Cows Milk Allergy

What is Cows Milk Allergy?

Cows Milk Allergy  (CMA) is an allergy to the proteins which are present in cows milk. It will usually present itself in the first year of a baby’s life but is hard to diagnose as only 1 or 2 children in every 20 will truly have this allergy and often it gets confused with Lactose Intolerance.

CMA  is a food allergy and is caused by the body having an allergic reaction to the proteins in cows milk and cows milk products. With a food allergy  to cows milk products the immune system will overreact to it being eaten and this will cause many symptoms, many of which can be confused with an intolerance to lactose or other common baby issues such as Reflux or Eczema.

Lactose Intolerance is a food intolerance condition where the body is unable to digest and break down the milk sugar lactose which is found in cows milk and cows milk products. This will cause the body to produce it’s own set of symptoms that are very similar to cows milk allergy but will not set off an allergic reaction.

Symptoms of Cows Milk Allergy

The symptoms of CMA can vary from baby to baby. Some babies or children will start to develop symptoms as soon as they have eaten a cows milk product, and with some it can take from 30 minutes to a day or two to have a reaction.

The longer this reaction takes will affect how easy it is to diagnose. A quick reaction time will make it much easier for you to make a connection between the two.

If you are worried that your baby may have CMA  then take a look at the possible symptoms and questions listed below. They include:

  1. Vomiting. Does your baby vomit more when he has had his milk or other dairy based foods compared to feeding him dairy free foods?

  2. Wheezing. Does he begin to wheeze after eating any form of dairy? Has he had any form of breathing problems?

  3. Skin rashes. Does he get a rash after eating dairy? Does he suffer with Eczema?

  4. Colic. Did your baby suffer from Colic? Cows Milk Allergy can cause painful tummy spasms that may have been diagnosed as colic when your baby was very young.

  5. Diarrhoea. Babies tummies are very sensitive and can get loose stools for many reasons including when teething. But it can also occur with CMA. Does your baby have 3 or more very loose bowel movements a day and does this cause pain? Has this continued for longer than 5 days?

  6. Constipation. Does he have a problem passing stools? Does he go longer than 5 days before passing a stool?

  7. Wind. Does your baby get very windy and does it make them cry? Does he get a very bloated tummy?

  8. Poor weight gain. Is your baby’s weight an issue? Does your baby weigh less than he should?

  9. Crying. Does your baby cry for long periods of time? Does this crying begin after a feed? Is it difficult to calm him? Does it wake him when he is sleeping?

If you can answer yes to many of these then your baby may have some form of CMA. As with any medical issue it is always best to go to your Doctor, Midwife or other health care provider to get your baby checked out and to get the correct diagnosis.

What you can do to help get the correct diagnosis?

There are several easy steps that you can take to get all your questions answered and get the right help for your baby.

  1. Keep a dairy. It can really help your doctors give you the much needed and correct treatment for Cows Milk Allergy if you keep a food diary. Every time your child eats or drinks anything, even just a snack, write it in a note book. Write down any affects or symptoms your baby then suffers with after a food was eaten. Log how long it took for these symptoms to start and how long they lasted. You can then show this diary at any appointments or clinics you attend.

  2. Learn more about Cows Milk Allergy from different sources. The internet is now a wonderful place to gain helpful information about almost anything. Also, ask your health care provider about Cows Milk Allergy and ask for any leaflets they may have on it. Join any blogs where you can gain invaluable information from other mums who have been through the same experiences.

  3. Get your baby tested. Go with your gut instincts on your baby’s health. If you think your baby has a problem and you are not getting the right help, ask to have your baby tested for CMA and persist if you are getting told it is not needed. Even if the test comes back negative it will at least put your mind at rest. Other paths can then be explored to find why your baby is having the issues they are.

cows milk allergy

What can I do if my baby has Cows Milk Allergy?

If a positive diagnosis is made then removing cows milk products from your baby’s diet and replacing them with non dairy alternatives should begin to help your baby.

Formula feeding with Cows Milk Allergy

If your baby is formula fed, then using other types of infant formula is best. There are various ones on the market such as soya milk formula or goats milk formula that are still very good for your baby and once you start your baby on a cows milk free formula you should begin to see an improvement in baby. It may take baby’s body up to a week to remove all the cows milk product in their system and for real improvements to be seen.

Breast feeding with Cows Milk Allergy

If you are breast feeding then it’s best for baby if you cut out all dairy in your diet. Cutting out dairy will stop the transfer of any dairy product into your breast milk and with this change you should begin to see a difference in baby within 72 hours.

I hope that my Cows Milk Allergy page has helped give you some useful information about this condition.

As with all health issues regarding your baby, if you are unsure about anything then it is always best to visit your doctor or midwife to get things checked out.

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