Fare thee well, Dairy

Chick went in for his one month check up, which ironically coincided with his actual due date. He is, for the most part, doing well. He is at 7 lbs, 7 oz, and 20 whole inches. As per last time, he didn’t enjoy the check up one bit, but the hard part (i.e. the poking and prodding) was done quickly.

The smart kids in the room may make note of the “for the most part” bit I mentioned. Because there is a way in which the check up did not go so well.

A few weeks ago, I noticed a hint of blood in his stool. Like any panicky first-time parent, I immediately called the 24 hour nurses line to see if I should be rushing to the ER. The nurse said that it was probably fine. Keep an eye on him, and if symptoms get worse to come on in. I talked about it with his doctor and she said pretty much the same thing.

Fast forward to this week. I found a little more blood in his stool. I make note of it, but didn’t think too much of it. He was acting fine– eating and sleeping well, no fever, no swollen stomach. He’d get a little dramatic while digesting and pooping, but most babies do. And since it didn’t happen again- Fine. Fine.

Then he got another one. And another one. Basically, one every other day. It was like he’d get to the 24 hour mark, I’d think it was just some fissure near his bum, and then we’d see another one. Since we had his one month appointment coming up, I just figured I’d bring it up then.

Of course, the day before this appointment, he had two in a row. Panicky first-time parent called the nurses hotline again. Since he hadn’t been showing any signs of distress, the nurse recommended bringing in a few diapers for testing and discussing it at the doctor’s appointment.

The practice I go to has teams of doctors and nurse practitioners. I really like the doctor we’ve chosen for him, but the NP on her team… not so much. She is just a little cold, and not terribly helpful. I suppose she is fine to do the general weigh in sort of stuff, but I’ve never really found her guidance helpful. (Mind you, this is based off of two visits.)

Anyway, the doctor is out on vacation. So the NP saw Chick for this visit.

Because we all know I like to google, I had already done some research on potential causes. My guess was that he was demonstrating an intolerance to cow’s milk. His doctor still has him on formula for additional calories, which I also add to my breast milk. This formula is based off of cow proteins.

The treatment in this case is usually to eliminate cow milk from my diet so it doesn’t get transfer into the breast milk, and to switch to a different formula. Yes, I will miss my cheese dearly, but what can you do, right?

I went into the visit ready to talk serious business. Instead, I felt like I knew more than the NP. Honestly, I don’t typically get up on my high horse about this shit, but COME ON. Here are some choice moments:

Me: I understand that it could be an allergy to cow milk proteins. Are all cow proteins a problem? Should I, for example, be avoiding beef too?

NP: Hm… that’s a good question. [BLANK STARE]

Not only did she not know (which I found a little irksome) she made no effort to find out. Literally just acknowledged that I had asked a question. And it was good.


NP: So it looks like you’ll have to remove dairy from your diet. That can be really difficult.

ME: Yes, but I’m not too worried. I eat mostly whole foods, like vegetables and grains. And I don’t eat a lot of processed or prepared foods.

NP: You’ll have to read a lot of labels. You’ll be surprised where you find it.

ME: Really? Like where?

NP: Well, in Mac & Cheese for example.

NO SHIT. There is dairy in mac & cheese? I know that packet of bright orange goop doesn’t look like cheese, but I always suspected that there was some basis in cheese-dom before it got processed to all hell.

I mean, how am I supposed to take this person seriously? I wasn’t really given any helpful information other than “avoid dairy in mac & cheese.” If I’m changing my diet and Chick’s, it would be awesome to have actual information.

She’s an idiot. Whatever. Moving on.

So we’ve already switched him to a non-cow-milk based formula and I have said good bye to dairy. One day, when Chick is old enough, I will impress upon him the great sacrifices I made for his well being. I mean, a glorious cheese shop just opened up down the street. I can now only go in a smell things. Ah well, thems the breaks…

It should take about a week for it to pass through his system. In the meantime, I see his little face get all squished up in discomfort when he is digesting or working on somethin’, and I feel so terrible for him. And his tiny inflamed colon.



  1. labmonkeyftw · August 14, 2015

    My nephew had an intolerance to dairy and soy from six months to a year – so my sister cut both from her diet. It’s not fun, but dairy is a bit easier to avoid than soy, which is in literally everything that has been even lightly processed (‘natural flavoring’ is often soy, for example). I’m sorry about the cheese! This too shall pass, and in the meantime, Chick will have an easier time… passing.

    • labmonkeyftw · August 14, 2015

      I forgot to mention: no, dairy proteins do not = beef proteins! So beef is a-ok if you are cutting dairy. It’s usually the whey and other milk-specific compounds (lactose, casein) that are hard to digest.

      • thecommonostrich · August 20, 2015

        Thank you! That’s what I thought, but she just kept talking about cow proteins, and it struck me that there are other ways to get proteins from cows other than milk. Hence the question, and corresponding unhelpful answer.

        Even though I haven’t been told to eliminate soy, I think I’m going to start reducing my intake. I usually make a smoothie with soy milk for breakfast. Maybe I’ll switch to rice milk? Who knows… I’ll probably go to his two month check up and they’ll tell me he has developed a rice allergy.

      • labmonkeyftw · August 20, 2015

        Are tree nuts ok for you to be eating? Almond milk has a ton more nutrition in it than rice milk (protein, etc.). Rice milk is nice and mild though, and almost certain-sure to be safe for chick. I was allergic to breast milk as a tot, and ended up on soy formula which was fine – but those were the days before a mum would change her diet to shift the milk content, we know more now. For me, it was probably just dairy that was the issue, so maybe that will be true for Chick too!

  2. lucy50 · August 14, 2015

    The nurse at my ped’s office told me to reduce my caffeine (at the time, I wasn’t drinking coffee but eating chocolate.) She said to watch for hidden caffeine in foods like apples. I consider myself keducated, but I’d never heard about caffeine in apples. Apparently, no one else knows this either because it’s not true. I wanted to call her back and ask if she also believed in aliens.

    • thecommonostrich · August 20, 2015

      I’m sure she also believes that apples have been caffeinated as part of a vast governmental conspiracy. Also that unicorns actually exist.

      It took a lot of restraint not to be a smart ass to this woman. I’m thinking of canceling all my appointments with her– not that she is a terrible human, but once I don’t trust a medical provider, there is no going back. Once an idiot, always an idiot. (Which makes me sound super judegy, but we’re talking about health services which I am paying for. I had better like you…)

  3. lucy50 · August 14, 2015

    Haha. Educated doesn’t have a k.

  4. My Perfect Breakdown · August 14, 2015

    Wow, who knew that KD has dairy in the cheese…okay, seriously, is she insane? Of course it does!! And it has a whole heck of a lot of other processed things that we should all probably be trying to avoid. 🙂
    I think it’ll be pretty easy for you to cut it from your diet because it’s so important for Chick! I hope the transition period goes well.

    • thecommonostrich · August 20, 2015

      SHOCKING. It will be on the news tonight at 10, I know it.

      I’m about a week into my no dairy diet, and it’s going fine. As you put it, once I realized that this was important to him, it was a sacrifice that was pretty easy to make. It also helps that it’s late summer and the veggies are so gorgeous. Who needs dairy when you have perfect summer tomatoes?

  5. Haisla · August 16, 2015

    I’m wondering whether you could substitute cow’s dairy with goats’? Apparently (and from experience) it’s easier to digest than cow’s in those with lactose intolerance.. Hope Chick will feel better soon!x

  6. thecommonostrich · August 20, 2015

    Thank you! I *think* his tiny system is starting to heal, and we’ve both been dairy free for almost a week.

    I’m fairly certain I can have goat’s milk, but the NP was sort of fuzzy on that. The next check up on his progress is on Monday with his pediatrician, so I’m hoping to get better information then. If goat’s milk is okay, I’m making a bee line for that fancy cheese shop and getting me some chevre!

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