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Before weaning her to formula, should we have tests for dairy intolerance?

Hi Leanne,
My daughter is 6 and a half months old and had quite bad reflux from about 6 weeks old. Eventually we resolved it by my cutting all dairy foods out of my diet. That made an amazing difference and she has been a happy, contented baby ever since. We are still breastfeeding but I would like to wean her soon (for various reasons). I have tried reintroducing dairy into my diet a couple of times (in the form of yogurt) and have also accidentally eating things containing dairy once or twice. It`s hard to know for sure but each time it seems to have affected her with thrashing around and being unhappy at feeds and/or having small reflux/gagging episodes (although never as bad as in those awful early days). My question is if I wean her to formula now, which formula should I use? Or is there some testing we should do first to be sure if she still has a dairy intolerance?

Another complication is that since starting solids she has had quite bad constipation. She always had gaps of a week or more between poos when on milk only, but the poo was soft and normal. Now she poos on average every second or third day but often only small amounts and always quite firm and dry stools which she strains to pass and sometimes cries with pain. I have been trying to get her to drink water from a sippy cup but have only had success with spoon feeding her water or adding water to her solids making them very runny. So I am worried that weaning her on to formula now will only add to her constipation!

I wasn`t sure if this question fits better in your nutrition panel or in the reflux panel so have posted it to both.

Thanks a lot for your help,

Answer: Hi Wendy, Glad you have posted your question to both experts! Firstly, on the issue of constipation, you are very likely on the right track with the water; my second was the same, took him months to get used to water. Persevere, offer it as often as you can think to, every little drip will bring you closer to both acceptance and softened bowel motions. Even if you want to trial a bottle with water; Avent bottles also have sipper cup tops that fit when you are ready. Continue on with keeping the fluid volume up in foods also, and you may also want to introduce an extra feed (breast or formula depending on where you are up to with things). Again, you are right, many bubs experience constipation on a switch to formula, and some of course, also experience other issues such as reflux. So it is possible that the switch may upset things, but it just may not, its hard to say. From my research Nan Gold has a good protein composition and could cause less upsets. Certainly, doing just one thing at a time is less stressful, it may be best to get the water going and the constipation cleared before switching to formula. This way you want be adding to the complexity of the situation. Formula can constipate both by virtue of its viscosity and its ingredients. You can easily test for lactose intolerance, it`s non-invasive (just a breath test) and your GP can help with that, so that is an option before you make any changes. It can often help to know exactly where things are at before making adjustments. I hope that helps. All the best with the changes, Leanne
Answered: 08 Jun 2009