Quick Tips to Prevent Infant Milk Allergy
Infants sometimes can be fussy with food and end up with loose stools. However, if this happens time and again, it might be a sign of milk allergy. Milk allergy is common among babies, affecting 2% to 3% of them. While most of them outgrow it by the time they are 2 or 3 years, for some – milk allergy remains throughout their lives.
Infants who are breastfed are less likely to develop milk allergy, than those who are not. Hence, breastfeeding is the best way to prevent milk allergy in the baby.
What Causes Infant Milk Allergy ?
Milk allergy is caused when the immune system perceives the milk proteins as harmful and reacts against it. This results in an allergic reaction. Infants with milk allergy can also be allergic to cow’s milk, goat milk and sheep milk.
Symptoms of Milk Allergy:
Following are the symptoms of dairy allergy among infants:
- Being extremely fussy and irritable
- Refusal of food
- Upset stomach
- Stools containing blood
Many people confuse milk allergy with lactose intolerance, which are very different from each other. Lactose intolerance is caused due to the inability of the digestive system to breakdown the enzyme lactose, while milk allergy is caused due to the immune system response to the milk protein.
Allergy Testing for Milk Allergy:
Blood test (RAST) or allergy skin test can help in determining if your infant has an allergy to milk. Following this, you can find ways to keep away milk products from your infant.
Oral Food Challenge:
Your doctor would ask you to completely eliminate milk from your baby’s diet. After certain period of time, you would be asked to re-introduce milk into the baby’s diet. If your baby shows signs of allergy after re-introducing, then your baby might be allergic to milk
Preventing Milk Allergy:
- Choose alternatives to milk. Hypoallergenic formulas or soy-protein based formulas can be helpful to prevent milk allergy among infants
- If the mother is breastfeeding, and the baby has milk allergy, the mother should avoid consuming milk and milk products. This is because the milk protein can be transferred from the mother to the baby, causing allergy
- Read the labels and avoid the products which contain milk
Milk allergy can be very bothersome to the baby and the mother. However, proper diagnosis and treatment by the allergist can be greatly helpful in preventing the allergy.