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If I wean her to formula now, which formula should I use?

Hi Glenda,
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 reflux panel or in the nutrition panel so have posted it to both.

Thanks a lot for your help,

Answer: Hi Wendy, I’m happy to give my thoughts on this, but I would really recommend you talk to your doctor about your concerns. I’m sure the nutrition panel will be able to help as well. While it is great that you were able to discover the underlying cause of your daughter’s reflux (and successfully deal with it), it sounds like you need some dietary guidance now. This is such a complicated area and it is important to see medical advice. A dietitian who specialises in food sensitivities will be able to help you work out what solids your daughter is able to tolerate, when and how to introduce dairy and also what formula to try. They may also be able to help you find a reason for the constipation issues as well. Allergy tests may not be necessary at this stage (and they don’t identify intolerances), but your doctor would be the best person to determine whether they are warranted or not. Perhaps you could keep a written record of everything so that when you do introduce dairy (or other foods, or make any other changes), it may be more obvious if she is reacting or not. Having it written down can really help clarify what is happening, and may help your doctor as well. I would also recommend you talk to your doctor and/or dietitian before you try any formulas. While soy formula may be suitable now she is older than 6 months, you doctor may prefer to prescribe one of the hypoallergenic formulas that are available e.g. Neocate, EleCare. There is some great information at www.ozemail.com.au/~breakey (follow the link to the babies info) that you may find helpful. Also, you may be able to get some further help from the Dietitians Association of Australia website at www.daa.asn.au. I hope that helps, and I also hope you are able to find answers as easily as you did in the earlier days. Best regards, Glenda. RISA Inc
Answered: 08 Jun 2009