Dairy overload is better termed as Digestive Overload and is caused by
- unbalanced feeding practices
- dairy intake outweighing protein and fat digesting enzymes
- breastfeeding mother's diet
- some formulas.
Newborns can suffer from one or more of the causes. A breastfeeding mother’s diet, as well as offering both breasts in one sitting, formula choice and cluster feeding, compounds dairy overload. It is also a biological fact that in the first year of life we humans struggle to break down the casein and whey in dairy. This often has newborns and infants being diagnosed with 'dairy intolerance.' However, if dairy was introduced after one year of age the child would react better to it. Saying that, some children do have dairy intolerance which is often shown with the additional symptom of eczema.
Upset behaviour indicating dairy overload can be evident from Day One and can happen at any time, continuing as long as there is an overload of dairy intake. Proteins called casein and whey are found in dairy. It is known that the human digestive system struggles to break these components down, especially in the first year of life. This leads to communicated distress for newborns.
The enzyme lipase, found in breast milk and a newborn's saliva, helps to break down the fat in dairy. When newborns swallow minimal amounts of lipase, their digestive systems labour with the fat, and even more so if they are formula fed since it has no lipase. This can lead to large, unhealthy weight gains and allows abnormal passing of fat globules through the intestines causing discomfort.
Note: Some newborns experience an allergy to casein or whey which is more serious. True allergy to the proteins, or 'milk allergy', can be apparent within a few minutes to a couple of hours of drinking the milk. The immune system reacts to fight off the proteins by producing chemicals that bring about allergy symptoms. These consist of digestive difficulty, hives, eczema, skin itching, sneezing, nasal congestion, runny nose, coughing, wheezing, difficulty breathing and rarely, anaphylactic shock. If you see any of these symptoms straight after you have given a feed, seek immediate medical help.
This aspect of Digestive Overload has these behaviour's... an excerpt from Philippa's book - BabyCues
- Irritability, grizzling, inconsolable crying, screaming.
- Bloating, cramps, and excessive gas.
- Heightened communication around bowel motions.
- Constipation, frequent watery, frothy and/or explosive bowel motions - often yellow in colour with an offensive odour, seed like deposits and/or of stringy texture,
- Weight gains that are consistently at the upper regions or beyond recommendation.
- Wakefulness from discomfort with episodes of longer periods of sleep, but the latter is often from exhaustion through crying and lack of sleep rather than because they feel comfortable.
- Frequent searching for something to suck - exhibiting the ‘root reflex’. This means baby is seeking comfort, but it is often misread as hunger.
- Arching backwards or sideways, writhing, wriggling.
- Pedalling legs.
- Gulping their food, seeming very hungry while being restless – sometimes refusing to feed, pulling off the nipple, or when bottle-fed, having flailing arms and legs with much turning of the head because of digestive discomfort.