Even the most basic information—such as the brand of infant formula you use—can slip your mind when you're exhausted and stressed from dealing with a fussy newborn. To ensure you don't forget key details while talking with your pediatrician, prepare and bring the following materials with you.
To help your doctor get a better picture of your baby’s behaviors, track your infant’s daily activities for at least a week. Note how much your infant eats at each feeding, the time each feeding starts and stops, and the type of formula given. Document his sleep habits, including how many hours of uninterrupted sleep he gets at night, how many times he awakens, how many hours he sleeps at naptime, and how long he fusses before falling asleep. Describe behaviors that cause concern, such as gassiness, jelly-like stool (mucus), inconsolable crying (colic), skin rashes, or spit-up (reflux), and include what time of day these things occur. At the end of each day, rate your baby’s day on a scale of 1 (very good) to 5 (very bad). If it was bad or very bad, look over your notes and highlight the behaviors that concern you.
Once you have chronicled your baby’s behaviors, pull out the key points that you would like to discuss with your doctor. You might want to highlight the number of bad or very bad days your baby had in a week. Your doctor probably will want to hear about your infant’s most severe, recurring behavior, including how often it occurs and how your baby acts. For instance, does he try to scratch a rash or get upset when you touch it? Does he have blood in his stool? Is his diarrhea persistent? Does it have an odd smell? What color is it? All of this information can be helpful to your doctor.
Let your doctor know if there is a family history (on either the maternal or paternal side) of food allergies to cow’s milk, soy, eggs, wheat, peanuts, tree nuts, or fish; or a family history of hay fever, asthma, or eczema.1 A family history of any of these conditions can increase your baby’s risk of cow’s milk allergy.
If your infant takes formula, either write down the brand name and bring that paper with you, or bring in the actual can. You also can print and bring a certificate for a free sample of Nutramigen® with Enflora™ LGG®*, an extensively hydrolyzed, hypoallergenic formula that is specially formulated to not cause an allergic reaction in infants with cow’s milk allergy. Allergic reactions, including signs of colic, often stop within 48 hours† after a switch to Nutramigen with Enflora LGG.2
List of Questions or Concerns
It can be helpful to jot down questions as you think of them. Take this list to your pediatrician to ensure your concerns get addressed. Here are some questions you might consider asking:
- What conditions could be causing my baby’s behaviors?
- Is it possible that my baby has cow’s milk allergy?
- How do you know whether a baby has cow’s milk allergy? If tests are being done, how long will it take to get results?
- What dietary changes should I make if I am nursing a baby who has cow’s milk allergy? How soon should my baby’s cow’s milk allergy symptoms improve after I make these dietary changes?
- What formulas do you recommend for a baby who has cow’s milk allergies?
- Do you have samples of hypoallergenic formulas designed for babies with cow’s milk allergy, such as Nutramigen with Enflora LGG?
- How soon after switching to a hypoallergenic formula should my baby’s cow’s milk allergy symptoms improve?
- What is the long-term outlook for my baby if he has cow's milk allergy? Will he always have allergies?
- Should my baby see a specialist, such as a pediatric allergist, gastroenterologist, or dietitian?
*LGG is a registered trademark of Chr. Hansen A/S.
†Studied before the addition of DHA, ARA, and LGG.
- Mayo Clinic: http://www.mayoclinic.org; Boston Children's Hospital: http://childrenshospital.org/az/Site2959/mainpageS2959P1.html (under "Who is at risk for allergic colitis?"); American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology: http://www.acaai.org/allergist/allergies/Types/food-allergies/Pages/default.aspx (under "Why do I have food allergy?"); Boston Children's Hospital: http://www.childrenshospital.org/az/Site2959/mainpageS2959P1.html (under "Who is at risk for allergic colitis?")