My plan was that Juliana would never receive a bottle. I was (am?) a bit of a lactivist. Calvin was weaned just over a year ago; several months after his second birthday. The main reason I weaned at that time was because I was in the second trimester of pregnancy. I enjoy nursing and saw no reason why I wouldn't have the same experience with Juliana. Because I planned to stay home with my kids I didn't see any reason why I would need to pump or mess around with bottles.
The best-laid plans....
I fought and fought to avoid formula. I really think I did everything in my power to avoid it. I spoke with everyone who knew anything about breastfeeding.... from doctors to IBCLCs to La Leche League. (In fact it was an LLL leader who repeatedly encouraged me to try elemental formula, as she had been in a similar predicament with one of her children). If I could go back in time - to the time before I was even pregnant - then I think that possibly I could have avoided Juliana's GI problems. But kids with chromosomal disorders often have GI difficulties, so who is to say? In any case, I've come to peace with it.
Amazingly, the ingredients below were easier on her system than breast milk:
Yuck. It was important to me to get her off of this as soon as possible, but how to do that with a baby that had reactions to something in breast milk?
Enter GAPS. Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride suggested right off the bat that I give raw milk formula to Juliana. I was too afraid. She had such a terrible reaction to something in breast milk and then to Neocate and now she was doing so well on Elecare. I didn't want to mess with a good thing. But the more I read about raw milk, the more I wanted to give it to her. But instead I just inched along trying out different broths.
A few months ago I learned that Elecare was changing their formula recipe. This made me incredibly nervous. Juliana is so sensitive - what if the changes to the formula didn't agree with her? We were at the end of the line having already failed all other elemental formulas. I waited for my next shipment of formula. When the new stuff I arrived, I decided to try it right away. I still had plenty of old formula in reserve but I wanted to know how she would react to the new recipe.
She did not react well. While it wasn't as bad as anything else we had previously tried, she was having reflux that was bringing her to tears and she was spitting up. These were both things that were completely gone on the old version of the formula. I quickly switched her back to the old formula and began desperately praying and researching.
I began to again wonder if Juliana has a corn intolerance. I read this article about a baby who didn't do well on anything except whole milk. I googled around and found a few similar stories (not many, but a few). I then spoke to a local Weston A. Price chapter leader who told me that she had seen a number of supposedly lactose-intolerant babies do very well on raw milk formula.
That was enough for me. I had to move Juliana to a homemade formula, and I had to do it before she ran out of the old Elecare.
On November 4th I mixed my first batch of raw milk formula, said a prayer, and gave four ounces to Juliana. And then we sat back and waited. Twenty minutes went by and she was still smiling and playing. An hour. Two hours. She took a nap without any problem. She pooped (this is an important detail for babies with GI problems!). She played some more. Everything was good.
I really couldn't believe it. My baby - the one who would scream the instant that breast milk hit her stomach - was totally fine with cow's milk (raw, grass-fed cow's milk!).
That's part one of the story. Part two is how I refined her diet and why I still think we haven't quite arrived yet at a real food baseline.