All posts in Allergies

Happy Chappy with reflux eventually treated

Hi Dr Ford, just wanted to pop you through a quick message to thank you for the diagnosis of Seth’s reflux last week, initially the losec worked immediately and then he caught a cold so now he is on the mend we are seeing the true effects come through, he is a much happier little fella who will lie down and play now and I’m not stuck carrying him around all day. Can’t believe it took over four months to get the help that we so desperately needed so thank you for helping us and listening when no one else would! I have attached a photo of Seth taken today, please feel free to use my message and or photo on any of your web pages as a testimonial, thanks again Kylee.


Why are my blood results taking so long?

A parent asks “Hi. We would like to know the outcome of our son’s blood tests results. Please email us as soon as possible.”

We reply: “Thank you for your email. It does take a few weeks for some of the tests to come back.
The Laboratory only does some of the blood tests once they have sufficient numbers, so we have to wait.
As soon as all of the tests are available, we will be in touch with the results. Without all of your results, it is not possible to give you an accurate interpretation.
Sorry that it takes so long.” Kind regards.

We send emails of the blood test results as soon as they are all available. Blood test results from the Childrens Clinic and Allergy Centre can take up to 4 weeks to get an interpretation of allergy tests by Dr Rodney Ford.

Skin test results are available immediately during the consultation.



Nobody else would listen

Just got this email from a mum, whose child had food allergy, eczema and constipation, but she was not getting the help she needed:

“Thanks for your time and understanding when nobody else would listen.”

We make a big effort to solve children’s health issues. Cheers Dr Rodney Ford


Happy mother and child

“Dear Dr Ford

Thank you so much for your kind advice and support in managing Jack’s reflux.  When we first came to see you we were quite desperate.  Under your care he returned to the happy boy we were missing. He is now much better and we have seen no sign of his symptoms in many months.

Thank you so much!  Warm regards”

My comment:

Jack had severe gastric reflux (it certainly does exist) and he was intolerant to cow’s milk. With a proper diagnosis and management he got quickly better.  It is always a great feeling to put a smile on the mother and get a chuckle from the baby. 


Omeprazole a crucial medication

Over the last few months I have seen increasing numbers of children being denied Omeprazole for the treatment of their reflux.  These babies are distressed, vomiting, regurgitating, not sleeping and their parents are distraught. 

Omeprazole is a very effective medication for reducing the stomach acid, which causes most of the pain in GORD (Gastro Oesophageal Reflux Disease).  GORD is a serious and common disease.  It needs active treatment.

Unfortunately for the babies and parents, there has been a backlash about prescribing this medication.  Yes, it has certainly been over prescribed previously, but this does not mean that it should now be a banned substance. It seems to me that the current medical mood is to not treat anybody with reflux at all.  Surely this must be an over-reaction. 

Yes, to me this seems to be an exaggerated response to a problem of over-prescription of this medication.  Omeprazole is a crucial medication to effectively reduce stomach acid  – this gives huge relief to babies and children who are in pain from acid reflux, and also much needed relief for the parents who are dealing with children in chronic pain.

Everyday in our ‘Childrens Clinic’, we see distressed parents with upset children, telling me that they were not allowed to have their child on Omeprazole.  I think this is wrong.  If these children need this medication then it should be prescribed – of course, in the smallest dose that works, and for the shortest time it is needed.

Yes, it is important to ensure that this is the appropriate medication for the child.  It has to be carefully prescribed and monitored. Last week, one parent was told by a medial specialist “It doesn’t matter your baby is suffering pain because babies don’t remember the pain.”  She was also  told to “harden up” and get used to it.

I am horrified to hear this – I think this is atrocious advice. I don’t think children should unnecessarily suffer pain.  If they have severe reflux pain then I think it needs to be treated … and the most effective medication is Omeprazole. ( read more on this link about omeprazole)  


It is easy to blame the mother

In clinic. Just seen a distressed mum and a distressed baby boy, 10-month old. He is not sleeping,  crying,  screaming and waking every hour or so. Also, not eating and will only suckle from the breast. He’s not growing, he’s losing weight. Mother has sought help from a lot of different doctors and a paediatrician – she says she feels blamed for her child illness.

“Every time I go along to the doctors, I feel bashed down. It’s like hitting my head against a brick wall.  I began to think that I must be going insane. I became suspicious that it was all in my head.”

Yes.  It is all so easy to blame the mother … or blame the child for bad behavior.

But this baby has gastro-oesophageal reflux disease. He screams with food. He had colic and reflux early on. He needs medication to treat his heartburn. I expect him to be better very soon. We need to treat children seriously … it is not okay to blame the mothers.

The Childrens Clinic helps lots of these misunderstood families

Dr Rodney Ford


Next best after breast milk – what formula?

What Formula should my baby have?  This is the desperate question that many mothers ask me.  They know that cow’s milk is making their baby sick, and now they are searching for the best alternative.  They are ready to wean, but they are unaware of the various choices and what will best suit their baby.

Correct formula feeding is very important

There is no question that “breast is best”. However, it is important that a “next-best” option is available. This is otherwise known as artificial or formula feeding. The decision of how to feed a new baby is not a menu choice.  Formula feeding is not equivalent to breast feeding.  But it is an important strategy in some food allergy children.

What is a “Formula”?

A formula is a combination of food components that are manufactured to be as close as possible to the food value of breastmilk. At this stage these formulas do not have the same biological advantages of breastmilk and will never capture to depth of breast feeding.  However, they are an important part of nourishing children.

Possible food and nutritional components in formula

  • Protein: Cow’s milk casein & whey (standard cow’s milk formulas).
  • Goat milk casein & whey. (Karicare Goat)
  • Cow’s milk hydrolysates. (Pepti-Junior)
  • Amino acids (Neocate, Elecare)
  • Soy protein (Karicare soy, Infasoy S26)
  • Carbohydrates: Lactose, Glucose, Corn starch
  • Fats: Polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA)
  • Minerals (calcium, iron) and vitamins
  • Fibre and prebiotics.
  • Added thickeners (the AR anti-reflux milks)
  • Water

Some concerns of formula feeding

Infection: sterilization of bottles, teats, storage of made up milk.

Cow’s Milk Intolerance: 5% of infants develop cow’s milk intolerance. As up to 40% of infants with gastro-oesophageal reflux have been shown to have cow’s milk intolerance.

Anaemia: unmodified cows milk feeding is associated with iron deficiency anaemia.

Obesity: growth rates of formula fed babies is faster. Feeding may not be well regulated.

Intestinal flora: lactobacillus, acidophilus growth is important.

What Formula are available for my baby?

Breastfeed for as long as you can. Breast milk exclusively to 4-5 months and then add solids from 5 months – keep breastfeeding to 12 months if possible.  But there comes a time when formula feeding is a good for your baby.  What are your options?

 Cow’s milk

  • Standard cows milk formulas are based combinations of casein whey proteins.
  • Whey-based formula are usually recommended for a start. 
  • Follow-on formulas have a little more iron and are for babies over 6-months old.
  • Anti-reflux (AR) formulas have added thickeners to help reduce vomiting.
  • Lactose-free formulas are for lactose intolerance but not for babies allergic to cow milk

Other formulas (see dairy free formula)

  • Goat milk (can have similar problems to cow’s milk)
  • Soy milk (needs to be fortified – some concerns with phyto-oestrogens)
  • Rice “milk” (lacks adequate proteins)
  • Special milks (see Special milk formula):
       Partial cow’s milk hydrolysates (known as HA hypo-allergenic formula).
       Extensive cow’s milk hydrolysates (such as Pepti-Junior)
       Amino acids based formula (such as Neocate and Elecare).

 We can help you work out the best formula for your child at the Childrens Clinic | Allergy Centre


Unsettled baby syndrome! Rubbish

Lilly, by four days old, she was constantly screaming, distressed, and hard to feed.  She was going rigid and vomiting. She developed eczema and had intermittent blotchy red rashes.

Her local paediatrican gave her an odd diagnosis of the  “unsettled baby syndrome” – he said that there was nothing wrong, and that she was a “normal’ baby. Lilly’s mother was amazed and felt frustrated.

At the Childrens Clinic, we made the diagnosis of gastric reflux from a cow’s milk allergy. We put this poor Lilly on a special dairy-free formula (Neocate).

She is now “a different baby”.  She is smiling, gaining weight, and her rashes have gone.

“Unsettled baby syndrome” was a ridiculous diagnostic label. It means nothing and was of no comfort or use to her parents.


Food colours/additive hyperactive worry

At least 60 food additives used in our foods which are questionable in terms of safety, or at worse, known to be harmful.

This has been highlighted by this campaign:

Food additive colours on to-be-banned list are:
102, 104, 110, 122, 124, 129

Avoid these dangerous food additives




Five years ago, studies from the University of Southampton UK (2007) confirmed that these 6 colours could cause hyperactivity in children.

As a result of this research, these 6 colours are being removed from ALL foods in the UK.  But they a still in many of the coloured food in New Zealand.
For your children’s sake, please keep these harmful food additives out of their diet.


GORD (Gastro-Oesophageal Reflux Disease) caused by milk allergy

Cows Milk Protein Allergy (CMPA) is the underlying cause in up to 40% of infants suffering from gastric reflux.

A recent review of GORD and treatment with acid suppression stresses that Cows Milk Protein Allergy (CMPA) is the underlying cause in up to 40% of infants referred for specialist management of GORD (Gastro-Oesophageal Reflux Disease) – yes, this is more evidence that gastric reflux is often caused by a food allergy/intolerance. Check this out.  Special infant formulas are often needed.  If your child has continuing gastric reflux symptoms, then a CMPA or a gluten sensitivity could be the problem.  Get tested.