily projectile vomit before finally finding a doctor who listened and agreed he had a dairy allery. It was pure luck as she just happened to have been on a baby dairy allergy course the previous day and still had the powerpoint notes on her desk when we came in to see her. Within two weeks there was no more sick.
We’ve seen a dietitian a couple of times a year ever since. At our last appointment around Christmas she suggested we might try T2 on soya products. After a couple of days on soya yoghurt, which he loved, the projectile sick started up again every evening so we had to call it a day.
In March I gave him half a teaspoon of dairy yoghurt and received vomit all over me so we’ve held off trying since then. Our next dietitian appointment is approaching in August and she wanted us to try him on dairy again before it so we could report back. The only problem is that thanks to spending most of his first year being sick every day, the experience put him off eating. Up until a month ago I used to struggle to get him to eat anything other than bread, eggs and rich tea biscuits. Now he has suddenly started eating meat and vegetables so I’m scared to try dairy again given that there is a 99% chance of him (and me) ending up soaked in vomit all over again and being back to square one.
So it’s with great trepidation that this week I’m going to embark on reintroducing dairy into T2’s diet to see what happens. If all goes well I’ll be able to stop sneaking T1 into the kitchen to eat ice cream.
Wish me luck as I think I’m going to need it. Luck and lots of towels. And a big box of washing powder. And lots of perfume to hide the smell of puke.