Bloody stools in my 1 week old preemie (born at 33w6d)

My little guy was born on March 29th at 33w6d, he weighed 5lbs5oz and was doing great except for some rapid breathing. This slowed over the next few days and he began nippling ALL of his feedings. We were looking forward to having him home this weekend, as everything was progressing perfectly. Yesterday while on my bi-daily visit to the hospital to visit him I was told they found blood in his stool. The first had trace amounts, the second significant amounts. Because of this, the hospital (terrible hospital, long story as to why I delivered there) did not have the resources to treat/test him further, so they were transferring him to Bryn Mawr's Lvl 3 NICU.

He's been there for about 36 hours now, and is doing great. The initial scare was NEC, but other than bloody stools he's shown no other symptoms, xrays look great, his belly is soft and not at all bloated. But because of the seriousness of this illness he has to run a full course of anitbiotics anyway for the next 7 days before feedings resume. I KNOW he's in excellent hands there, thats not my worry. My question is if any of you other mommies have experienced a similar issue. Did it turn out to be a milk protein allergy? I have since cut ALL dairy out of my diet and I'm pumping like a fiend to make as much milk as possible to keep him off formula supplements.

It just sounds so severe a reaction to a protein allergy, I'm worried it might be something far sinister.

After passing 4 total stools, the first one had trace amounts, the next two had significant amounts, and the fourth had trace amounts. He is pretty emptied out now so I'm not sure he will pass anymore. They have changed his OG tube from suction based to drainage based, and then changed it to a suction based NG tube (which is about 1/5th the size of an OG tube and I can only imagine 100x less annoying).

Any comments/advice would be greatly appreciated. Other than bloody stools he appears in perfect health, no infection CBC looks perfect, everything else looks perfect.

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When my son came home from the NICU, they had us fortify my breast milk with formula (cow's milk formula) and it gave him bloody stools. So then they had us fortify with a soy formula, and that resulted in even more blood.

For our son, I had to give up dairy AND soy completely. That meant anything that said dairy, soy, casein or whey was out the door. Not easy for me b/c I'd been a vegetarian for over a quarter century and depended on those as sources of protein.

It takes 14 days for an offending food to completely clear one's breast milk once a mom stops eating that offending food.

Incidentally, in the NICU, they put HMF (human milk fortifier) in the breast milk. HMF is also cow's milk based. That probably contributed to our son's several rounds of feeding intolerances AND NEC scare.

Best wishes to your son.

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Our daughter was born at 33 weeks, weighed 5lbs 3ozs and had no other problems. She too had a bloody stool, and had NEC. They found residuals in her feeding tube. She was on anti biotics and no food for 14 days. It was awful. Her belly was not hard, nor did her color get abnormal. We were very blessed they caught it so fast. I am sorry I do not have info on the protein allergy, but I wanted to share our story with you since it was so smiliar to yours. I hope your little ones ends up not having NEC. Good Luck to you!!!

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Have they checked him for a UTI? I ask because when my LO was in the NICU she developed a UTI. She also had blood in her stools. They were wandering if she possibly had blood in her urine that was transferring to her stools. So, they bagged her "area" to keep it separate. In her case, she really did end up having blood in her stools that was not related to her urine but they wanted to make sure because with everything getting mixed up in the diaper, it was hard to tell. Just a thought. She was placed on antibiotics as well for awhile and she got better. I hope your little one will produce blood free poops soon.

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My daughter was born at 33 weeks 2 days. Our story is very similar. She was doing pretty good at birth. No breathing issues, but minor things that we resolved within the first week. She was about a week old when they noticed her blood levels were acidic and that there was blood in her stool. She sent to a better hospital, and they quickly figured out that she had a milk-protein allergy. She was taken off of breastmilk and put on Neocate. Her blood levels went back to normal as did her stools. I eliminated all dairy and soy from my diet (including hidden) and she was back to nursing after 14 days.

She is now 3 months old (7 weeks adjusted) and is doing well minus the reflux she suffers with. I'm still nursing her and continue to eliminate milk and soy from my diet. It was a tough adjustment at first because I was vegetarian. I recently added some meat back to my diet because I couldn't handle feeling so run down all of the time.

If they do find that your little one has MSPI, feel free to send me a message. I would be glad to share with you some of the links I have bookmarked for recipes, etc.

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My question about a milk-protein allergy which may be better asked to a doctor, but I find that people who have first hand experience as mothers often are better advice pools than doctors who see hundreds of different issues a year vs. a mother who sees the same issue every single day.

I've noticed A LOT of mom's whose little ones suffer from this are vegetarian and have a large amount of dairy and soy in their diets to compensate for lack of meat protein. I myself, am not a vegetarian. While I do eat dairy, its not a large amount. Maybe a bowl of cheerios w/ milk for breakfast and a yogurt. Some chocolate here and there, and cheese on tacos/sandwiches etc. I have since cut all of this out and am storing my current breastmilk in a deep freezer hoping much later on my little guy will be able to tolerate it. This actually happened shortly after he was switched from preemie formula to 22cal formula (both Enfamil) to supplement the breastmilk I was able to supply. Lets just say I'm not exactly a dairy cow and about 1/2 of his feedings were still coming from formula.

Do we think its most likely a reaction moreso to the formula and not my breastmilk? As I understood only trace amounts of what we ingest ends up in breastmilk. The pediatricians in the NICU seemed unconvinced anything I was eating had anything to do with the allergy and said it was most likely the formula, but said I could go no dairy/soy if I still choose. Once he's back on feedings again I plan to NOT allow HMF, and would like him supplemented strictly with Neocate as I have read many success stories with it.

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Vegetarian here. It is true that an ovo-lacto vegetarian mom would have a higher proportion in her diet than a carnivore mom. However, just because you are not vegetarian doesn't mean that you'd be in the clear. For some kids, when the mom eats even the slightest hint of cheese and no other dairy products, it can send their systems into a tizzy. Also, make sure to read labels (bread, crackers, etc.) because dairy via casein and whey turns up in unlikely places.

What kind of formula? Formula can be hard on a baby's system because it is simply harder to digest than breast milk which is nearly completely absorbable by the baby's digestive system. Is it a dairy formula or an elemental one? How much corn syrup is in the formula? Powders are have A LOT of corn syrup in them and that can affect some kids.

Our NICU doctors said the same thing. Couldn't possibility be my diet. They were wrong. Turns out that many NICU doctors are ignorant about maternal diet. The ped figured out the dairy formula problem a couple days after our son was released from the NICU.

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