Tummy troubles, congestion, ear infections, and eczema may be common for many babies. And for some, diet may play a role in their symptoms. Read on to learn about different cow’s milk reactions and possible solutions.
Ashley Weber, ND
Cow’s Milk Protein Allergy
Cow milk protein allergy is an immune reaction to one or several proteins found in cow milk. A confirmed cow milk protein allergy is a serious health condition and affects 2-3% of children under the age of six.
Reactions may be immediate, showing up within hours of cow milk protein ingestion. Signs of milk protein allergy may include swelling of the tongue and mouth, difficulty swallowing, wheezing, vomiting, blood in the stool, severe hives or eczema, and in rare cases, anaphylactic shock.
Children with milk protein allergy must eliminate cow’s milk protein from their diet. Extensively hydrolyzed formula (EHF) is the first line formula for milk protein allergy. As children with cow’s milk protein allergy may also react to goat milk protein, goat’s milk-based foods and goat’s milk formula are not suitable.
Lactose intolerance is a non-immune reaction to the milk sugar, lactose. Lactose intolerance is associated with a deficiency of the enzyme lactase. Inadequate breakdown of lactose may lead to digestive symptoms, such as diarrhea, abdominal pain, gas and bloating.
While lactose intolerance is more common in older children and adults, the American Academy of Pediatrics says that it is uncommon before 2 or 3 years of age.
Children with confirmed lactose intolerance must eliminate lactose from their diet. Soy formula is the first line choice for formula-fed babies with congenital lactase deficiency.
Cow Milk Sensitivity
Cow milk sensitivity is not as well defined as cow’s milk protein allergy and lactose intolerance. However, parental observations suggest that many little ones may have one or multiple symptoms related to cow milk – many more than can be attributed to cow’s milk protein allergy and lactose intolerance.
The underlying mechanism of cow milk sensitivity is unknown; symptoms may include constipation, diarrhea, chronic nasal or chest congestion, eczema and, recurrent ear infections after consuming cow milk.
Identify and manage cow’s milk reactions
It may be difficult to tell the difference between cow’s milk protein allergy, lactose intolerance and cow milk sensitivity. Always work with your health professional to ensure an accurate diagnosis.
For parents, keeping a diet diary and tracking symptoms may help to identify a potential food trigger such as cow milk, and may be especially useful in delayed reactions.
The solution for your child’s symptoms will depend on the cause. For those with cow milk sensitivity, goat milk* may be a solution. KABRITA Goat Milk Toddler Formula* is gentle on tiny tummies and fortified with 22 vitamins and minerals including folic acid, iron, and DHA and ARA.
If you’d like to see if KABRITA Goat Milk Formula* is right for your family, check out our Special Offer.
*Not suitable for children with cow milk protein allergy
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