Cow's Milk Allergy
Will my baby require a special diet?
Babies generally don’t outgrow this condition until closer to 1 year of age. As such, when solids are introduced (between 4-6 months), parents/caregivers should avoid giving the baby any products with dairy (yogurt, cheese etc.) until the CMA has resolved.
Will my baby require vitamin or mineral supplements?
If a baby does not outgrow CMA by one year of age, it’s worthwhile scheduling a visit to see a dietitian to ensure the baby has a nutritionally complete diet. It’s possible that without dairy in the diet, baby may be missing specific vitamins/minerals, such as calcium. A dietitian can review the baby’s diet and determine if any supplementation is needed. The goal is to modify the diet to incorporate the missing vitamins/minerals through food sources; supplements can be challenging to take at an early age.
How can I avoid a reaction outside of the home?
Usually, this condition resolves by the age of one. However, if a baby is in daycare before CMA has resolved, the teachers/childcare providers should be aware of CMA and keep the baby’s diet dairy-free.
Is this a life-long allergy?
Babies and young children outgrow CMA, usually by the time they turn one. 99% of CMA are resolved by six years old. Introducing dairy back into the diet typically happens around 9-12 months of age. If symptoms recur at that time, dairy should be removed again. Dairy can be reintroduced every three months thereafter until tolerated. Always consult your doctor or dietitian before reintroducing dairy in your child’s diet.
Will my baby be able to meet all their developmental milestones?
Yes. Having CMA does not impact a baby’s ability to reach developmental milestones. Once cow milk protein is removed from the diet, and the baby is getting good nutrition (and good hydration), they will grow and meet their milestones.
Can my baby develop health complications because of CMA?
Most babies with CMA are otherwise healthy. Even before a CMA diagnosis, depending on the severity of the reaction, they usually continue to grow well.
Having CMA alone does not significantly increase the risk of developing classic (IgE) allergies later in life. Approximately 4% of children will develop classic allergies later on, as is more commonly seen in children with CMA and eczema/atopy. However, children may be able to outgrow these classic allergies as well.
Who do I see if I suspect a cow’s milk allergy?
If you suspect a CMA, consult with your family doctor or paediatrician. Either healthcare provider can confirm, rule out and give you advice on a CMA.
It’s helpful to take pictures of the baby’s poop when you see blood and show these to your baby’s family doctor or paediatrician. If your baby is not doing well (pale, lethargic, dehydrated, febrile, etc.), please go to the emergency department for care.
Should I keep a food diary?
If you are breastfeeding and see blood in the baby’s poop (or other symptoms of CMA), you can record what YOU ate in the last 48 hours leading up to the event. If there has not been a diagnosis made yet, it will help identify the culprit proteins. If your baby has received a diagnosis and a symptom recurs, a food diary will help determine if the problem was accidentally eating dairy protein or if a new food protein is causing symptoms.
Scan food labels
For breastfeeding moms, once you remove milk protein, it is important to follow a strict dairy-free diet. Reading food packaging labels will help ensure you avoid eating food products that contain milk protein.