From A Cow’s Milk Intolerant Bottle Fed Reflux Baby – To little Miss Happy!

Nicola’s Story:

My daughter was born in December and I had been determined to breastfeed her- I didn’t with my first and always regretted it.

From the word go I knew something wasn’t right – constant pain and clicking when feeding, baby never satisfied  and compressed white nipples.

I grabbed anyone passing at the hospital and asking them to check everything was alright and was told ‘yes, pain is normal’ and given some cream to soothe my nipples which by this point (less than 24 hours from birth) were cracked, bleeding and very very sore.

A couple of days later things were no better, in fact worse. I was given a feeding cup to give my breasts a break by the midwife and gave my daughter expressed milk this way eventually moving to expressed milk from a bottle.  I was so nervous about feeding my daughter again because the pain was unbearable. I tried but encountered the same problems.

After searching online I found Milk Matters website and realised my daughter was showing almost all the signs of a tongue tie. I spent every spare minute reading up on them and when I saw my midwife when my daughter was five days old I asked her to check for a tongue tie. She looked and very quickly said she had no tongue tie as her tongue was not heart shaped. I knew from
research this was not always the case but as she is the health professional I didn’t feel confident enough to argue with her.

I continued to express and try my daughter at the breast.  She would get very frustrated and it was very upsetting. However her problem was not only at the breast.  She struggled with a bottle unable to grasp the teat properly, it would keep bobbing in and out of her mouth, sometimes she would manage to grasp and take a good few ounce and others took barely anything. She would
arch, scream and cry and get very upset and frustrated at feeding time – in fact I dreaded it.   She would become so tired from all the crying she would eventually fall asleep exhausted with an empty stomach 🙁

As well as feeds been a horrible battle she was very unsettled all the time, she never slept soundly always fidgeting and crying out, she never let me put her down and woke straight away when I did ( very tough going with a two year old :/)

She suffered from terrible wind, stomach cramps, symptoms of colic and reflux and she had a sucking blister on her top lip.

Overall she was a very very unhappy baby and I felt totally helpless! All I could do was try and get as much food into her as I could and it wasn’t easy.  I expressed my concerns to my health visitor saying I was adamant she had a tongue and after saying her tongue could move about fine so she didn’t have a tongue tie, she watched me feed her and said maybe she had thrush, reflux, or the milk wasn’t coming from the bottle fast enough! Hmm… I think not, I know my baby!!

After numerous distressed calls to health visitors, doctors and NHS breastfeeding workers,  my daughter had been prescribed gaviscon for reflux (which I didn’t give her) and Nutramigen formula for cow’s milk protein intolerance. My first daughter had suffered reflux which had improved with specialised formula, and so I agreed to try it in desperation as baby also had excema on her cheeks (which they also said was a sign of milk intolerance)  – I just wanted my baby to be happy.  So at about 5 weeks I stopped expressing – a demanding two year old and a screaming newborn was not a good combination

I got in touch with Charlotte at Milk, who was fab – after our lengthy conversation I was 100% convinced my daughter had a tongue tie – it was such a relief talking to someone that understood and sympathised and for the first time I wasn’t made to feel like a neurotic mum who just couldn’t cope with a baby that cries a lot.

I then went back to my local breastfeeding support and a couple of lactation consultants who told me that as my daughter was no longer breastfed, even if she did have a tongue tie it wouldn’t be done on the NHS.

My point being  she still would have been breastfed if I’d have received the support from the start!!

So I then got back in touch with Charlotte and arranged an appointment for my daughter.

I cannot put into words how happy I was when Charlotte quickly confirmed my daughter had a tongue tie (75% and very obvious) I was so relieved I could have burst into tears!

My daughters tongue tie was snipped there and then by Ann.  The procedure itself was very quick,  and although it bled a bit and she cried she was fine after ten minutes 🙂 the appointment took a couple of hours and was fab.  Although they were very busy we never felt rushed and everything was explained thoroughly.  We fired away with all sorts of questions hehe 🙂 As well as the tongue tie Milk highlighted what my daughter’s body positioning and language was telling us about her discomfort, and further advice as to how to help best soothe her.

It’s now 2 weeks since our appointment and she is a completely different baby.   She feeds like a dream now. NO wind. NO  crying. NO tummy ache. NO longer unhappy and NO Numtramigen!

She makes all sorts of sounds she never made before and is a very smiley happy girl 🙂

I could burst I’m so happy but when I think back to the 8 weeks that she spent in total misery im so so angry that I wasn’t listened to and she was left to suffer through it.

I cannot thank Charlotte enough for all her help and Ann for clipping her tongue tie. I’m so glad that I stumbled upon the website totally changed our lives :))  We paid privately to see milk matters and it was the best money I’ve ever spent.

My only regret is that I didn’t find them sooner then I could still be breastfeeding ( I sought advice about re-lactating but after a while of not expressing we decided that for us it was not to be. My poor girl has been through so much that I didn’t want to stress her all over again learning how to breastfeed again) 🙁

The non judgemental help, support and knowledge Charlotte gave was-invaluable and I am very very grateful.

Huge thank you from me and my tongue tied little lady 🙂


  1. My baby is 11 months old and although she is NOT tongue tied, she did have a tight frenulum. A certified lactation consultant , one who has the letters (IBCLC) after her name should have been able to adequately tell you that something is wrong. My lactation consultant worked with me and she did check for a tongue tie on my baby. She did not see anything obvious. When I went back to her for another follow up with her and it was obvious that my baby was still not taking an adequate amount of milk from me, she put me in touch with a speech therapist. I consulted with a speech therapist who was able to tell me that my baby’s tongue was indeed tight but not in need of clipping. She further told me that with age, my baby’s tongue would stretch and she even showed me some exercises to help strengthen her back and neck which would help my baby’s tongue “stretch.” What she had me do is put my baby in a chair (bouncy chair, infant car seat) and hold her hands in front of her and “pull” her forward. Most babies heads lag behind, meaning that as you are pulling them forward, their head is not aligned with their body . It lags behind..hopefully you understand what I’m saying. Anyway, I did this as a game a couple times a day until my baby’s head / neck got strong enough to stay aligned with her body as I pulled her forward. You can also do this from lying down as well. Pull the baby up, hold his hands in front of him.

    • My daughter has refulx to the point that we had to resort to medication.. which I absolutely HATE! She screamed CONSTANTLY for the first 2 months of life she gagged and choked frequently but never spit up. She would eat only enough to take the edge off of her hunger. She NEVER slept.. which sounds impossible but is true. We just assumed something in the formula was bothering her. We changed her formula SO many times.. under the supervision of her ped. We spent the last two weeks before she was diagnosed with refulx giving her Elecare.. a hypoallergenic medical-grade formula. No change in formula made a difference. Her ped suggested that it was a true case of Colic. Most babies that have “colic” don’t actually have it. She cried CONSTANTLY though and colic usually comes and goes throughout the day. My ped finally suggested that maybe she had “silent refulx” (refulx that does not amount to spitting up.. just burning in the throat.. gagging.. choking.. etc) We tried every natural “cure” for refulx. An easy-to-digest formula, raising her mattress, sleeping her sitting up in her bouncy chair, not laying her down for 30 mins after eating, and so on and so on. Nothing made a difference. At around this time.. the refulx became not so silent. She began spitting up all of the time on top of the screaming. Our ped suggested Prevacid. She took that for a week no help. He then switched her to Zantac (twice daily) and Reglan (4 times daily). Bingo after the second dose of both!!! She is now a happy, healthy little girl who sleeps through the night. After getting her refulx under control.. we switched her to an organic milk-based formula (which I wanted her on from the beginning) and she is doing perfect!Reflux meds are a pain though! I don’t suggest them unless your little one is extremely uncomfortable. We have to give her her Reglan four times daily, each 30 minutes before a feeding. That is extremely difficult to keep up with and in case you haven’t experienced this, 3- month-olds don’t always give you 30 mins notice . She is usually screaming in hunger by the time we wait the 30 mins which is particularly wonderful if we are in public.. haha.Some babies are “happy spitters”. In fact, most babies DO spit up regularly. If your baby doesn’t have regular feeding or sleeping problems I wouldn’t worry about the spit up. If he seems particularly uncomfortable.. you might ought to look into some treatment. Good luck to you!

  2. Me? A tongue tie? What’s that? I never noticed anything odd about my mouth… My mouth looked “normal” to me. I mean, it was no different than my mom’s mouth, my sisters and brother’s mouth, my dad’s mouth, or my husband’s mouth. Of course, I discovered at that point that everyone in my family has a tongue tie, as does my husband, which is why what I thought was normal was in fact, not. According to the dentist, Lee also had an upper labial frenulum, also known as a lip tie, and for a nice fee of 75 dollars cash, the dentist snipped them both. The procedure took less than a minute total, required no anasthesia or stitches, and the dentist instructed me to nurse as soon as he was finished, and by the time the nursing session was over, there was no blood in sight. And might I mention that nursing was a breeze thereafter; all the pain disappeared, and we had a nice long nursing relationship until Lee was 19 months old and I was 5 months pregnant with Ike.