At what age do babies outgrow milk protein allergy

At what age do babies outgrow milk protein allergy

A little percentage of breastfeeding mothers notice an obvious difference in their baby’s behavior and/or health when they eat certain foods. Cow’s milk products are the most common problem foods and the only foods conclusively linked by research to fussiness/gassiness in babies, but some babies do react to other foods. Food sensitivities in breastfed babies are not almost as common as numerous breastfeeding mothers own been led to ponder, however.

If a breastfed baby is sensitive to a specific food, then he may be fussy after feedings, weep inconsolably for endless periods, or sleep little and wake suddenly with obvious discomfort.

There may be a family history of allergies. Other signs of a food allergy may include: rash, hives, eczema, sore bottom, dry skin; wheezing or asthma; congestion or cold-like symptoms; red, itchy eyes; ear infections; irritability, fussiness, colic; intestinal upsets, vomiting, constipation and/or diarrhea, or green stools with mucus or blood.

The severity of a food reaction is generally related to the degree of baby’s sensitivity and to the quantity of the problem food that mom ate—the more food eaten and the greater baby’s sensitivity, the more severe the reaction. Food reactions may happen within minutes, but symptoms in breastfed babies more commonly show up 4-24 hours after exposure.

If baby has an acute reaction to a new food, or to a food that mom ate a large quantity of, then he will probably be back to normal within a couple of hours. If baby is sensitive to a food that mom eats frequently, symptoms may be ongoing.


Dairy sensitivity in babies

Is my baby lactose intolerant?

Image credit: flickr Jules Morgan CC BY 2.0

If your baby is sensitive to dairy products it is highly unlikely that the problem is lactose intolerance, although numerous people may tell you so.

See Is my baby lactose intolerant?

for more information.

Although cow’s milk protein sensitivity and lactose intolerance are not the same thing, they can sometimes happen at the same time, since food allergy can cause secondary lactose intolerance.

Sensitivity to cow’s milk proteins

Breastfed babies who are sensitive to dairy in mom’s diet are sensitive to specific cow’s milk antibodies, in the form of proteins (not lactose), which pass into the mother’s milk. Cow’s milk (either in the mother’s diet or engineered into formula) is a common source of food sensitivity in babies. Cow’s milk sensitivity or allergy can cause colic-like symptoms, eczema, wheezing, vomiting, diarrhea (including bloody diarrhea), constipation, hives, and/or a stuffy, itchy nose.

If your baby is sensitive to dairy in your diet, it will not assist to switch to lactose-free dairy products.

The problem is the cow’s milk proteins, not the lactose. Cooking dairy products may reduce but will not eliminate the allergens.

A significant percentage of babies with cow’s milk protein allergy will also react to soy. Most dairy-allergic babies will also react to goat’s milk or sheep’s milk. Some will also react to beef.

If you ponder that your baby may be sensitive to dairy products in your diet, remember that it can take 10 days to 3 weeks to eliminate cow’s milk protein from your system—allow a full 2-3 weeks of dairy elimination before evaluating the results.

If your baby is only a little sensitive to dairy proteins, you may be capable to relieve baby’s symptoms by eliminating only the obvious sources of dairy (milk, cream, yogurt, butter, cheese, sour cream, ice cream, cottage cheese, etc.); you may even be capable to eat little amounts of dairy without it affecting baby.

If your baby is highly allergic, it will be necessary to eliminate all sources of dairy proteins, which requires a careful reading of food labels.

See the Hidden Dairy “Cheat Sheet” ().

If you’ve cut out dairy because your breastfed baby is sensitive to cow’s milk proteins, you may be capable to phase it back in after a few months. Numerous dairy-sensitive babies outgrow their sensitivity by 6-18 months, and most outgrow it by 3 years.

If you reintroduce dairy into your diet and baby reacts, cut out dairy products again for at least another month. If baby’s allergy to cow’s milk protein via breastmilk is severe, it’s best to wait at least 6 months before trying to reintroduce dairy. For allergic babies, avoiding the allergen makes it less likely that baby will develop a lifelong or life threatening allergy.


What if a specific food appears to be a problem?

If you ponder your baby is reacting to a specific food, then eliminate that food from your diet for 2-3 weeks to see if baby’s symptoms improve.

If baby’s symptoms do improve, then this food may be a problem for your baby. Eliminating a food for less than 2-3 weeks may not be effective—cow’s milk protein, for example, can persist in mom’s body for 1½ – 2 weeks, and it may be another 1½ – 2 weeks before the protein is out of baby’s system.

Baby’s symptoms will generally start to improve within 5-7 days of eliminating a problem food. Your baby may not improve immediately, however, especially if the reaction is to a food that has been a regular part of mom’s diet.

Some babies seem to feel worse for about a week before symptoms start to improve. Sometimes it takes several weeks to see an improvement.

One way to confirm that a specific food is a problem for your baby is to eat that food again to see whether baby has the same reaction. The more severe your baby’s original symptoms, the longer you may wish to wait before reintroducing it into your diet–for a extremely severe reaction you may not reintroduce the food at every. If you reintroduce a food and your baby does not own the same reaction as before, then baby is probably not sensitive to that food. If he does react in the same way, you will desire to limit or avoid this food for a time — until baby is older or in some cases until baby has weaned.

If baby is only a little sensitive to a specific food, you may be capable to simply limit the quantity that you eat, rather than eliminate that food altogether.

Most babies grow out of food sensitivities within several months to a year, but some food allergies persist long-term.


Normal Baby Fussiness

Most baby fussiness is normal for a young baby, and is not related to foods in mom’s diet. If your baby is sensitive to something you are eating, you will most likely notice other symptoms in addition to fussiness, such as excessive spitting up or vomiting, colic, rash or persistent congestion. Fussiness that is not accompanied by other symptoms and calms with more frequent nursing is probably not food-related.

Read more here about normal baby fussiness.


What foods are most likely to be a problem?

Some of the most likely suspects are cow’s milk products, soy, wheat, corn, eggs, and peanuts.

Other suspect foods:

  1. A food that mom recently ate a large quantity of
  2. A new food (if baby’s symptoms are new)
  3. Any food that a family member is allergic to
  4. A food that mom doesn’t love, but is eating while breastfeeding (and/or ate while pregnant) for the benefit of her baby
  5. A food that mom craves, or feels she has to own after a bad day

Conscious likes and dislikes of foods are signals that your body may be reacting to them in an abnormal way.

Keeping a food journal with a record of foods eaten and baby’s behavior/symptoms, with time of day for each, may be helpful when trying to pinpoint a problem food.



Cows’ milk allergy is one of the most common food allergies that infants suffer from during the first year of life.

The condition occurs when the infant’s immune system inappropriately reacts to the protein(s) found in cows’ milk and is said to affect between 2-7.5% of infants.1 Unlike some food allergies most infants will outgrow their milk allergy and in the majority of cases this will happen before their third birthday. 2

Symptoms

Failure of the infants’ immune system to develop tolergenic processes to cows’ milk results in either an IgE mediated reaction resulting in the rapid onset of undesirable symptoms or a non IgE mediated reaction resulting in the more delayed onset of undesirable symptoms. Both allergy mechanisms IgE and Non IgE can affect four major systems of the body with a variety of symptoms, making cow’s milk allergy recognition and diagnosis hard.

3

It is extremely significant to glance at these symptoms together with a excellent family history and also a food diary history as opposed to tackling symptoms individually. The timing of the reaction after eating foods is also extremely significant to determine whether the baby is suffering from IgE or non-IgE mediated allergy. 3

Please note when taking the family history, a history of atopic conditions such as eczema, asthma and rhinitis are extremely significant to note and may help you with the diagnosis as these conditions are within the allergic march.

Eczema and Food Allergy

Eczema is a chronic inflammatory skin disorder.

The cause is complicated and not fully understood with both genetic and environment factors likely to contribute. 4 Defects in the epithelial barrier function result in the infant’s skin being more prone to damage from environmental irritants and allergens. We know that 30% of infants with severe eczema own food allergy 5 and although food allergy does not cause eczema it may exacerbate existing eczema and be a symptom of food allergy. However there is no justification for manipulating the diet or removing food alone, skin care must also be fully optimised through eczema treatment.


References:

  • Host A.

    At what age do babies outgrow milk protein allergy

    Ann. Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2002;89:33–37

  • Fiocchi et al, World Allergy Organization (WAO) Diagnosis and Rationale for Action against Cow’s Milk Allergy (DRACMA) Guidelines, World Allergy Organ J. 2010 Apr; 3(4): 57–161.
  • Vandenplas Y. et al, Guidelines for the diagnosis and management of cow’s milk protein allergy in infants. Arch. Dis. Kid. 2007; 92;902-908
  • Hanifin JM, Rajka R. Diagnostic features of atopic dermatitis. Acta Derm Venereol (Stockh) 1980;92:44–7
  • Sampson HA, McCaskill CCJ Pediatr. Food hypersensitivity and atopic dermatitis: evaluation of 113 patients 1985 Nov; 107(5):669-75.

Avoidance of milk or items containing milk products is the only way to manage a milk allergy.

People who are allergic to milk and the parents of children who own this allergy must read ingredient labels extremely carefully.

Milk is one of eight allergens with specific labeling requirements under the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act of 2004. That law requires manufacturers of packaged food products sold in the U.S. and containing milk as an ingredient to include the presence of milk or milk products, in clear language, on the ingredient label.

There are two main types of milk protein — casein and whey.

Casein, the “solid” part of milk, comprises about 80 percent of milk protein.

At what age do babies outgrow milk protein allergy

Whey proteins, found in the liquid part of milk, make up the other 20 percent. Milk proteins are found in numerous foods, including every dairy products, and in numerous places where they might not be expected. For example, some canned tuna, sausage, meats and other nondairy products may contain casein. Beverage mixes and body-building and energy drinks commonly contain whey. Milk protein has also been found in some chewing gum.

Some companies may voluntarily include information that their food products “may contain traces of milk” or that they are manufactured in a facility that also processes milk, though such advisory statements are not required by law.

Allergies to food (including milk) are the most common causes of anaphylaxis, a potentially life-threatening allergic reaction.

Symptoms include swelling of the airways, impairing the ability to breathe, and a sudden drop in blood pressure, causing dizziness and fainting. An allergist will advise patients with a food allergy to carry an auto-injector containing epinephrine (adrenaline), which is the only treatment for anaphylactic shock, and will teach the patient how to use it.

At what age do babies outgrow milk protein allergy

If a kid has the allergy, teachers and caregivers should be made aware of his or her condition as well.

Some people with this allergy can tolerate foods containing milk that has been extensively heated, such as a baked muffin. Still, people with an allergy to milk protein should consult an allergist before determining whether they should completely avoid milk and other dairy products.

Milk is a fairly simple ingredient to substitute in recipes. Most recipes calling for milk can be just as successful by substituting the equivalent in water, juice, or soy or rice milk.

If your baby is allergic to milk, talk to your pediatrician about which formula to use. Often, an extensively hydrolyzed elemental formula or a casein-hydrolysate formula is recommended for milk allergy in infants, as the proteins in these formulas own been extensively broken below. Alternatively, your infant’s doctor may recommend a soy-based formula.

How closely do I need to watch what I eat?

Most babies own no problems with anything that mom eats.

It’s generally recommended that you eat whatever you love, whenever you love, in the amounts that you love and continue to do this unless you notice an obvious reaction in your baby.

There is no list of “foods that every nursing mom should avoid” because most nursing mothers can eat anything they desire, and because the babies who are sensitive to certain foods are each unique – what bothers one may not annoy another.

Avoidance of milk or items containing milk products is the only way to manage a milk allergy.

People who are allergic to milk and the parents of children who own this allergy must read ingredient labels extremely carefully.

Milk is one of eight allergens with specific labeling requirements under the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act of 2004. That law requires manufacturers of packaged food products sold in the U.S. and containing milk as an ingredient to include the presence of milk or milk products, in clear language, on the ingredient label.

There are two main types of milk protein — casein and whey. Casein, the “solid” part of milk, comprises about 80 percent of milk protein.

At what age do babies outgrow milk protein allergy

Whey proteins, found in the liquid part of milk, make up the other 20 percent. Milk proteins are found in numerous foods, including every dairy products, and in numerous places where they might not be expected. For example, some canned tuna, sausage, meats and other nondairy products may contain casein. Beverage mixes and body-building and energy drinks commonly contain whey. Milk protein has also been found in some chewing gum.

Some companies may voluntarily include information that their food products “may contain traces of milk” or that they are manufactured in a facility that also processes milk, though such advisory statements are not required by law.

Allergies to food (including milk) are the most common causes of anaphylaxis, a potentially life-threatening allergic reaction.

Symptoms include swelling of the airways, impairing the ability to breathe, and a sudden drop in blood pressure, causing dizziness and fainting. An allergist will advise patients with a food allergy to carry an auto-injector containing epinephrine (adrenaline), which is the only treatment for anaphylactic shock, and will teach the patient how to use it.

At what age do babies outgrow milk protein allergy

If a kid has the allergy, teachers and caregivers should be made aware of his or her condition as well.

Some people with this allergy can tolerate foods containing milk that has been extensively heated, such as a baked muffin. Still, people with an allergy to milk protein should consult an allergist before determining whether they should completely avoid milk and other dairy products.

Milk is a fairly simple ingredient to substitute in recipes. Most recipes calling for milk can be just as successful by substituting the equivalent in water, juice, or soy or rice milk. If your baby is allergic to milk, talk to your pediatrician about which formula to use.

Often, an extensively hydrolyzed elemental formula or a casein-hydrolysate formula is recommended for milk allergy in infants, as the proteins in these formulas own been extensively broken below. Alternatively, your infant’s doctor may recommend a soy-based formula.

How closely do I need to watch what I eat?

Most babies own no problems with anything that mom eats. It’s generally recommended that you eat whatever you love, whenever you love, in the amounts that you love and continue to do this unless you notice an obvious reaction in your baby.

There is no list of “foods that every nursing mom should avoid” because most nursing mothers can eat anything they desire, and because the babies who are sensitive to certain foods are each unique – what bothers one may not annoy another.


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