Posted By Posting
Jun 24, 2009
Breastfeeding or formula??
Hi ladies, My son is almost 3 months old now and I have been on the Top 10 elimination diet for over a month and a half. Unfortunately, we have only reached a "baseline" a couple times, only lasting a few days. He also has reflux that seems to be much worse with the allergy issues (taking Prevacid). I am exhausted and am considering a switch to formula but am completely unsure of how to make this decision. I need some advice. My dr. wants me to continue to bf and is confident that he will be a "new baby" in a month or two. I am very skeptical of this. Also, she said that most babies with allergy and reflux issues do worse on formula, since it tends to increase reflux?? I am very committed to bf, but am so tired of seeing my little guy in pain. He doesn't have blood in his stools, but he has thick, green, mucousy diapers most of the time and is incredibly fussy and gassy. My dr. also said that most kids grow out of their intolerances within the 1st year, usually by 6 months. Has anyone found this to be true? Do the benefits of bf out way the discomfort he has now, or should I provide him some relief now with formula? Has anyone "tried" formulas for a period of time to see if it helps while bf in case there isn't improvement? What would a time frame for this look like? Sorry there are so many questions - I just need some guidance because the ped. and GI aren't providing it!! Thanks!
Jun 24, 2009
I know exactly what you're going through. I've been starving myself on eliminating from my diet and it doesn't seem to help my son. He's six months now and I can tell you that it hasn't gotten any better. I think it's a matter of personal choice on what you want to do. I have been back and forth on this for a while. My hold up is my son hates the formula (alimentum, nutramigen, neocate, etc). It's hard to get him to drink it. I finally am getting him to take the neocate better then the other ones. But it's going to be a long haul with it. I still am pumping to try and mix it sometimes with the formula but also in case it doesn't help him I can just go back to either bfing or giving bm in bottles. It's a very hard and stressful decision for me. I'm all about bfing but it's hard on me and my son is still in pain. The docs are great about telling you to keep going on with what you're doing but when you add sleep deprivation, hunger and stress to it. Wow it's a wonder I made it this long. Everyday I'll say I'm done and then a new day comes and I just keep going on. I'm finally to the point that something has got to make him feel better. The gi thinks it's allergies and I'll try this just to see myself. I'm skeptical!! But I do think it's possible to go from bfing to pumping to formula back to bfing. If that makes sense. It usually takes about 2 weeks to give a formula a try so you could do what I'm going to do. I'm going to pump and give him the formula. Then after two weeks we don't see any improvement then we'll see what the gi wants to do. I will warn you that the formulas can be very expensive. The neocate is very expensive and not sure how we're goint to afford it if he needs to be on it. But if it makes my life and his more enjoyable then it'll be worth it. Our family is being highly affected by my sons constant fussiness and not sleeping and pain. It sucks right now. You will get through it though. I would say weigh the pros and cons. We waited so long that my son hated the formulas and won't take them now when we were ready for him too. Good luck.
Jun 24, 2009
Lorenzo b.4/25/07 1 week in NICU w/ aspirate pneumonia from a reflux episode; diagnosed GERD at 9weeks; Used Zantac for 5months. Currently using Chinese Medicine and Craniosacral Therapy. GERD, Obstructive Sleep Apnea, Sensory Processing Disorder. Ask me about breastfeeding a refluxer! Pic: day 5 in the NICU.
I believe that this is one of the most intensely personal decisions mother's make. As the previous post mentioned, you really do have to weigh the pros and cons, from your own perspective because no one else will ever have all of the personal information that you have about yourself and your child to make an informed decision.

That said, I have been breastfeeding my little refluxer for over 2 years. It has been incredibly difficult at times, but it has also been incredibly rewarding, and in our own situation, it turned out that breastfeeding may have been the difference between a child who managed to thrive in spite of everything and a child who failed to thrive, as he was unable to eat solids until he was almost two years old. I thought about weaning him so many times, but I just couldn't quite bring myself to do it, and now, 2 years into it, I am very, very grateful for that.

If you feel a commitment to breastfeeding, and you choose to stay on that path, I strongly encourage you to create as large a support network for that as possible. La Leche League has an online forum at where you can talk with thousands of experienced nursing mothers, many of whom have nursed refluxers, and get a lot of excellent advice and some very understanding shoulders to cry on. You may also want to see if there is a La Leche League leader in your community (Nursing Mother's Council is another group you might look for). They are not only able to offer one-on-one support, but they also facilitate support groups as well. If you haven't already, you may find a Lactation Consultant to be helpful, especially if you decide to try using formula on a trial basis and want to keep your supply up for as long as possible. They can usually be found at major hospitals with maternity services.

With regard to the non-reflux related concerns you have -- the mucousy green poop and gas, are you familiar with OALD (over-active letdown) and oversupply? Both of these conditions can lead to those symptoms, so if you haven't explored that, please do before making a decision.

Finally, I just want to send you some virtual ((HUGS)) because I know firsthand how stressful, confusing, anxiety producing and exhausting this situation can be. Please feel free to contact me anytime at if you need some breastfeeding support, additional resources, or just need to vent about how much more difficult all of this is than anyone could ever prepare you for...

Jun 24, 2009
This is our dd, Alessandra. Dx with GER 10/07. Ran the gamut with meds and now done with them (crossed fingers). Using magnesium, probiotics and prebiotic supplements. With the exception of teething and general sassy attitude, all is well now. They really CAN grow out of it!
I did not BF my dd for a few reasons. But as for formula making reflux worse, I was never told that by any MD, and many of these kids actually do better on the hypoallergenic or elemental formulas. This is a tough decision to make, and a very personal one.

Loranzomama gave you a lot of info that I hope will be beneficial. I can't help much with the BF advice, but I can tell you that formula feeding isn't as bad as many will tell you it is. You are NOT doing your child a disservice if you choose to try it. I got yelled at in the store for buying formula a few times. I just quietly stated that my child is getting fed and it's no concern of theirs how it occurs.

I applaud any nursing mom, especially with kids like ours. HUGS to you. I can't tell you how many people say that feeding your child should be the easiest and most natural thing in the world. Sometimes it's the hardest and most painful experience you've ever had, and we're here for you!!!

Jun 26, 2009
Julie - I have three children. My youngest Katie is my refluxer. My first Ben was very colicy and is ADHD. My middle Jakob is pretty easy going. Katie had it bad as a baby no sleep for two years. She was on Nutramagin, Prevacid and Zantac. Thought we were through it but after age three it came back big time. After her scope she was put on Prevacid 45mg a day and mylanta as needed. Scope was in Sept. Showed damage in stomach and espophogus. It took about 7 months of medication and Reflux diet for her to start feeling better.
I breast fed my first two kids exclusively for a year. So needless to say I was devestated when I could not get it to work for Katie. All the nurses made me feel like I was going to kill her if I gave her formula. They gave me all kinds of stats of why breast milk is better. They basically made me so sad and depressed that I couldn't give my daughter what I was able to give my sons.

Well, once I got her on Nutramigen she was a new, happy baby. At age 5 I can tell you with certainty that there are absolutely no differences in illnesses, smarts, growth, developmental milestones between the three kids.

So, my point is, give yourself a break and make your own decision as to what is best for you and your family.

Check with your
doctor first!