Your baby and food allergies

Cow’s milk allergies

Some babies have a reaction to some of 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
  • Eczema

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 public health nurse (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’ll also need a referral to see a dietitian, who will advise and support you.

Other animal milks (like 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.

Nut allergies

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.

Useful links

Allergy UK – Helpline: 01322 619898


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Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust run’s a confidential secure text messaging service for parents of children aged 0-19 years called Chat Health. The service operates Monday to Friday between 9am and 5pm, excluding bank holidays. All texts will be responded to by a public health nurse (health visitor/school nurse) within 24 hours. Outside of the service working hours, you’ll receive a message back to inform you that your text will be responded to once the line reopens.

Should you require urgent health advice in the meantime, please contact your GP, visit an NHS walk-in centre or call NHS 111. For emergencies, dial 999 or visit A&E.

Leicester City: text 07520 615381

Leicestershire & Rutland: text 07520 615382

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