'My Breast Milk Almost Killed My Baby'

'My Breast Milk Almost Killed My Baby'

“The pain was excruciating when the doctors tell you to say goodbye to your child. That her body was shutting down and we had no answers.”

“The pain was excruciating when the doctors tell you to say goodbye to your child.  That her body was shutting down and we had no answers.”

When Australian mum Deborah Lemke found her young baby daughter Sienna fighting for her life at just five weeks old, she was beside herself.

As doctors and nurses rushed around trying to save her, it was unclear exactly what was wrong.

It all started when she noticed Sienna getting sick and vomiting more than usual, awake all night screaming. She also had blood in her nappies. 

baby allergic to breastmilk

Mum Deborah felt helpless when her daughter started to fall ill. | Image source: Kidspot

“There were no answers”

“I knew this wasn’t normal being my second child, but I still asked around my mother’s groups with everyone saying it was normal and she would grow out of it.  I wasn’t so sure and felt really uneasy about it, even in my very tired state,’ Deborah told Kidspot.

“I visited the GP and Paediatrician who all said she may just have a virus but, again, mother instinct new it wasn’t true. The next day she was completely unresponsive.  I took her straight to our local emergency room where a team of doctors proceeded to take samples, run tests and ultrasounds.

“I really wanted answers but seeing my beautiful girl being poked and prodded broke my heart. With no answers we were admitted into the ward,” she added.

Two days later, Deborah had reached breaking point. Sienna was getting worse, quicker than the local hospital could handle.  Her weight was dropping fast with more output than input and still no answers.

“I had to do something for her, so I necessitated that they transfer us to the major children’s hospital because we needed help,” she added.

baby allergic to breastmilk

They couldn’t find what was wrong. | Image source: Kidspot

“The pain was excruciating”

After five days, Deborah had to stop breastfeeding and Sienna was placed on a full drip. 

Multiple teams were still working in the background with everything from viruses to internal issues all coming up negative and her daughter was getting sicker by the minute.

“The pain was excruciating when the doctors tell you to say goodbye to your child, just in case.  That when her body was shutting down and we had no answers and there was nothing I could do but watch,” she added.

baby allergic to breastmilk

They discovered her daughter was allergic to breastmilk. | Image source: Kidspot

“She was allergic to my breastmilk”

It was then decided that Deborah should go on a dairy and soy free diet for the possibility her daughter could be allergic to these proteins passed through to her mother’s milk. 

After weeks of ups and downs, the allergy and immunology team confirmed that Sienna was highly allergic to dairy and soy and the small traces in her mother’s breastmilk was making her ill to the point she almost died.

“It was the worst thing being told she was allergic to my breastmilk, that I caused this pain to my own child. 

“I felt devastated that something so natural, that they say ‘breast is best’ almost killed her.  That just having the simplest thing like butter on my toast in the morning, almost killed her and I can’t take that back,” she added.

“Dairy and Soy allergies are very common now.  But it is pretty rare to find someone so young being so severe to just traces from breastmilk,” she continued.

baby allergic to breastmilk

Today at two, Sienna is a healthy girl and so different from her earlier year. | Image source: Kidspot

“I knew something wasn’t right from the start”

Today, Sienna is healthy and well and at two years of age she can now tolerate dairy and soy.

As a consequence, Deborah has started up business Mumento to help inform parents of allergies.

“I knew something wasn’t right from the start and all through the hospital I had to keep fighting for her.  She couldn’t talk so I had to do it for her.  I had to tell them to keep looking that something has to be wrong, that what she was going through wasn’t normal.

“Even though doctors are medical experts, we should push for answers and/or second opinions, however have faith in our medical system.  Sienna was a first case for all doctors involved and we are thankful for their continued efforts that enabled Sienna to be where she is today.”


This article was first published Kidspot and was republished on theAsianparent with permission. 

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