Readers of this blog will know that Arlo has been poorly recently. After A&E initally diagnosed a throat infection, the GP we saw a few days ago said his chest was crackley and prescribed a course of antibiotics. But I can’t shake the niggling worry that Arlo’s chest infection might be my fault, and that it’s not a chest infection at all.

He’s started snoring again. In the morning he has a stuffed up nose and his chest is at its crackliest. OK, it could be a chest infection, a hangover from his illness, even though his temperature is long gone and he’s back to his usual energetic self. Or it could be because of the 100ml of formula (his first ever formula)  he drank four days ago, or the yoghurts I’ve been feeding him. It could be the increase in dairy in my own diet. Maybe his cow’s milk protein intolerance has not suddenly disappeared.

This sudden chest congestion gave me Deja Vu. We’ve been here before. ‘Sam, do you remember when he was tiny and your whole hand could fit over his chest and feel it rattle? Was that not normal, then? Do you think it could have been dairy??’  Having no idea what is normal for babies, I ask myself these questions a lot, as I’m sure all first time parents do.

As I wrote a few weeks ago, he’s stopped having any noticeable reaction to dairy. No more eczema, no dodgy bowels, and as far as I can tell, no tummy pain or gas. So, I’ve been giving him bits here and there. Because it’s important for him to have dairy in his diet… isn’t it?

However, I’m starting to think that maybe cow’s milk isn’t good for him, that it isn’t really that good for any of us. I read this article by Dr Jay Gordon today, the sections on cold symptoms and lactose intolerance had me, once again, asking questions I’ve asked myself before concerning the benefits of cow’s milk in our diet.

I’ve got a lot of unanswered questions at the moment.

Did the formula cause the rash that I had put down to Roseola? (The rash came up the day after I gave him the milk, but also the same day that his temperature went back to normal).

Is this course of antibiotics futile because it’s not an infection causing the congestion? Is that why the GP was so surprised that he doesn’t have a cough to accompany his chest congestion? (I’m uncomfortable about overloading him with antibiotics, and what with skin infections this is the fourth course he’s had in his lifetime).

Is it a coincidence that I seem to be able to link his increased snoring to when he last had dairy? Or am I just looking for coincidences?

Do I keep him and myself off dairy again now or do I wait and see how long this chestyness continues for and whether the antibiotics do the trick?

If I exclude dairy from his diet, will it do him any harm (as the health visitors and GP keep telling me it will)?

Does he really need dairy to grow and be healthy?

If you are reading this and thinking that it seems silly for me to put so much thought and worry into something so small, I often think this myself too. But I just can’t stand the thought that if he is in discomfort, I could do something about it. It feels like a huge responsibility to make decisions for someone who can’t just talk and tell you what is wrong. And if it is dairy affecting him, it seems like a double-edged sword; both including and excluding it from his diet could have implications.

Because he’s been ill, it’s so hard to tell if it is the change of diet causing a problem, the same symptoms could be caused by either. We’ve started the course of antibiotics so I’ll continue with it and see if his chest clears. If the congestion continues, I think we might have to look at cutting out dairy again.


  1. I’d go with your plan. Finish the antibiotics if he’s not better cut out dairy again. You’ve actually made me think, we took J off dairy and now he’s been bk on it again he gets a cold and chest cough.(although we’ve now all got it) he’s spent all year ill, antibiotics can upset the balance in our stomachs anyway.

    Hope u find an answer. There is added calcium in soya products I think? Maybe. There is soya milk designed for babies over 6months too, we’ve been giving it toddler.


  2. One thing I’ve learnt with Arlo is that there are lots of calcium rich foods, it doesn’t have to be just dairy. He can’t have soy, but I’ve heard good things about almond milk – may give that a try as a supplement when he’s a bit older.

  3. My 4-year old daughter is CMPI, plus allergic to soya and wheat. Always good to remember that cows don’t drink milk. They produce calcium in their milk from the grass they eat. So our guidance from the medical professionals has been to eat lots of green vegetables for calcium, as well as almonds (as nuts are not a problem for her). Hope this helps x

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