Saturday, June 7, 2014

Doctor Doesn't Always Know Best When it Comes to Breastfeeding

It's an important, and often disconcerting lesson for all new parents to pickup: your child's Doctor doesn't always know best, especially when it comes to breastfeeding.

Case in point, this week, I saw a Mom who is breastfeeding her third baby. To give you some back round, the baby is 3 weeks old and has been exclusively breastfed the entire time.  I’m not saying it's been an easy 3 weeks, we had to adjust a few details, especially her positioning, but all-in-all she had been doing great.

A few days ago the Mom decided to give the baby a bottle of formula (something, by the way, I have no problem with at all) since her family was in the middle of moving into a new house and she just wanted to know that she could use formula in a pinch.  She gave her a formula meant to counteract the symptoms of cow’s milk protein sensitivity for babies taking formula exclusively, or while a breastfeeding mom does a cow’s milk elimination diet.

Still no problems.

Prior to trying the formula the baby’s skin was clear, no irritations, no rashes.  Her stool was typical, breastfed baby stool, yellow and seedy, and she was calm, content and sleeping well.  On the formula trial day, the baby had 2 bottles, one in the morning and one in the evening.  She took the bottles well.

The next day the baby woke-up covered head-to-toe with an aggravated rash.  She was especially cranky, with mucusy stools and very difficult to calm.

Still no major problems to report. We can simply re-adjust and keep moving forward. Remember, YOU determine your success.

The Mom called her pediatrician and was told the culprit was most likely cow's milk in her diet and that she should discontinue breastfeeding (WHAT?!) and move to formula full time. Now THAT is a problem!!

The doctor told the mom there was most likely something in HER breast milk (WHAT?!) that the baby wasn’t agreeing with, and the only way to minimize her discomfort would be to stop nursing (WHAT?!) and use “hypoallergenic” formulas. No, no, no. No again!

WHAT'S up doc?!

To me, this was a crazy solution!

So I ask you, does that sound familiar?  Sadly, it does to me. I am actually ashamed to report how many times I have heard from Moms who were told by their Doctors to remedy their baby’s “allergies” to milk, by discontinue breastfeeding. Crazy town!

In many cases, the end result were worsened symptoms AND breast milk supply issues.  It is so unfortunate that in this day-and-age breast milk still seems like a foreign substance to some Doctors.  I've seen far too many health care "professionals" more comfortable with something that is synthetic and compounded because they are able to read the ingredient label. I always ask them: why do you fear breast milk and readily trust manufactured formula? Forget the labels!

Meanwhile, back on the ranch, I urged the Mom to not rush to stop breastfeeding, as the formula may be the culprit (I know you just said 'no DUH'). I warned her that once we loose her breast milk supply, we would have an even BIGGER problem.  I encouraged her to do a 3-day experiment where she got back to exclusive breastfeeding and no formula during that 3-day period.  We started using coconut oil on the baby's skin to calm the rash (an absolute go-to in my book).

I'm happy to report, that during that 3-day period, Mom went back to breastfeeding, all calmed down, skin went back to beautiful, stools returned to yellow-seedy and the Calm Baby returned!

That's what's up doc! BAM!

Again, I have no problem with supplementing with formula, I just don't understand doctors who blame breast milk for allergies, especially when formula is ALSO being used.

Please remember that breast milk is the biological norm, it is the natural food for a baby and there isn’t much that will make it more difficult for a baby to digest or tolerate. If your baby has a new found allergy it is probably from either cow's milk (the milk meant for a calf!) or soy-based products.

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