Baton down the hatches! Is the advice I would have given myself if I had known what starting elemental infant formula was going to be like. After our beautiful, little boy failed to tolerate hydrolysed cows’ milk infant formula, the next step in establishing his cows’ milk allergy diagnosis, was a trial of elemental formula.
Most of the advice we received about starting this type of dairy free milk, focused on the milks’ flavour (or lack there of!).
“He probably won’t want to drink it.”
“Add Nesquik (the dairy free flavours) to encourage him to try it.”
“You will probably need to offer cooled boiled water until he’s hungry enough to drink it.”
All sound advice from our health care professionals, I’m sure. Our problem, however, was not the taste. Clearly, our son was more than hungry enough. He downed the first bottle without even stopping for air. After trying to burp him, he started screaming and thrashing and then resumed the hunger cry. It was nothing short of shocking. A further bottle and a half later, I decided to lay most of our towel cupboard on the floor to catch the inevitable overflow vomit.
It never came. For the first time since birth, our little man went to sleep for longer than 20 minutes.
The road, though, did not stay quite so smooth. Within 12 hours, his original caliber of mucus and blood filled poonami’s resumed. The force of the literal sh@t storm, was enough to escape every brand of nappy and find the neckline of every baby top. The horrendous poops just kept coming. Seven to ten of these flesh burning atrocities a day. We were smashing our way through boxes and boxes of the miracle cream, Metanium, again.
And this stage continued. And continued. And continued. By day seven, I was losing hope that the elemental formula was going to work.
“Perhaps it’s not a milk allergy?” crossed my mind several times a day. By day eleven, I honestly started to ask myself:
“What sort of parent does this to their baby? Surely, I should switch him to water and seek more help.”
But as the doctor had advised us that it can take up to four weeks for babies to settle on elemental formula, I pushed my concerns aside and tried to have faith. As day 13 loomed, I cried mixing up the formula.
“Surely this can’t be right!” echoed loudly round and round my head. But day 13 was the day for us. Finally, our beautiful boy dropped a forest green poop the consistency of peanut butter. The holy grail of elemental formula poops that every elemental mama hopes to find! Honestly, it took all my self control to not run round the neighbourhood forcing every unsuspecting resident to admire his creation.
I knew he’d turned a massive corner that day. Gone was the colic, gone were the stomach cramps and the awful mucus nappies finally left the building. A box of the miracle cream, Metanium, took up residence in our towel cupboard and, to this day, still awaits use.
For us, even though the self doubt and crushing concern of those first 13 days was nearly unbearable, it was well worth staying the course and following the doctors’ advice. Elemental formula completely changed our son’s life. He stopped vomiting. He started moving (almost that day!). And he finally smiled. A big, beautiful, heart melting, first baby smile.
How was your child’s transition onto elemental/amino acid formula? Did your little one respond badly to the taste? How quickly did they find their equilibrium?
We’d love to hear your experiences too.
Xx Allergy Mama