11 January 2014

A baby's cry for help

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Breast milk and Infant Allergies
By Debra Guckenheimer

Last August, my spouse and I got the call. There was a baby who needed a home. The next day, we drove to the hospital and picked up the newest addition to our family.  As a person with food allergies, I paid attention to his digestive troubles and the rash he got when I gave him a massage with coconut oil. His pediatrician diagnosed him as possibly having an allergy to cow’s milk and/or coconut, both ingredients in most infant formulas. While the doctor had previously said my baby just had colic and there was nothing to do to help him, I saw everything change for my baby when he started receiving breast milk from the Mother’s Milk Bank in San Jose.

The Mother’s Milk Bank of San Jose is the only nonprofit milk bank providing tested, pasteurized milk in California and much of the Western United States. Their supply is running dangerously low, and we often are delayed in receiving our shipment. Their milk is donated by generous moms who produce extra milk.  Their milk is available to babies like mine by prescription.  Many of the recipients are preemies in the hospital.

Breast milk helps babies like mine with food allergies. Formulas tend to contain common allergens including cow’s milk, soy, wheat, and GMO corn. By avoiding these, babies with sensitivities or even allergies have time to heal and potentially grow out of these food issues. Breast milk is thought to help protect babies from developing allergies as well. Breast milk is easier to digest and fights disease.

Since my baby started receiving breast milk, he sleeps better; has less gas; when he has gas, it is no longer painful; and he cries less. This change happened like magic, immediate and long lasting. We have tried so many formulas that did not work for him. 

It is so heartbreaking when the bank does not have enough milk for him. So many of my friends who previously breastfed their children told me they were not aware of milk banks. 

Please help me spread the word so that babies like mine can overcome their food allergies or food sensitivities. 

Contact Debra: 
Twitter: @dguckenheimer

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