Women whose infants suffer from this allergy should limit their own milk intake since the milk protein is passed to the baby via breast milk.
This allergy must not be confused with lactose intolerance which is an adverse reaction to milk sugar present in sheep, goat and cow's milk.
Many adults suffer from it.
Infants with a cow's milk allergy may show symptoms similar to some other food type allergies.
If they are under 4 months and are fed formula, it may be their only food source.
Two types of allergic reactions occur - delayed and immediate.
Immediate reactions will occur practically straight away after a feeding and delayed reactions can occur 3 or 4weeks after the first feeding.
Symptoms may present anywhere from day 1 to six weeks.
Allergies to formula can occur and because of the large numbers of children with cow's milk allergies, manufacturers have developed hypoallergenic formulations that meet FDA standards for minimum infant nutrition requirements.
Some infant formulas are soy based and contain additives because soy milk is naturally deficient in some fatty acids and amino acids that are essential for the proper development of a baby's neurological system.
Milk allergies develop because a baby's immune system erroneously treats milk protein as dangerous and wants to eliminate it and can result in the baby crying, feeling fussy and irritable, developing rash, vomiting, upset stomach and diarrhea and look like colic.
Milk allergies don't disappear as children grow older - symptoms change and older children will develop symptoms other than gastrointestinal reactions.
A doctor should be consulted for this allergy.
Doctors will perform a physical examination and try to determine the existence of a family history of milk allergies.
Changing to a hypoallergenic formula often solves the problem and costly tests are only necessary if the situation persists.
Once the infant has been put on a hypoallergenic formula diet for approximately 1 to 2 weeks, the doctor may ask that the baby be fed a few ounces of normal milk to see what reaction it will have.
If the formula is suitable, the baby will stay on it for the first year.
Mothers who breast feed must limit or refrain from consuming dairy products.
Food manufacturers are required to clearly display, together with the ingredients of a product, if it contains any milk based additives (many food products contain milk based ingredients).
By working together, you and your doctor can identify a suitable alternative diet that will diminish the milk allergy and make life more comfortable for your infant.