A cow’s milk in infancy is described as a reaction that is only triggered by ingesting protein found in cow’s milk. According to a study, about 5-8% of the babies suffer from cow’s milk protein allergy at some point in their lives. The trigger here, obviously, is cow’s milk in a baby’s diet but can also be transferred from a mother’s breast milk.
Cow’s milk allergy happens when a baby’s immune system does not recognize the protein in the cow’s milk. And in response, the baby’s body starts to attack the protein when they eat it.
Cow’s milk allergy develops very early on in a baby’s life. In fact, some of the symptoms of this allergy may start occurring as soon as your baby starts consuming breast milk or formula milk. However, do not confuse this allergy with lactose intolerance. We have a separate article on lactose intolerance.
Here’s what should prompt an evaluation by your pediatrician in case you feel there’s something amiss in your baby.
- Discomfort in feeding
- Blood in stool
- Arching back due to discomfort
- Extreme crankiness or fussiness. Keep in mind that babies tend to get fussy normally but you have to see the difference in extreme fussiness and what your baby normally does.
- At times, acid reflux
- Skin rashes on one part of the body or multiple
- Trouble falling asleep
- When baby seems to be in a lot of pain
- Slow or no weight gain which can be a cause of mal-absorption or due to all the diarrhea and vomiting
- More gas than usual
- Respiratory issues
If you notice some of these issues in your baby recently, it would be a good idea to check with your pediatrician about what could be causing it in your baby.
Also, these symptoms can worsen every time you feed your baby protein. So it is always best to get in touch with your doctor as soon as you find your baby having any of these signs.
Now how can you possibly treat cow’s milk protein allergy?
If your baby is diagnosed with cow’s milk protein allergy, then you must not switch to soy based formula yourself. In 50% cases babies develop an intolerance of soy based formula as well. So always ask your pediatrician before making the switch yourself.
ALSO READ – Do You Know About Food Allergies in Babies
One option that your doctor may give you is that of using extensively hydrolyzed formulas. In such formulas there are very less chances of your baby getting an allergic reaction as the protein are broken down into particles.
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Apart from that, it would be wise for a breastfeeding mother to try and avoid dairy products that could potentially cause an allergic reaction to your baby. If you think part of diet could be responsible for milk protein allergy in your baby then it would be best to change your diet accordingly and see if the symptoms disappear.