Those of you who were not fortunate enough to witness my frenzy during the first few weeks of Everett’s life may not be aware of the feeding fiascoes we’ve endured with our little guy. After 10 weeks of bloody diapers, extreme colic, and poor growth, we discovered that Everett has a severe milk protein allergy. Despite my efforts to cut out everything imaginable from my diet, he could not tolerate my breast milk nor any formulas stocked on store shelves. It was at this point that Everett became christened as a “Neocate baby.” Neocate is a hypoallergenic formula that is amino-acids based, meaning that the large food proteins are completely broken down such that there is nothing for Everett’s little GI system to do except for absorb nutrients. After about 5 days on this new formula, we could see a drastic difference. Everett was not nearly as fussy, started having only 1-2 blood-free stools a day (rather than 14), and began to gain weight!
The large majority of babies diagnosed with this allergy as newborns outgrow it by 5-6 months of age, with all but a select few outgrowing it by a year of age. So given that Everett turned 6 months old this month, our pediatrician recommended that we cross our fingers and challenge the allergy. For 2 weeks, we weaned him off Neocate and went back to Nutramigen, a formula that is also hypoallergenic but only partially broken down. The benefits for us were that you can buy Nutramigen off the store shelves for a fraction of the cost of Neocate. Things seemed to go okay at first, but then Ev began spitting up and vomiting frequently…and then refusing to eat. At his 6 month appointment, his weight gain has slowed, telling us that he was not absorbing nutrients as well on the new formula. So…back to Neocate we went!
The other great news is that Everett is loving solid food. We started with green beans on his sixth month birthday and have now included prunes, sweet potatoes, and peas in his diet as well. Given that Neocate has a reputation for tasting extremely bitter, he has welcomed nearly every green veggie we’ve introduced with a smile. Let’s hope that continues!
Everett is still a bird of an eater…and we think he may just hang out in the 5th percentile for weight. My dad was tall and super thin, so it’s possible that he has the McBride genes! We may try to challenge the allergy again after he turns a year, but for now we are extremely thankful that Neocate exists. Despite the fact that a month supply of the formula costs us twice as much as I paid for rent in college, we happily place our mail order for a box every 2 weeks knowing that it is helping our little guy grow and grow.
Everett’s fun tricks that do not involve eating include: laughing a lot, chewing on everything in sight, inch worming all over the house, sitting up for short bursts at a time, blowing raspberries, protesting when he doesn’t get his way, stealing straws from anyone’s drink within reach, trying to bite my arm during diaper changes and thinking it’s hilarious, practicing yoga poses like downward facing dog, making scary Gremlin noises, and generally being the most adorable baby in the world. He also cut his first teeth–two bottom ones: little square pearls!