Cow’s milk allergies
Some babies have a reaction to the proteins in cow’s milk. If your baby is allergic, they’re likely to show some of the following symptoms straight away:
- Not feeding well, and therefore not putting on weight
- Problems with their poo, either diarrhoea or constipation
- Red itchy lumps (hives) on their body
- A red, itchy rash around their mouth
- Swollen eyes, face or lips
- Runny nose
- Reflux or vomiting
If you’re breastfeeding, traces of what you eat and drink remain in your breastmilk. So if your baby is sensitive to a particular food, it may affect them. If you think that dairy is affecting your baby, talk to your health visitor or GP so that they can investigate all the possible causes of your baby’s symptoms and make sure your baby gets the right treatment. They might advise you to cut out dairy from your diet (at least for a few weeks to see if your baby’s symptoms improve), but will help you to ensure that as a breastfeeding mum, you’re still getting the healthy balanced diet you need.
If you’re not breastfeeding or are mixing breastfeeding with formula feeding, and your baby has some or all the above symptoms, go and see your GP who may prescribe a specialist formula. You may also require a referral to a dietitian, who can advise and support you.
Other animal milks (for example goat’s milk or sheep’s milk) won’t be suitable because children who are allergic to cow’s milk are very likely to be allergic to other animal milks too.
Before giving your baby alternative milks (such as plant based milk) speak to a health professional.
Some mums worry about eating peanuts while breastfeeding, in case their baby goes on to develop a peanut allergy. In fact, there’s no scientific evidence to support this.
Some research suggests that continuing to breastfeed while introducing solids may protect your baby against developing food allergies.