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Milk Allergy in Babies

Milk Allergy in Babies

There is a small percentage of babies who suffer with a milk allergy (CMPA).  The official statistics being 2% to 5% of all babies.  Although it can often be missed by health professionals and diagnosed as colic. There are a two of types of milk allergies in babies. The first being an immediate reaction which is usually recognised by doctors as it occurs immediately after ingesting the milk.  The second is a delayed immune response to the milk which is a little more difficult to diagnose.

However, there is now a recognition of a milk allergy in babies which does not have an immune reaction but the infant still presents with a sensitivity. This is where the confusion usually occurs when the baby is having a reaction to the milk but often diagnosed as either reflux or colic. 

Symptoms of cows’ milk protein allergy

Symptoms of milk allergies in babies often appear within 14 to 21 days of the baby being exposed to the milk protein.  Although the non-immune reaction can take longer to present in the baby.

A baby with a cows’ milk allergy will usually be miserable all day long, without much reprieve. Excessive, inconsolable crying and what many would describe as “severe colic”.  They also tend to have baby eczema. Here are some of the other symptoms of a cows’ milk protein allergy;

Some of the symptoms include:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • Abdominal pain / trapped wind and gas
  • Skin rash
  • Constipation
  • Mucus/ blood in stools
  • Acid reflux

Special Formula

If your baby has an allergy and you are formula feeding then a specialised milk will be prescribed by your GP or paediatrician.

Some milks will still contain milk proteins although they have been extensively hydrolysed so that it is easier for a baby to digest.

If a baby has an extreme reaction to cows milk protein and unable to tolerate any milk protein then an amino acid formula will be prescribed.

The breastfeeding infant

If you are breastfeeding your baby then after consulting with your GP, you can continue breastfeeding if you eliminate dairy from your diet. Although this is always difficult for anyone, there is now a wide variety of dairy free products available.

Will my child always have an allergy to milk?

The good news is that many babies will grow out of a milk allergy by the time they reach the age of 1 year old. Of course, some children will still not be able to tolerate dairy but a dietician will guide you when you begin weaning.  

If your baby is struggling with colic and you would like to receive expert colic advice then click here to see my virtual colic consultation services

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