COW’S MILK PROTEIN ALLERGY

Support and Advice for Dealing with a Baby with a Cow's Milk Allergy

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Cow’s milk protein allergy

Food allergies and intolerances are very common in the first year of life, as the immune and digestive systems are still developing. There is no “cure” for a cow’s milk protein allergy (CMPA), although fortunately most babies will grow out of their allergy as their digestive and immune systems mature. Here are some tips to help manage your baby’s CMPA:

  • Avoid all dairy and foods containing cow’s milk protein. If your baby is breastfeeding, you may need to eliminate cow’s milk protein from your diet. If you are formula feeding, your health care professional can recommend a suitable formula for your baby. Speak to your doctor or dietician for help on adjusting yours or your baby’s diet.
  • Once your baby transitions to solids, you will need to take extra care, particularly if eating even tiny amount of cow’s milk protein causes a reaction.
  • Avoid any foods or cutlery that could have been contaminated with cow’s milk protein.
  • Read labels on all foods. Be aware that some foods have different names, such as whey or casein for cow’s milk protein. The 10 most common allergens need to be stated on food labels by law.
  • Take extra care when you eat out. Emphasise how important it is that food is free of cow’s milk protein. Ask questions such as the ingredients in each dish, how it was prepared, the risk of contamination etc. Many restaurants are able to cater to special dietary requirements, although be aware that sometimes they may not know all of the ingredients present in their dishes, such as sauces.

If your baby or child has severe allergic reactions to cow’s milk protein, it’s important to be prepared:

  • Talk to your doctor about an emergency plan to help you recognise and treat symptoms of a severe allergic reaction.
  • Make sure family, babysitters, carers and any other key people are aware of your baby’s allergy and what to do in an emergency.
  • If your baby will be spending time away from you, e.g. childcare, a medic-alert bracelet will help to alert others to their allergy.