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How To Treat Milk Allergy In Babies

Digestive: Blood And/or Mucus In The Stool

Cows Milk Protein Allergy in Infants – Dr. Aliza Solomon

Blood in the stool is a likely sign of CMA in infants. The blood results from inflammation in the gut. It can appear in the diaper as either red or black. Red blood means the bleeding is in the lower end of the gut. Black color usually signals bleeding higher up, like from uncontrolled reflux. If you notice red or black in your babys diaper, call the doctor.

Mucus looks like what comes out of your nose when you have a cold or runny nose. It looks sticky when you open the diaper. A little bit can be normal, but if you see a lot or it lasts a while, it can signal a food allergy.

Dietary Restrictions For Cows Milk Allergy Should Be Supervised

Exclusion and reintroduction of cow’s milk and other dairy foods should only be undertaken with advice from a medical specialist , particularly in cases of anaphylaxis. If long-term exclusion is required, an alternative source of calcium and protein is needed, to ensure adequate nutrition and growth.

Excluding foods from the diet during breastfeeding is rarely required, and if recommended, the maternal nutritional intake should be supervised, assessed and reviewed by a dietitian. Assessment and review by a dietitian is also recommended for babies and children who need to exclude cows milk and other dairy foods.

Your Healthcare Provider Can Help

Cow’s milk allergy is most likely to develop during a baby’s first year. Because the incidence of food allergies is on the rise they’re on many parents’ radars. However, they can also be misdiagnosed by well-meaning parents trying to soothe an uncomfortable infant. That’s why it’s especially important to speak to your baby’s doctor if you suspect a food allergy. They’ll be able to do a full exam, take a history of all symptoms and even refer you to an allergist.

My Child’s Symptom Diary Log

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What Are The Signs & Symptoms Of A Milk Allergy

In children who show symptoms shortly after they have milk, an allergic reaction can cause:

  • wheezing
  • swelling
  • a drop in blood pressure causing lightheadedness or loss of consciousness

The severity of allergic reactions to milk can vary. The same child can react differently with each exposure. This means that even though one reaction was mild, the next could be more severe and even life-threatening.

Children also can have:

  • an intolerance to milk in which symptoms such as loose stools, blood in the stool, refusal to eat, or irritability or colic appear hours to days later
  • lactose intolerance, which is when the body has trouble digesting milk

If you’re not sure if your child has an intolerance versus an allergy, talk to your doctor.

What If My Doctor Says I Should Stop Breastfeeding

Milk Allergy in Infants

Some doctors are concerned that an exclusion diet isnt healthy for mother or baby and advise that weaning baby to a specially modified formula would be better for both. However theres no evidence that industrially made hydrolysed or elemental prescription formulas are better for the prevention of allergy in preference to exclusive breastfeeding2728and poor bone health has been reported with exclusive use of certain specialist formulas29 While it can be challenging to follow an elimination diet, with careful supervision and help from a dietitian it can still be a healthy diet. Breast milk will be easier for your baby to digest and contains all the other benefits of breast milk.

Excerpt from

Will My Breast Milk Still Nourish My Baby? Infant Proctocolitis FAQs, 2018

Absolutely! Your body makes sure that your breast milk contains all of the essential nutrients, antibodies and other factors your baby needs to grow and develop. Even though you may feel your diet is missing something, chances are that you are getting all the nutrients you need from the foods you are still able to eat. Even in mothers who do not have enough food to eat, levels of micronutrients such as folate, calcium, iron, copper and zinc in their breast milk remain relatively high. A multi-vitamin is a good idea for all breastfeeding mothers, and taking 500 mg of Calcium twice a day with meals plus 1,000 to 2,000 IUs of vitamin D3 will help protect your bone health while you are avoiding dairy.

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Signs Of Dairy Allergies In Infants

Dairy allergies in infants are common, and can often lead to digestive issues such as colic. However, infants may also present with symptoms that arent tied to their tummiesfrom eczema to hives, a rash is one of many side effects of a cows milk allergy. If your baby exhibits a rash or multiple symptoms after drinking cows milk, it could be an allergy you should seek help for right away. Talk to your pediatrician immediately if your child displays any of these signs:

If your child has been diagnosed with a milk allergy, youll need to take a few extra precautions. In addition to identifying triggers like milk products and learning when they may appear in other foods or drinks, be sure that any caregivers or people working around your child are aware of his allergy. Youll also want to keep an epinephrine injector nearby just in case. If a reaction occurs, it will hopefully be minor and manageable if you act quickly however, severe symptoms can lead to breathing difficulties, which can be fatal without treatment.

How Do You Treat A Milk Allergy

If your child is having a mild reaction to milk for the first time, such as hives, you should monitor them closely and see your doctor as soon as possible. If the reaction progresses or involves more than one symptom, you should call 911.

At the hospital, your child may be treated with epinephrine, a life-saving drug that stops the reaction. They may also be given secondary medications, such as steroids and antihistamines, to treat residual symptoms like hives and wheezing.

Epinephrine is available for home use in an auto-injector . Once your child is diagnosed with a milk allergy, you should always have an EpiPen on hand and make sure that everyone who takes care of your child knows how to use it. At the first sign of a serious reaction, you should give the child an EpiPen and call 911.

If theres any doubt in your mind about what you should do, administer the EpiPen, says Triassi Asper. We know that delaying treatment with epinephrine can lead to a higher incidence of death and poor outcomes.

If youre certain that your child is not experiencing anaphylaxis and their symptoms are bothering them, you can give them an antihistamine.

Recommended Reading: Do You Get A Fever With Allergies

What Should I Do

Ask the healthcare team! The ideal way they confirm the symptoms of a cow milk allergy is to:

  • Remove cow milk from the diet, and
  • Re-introduce cow milk, often under a doctors supervision.

Many doctors wont go past step 1 if signs improve. However, step 2 is the best way to confirm a food allergy. If you add cow milk back to the diet and symptoms reappear, CMA can be diagnosed.

Babies allergic with symptoms of a cow milk allergy who require formula need one thats hypoallergenic, like Neocate® Syneo® Infant. Neocate is safe for babies with food allergies because it contains amino acids, building blocks of protein. Amino acids cant trigger an allergic reaction the way proteins or peptides in other formulas can.

If you suspect CMA, ask your childs doctor for a thorough evaluation. Bring this information with you and ask your doctor if your baby might benefit from Neocate. For more on CMA, check out the following resources:

Allergy To Breast Milk Itself Caused Due To Improper Metabolism:

Common Allergies in Babies and How to Handle Them

Medically, this condition is known as Methylmalonic Acidemia . It is a very rare inherited condition, in which the digestive enzymes do not function properly. It is one type of organic acid disorder, which is caused by defective genes.

Infants with this condition, have problems breaking down and using the proteins and fatty acids from the food they eat. A number of enzymes are required in our body to break down and digest the proteins. When one or more of these enzymes are not working properly or missing in the body, a certain type of protein doesnt get broken down into amino acids , which are easily absorbed by the body.

This results in accumulation of undigested proteins and fats in the body of the infants. Harmful substances like glycine, methylmalonic acid etc. build up in the blood and in urine causing serious problems to health, growth, and learning. This condition can affect both males and females equally.

Read Also: When Should You Take Allergy Medicine

Types Of Breast Milk Allergy In Babies:

When we talk of breast milk allergy in babies, there are two distinct types of allergies that can arise:

#1. Allergy to breast milk itself caused due to improper metabolism.#2. Allergy to breast milk due to the presence of allergens passed into the milk from the mother.

Let us understand more about both types of allergy.

Diagnosing An Underlying Cause

A balanced diet will help prevent common allergy symptoms, including rash and digestive distress. Even if your baby doesnt have an allergy, their overall health may benefit from changing their food options. If you suspect your baby has a milk allergy or intolerance, consult with their doctor immediately. Dont feed them cows milk or dairy products until you know what she needs to stay healthy. Dairy isnt required for adequate nutrition there are plenty of plant-based products fortified with vitamins and minerals.

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Treatments For Milk Allergy

Once your child is confirmed to have a milk allergy, the first step in treatment is avoiding milk and dairy products.

Your childs doctor can give you detailed information on how to read food labels to help you identify and avoid milk protein.

No matter how careful you are, there may be times when your child accidentally ingests milk protein and has a reaction. When that happens, you can treat the symptoms with antihistamines or epinephrine.

If more than one body system is involved in the allergic reaction for example the throat and skin it is recommended to use epinephrine. Epinephrine comes in a variety of forms, including auto-injectors such as Epi-Pen, Auvi-Q and other generic forms.

If your childs reaction is mild and only involves a few hives, an over-the-counter or prescription strength antihistamine can ease their symptoms. Your childs doctor can help you decide which option is best for your child in each circumstance.

Children with milk allergies should carry epinephrine with them, or it should be readily available at places where they routinely spend time, such as school, daycare and home.

Whats The Difference Between A Milk Allergy And Lactose Intolerance

What to Do If Your Baby Is Allergic to Milk or Soy?  Mr. Storkey

While allergy and intolerance are often used interchangeably, they have completely different meanings. Lactose intolerance occurs when you have low levels of the enzyme lactase in your gut to help you break down the carbohydrate lactose in milk. This can cause gastrointestinal symptoms such as bloating, gas and diarrhea.

Milk allergies are very different from lactose intolerance, says Maria Triassi Asper, an allergist at The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto. Although it can cause pain and discomfort, lactose intolerance is not a life-threatening condition, whereas a milk allergy is an allergy to the protein in milk and can cause anaphylaxis, a life-threatening reaction.

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How Common Is Milk Allergy In Babies

Milk allergy is one of the most common conditions in babyhood. As per stats, nearly 7% of babies under 1 year get affected by this allergy.

However, most babies outgrow this condition by the time they reach five years of age and the rest outgrow this condition by the age of 6. For others, this condition can be lifelong.

Signs And Symptoms Of Cmpa

Cows milk protein allergy , also known as cows milk allergy , is a common food allergy . While most babies with CMPA experience digestive problems , skin problems , respiratory symptoms and other more general allergy symptoms can also occur. With such a wide range of symptoms, recognizing CMPA can be a challenge. It is particularly difficult when symptoms are similar to the expected behavior of your baby or when they overlap with other common problems . It is also important to note that not all symptoms will occur immediately after feeding some may be delayed by up to 2 days or even a week.We understand that the symptoms can be distressing, particularly at this time when you are getting to know your baby. CMPA can be easily managed with the correct diet, so getting an early diagnosis is very important. If you suspect your baby may be allergic to cows milk protein, your doctor will guide you through the steps to a final diagnosis.

In the first instance, you should schedule an appointment with your doctor.With this website, we want to provide support so you are prepared for the appointment with your doctor, and we hope to answer questions you may have related to the diagnosis and the appropriate management of CMPA .

CMPA presents with multiple and diverse symptoms

92% of infants and young children with CMPA have 2 or more symptoms impacting at least 2 organ systems

CMPA appears during infancyYou should keep breastfeeding even if your baby has CMPAhealthcare professional

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Cows Milk Allergy Is Uncommon

According to a special communication published in JAMA Pediatrics, while 14% of babies are reported to have cows milk allergy, only about 1% actually do have it.

As for the diet restrictions for breastfeeding mothers, the authors report that those are likely not necessary, even if there is an IgE-mediated allergy. So many mothers are putting their nutrition at risk, or stopping breastfeeding, for no good reason.

Its also worrisome that in 81% of the published guidelines on cows milk allergy, the authors of the guidelines reported a conflict of interest with formula manufacturers. This does not mean that the guidelines arent good or accurate, but its troubling that the formula manufacturers are supporting so much of the research.

If your baby has been diagnosed with cows milk allergy, and you have changed your babys diet or your own, dont stop these changes without talking to your childs doctor. But definitely talk to the doctor, and be sure that you understand exactly why your baby has the diagnosis and whether any further evaluation makes sense.

Follow me on Twitter @drClaire

About the Author

Claire McCarthy, MD, Senior Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

How Does A Lactose Intolerance Affect Breastfeeding And Formula Feeding

Webinar: Cows milk protein allergy in babies: what is it and how to manage it

If diagnostic testing confirms a lactose intolerance, dont immediately panic and stop breastfeeding. Whether youre able to continue breastfeeding depends on the type of lactase deficiency.

For example, if your baby develops a lactose intolerance after a viral illness, the general recommendation is to continue breastfeeding. Breast milk can give their immune system a boost and help heal their gut.

If your infant has developmental lactase deficiency due to a premature birth, this condition only lasts a few weeks or months. So your baby may eventually drink milk-based formula or breast milk with no problem, although youll need to use lactose-free infant formula in the meantime.

But breastfeeding isnt an option if your baby has a congenital lactase deficiency. The lactose in your breast milk can cause severe diarrhea and lead to dehydration and electrolyte loss. Youll need to feed your baby with lactose-free infant formula.

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Natural Ways To Manage A Milk Allergy

1. Follow a Dairy-Free Diet

Following a truly dairy-free diet is the surest way to avoid milk allergy symptoms. According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, Avoidance of milk or items containing milk products is the only way to manage a milk allergy. Plus, there are Dairy-Free Diet Benefits even if you dont have a milk allergy!

So the best way to deal with a milk allergy from both a conventional and natural perspective is to avoid dairy products and also any other products that contain milk protein. Looking at a list of dairy products can be helpful if youre not sure what to avoid. As I mentioned earlier, its always key to read food labels, even of dairy- free foods because not all of them are truly dairy-free!

2. Know the Obvious Things to Avoid

This goes along with a dairy-free diet, which is THE best way to deal with a dairy allergy. You cant follow a dairy-free diet if you dont educate yourself on what you need to avoid! If you have a milk allergy, its not just milk you have to abstain from. For example, is butter dairy? Yes, it is. There are a lot of products that you may or may not expect to be on the list of foods that contain dairy. You also need to avoid products that contain milk or any of the ingredients below if you want to steer clear of an allergic reaction.

If you have a milk allergy, you should avoid foods that contain milk or any of these ingredients:

3. Know The Less Obvious Things To Avoid

6. Breast-Feeding for Babies

What Is A Milk Allergy

When a baby is allergic to milk, it means that his or her immune system, which normally fights infections, overreacts to proteins in cow’s milk. Every time the child has milk, the body thinks these proteins are harmful invaders and works hard to fight them. This causes an allergic reaction in which the body releases chemicals like .

Cow’s milk is in most baby formulas. Babies with a milk allergy often show their first symptoms days to weeks after they first get cow milk-based formula. Breastfed infants have a lower risk of having a milk allergy than formula-fed babies.

People of any age can have a milk allergy, but it’s more common in young children. Many kids outgrow it, but some don’t.

If your baby has a milk allergy, keep two epinephrine auto-injectors on hand in case of a severe reaction . An epinephrine auto-injector is an easy-to-use prescription medicine that comes in a container about the size of a large pen. Your doctor will show you how to use it.

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