On Friday we went to see a Pediatric Gastroenterologist. He was a very friendly, very laid back doctor. We explained everything that has happened with Teresa in the past 3 months and all the steps we've taken to try to help her. I told him that I'd last seen blood in her stools about 4 days prior. It seemed to appear every 3 or 4 days, just a tiny bit, even when I was on the elimination diet. The doctor reviewed our family medical history (which is rife with G.I. illnesses).
And then he said Teresa should be just fine. He suspects she has allergic colitis - an intolerance of the milk and soy proteins that make their way into breast milk. He hopes this allergy will clear up by the time she is 6 months old. He told me there is no need for me to avoid any other foods or to stop or supplement my breastfeeding. He tested a fresh stool sample for blood and the test came back negative. Then he did a brief (but painful, for dear Teresa and her protective papa) rectal exam and said he found nothing of concern. He ordered some blood work and we agreed to see him again in 3 weeks.
Shortly after we left his office, Teresa pooped again...and it had blood in it. We've seen blood in her stools at least 5 times since the appointment. We wonder whether the doctor aggravated her rectum with his (well-intentioned) prodding. When we return to his office we will ask more questions.
One thing is certain: Teresa is a much happier baby today than she was 2 months ago. Her fussy times are far less frequent and it's not too difficult to console her. Nursing continues to go well, and now that I can eat a lot more I'm feeling better, too. The improvement (or, I should say re-broadening) of my diet may have contributed to Teresa's stools improving in color, too (from green to yellow).
After Mass on Sunday I spoke to another mom whose first child had blood in his stools at 10 weeks of age. Her doctor had her stop nursing and put the baby on the super-expensive hypoallergenic formula Nutramigen. A colonoscopy revealed that the casein protein had inflicted much damage on the baby's colon: it was highly ulcerated. Yikes. What made that case different from Teresa's? Could her condition be more serious than our doctor suspects?
We're still not on top of this, and we continue to be grateful for your prayers for our sweet daughter.