The Virgin Gut

Discussion in 'Breastfeeding' started by crazydiamond, Mar 29, 2011.

  1. crazydiamond

    crazydiamond Well-Known Member

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    Has anyone heard of this theory?
    https://www.breastfeed.com/articles...asional-bottle-of-formula-has-its-risks-3451/

    Interesting but I don't quite understand it, it states that just one bottle of formula can sensitise babies who may be allergic to cows milk protein. However isn't this protein also present in breast milk if the mother consumes dairy products?

    Also will a baby that is given breastmilk solely for 6 months maintain a virgin gut if any medications are given e.g. for infacol etc for wind.
     
  2. Cloberella

    Cloberella Mummy to Gabriel

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    I had heard a little bit about this when I was pregnant and really wanted to give it a go, but when Gabriel was being tube fed they had to throw away 12 hours worth of my colostrum because of something wrong with the tube (I still don't fully understand what happened) and he had formula till my milk came in later that day. God I still want to cry thinking about that, it took me so long to express that colostrum.

    I would think that cows milk protein would be in breast milk, but I don't really know much about it, and as far as I'm aware medicines would mean their gut was no longer 'virginal'.
     
  3. Celesse

    Celesse Well-Known Member

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    Ive heard of it. I think that if you are aiming for exclusive feeding from birth then you get the virgin gut anyway. But when you have problems with BFing and need to supplement its just one more thing to worry about and one more thing to feel guilty about.
     
  4. lovealittle1

    lovealittle1 Well-Known Member

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    Yes I read all about this when pregnant so when the hospital suggested I supplement I stuck to my guns and refused it. Had I not read this article I may have agreed to supplementation and might not have been successful with bfing.
     
  5. summer rain

    summer rain Mum of 5

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    They can definitely get sensitised to cows milk protein via your milk; my second eldest who didn't even have any medications or anything before 5.5 months developed a really severe allergy to dairy amongst other things (we found out when yoghurt was splashed on him; not to mention all the eczema and other problems he had when only on breastmilk). Cows milk proteins are a 'foreign' protein so even if taken in by the baby's gut via your milk; they can still cause an allergy. My second eldest had exactly the same type of reactions to milk products, in fact worse than the baby described in the article who had formula early in life and then had the occasional bottle later on; yet he had never received any formula of any type at that point and he never ever had any milk based formula in his life. Second youngest had such severe allergies via my milk that I had to give up BF, he has never had formula (or even a bottle of EBM!) up until that point either.

    This LO also has allergies, which he had symptoms of before the one occasion he was given formula, for example from birth he was bloaty, rashy (more so than is typical for newborns) and his poo was always slightly green and mucousy even when the meconium more than got out of his system, he was in SCBU with jaundice and they would not allow me to stay despite them having the facilities to do so (they let me stay on the second night); and they only ended up admitting him at nearly 11pm so there was no way I could express enough milk for overnight for him in about half an hour while I waited for my MIL to come and pick me up, they offered no other alternative but conventional formula despite my concerns as I already knew he had issues with cow's milk. While I think that one off formula may have added to his being sensitised to various substances; I believe he already was sensitised to most of them and him not reacting very well to the formula raised a flag so I could eliminate dairy from my diet immediately; I think had I continued to have dairy it would have caused far more problems to his gut longer term including maybe having to give up BF early for similar reasons as I had to with my second youngest, than the one-off of formula. I believe also that if a baby is going to end up allergic to anything because of genetic factors or whatever they will be so; whether formula is ever given or not. The only way to be on the safe side is to eliminate all potential allergens from your diet from birth (and possibly even during pregnancy); but even this is questionable because some research shows this increases the risk of allergies later on in some cases. Also while some smug people like to pick and choose; I believe the research does indicate that anything else given orally other than breastmilk (inc. infacol, oral vitamin K, calpol etc) means baby no longer has a virgin gut, that would be most babies in this day and age. The virgin gut theory is just a theory and based on one study; while its ideal for LO not to have any other food or drinks before six months; it isn't always possible and most experts reckon your baby's gut returns to the same or almost exactly the same state with a further 2-3 weeks of exclusive breastfeeding.
     
  6. crazydiamond

    crazydiamond Well-Known Member

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    Sorry I did not want to make anyone feel guilty I just wanted to see what people thought about it as it was something that I had not heard of before and it did not make that much sense to me.

    Since becoming a mum I have spent the entire time feeling guilty particularly in relation to the cocktail of medication I am giving LO to help relieve what I think is reflux. Now I have finally found something that seems to make him feel better (fingers crossed) I am feeling guilty that I held off giving it to him for a couple of weeks because I was worried about over medicating him.

    I think that everyone who has breastfed for whatever length of time should be congratulated for the benefit they have made to their LO's health.
     
  7. Lexivu

    Lexivu Mommy to Bryce

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    When I first read about this I felt really guilty because I had to do formula top-up for my LO. It was for only small amounts for a a day or two but I still felt bad for it.

    But then I thought its not right that after the effort, pain and tears I went thought for my LO that something like this should be allowed to make me feel like a bad mom. So I told myself not to be a silly old mare and that I did the best I could.

    Everyone should stop feeling guilty for the things that they do because most of us do try to do the best for our LO.
     
  8. summer rain

    summer rain Mum of 5

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    I totally agree, also from what I've read on this, the theory is based entirely on the above posted article and the study it mentions within it, but that very few people have ever seen aside from the author of this article (who btw is a lactation consultant and nurse, not a biologist). It appears the study is years old; from the mid-70s/early-80s yet there doesn't seem to be any further studies to back it up, which is questionable. Also when the study was done weaning was advised between 6 and 12 weeks, which also may have had an effect on its finding, and also a baby's gut would have had less chance to get back to normal with an early introduction of solids. Yet you get self-styled medical experts posting all over the place with their own interpretation of a study they most likely have not seen personally, declaring that babies who have ever had anything other than breastmilk in the first six months will have definitely lost the protection from SIDs, protection from allergies, protection from diabetes that breastmilk offers, forever! I've even read ladies saying that you may as well just FF from then on because all the benefits of BF are lost, they have no basis for saying this and its digusting how mums are using this as yet another reason to bully other mums IMHO (not saying you, OP but when this topic comes up for discussion this so often occurs).
     
  9. Celesse

    Celesse Well-Known Member

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    My comment wasn't aimed at you, or any one in particular. Just my general feeling on virgin gut. :flower:
     

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