Milk allergies are uncommon in young babies, affecting only about one in hundred babies. True intolerance to milk is very rare and is very uncommon in babies whose parents do not have any milk allergies and in whose the only symptom is crying.
A baby who is severely allergic to milk will vomit out the milk and will have bloody, loose and watery stools tinged with blood. Less severe reactions include occasional vomiting and loose mucous stools. Other symptoms include hives, eczema and nasal discharge. If you are suspecting allergy, discuss it first with your doctor. If you do not have a history of allergies and there is no other symptom other than crying then in all probability your baby is suffering from colic. Here are some tips on dealing with milk allergies.
Dealing With Milk Allergies in Babies
Change of Formula Milk
Change over to a formula, which has hydrolysate, in which the milk protein is partly broken down or pre-digested. Even soya can be recommended. Once the switch has been made see how the baby responds. If the crying has stopped with the cessation of other symptoms then it is probably a milk allergy. Do a trial and error to establish the allergy. Give the baby formula milk again to see if the symptoms occur. This will help you arrive at a more accurate diagnosis.
Allergy to Soya
Since soya milk has a more potent concentration of protein, some babies can even be allergic to it. In such cases, it is better to give the baby formula, which is high on hydrolysate. This also indicates that the baby has an extremely immature digestive system.
Some infants are born with an enzyme deficiency such as the enzyme lactase, which prevents the infants from digesting the milk. Such a child has persistent diarrhoea right from birth and is unable to gain weight properly. Formula milk, which has little or no lactose, should help the baby to gain weight. A congenital enzyme deficiency if often permanent and cannot be rectified. The child will have to live on milk free products for the rest of his/her life. He/she will not be able to tolerate normal milk products and will have to partake calcium in other forms.
Allergy to Cow’s Milk
Many infants develop an allergy to cow’s milk, which is why most doctors recommend starting the infant on cow’s milk only after the first birthday.
Allergy to Breast Milk
Very few babies are allergic to breast milk and this sort of allergy is termed as allergic colitis. It is accompanied by fussing, crying, vomiting, diarrhoea and pain. Research has said that the baby becomes sensitized to certain foods in the mother’s diet during pregnancy, which leads to allergies after birth. In such cases, it is better to eliminate certain foods from your diet while you are breast-feeding the child as these could lead to a potential allergy. Once you have identified the culprits, eliminate them for a week and see if your baby’s condition improves significantly.