Twice this last week I read of doctors stopping special milk for babies, one 6 and the other 9 months old. Both of whom had confirmed Cows Milk Protein Allergy (CMPA).
I immediately reacted with my internal siren blaring “What is wrong with these doctors? And who are they to determine the point at which it’s appropriate for a baby to stop specialised milk?”
You see, this really aggravates me. Lots.
Typically, your standard GP is not a dietician, not a paediatrician (although they may have taken further study into paediatrics), is not a gastro-intestinal specialist, is not a breastfeeding counsellor, and is not a tongue tie practitioner. And all of these are really important to understand and remember.
Without the additional, substantial, study of diet and nutrition, your GP is UNQUALIFIED to make this judgement.
I do not say this lightly, some medical schools only provide a few hours of information to doctors during their 5 years in university. Bear in mind that to become a dietician, it is usually about 4 years to achieve degree status. If you are faced with a doctor who will not provide your baby specialist milk to support their needs, or decides to stop a previous agreed and working formula, then ask what qualification do they have to make that decision?
We trust our doctors to be the source of all knowledge. Sometimes wrongly. We go to our doctors and demand an answer that they may not be qualified to give.
The real problem here is that there are not enough dieticians’ in the UK NHS to quickly assess, diagnose and support babies with milk intolerances and allergies in a reasonable timeframe. Too many babies end up in A&E where the symptoms have escalated and they then prescribe the appropriate milk.
Why does it have to come to this before babies get the support they need?
Babies, BABIES are being targeted and victims of the NHS cutting costs and individual doctors are being made to meet their targets by reducing costs wherever possible.
How does this add up?
An allergenic baby will suffer, far too much, with a high risk of ending up in A&E. This costs the “system” much more in the long run, notwithstanding the life-long impact of consuming an allergen or something that is constantly irritating the inside of their precious little bodies. Adding into this the growth and development delay that may happen with CMA and the emotional distress, fatigue and exhaustion in parents and it is a cocktail for a not-so-happy family.
The NHS is happy to dish out strong unproven and untested and unrecommended medications for babies because of the volume of the kick backs they get. There doesn’t seem to be the same market for prescribing the specialist milk that actually benefits the patient. (Few PPI’s are actually proven as safe for under 12 months by the manufacturers of the drugs.)
What is wrong with our world when it is our most vulnerable babies and their parents are made to suffer unnecessarily and all too often brushed off?
My mission is to #EradicateBabyReflux in the next 5 years.
CMA is often a cause of reflux, and so this subject is very relevant to my mission. I cannot reduce or affect CMA, I can affect the treatment, assessment and support that these babies get in the early days so that long periods of infancy are not overshadowed by pain and discomfort.
If you are affected by any of the above, I would love to hear your experience.
If you haven’t already, can you complete my survey here and add to the conversation?
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