Worried About Milk Allergy or Dairy Intolerance?
Welcome to the definitive guide on milk allergy and dairy intolerance in babies, infants and children. In this guide you're going to find out everything you need to know about how to identify, diagnose and understand dairy-intolerance or milk allergy and have all of your questions answered in one place.
When I started researching dairy intolerance for my baby nearly five years ago, I found that there was plenty of information on the Internet, but there was nowhere that had all the information I needed, which meant hours of trawling through websites, articles and forums trying to find the answers to my questions on dairy intolerance. The remedy to this was to write my own article and here it is.
Symptoms of Dairy Intolerance in Babies
So you're concerned that your baby or child may have a dairy intolerance or milk allergy? Maybe your baby or infant has one or more of the following symptoms:
- Showing signs of reflux
- Unsettled and unable to sleep
- Prone to crying fits
- Inability to put on weight
- Has excessive wind
- Stomach pain
- Loose stools
- Frequently vomits up whole feeds
- Runny, green stools
- Raised red blotches on the skin (hives)
One or more of these symptoms can (but does not necessarily) indicate a dairy intolerance. Some of the more extreme symptoms may also indicate a milk allergy.
Note: Another common reaction to a dairy intolerance is eczema.
The symptoms above can be signs of one or more food intolerances. Remember that your baby may have a dairy intolerance in conjunction with intolerances or allergies to other foods. (The son of one of my close friends has both a soy and dairy intolerance, as well as an allergy to eggs.)
The most common food intolerances are to dairy products, soy, and gluten.
In this article, I'm going to focus on dairy intolerance or sensitivity and cover the following areas of concern that you may have:
- Why do babies and children develop food intolerances?
- The difference between an intolerance and an allergy
- Immediate vs delayed reactions
- Lactose or milk protein sensitivity?
- Diagnosis and testing of dairy intolerances
- Foods containing dairy products
- Foods with high calcium levels
Why Do Babies and Children Develop Food Intolerances?
Food intolerances are on the rise and affect between 6-8% of babies and children in western countries. There aren't any firm explanations of why this is happening, but there are a few interesting theories.
- The first is that, on the whole, babies are born and brought up in very sterile environments in western countries, which means they have less exposure to dirt and germs. Because of the lack of "real" threats to fight against, the body turns on itself and starts attacking harmless proteins.
- A second theory is that our bodies are so full of toxic and man-made chemicals that we absorb through our every day environment, that the fetus in the womb becomes overloaded and is subsequently unable to cope with some natural chemicals such as proteins.
- The third and final theory is that, for some unknown reason, babies' bodies are simply not making enough of the enzymes needed to break down various foods.
Dairy Allergy vs Intolerance
The first thing I should explain is that a dairy intolerance is not the same as a milk allergy. Only 1-2% of babies and children will have a full blown allergy. These tend to be more serious and occur when the body sees the food substance, in this case milk, as harmful. The body creates antibodies to fight against the food molecules which results in allergic symptoms.
Milk allergy symptoms can range from vomiting, itchiness, hives, rashes, abdominal pain and diarrhea to asthma, swelling and anaphylaxis. Common foods that can cause an allergic reaction are milk, eggs, shellfish, peanuts and tree nuts. When an allergy causing food is eaten the reaction is usually fairly rapid (within an hour) and so it is quite easy to spot. If there is any shortness of breath or swelling then call your emergency services straight away.
Immediate and Delayed Reactions
Immediate reactions to dairy products occur from a few minutes to a couple of hours after the food has been ingested. These kinds of immediate reactions are more likely to be a milk allergy and are also far more obvious. If your baby continually vomits up all his milk within an hour of feeding, seems to have stomach pain (pulling legs up & very tense body) and is not putting on weight then this is likely to be an allergy and you should speak to your health professional as soon as possible.
Delayed reactions usually occur between 8 - 72 hours and possibly up to 4 days after the food has been eaten. These are more likely to be a dairy intolerance or sensitivity. It's this kind of intolerance that is harder to diagnose because of the long time frame involved. One way of telling the difference between a milk allergy or dairy intolerance is that your baby is likely to still be putting on weight with an intolerance even if they have reflux.
Is Lactose or Milk Protein the Problem?
So you've identified that it's not a milk allergy. However, you still think your baby may have a problem with dairy foods? There are two types of dairy intolerance -- one is a problem with digesting lactose which is the sugar in the milk, and the other is a difficulty in digesting milk protein.
Some babies are intolerant to lactose (milk sugar), some to milk protein. Lactose intolerance is well understood by health professionals and is related to a lack of lactase in the small bowel which is what the body uses to break down lactose.
A baby born with lactose intolerance is likely to grow out of it within a few months as his body starts creating more lactase.
Frequent watery stool, green stool, flatulence, not gaining weight and stomach pain are the main symptoms of lactose intolerance. If your baby is born with this deficiency then he or she will be removed from a diet containing any lactose -- human and cow -- and if you are bottle feeding, then your baby will be given a cow's milk-based, lactose-free formula. This will be done under the supervision of your health practitioner. Aside from simply removing lactose from the diet, there are 3 main tests that can determine if your child is lactose intolerant.
Testing for Lactose intolerance
- The Lactose Intolerance Test. The patient fasts before the test and then is given a lactose drink. Blood samples are then taken over a two hour period to measure the levels of glucose in the blood. This test determines whether the body is breaking down the lactose properly.
- The Hydrogen Breath Test. In this test, the patient is given a lactose drink. The breath is then analysed to determine if there are higher than normal levels of hydrogen being exhaled. When lactose is not digested it ferments in the gut creating hydrogen. This then passes to the blood stream and is exhaled through the lungs.
- Stool Acidity Test. This is the most common test performed for babies under 6 months old. Lactose that is undigested creates lactic acid that will be present in the stool and can be detected by testing.
Note: The first two tests are not used on babies younger than 6 months old.
Milk Protein Intolerance
Milk protein intolerance is less understood and also somewhat harder to test for. There are some tests available to buy on the internet or your doctor may decide to carry them out, but the main way to diagnose it is to eliminate all dairy from your child's diet for two weeks (and yours too if you are breastfeeding) and see what difference it makes. If you are bottle-feeding, see your doctor, health visitor or midwife before trying a soya formula.
Note: In the UK you can get soya, lactose-free and hydrolyzed formulas free on prescription. In the US they may be covered by your health insurance.
If removing dairy from the diet doesn't make a difference, then it may be that your baby is suffering from normal colic which is due to an immature bowel and will right itself in time. It's also possible that your baby is intolerant to other foods in addition to, or instead of, dairy. 35% of babies who have a dairy intolerance will also have a soya intolerance. In these cases, if you are bottle feeding you will need a hydrolyzed or predigested baby formula.
Do be careful about eliminating foods from yours and your infant's diet. Make sure you know what vitamins and minerals are in each food and research alternative sources (there is a list of calcium rich foods below). If you are worried or unsure about anything relating to your child's health it's always best to seek medical advice.
Testing for Milk Protein Intolerance
- Allergy Skin Test. These can be carried out through your doctor or you can buy them on the market to do at home. The test involves pricking the skin with a small pin loaded with milk protein. If a wheal (a swollen red mark) develops, this shows that the body is reacting to milk protein.
- Milk Allergy Test. Another test available also involves taking a very small amount of blood through a pin prick. The levels of IgE (allergy antibodies) are determined and can tell you if there is a sensitivity to milk.
WARNING! There are lots of companies out there saying they can diagnose milk protein and lactose intolerances who show very flimsy or no proof of their reliability. Be particularly wary of ones that offer energy scanning.
Hidden Dairy Products and Good Sources of Calcium
So you've finally found out the problem and discovered your baby or child has a dairy intolerance or milk allergy. Your weekly grocery shop will never be the same! You will become intimately acquainted with every single food that contains a milk product and you will be surprised at how many there are! Ones that were a shock to me included crisps, gravy, stock cubes, bread-crumbed food, cereals, sweets and processed meats,
The best way to cope with buying and cooking food for your child is to make everything fresh and cut out processed foods. I have noticed that most processed foods have some kind of milk product in them as it's used as a flavour enhancer.
- Look out especially for whey and casein which are both derived from cow's milk. Replace cow's milk with soya or rice milk (which can both be used in cooking).
- Dairy-free margarines, yogurts, ice cream and cheese are available in the majority of supermarkets and most of them contain added calcium and other vitamins.
- Goat's milk is also an alternative for some dairy-free children and worth a try.
There are now an array of gluten-free foods so your child will still be able to have treats. The hardest times for our little one (and us) are children's birthday parties. There are so many things she can't eat at them, including the cake, that I always take some treats with us so that she doesn't feel left out. And if we are going to meet with friends I make her food and bring it with us just in case.
Calcium-rich foods include:
- Whole wheat bread
- Green vegetables
- Sesame seeds
- Oily fish such as mackerel, salmon and halibut
- Most soya alternatives and cereals are also fortified with calcium
The hardest thing about dairy intolerance is diagnosing it (and sometimes getting your doctor to listen). Once you know what the problem is, it's easy enough to avoid foods containing dairy and your child will come to know what they can and can't eat too.
Don't take the advice of well-intentioned friends and relatives who may tell you to keep feeding your baby or child dairy because that will help them "grow out of it." This is not true -- it will actually make things worse and could lead onto a full-blown milk allergy. Your child may grow out of their dairy intolerance in time, or they may not. Whatever the outcome, they will still grow up to be healthy and strong and that's the main thing.
My Personal Story
I've been learning all about dairy intolerance for the last four years because, as you may have guessed, I have a child who has it. Coming from a family where we don't even get hay fever, it was quite a shock to find out what was wrong with my beautiful, breastfed baby.
There was no denying it -- my baby was unhappy. She cried all the time, her little legs would constantly be pulling up to her tummy, her body was tense, her sleep pattern was disrupted, she passed wind continuously (100 times a day or more!) and every time she did so, she screamed in pain.
My first born had been colicky but this was something different, so I talked to my midwife. First off, she suggested that I eat lots of natural yogurt to help with my baby's wind. That didn't help my little one at all. Then she surprised me by suggesting that I cut out dairy from my diet altogether (remember I was breast feeding so it was me that had to change my diet!). Desperate for a solution and a content baby, I did so.
It took about four days for it all to get out of her system and, suddenly, it was like I had a completely different child! She was relaxed, happy, content and getting a decent amount of sleep. It was like someone had waved a magic wand. Since then, she has eaten a dairy-free diet. Occasionally, we try her on something containing dairy, but it always causes stomach cramps and wind and it still takes about four days to leave her system.
Whether it's a milk allergy, a diary intolerance or another food sensitivity that your baby or child has to live with, diagnosing it is the hardest part. From then on, you as a parent can just get on with dealing with it.
Dairy Free CookBooks
Other Useful Milk Allergy Websites
- Go Dairy Free | Your Information Resource for Dairy Free Living
Go Dairy Free is updated daily with product reviews, recipes, and food news. The site caters to milk allergies, lactose intolerance, vegan living, and gluten-free diets with a wealth of health information and useful tools.
- Food allergy - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The food protein triggering the allergic response is termed a food allergen. It is estimated that up to 12 million Americans have food allergies, and the prevalence is rising. 6 to 8 percent of children under the age of three have food allergies.
- The Rise in Food Allergies - Why?
In the last twenty years, we have seen an epidemic increase in allergies, asthma, ADHD and autism, including a: 400% increase in food allergies: 300% increase in asthma, with a 56% increase in asthma deaths: 400% increase in ADHD
- Food allergy - information, symptoms and treatments
Common symptoms, causes and treatment of food allergy - Bupa health information factsheet
- Milk allergy - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Milk allergy is a food allergy, an adverse immune reaction to a food protein that is normally harmless to the non-allergic individual. Lactose intolerance is a non-allergic food sensitivity, and comes from a lack of production of the enzyme lactase.
- YorkTest | Food Intolerance, Allergy Tests, and Food Sensitivity Testing
YorkTest is Europe's leading food intolerance and allergy testing company developing tests to determine your food sensitivity and help provide sound peace of mind.
elmedeni laroussi from tunisia on September 24, 2017:
There are a lot of infants and adults with cow's milk allergy and or milk protein intolerance. Humans are the only mammals on the planet who keep consuming milk after the sevrage from the mother. Furthermore, humans eat milk products that come from other mammals like cows and goats.
moonlake from America on May 13, 2015:
My son was always sick and a very unhappy child from the day he was born. He had constant ear infections and runny nose always sounded like he was stuffy. In those days not much was known about milk allergies. My uncle suggested that maybe he was allergic to milk. I suggested this to the doctor and he said let’s try soy milk, well that didn't work. We had to give him pre-digested milk and we had to order it out of town and drive to pick it up. He was so much better after that and a much happier child. He’s now 41 and loves milk.
Congratulations on 6 million and 6 years that’s an accomplishment. I’ve been here 7 years nowhere near that number.
nancy on January 18, 2015:
am breastfeeding my 2 year old son he dont like to eat much i breastfeed most of the time i am taking gnc women ultra mega active i am seeing some white spots on my baby knees is it because of that gnc vitamin i am taing
Susana Smith (author) from UK on February 28, 2014:
Have you looked online? Health food shops can be good too.
KittHill on January 02, 2014:
My daughter is allergic to milk. It takes a day or two for it to show up. She will either break out in a rash or have an asthma attack. It is never immediate. The grocery stores around here do not carry dairy free ice cream, yogurt, or anything else except milk. I have searched our major chains, Jewel, Dominicks, WalMart, and Meijer. I wish I could find stuff like that.
Karen L on April 16, 2013:
My boy is almost 8 and appears to have a milk protein intolerance. He did not demonstrate any of the early infancy symptoms; matter of fact he didn't really have any symptoms til gross, oozy ear infections started between 2-3. We were still in the dark about milk having anything to do with this and our boy was a real cheese and milk fiend...after ear tubes and a developmental psychologist diagnosed him with ADHD, we decided to try all the non-pharma options we could dig up on the web before amphetemines entered his way-too-young life. We appear to have found our culprit. We are only about 8 weeks in and the difference in him is noted by most folks who know him. He can keep up with the other second graders when it's time for class work, he can complete his homework in a reasonable time without the incessant begging and pleading on our part. Last Friday afternoon & evening, he had two birthday parties to attend and we decided to allow him to have the pizza that would be served, as a kind of challenge test. Then he had a cheeseburger on Saturday, kind of by accident. Come Monday, he got two tick marks on the board in class for behavior corrections and there was NOTHING that would get him to do his homework that night. So keep an eye on your very little ones where you have already identified this sensitivity. If they have trouble with their ears or skin, if they are slow to pick up in school but you know they are smart, if they simply can't figure out how to get themselves through a kinder, first or other early elementary day, PLEASE try removing milk products before drugging them for behavior.
Mari Koeck on September 18, 2012:
This is so helpful. Thank you! I'm going through this with my son right now, but his doctor says there's no way that milk in my diet would affect him. I eliminated dairy anyway and as soon as I did, he was a different baby. He's 4 1/2 months old now and I'm wondering when/if I can start re-introducing it. I'm ready for some cheese again, but it's not worth the pain he goes through.
ruawat on April 14, 2012:
I feel so sorry for mizzclaire. I hope things have settled down for you and your family now. You will get there. A friend of mine says raising children is one big guilt trip, you never feel you are doing good enough! But at least we try, keep trying mizzclaire.
mizzclaire from belfast on February 13, 2012:
Hi, this site is amazing. Wish i had of found it a few years ago. I spent the 1st 12 months of my daughters life in bits. She screamed 24/7 well except for the odd 10-15mins here and there when she would pass out with exaustion. I tried breast feeding, gave up after 8 days because she would only latch on for a minute then scream, wouldn't bring up wind, screamed when she let off wind, threw up all the time. She was really constapated and she Screamed and screamed and screamed. Same when i bottle fed her. Doctors would check her over and tell me she was fine over and over again, treating all her symptoms including skin rashes. I knew nothing of milk allergy/intolerance, had never heard of it. When a doc advised me to take her off dairy to see how it goesjust after she turned 1 i started researching and was shocked that all the symptoms were there and no one had suggested it before. Diariah is the most common symptom which she didn't have but if someone had of mentioned she had symptoms of milk protein intolerance which would have been so simple, my little girl wouldn't have spent the start of her life in agony and i could have enjoyed her instead of pulling my hair out everyday. Needless to say im very angery. I really wanted to talk about behaviour problems connected with this. When I first went dairy free I couldn't beleive the changes with my child, she was happy, sleeping, bubbly, fun and no longer was i telling my family and friends that i thought she had autism. I believed there was something wrong, she was nasty, she would nip, scratch, pull hair bang her head off the floor over and over. Dairy free she was and still is a pleasure. I put the behaviour side of things down to the pain she was in and forgot about it. My son who was born 2 years after my daughter was dignosed early and even with nutramigen was still very unsettled, I was giving the impression the nutramigen was it as far as alternative formula goes for pretein intolerance. When he was having a check up at the feeding clinic at 11mths i told the consultant that I had stopped bottle feeds and only then i was told there was another formula with the protein completely broken down. Again i was angry for not being told, we had regular check ups and they knew how unsettled he was. Anyway, they are now aged 4 and 2 and have been able to cope with dairy for a while now. I was told if i dont give them dairy they wouldn't grow out of the intolerance so after years of trail and error their digestive system can cope. They are sick alot, colds that last for weeks, bugs, infections. I accepted that this is what we just have to deal with until now, my little girl is in nursery well more out of nusery than in because she is picking up every bug going from the other kids and is really ill for weeks at a time. Im stressing about what's going to happen when she starts school. I asked for her to be re-referred to the feeding clinic, that was 4mths ago and still no appointment, i wanted to ask someone if going dairy free will stop her being so ill all the time or will i be doing more damage than good. I was trying to find an answer online a few weeks ago and i came across a site that said protein intolerance can cause ADHD and autism. Made me remember my daughters behavior and got really worried about my son, 2 1/2 years old doesn't talk, extremly hyper doesn't sleep much and I'm guessing around a year behind an average child his age. People kept telling me not to worry he'll pick up. I'm a stay at home mum, they have my full attention, im here all day playing games, reading and talking to tham all day long so i was worried, my son seemed to struggle to interact at all because he was so hyper. I cant beleive i didn't put the two together a long time ago but I have now. I reduced the amount of dairy in their diet 4 weeks ago, I can't really afford to keep them dairy free all of the time bt just by reducing it to about half of what they usually get my son has came on leaps and bounds, he can say about 10 clear words and around 20 more that only i can understand and he stops and listens when you talk to him and he can follow most instructions. Why aren't we told to watch out for this. I hate doctors.
Lw79 on January 30, 2012:
My baby is nearly 4 months old and has always been sick a lot and had runny (watery) yellow/green poos. At 4 weeks she was put on medication for a heart condition and since then the doctors have been telling me that as she is not loosing weight then the sickness etc is down to the medication, even though she was like this prior to taking this! Last week while feeding her face and body came out in a rash and her hands swelled and looked bruised, they eventually listened to me and tested her blood for cows milk protein intolerance which has come back fine, so they say is reflux and gave gaviscon, her sickness has calmed down and poos not runny but still gets rash sometimes on her face and hands swell, the doctors say the swelling would not be connected to an allergy or intolerance, have you heard of anything like this??
Ali on December 08, 2011:
Susanna, Thanks for all your useful information. I have a query though, we want to see if we can move our 23 month old son back onto dairy. He was diagnosed (i say diagnosed, i feel it was more of an exsaparated guess by the dietitian)with a 'Milk sensitivity' at about 6-7 months. SHe did say it definatly wasn't lactose intolerance but also that it wasn't a severe milk allergy. I should say at this point that i was severely allergic to dairy from birth to 17 yrs at which point i was tested again (through the blood)and found to be clear of it. But as it was sugested our son would grow out of his sensitivity i would like to know how to start getting him back onto dairy. We need to get him off the soya formula he's on as he is starting to not be interested in eating too much solid food during meal times and relying on his bedtime formula. Tried him on fresh soya milk and he refuses it point blank.
On a separate note regarding constipation and diarrhoea as symptoms of milk allergy/intolerance (not lactose intolerance): sometimes the diarrhoea is a result of excess leaking around a solid mass before it exits the body (sorry if TMI) hence hidden constipation. You as the parent sees the crampy signs of constipation but report what looks like diarrheoa to the GP and therefore they diagnose a stomach bug, lactose intolerance or that is all in your head! take it from me i lived with it throughout my childhood.
newmommy3months on November 21, 2011:
Thank you for this article. It is very informative. And its great to here the difference between having an allergy vs intolerance to dairy. My daughter is almost 3 months old and she has had some issues that we have tried to diagnose since about 2 weeks. Very colicky, gassy, no sleeping well, crying as if in pain. When we brought her to the doctor he said he thought it was reflux. We put her on med and changed diet, neither seemed to help. Someone had suggested if dairy could be an issue but when I asked the doctor he said he didn't think it could be an allergy since no signs of it. It wasn't until I did my own research that showed a baby may not have an allergy but an intolerance to dairy therefore dairy could still very well be a problem. So, on my own I decided to try going without dairy to see if it made a difference, and it did for the most part. Although I only eliminated the main dairy products I was eating. Next time I saw doc I told him and how I saw a change but not complete and he suggested if I am gonna go dairy free that means completely dairy free which means reading all labels. There is dairy in alot of things! He also suggested going soy free but my husband and I decided to try dairy free first and see how that goes. Since soy seems to be in more foods than dairy is! So far so good! 4 days and she has been great! I hope to eventually be able to reintroduce dairy. Thanks again for the info.
annaliese on September 06, 2011:
great advice my 16 week old son has just been put on a strict dieat as the pediatrisan thinks he may be protein intolerance as he has had blood in poo for 7 weeks and a little exsma it has took a lot of hospital visit to get this sorted y carnt docs just listen to parents as we know our children better than any one fingers crossed i will have a happy baby soon
Louise on August 08, 2011:
Why not try the Soya Formula??? Is there a reason this wasn't suggested?
Gemma on August 07, 2011:
My beautiful son is 11 weeks old and was diagnosed with dairy allergy at 4 weeks old. We had spent 4 weeks with a baby who screamed all day and most of the night had severe painful wind, was sick after most bottles and painful diarrhoea. My first son had a dairy allergy so I raised the issues with my doctor who told me it was colic! When he was 4 weeks old he had a particularly bad day and night and began to have very bloody diarrhoea. I took him to the doctor who said it was constipation (???) I was unhappy so I saw another doctor who said to give him paracetamol(???). After he had had 15 lots of diarrhoea with blood in I took him to the hospital who straight away diagnosed cows milk allergy and gave me nutramigen and a letter for my g.p. To get it on prescription off him. After 24hours i had a happy baby. My doctors have now decided they want to try him back on normal milk as the nutramigen is 'too expensive to keep prescribing'. I cannot get any help off anyone and I don't know where to tuen. With my other son we started introducing dairy at 2 mths not 11 weeks! I'm so scared as if he reacts to the dairy as badly again I will have made him poorly to satisfy my g.p.'s budget!! Can anyone help I'm desperate!!!
Louise on August 06, 2011:
Hi Lacie & Susana, Just like you Lacie, my little boy is intolerant of Dairy, It was only figured when he was 5 months old after 7 visits to his doctor over a 4 week period, I was breastfeeding too and stopped all dairy and within 2 weeks I had a happy baby again, hes now 13 months so a month ago I started him on a soy based diet... 2/3 weeks ago I introduced dairy to him in baked goods, bread, breaded chicken & so on..... I didn't notice any reaction then & there but 10 days later all the symtoms returned, the green Diapers, very fussy and not sleeping, congestion also.... this started on a thursday night and on the Tuesday he came down with a fever of 104.3 and held it for 4.5 days.... (I know the fever has nothing to do with the dairy intolerance) as of tonight we're still waiting on a culture result to come back as they think he may have salmonella.... my question is Susana..... is 10 days too long of a period to have a reaction to the dairy intolerance.... I'm not sure if he just has this bacteria thing going on or whether he was just really unlucky and got both around the same time..... not knowing is just awful as hes been so sick all week I don't have the heart to go back and try him on Dairy again.... Is 10 days too late after having Dairy in baked goods to show a reaction????
Lacie just from conversations with my allergist, he said its now as of late reccommended that you try dairy in baked goods first for intolerance/allergies and in small amounts.....
Susana Smith (author) from UK on August 05, 2011:
Hi Lacie, I agree it is difficult to know how and when to try and introduce dairy. My own approach has been to offer a little milk or yogurt and then watch for a few days for any reactions. If there is a reaction then I won't offer for a few months; then I try again some months down the line. I've used this approach throughout and it's worked for us.
My daughter is now 6 and it's only been in the last few months that she can tolerate a little dairy without major symptoms.
Lacie on August 02, 2011:
Great article! Where I'm struggling to find information is how to introduce dairy into my daughter's diet to see how she reacts. Even the Pediatrician and Allergist haven't been particularly helpful. My daughter is almost 11 months and is till breastfed. Initially she reacted to any dairy I had. Now I can have things cooked with it and she no longer reacts. I tried a little cheese the other day and she did fine. The pedi recommended I try a formula with a partially broken down protein and the allergist told me to avoid it all together (our tests in his office were inconclusive she has all the tell tell signs and reactions).
Louise on August 01, 2011:
Fantastic Article... just got all my questions answered in the one place, thanks so much for this post!
Nicky on July 26, 2011:
Meant to say my daughter had mild cholic initially and now has eczema.
Nicky on July 26, 2011:
The story with my daughter is almost identical, I wondered if you have got any further with a diagnosis, or if your wee one has just got used to milk over time? My 7 month old is a very content child, hardly ever cries, she is a good weight, has never been a sicky child,I breast feed and have been weaning for a month now, she has never brought her food back up or her milk. Recently any time she has had a milk product, she has come out in hives (urticaria rash) on her face usually with swelling around one eye. If she gets to her mouth before I do and smears it across her face the rash follows this pattern. She has never vomited afterwards and is never unsettled. Her nappies are normal. sometimes this reaction is delayed by up to 7 hours, other times it is instant. It usually disapears within 10 minutes to 12 hours. Just about to start the process of doctors and dieticians so any help would be appreciated.
Dawn on July 20, 2011:
We have just recently had our 17 month old son diagnosed with a "milk/dairy allergy" (doc calls it something different everytime we see him lol) we had no idea there was anything wrong until 2-3 months ago when he had constant loose stools. All tests came back normal so we were told to take out all dairy products from his diet, and what an improvement!! It wasn't until now that we realised his eczema was so bad because of the allergy too! We were told to try him on soya milk as a sub for cows but this just took him back to square 1.. So now on goats milk and he can't get enough of it!! Alltho we are still having loose nappies now and again, but I think that could be down to me perhaps not checking for milk in products which you wouldn't expect it to be in..I'm sure it wil get easier as I learn and we are going to see a dietician for some help also.
Mummy J on May 26, 2011:
Hi at 6 weeks old i changed my baby boys milk as he was very restless, had disturbed sleep paterns, green smelly poo, and outbrakes of just screaming like he was in pain but he was very rarely sicky. I spoke to HV and doctors who all just said its probably colic etc then he came out in a very red rash one day all over his face and scalp and around the top of his chest, neck and bk, it looked like really bad sunburn with lumps under the skin and also small pinprick spots i was very worried and took him straight to the docs he gave me double base gel and said it was eczema which i still question if it was in my mind today, even though it did all clear up when i was using the cream but i had also changed his milk at this point too . I changed his milk from SMA Gold to Aptamil and within a week he seemes alot better sleeping was better and he wasn't as restless. Now he is 15 weeks old but for the last 5 weeks has been quite sicky tends to be when he burps and then the milk comes up with it not just spit up more than that but not quite projectile vomiting. Also a rash seems to be appearing again on his face and in certain spots on his body and then his poo has turned greeny and was very runny like diareoah just before i wrote this msg. I am kind of thinking maybe his milk isn't agreeing with him again as he has been restless & not as fussed for taking his bottles. Or maybe he is just coming down with a tummy bug or teething as he is also showing signs of teething. What do you think?? Its so hard to get to the root of a problem in a baby and frustrating.
tasksgirl from Los Angeles, CA on May 12, 2011:
Very well written, thank you! Good information to know.
Larry on April 16, 2011:
You and mosther articles never mention the main irritation through dairy intolerences....too much mucous produced by a mucous product!
This doesn't matter whether you drink milk, eat cheese or yoghurt the results are all the same and affect most people I have ever met. Massive flem and mucous is one of the main contenders putting toddlers in the hospital with ear infections from plugged eustachian tubes, pneumonia in the lungs and other long term maladities.
We went through the meat grinder with out first born in the hospital and living on anti-biotics for 2 and half years. After having tobsils and andenoids removed and our second child starting the same routine we sought a Naturopathic Doctor. Accupuncture helped some but in the end too much dairy was the main cuplrit. Back in those days people freaked out about not drinking milk as "a child could not live without dairy". What a bunch of bunk! AFter the operations on our children the doctors moved onto the tubes in their ears as the ear infections and pnuemonia was getting worse.
Our third child was breast fed for 14 months and never given dairy products. Today at 27 years old he is the strongest and has the least health problems of the three boys.
Another item that is not mentioned about people killinh themselves with bad calcium pollution is that after ingesting dairy many people become calcium deficient, due to irritation of the digestive system linings needed to absorb the toxin producing reactions in the gut.
One other thing that become apparent to most logical thinking people is "Why the heck are we obsessed with our children drinking something white?" The dairy indstry has brainwashed the public so well that we have an obsession to replace cow's milk with something white, as a drink...Yes we have become a brainwashed public. We have learned to relate white with calcium and we have been brainwashed to think we need big intakes of calcium. Magnesium plays a more important factor in bone strength. Think piece of chalk strength with calcium.
Amy J on April 16, 2011:
I am trying dairy free for me and my 2nd son (he's now 8 mo.), I'm breastfeeding him and feeding fruit/veg/cereal. From day one he's had very mucusy stools, sometimes with streaks of blood, they have a vinegar smell and is pretty gassy. He sleeps well through the night, but napped only about 15-20 min. twice a day. He isn't fussy though, so the doctor isn't concerned. She did say that if the blood gets to be a lot to come in again and she'll refer to GI.
well, I've cut out most dairy (haven't been reading labels) and so far it's made a huge difference. He sleeps for 2-3 HOURS twice a day !!!! :) isn't gassy and the poo is much more soft than runny. still has mucus in it though and still smells like vinegar. will start reading labels and see if that finishes things once and for all. If not .... does anyone have suggestions??
kelly on March 09, 2011:
very helpful site thankyou. Im having a lot of problems with my so he is 6 months old. since he was born he has struggled taking milk, he would have screaming fits while drinking it na dsuffer a lot with trapped wind( would constantly be pulling his legs up). tried changing his milk tried things for colic and tried colief, none of it worked then was prescibed gaviscon which didn't work either. in the end the doc gave me carobel milk thickner which worked really well for the first couple of weeks but then cow ang gate changed the recipe and he is back struggling with his feeds again and suffering with wind again. do you think a should have him tested for a milk intolarance? also he cant keep down yoghurts.
Susana Smith (author) from UK on March 03, 2011:
Hi Jen - you can try her on cows milk again and see how it goes. I do this periodically with my now 6 yr old to see if anything has changed...so far no change for us, but you might find your daughter has outgrown her intolerance or that she can tolerate a small amount of dairy now and again. Best wishes :)
Jen on March 02, 2011:
When my son was on formula he had to have the Soy Formula, but then went on to regular milk just fine. Then my daughter also had to have the Soy Formula. Once we switched her to milk she started having problems with throwing up every few weeks and then it got to be closer together until it was every other day. The dr kept saying it was virus until I insisted it was something else. They did blood tests and found nothing. So the dr recommended we start her on soy milk, and that seemed to fix the problem. We never really got an answer as to what was going on with her. She is 4 now and I'm wondering if I could try giving her milk again? Any suggestions?
dawn on February 28, 2011:
hi guys ref to the earlier comment on here emelia is now 8 months and today she went to a homeopath who is testing her for dairy intolerance pardon the pun but as a mother this was my gut instinct last week actually so i took it on my self having lost complete confidence in my gp surgery and the nhs i bought cow and gate infasoy day 1 on it NOMILK at all not even rusks just incase and she has miracously stopped being sick! so pat on the back for me i think and the homeopath for treating the mucas she is producing far too much apparently. dairy makes mucas worse so everyone think of me at 6am when i give her a first morning bottle in 5 months instead of porridge and fingers crossd it will stay down. ultra sound booked soon just to make sure nothing serious as it is a rare history infact i dont know of anyone who has experienced there baby projectial vomiting up on their first bottle in the day only.have any of you ladies?????? watch this space!
lisad on February 21, 2011:
My baby had colic and reflux. Due to other factors was in special care first days. Due to symptoms she was fed with gaviscon. Discharged and nothing said and we've had an uphill battle since. gaviscon, renetidine, domperidone. Finally a nursery staff member suggested colief and it was a relief. No colic, no rash, no constipation. Reduced milk and upped solids to reduce reflux. At 1 yr doc said no milk problem and try cows milk. We only gave it to her for cereal and one night feed. Now height drastically disproportionate to weight (the wrong way) and head size. Put the milk up and went back to formula. Now rash is almost everywhere, disturbed nights, tremendous wind. Will have to start the battles with the docs again. As my daughter has good weight gain they really don't care. But I'm definitely going back to colief.
LishaB on January 31, 2011:
My son is 7 months old and has been breastfed. When we started him on solids he would sometimes get a rash on his face. Also I tried giving him formula and he wouldn't drink it, only took about an oz and threw it up then a few hours later he had a rash all over his chest and stomach. I am finding that anytime he has any kind of dairy he gets a rash (which doesn't seem to be itchy), but no other symptoms, and I can eat anything, it doesn't seem to bother him through the breastmilk. I've been trying to keep him off any dairy, but he occasionally still gets a rash on his cheeks. Any suggestions of what else I could try? Should I just continue to keep him off dairy? Or try again in a little while? Would this be an intolerance or allergy? Is it something he will grow out of?
Susana Smith (author) from UK on January 07, 2011:
She's only throwing up her first bottle? That's kind of strange....maybe she's just drinking it too quickly? Or if she has a lot of mucous then maybe she's swallowing it during the night and then throwing that up along with her milk? Just some thoughts...
If she was having problems with dairy then you would expect symptoms throughout the day - tummy aches, excessive wind, runny poo or constipation, vomiting up other feeds etc.
If you really feel that dairy might be a problem, there'd be no harm in you switching to a soya formula and excluding dairy products from her diet for a month to see if it makes any difference. Worth a try :)
dawn on January 06, 2011:
my little girl is 6 months old and for the past 7 weeks she has thrown up every bottle first thing in the morning only. she doesn't cry and frinishes off the rest of the bottle if there is any left after. her stools are fine as i have started weaning her she has taken to that ok but some of the posts on here make me think she still may have a milk intolorence. she is sick even with gaviscon infant she keeps boiled water down first thing instead she projectial vomits everywhere the force makes it come out of her nose too its awful.she arches her back sometimes she has had a constant runny nose and an awful lot of mucas since day one. i cant get anwsers from anyone docs babies are meant to get colds health visitors say its her immature food pipe but like you all on here will understand its not funny anymore at 530am stripping both of us off putting the washine machine on and starting again every day! any ideas anyone.
booski76 on December 30, 2010:
My daughter is 14 wks and since she was 4 weeks she has been very sicky, she started with small amounts of vomiting which gradually got worse, then I had a screaming baby that was constantly being sick and would not let me put her down, so I saw my gp who said i was over feeding her... I have 4 children so I am sure I know when a baby is full, so i agreed to reduce amount of feed and increase how often she was fed, this was then every 1hr to 2 hrs, she continued with the sickness and being very niggly, which I knew something was nt right as for 4 weeks she was this lovely happy lil bub that was very content, so a few days later I took her back to gp again and again was told i am overfeeding her, at this stage i was a very worn out mother as was feeding 1-2 oz every 2-3hrs so i was getting very little sleep, so i snapped and demanded a second opinion, he then refered her to hospital that night, a few hours later i was seen by a consultant who took 1 look at her and said she has reflux, and he prescribed her Gaviscon.. Reflief as someone admitted i was not over feeding her and that she was ill, gaviscon started and things seemed to improve slightly, she was still being very sicky but she was not so niggly, My daughter was at this stage attached to an apnea monitor as my brother died of a cot death at 8 mths old, (he too was a very sicky baby however his was profectile) my baby then started to have Apnea episodes which seem to coincide with her reflux being worse, at this stage due to the apnea episode they introduced Domperidone and Omeprazole, to run alongside the gaviscon, things seemed to improve slightly but the sickness is still there, they have since added carobel (thickener) and well sickness is still there, I have for a while thought she has an intolerance, Her symptoms are
Diorhea and very smelly(sorry for spelling) excessive vomiting drawing knees up majority of stools loose some green excessive wind (always trumping and quite loud too) very often cries out for no reason and also i have noticed last few weeks that she develops red blotchyness on her face after her milk, however the week of christmas the store i usually get her milk from did not have any in, (she was introduced to cow and gate comfort milk in november which did seem to help for a few weeks but then like with everything else it just comes back with avengence) the store did not have this in for 3 days so i was confused so spoke to the hospital and listed all the milks on the shelf and they advised aptamil comfort, so i gave her this and well the sickness stopped for a week and now it is starting up again, it seems to me that the change in lactose levals as comfort milk has less lactose than other cows milk is what is reducing the sickness and well once its built up it starts to well cause an intolerance,... so im sure my baby has a milk intolerance, i am going to see a peadiatrition on the 10th so im going to ask him to test her, as well she matches all the symptoms except weight, as well she is deffinatly thriving in that department and i am really confused with that as i dread to think how much weight she would gain if she actually kept her feeds down, also my baby has since she has been born always been very snuffly whether this is a symptom or not i don't know another thing is she gets hiccups after every feed, you can actually guarentee this, but well fingers crossed there is more awareness made out there as i like you have had to trawl across lots of different sites and stumbled across this and well i am printing this off and taking this with me to prove to them that there possibly is a problem... worth a try, good luck to anyone who has to deal with any kind of situation like this as well im sure like me you are fed up of the smell of sick and constant wet clothes and rashes on babys neck cus of the constant sick they do x
joasholiver on December 18, 2010:
Hi, I'm new on here but had to respond to this hub! it's fab and everything is true that the hub person said. My baby is 6 months old and since he was born has always been constipated and had severe colic, gas and distended abdomen. I knew something was wrong from week 2 because he would never settle after a feed and always seemed so uncomfortable, unlike other newborns who always seem to sleep after feeding!. He was constipated from week 3 but always seemed hungry and I could be feeding for 2 hours at a time but again he was never satisfied, or so I thought!! I switched to bottle feeding which I know does affect stool movements but tried c & g colic and constipation. Nothing worked. He used to scream and strain all the time and we thought he was poo'ing but he wouldn't have passed anything. Anyway lots of trips to docs didn't want to know just prescribed lactulose which made him more windy and would only poo every 3 days but always still uncomfortable. Went to see a private pediatrician who advised he had an anal fissure from straining and his abdomen was severely distended. Gave is glycerol supposotries, helped him go but I wanted a cure not just a quick fix!!! had scans but nothing showed. Then I called cow and gate helpline and they suggessted pepti junior, lactose free and protein hydrolysed (broken down) got prescription from doc and started milk. Saw a HUGE difference started to go to poo every day but made him very sicky. Swapped to Nutramigen which has been amazing less sick and still poo's. Then hosp advised to reintroduce normal formula once 6 months old, we tried last week! he had a severe reaction ended up in hosp, sickness and bloating, in so much pain. He is back on nutramigen but his stools are still hard and hasn't been for a couple of days, hosp advised will take a week to come out of system. I will never change him again!! we are weaning him now but mixing fresh veg and fruit with nutramigen and he is doing really well. I wish I'd known about this 5 months ago coz I do feel Oliver suffered at the beginning and we were just fobbed off!!! one thing that is confusing though is that he has always put on weight well. I guess he doesn't vomit that much though so that helps. Soya didn't agree with him by the way made stools really hard!. Anyway wanted to share my story in the hope I can help another mummy and daddy! xx
David Druid on November 20, 2010:
The key to human allergic reactions is this: An allergic reaction is triggered by the bodies inability to handle something which is new to the body. Milk, dairy products are in that category, as the baby has fed straight from the mother for 9 mos. If you start breastfeeding, don't stop. Vitamins and supplements only for that period should be ingested by the mother. No other drugs, including aspirin, caffeine, nicotine, alcohol. All these transmit into the breast milk. Formula is a concoction that, I, personally don't approve of. Got my reasons. If a dairy allergy occurs when weaning the child from the breast, try a bottle of breast milk mixed w/ 1/4 skim milk. No reaction after three days, proceed to 1/2 breast, 1/4 skim, 1/4 whole. 3 days more. 1/2 skim, 1/2 whole. If, when you first detect an allergic reaction, stop all "mix" milk, back to the level of tolerance. Signs of intolerance: Vomiting after initial belch. When they burp, sometimes a little comes out. That is OK. It is when they really upchuck after that, that tells you first of their intolerance. Second. Stool. Diarrhea? Intolerance. Constipation? Intolerance. Skin rash? Intolerance. Cholic? Intolerance. You see, at this age, there really isn't a lot that the child can be exposed to which could cause any reaction. It is this very age in which you can turn it around before it becomes a life long problem. Peanuts are the same way. Any allergic reaction can be treated by exposing the body to minute amounts of the "toxin" which is causing reaction. These minute amounts allow the body to learn recognition of the substance that is at first seen as an "invader".
Jane on October 07, 2010:
My older son suffered badly with a distended stomach, threw up a lot, had nasty eczema and was generally not a happy baby. When he was 4.5 months old i decided to start weaning him onto formula ready for nursery. The first bottle feed was horrendous as he screamed, threw it up and really struggled to breath, then within about 3 mins his body was covered in red patches. For some reason I didn't call for an ambulance (although in retrospect it may have helped me get more support if I had) and managed to sort him out myself with a cool bath and breast feeding him. It wasn't nice though. The GP just told me to "avoid giving him dairy, he's allergic to it, give him soya, he's a prescription". Well, that's what I did, while trying to get support from the Dr and being ignored.
The poor digestion and wind continued (he was constipated for ages while I weaned him onto soya - took about 3 months before he could take a bottle of just soya milk rather than a mix with breastmilk). But, when I did stop feeding myself, the eczema cleared up.
It's not been until recently (he's 6) that i've realised that the eczema and other symptoms were due to dairy in my diet. And it wasn't until he was 4 that he was diagnosed with a soya allergy as well (although I still feel that's more of an intolerance than an allergy as it isn't not as immediate). Unfortunately he has a number of other allergies as well, so we have to avoid a lot of foods (I cook everything from scratch anyway - he loves baking as well, which is great!).
I've now had another baby, who is 2 months old now. He was rough for the first 2 weeks, and my husband and i both felt it wasn't colic. Thankfully, this time, the health visitor agreed it might not be and she advised removing dairy from my diet. It's worked wonders. We now have a much happier child (twice since then I've inadvertently had something with a tiny amount of dairy in and the screeching returns, with clear tummy spasms), although he still suffers badly with wind. We're not sure what the wind is caused by, so now i'm keeping a really detailed food diary in teh hope we can ID a pattern - I just hope it's not another form of protein causing the problem as I'm veggie and losing dairy really does create a challenge (a lot of quite snacks have gone.... :( pasta is not the same without cheese either!)
Good luck to everyone with diagnosing problems. Thankfully this time I'm being listened to by the medical profession, but I certainly wasn't first time around.
sarah on September 04, 2010:
This is a brilliant and informative article which has helped me calm down and take a different approch with my daughters food. I have breast feed my daughter until 14 months and she has had direah for over two weeks. I thught it was due to teething and didnn't even conterplate it would be due to dairy products. now I'm ready to start shopping for her new foods
gamac on August 28, 2010:
I am in a similar position to yourself. My daughter is 15 weeks and has severe reflux with some weight loss at times when things have been really bad as she either has vomited non stop or just refuses to feed. I expressed for the first 3 weeks and then moved onto aptamil. She seemed to fuss alot in the evening and had lots of wind so we moved to comfort. This seemed to help initially and then she started vomiting and the fussing continued. We had a really bad week at 8 weeks when she vomited literally every feed that week and was screaming in pain during feeds. Took her to the GP who said colic, took her to A&E later that week who said colic or reflux. Took her to a homeopath who suggested goats milk. It turns out the EU banned goats milk as an infant milk in 2006 as it is nutritionally incomplete and also according to my babys paediatrician cows, goats and sheeps milk proteins are very similar so if you react to one it is likely you will react to all of them. We tried enfamil ar (but that is dairy based) and sma staydown. By this stage she was just refusing to drink so a new GP referred her to a paediatrician and she was seen the following week and admitted for two days while they changed her formula to neocate (extensively broken down and dairy free),put her on zantac and took blood tests to check whether she had a cows milk protein allergy. The symptoms settled after several days and the blood results came back a week later as negative so the neocate was stopped as it is very expensive and she didn't like it. We put her back on dairy based formula thinking obviously she had simple reflux which was treated with zantac. Well within 4 days we are now back to square one, not drinking, screaming in pain on feeding, arching her back etc. The hospital has advised to put her onto nutramigen which again is a dairy free, partially digested formula (not quite as broken down as neocate) and on the forth day of it she is slowly improving. It seems to take a few days to kick in and smells and tastes horrible. I wish i had persevered with breast feeding. While on the paediatric ward i saw a large notice outside the nurses office which said that soy formula should not be used as a front line feed for milk allergies/intolerance as it can affect fertility so you might want to look into that or seek advice from a paediatric dietician. If you cant get a quick referral just phone the hospital and ask to speak to one. That is how i got my first baby referred as her doctor at the time was useless. I hope your little one makes a speedy recovery.
Paula on August 20, 2010:
My 8 week old daughter has been suffering from slient reflux (although she did vomit the whole bottle back on occasions, she was put on gaviscon and ranitadine after spending a night in hospital she has been covered in a rash for the last three weeks which i cannot get rid of. I changed her milk to cow and gate comfort which seemed to work for a few weeks ( the vomiting stopped) but the last week the reflux seems worse and she has started vomiting again (only occasinally. After a visiit to the GP with a very sleep deprived mum it was suggested it maybe a milk allergy and while we wait for referal back to the consultant we should try Soya Milk(was abit reluctant unsure if it would make a huge difference) - first day of this today i am keeping my fingers crossed as i need sleep and so does she.
Jason on August 14, 2010:
My daughter has been diagnosed with allergy to cows milk. We have been giving soy milk up until now, but it's time to step up to rice cereal. So far I have not come across any products which do not contain milk in them. Ive come across a couple which say there may contain some milk...Any brands somebody can suggest?
Jenn on August 05, 2010:
This is the best site. My daughter has been constipated since we brought her home from the hospital and she is 3 now! Doctors always brush off her constipation. We did sensitive formula and still we had little pebble poop all the time, and at one point we had to rush her to the er with a fecal impaction. She has had to to suppositoires and has taken Miralx for almost 2 years now!
I am so sick of doctors telling me to give her more fruits and veggies and water. That is obvioulsy NOT the problem. We have gone lactose free with no change and are currently trying to eliminate gluten, but then I googled and discovered that baby formula doesn't contain Gluten soooo that is how I ended up here!
We are going to try the dairy elimination diet and see what happens. I have given up on getting help from a doctor. It is heartbreaking to see my poor baby curled up in pain crying and screaming, so I AM going to fix this on my own!
I also have a son who is on Similac Alimentum because of severe colic, gas, and bloating, he turns 1 in a couple weeks and I am worried he has the same issues.
Lynne on August 01, 2010:
Great site! My 7 month old daughter was diagnosed with cows milk protein intolerance at 3 months and put on nutramigen. Difference was remarkable. We were prescribed mess for sickness but they made her very dosey and mess for pain, however after the formula switch we didn't need pain relief. She was still quote sicky up to about 6 months and then it slowed down a lot. I started weaning early at 4 months to help with the reflux and that also helped, in our case, with the sickness. That being said this is my 3rd child so I have the benefit of knowing what was different about this one with screaming, refusing feeds, vomiting etc.
Hospital suggested reintroducing dairy one product at a time once weaning was established and perhaps from 7 or 8 months. The past week I have given her petit filous yoghurts once a day and it is clear she will suffer from this intolerance for some time. constant crying, sickness again and awful stools that seem to burn right into her bottom many times a day. Of course the difficulty is that I also believe she is teething and the symptoms are similar. So no more yoghurts for now and will try again for a couple of days when she is about 9 months old. If we have a repeat of symptoms its back to the hospital for referral to a dietician for ongoing management.
The key is that if you are sure your baby is not tolerating a substance absolutely make a nuisance of yourself at the gp. Mother usually knows best.
Susana Smith (author) from UK on July 22, 2010:
Hi Jodi - there are a lot of different dairy alternatives now, soya, oat, rice. You should be able to find them easily in your supermarket.
Hi Goldie, Thanks :) I didn't realise until I was researching this topic that our bodies are only designed to process milk while we are infants (unless we are from gene pools that traditionally eat a lot of milk products such as Mongoloians), so developing an intolerance later in life is quite normal. I know when i had a diary free diet i felt a lot healthier.....but I just like it so much!
Kelly Kline Burnett from Madison, Wisconsin on July 22, 2010:
5 star Hub! Did I learn allot! Very well done. Thank you! I love milk and as I age I think I have become lactose intolerant. Thank you very much!
Jodi on July 15, 2010:
Hi, love the information. I am researching dairy intoslerance for my 17 month old son who has been constipated since birth (even as a BF baby) and I don't just mean doing one softish poo a week, he has NEVER had soft poos. Today he absolutely screamed the house down with pain and he constantly has blood in his poo by all the DR's seem to do is dish out Movicol as if it is the magic cure. We are seeing a paedeatrician next month for his recurring pneumonia so will hound them about his allergies/intolerances (he is allergic to egg). I feel so sorry for my poor boy but I am now going to eliminate dairy from his diet starting tomorrow and see how we go. Any suggestions for dairy replacements - he loves having his milk at bedtime and what should I put on his cereal and he also loves his yoghurt. Shame the things he loves seems to be the ones causing him distress.
Susana Smith (author) from UK on July 10, 2010:
Thanks Elizabeth - I will check outthe site you suggested.
Hi Julie - Thanks for visiting :) I think problems with dairy foods are misunderstood everywhere! I don't know why Dr's and health professionals are generally so against advising avoidance of dairy either - they seem to think it's a 100% dietary requirement, but in places like Japan, dairy foods are very rarely eaten (that's why they are so healthy!)and their babies don't suffer because of it. As long as the diet is rich in calcium it doesn't matter where it comes from.
I appreciate that you think this article is good enough to give to your women! Many thanks :)
Susana Smith (author) from UK on July 10, 2010:
Hi Clare, regarding the poo it's difficult to say because breastfed babies do quite runny yellow poos anyway. Also if your son is taking medication for constipation then that will affect his stools. My daughter, who is now 5 years old, will do runny yellow poos when she has eaten dairy in contrast to the normal brown ones, but I'm not sure how you would be able to tell with a b/f baby, because like I said their poo is yellow anyway.
Personally I'm quite confused about the whole constipation issue. My midwife said that it's quite common for breastfed babies to only poo once a week (as long as it's soft) and that it's nothing to be concerned about - it just means they are absorbing the full nutrition form the milk, but the consultant at the hospital said it wasn't normal at all. Confusing!
Green poo is one of the major symptoms of a lactose intolerance. Best wishes xx
Julie D on July 09, 2010:
Your story sounds so similar to my own! I am a midwife in New Zealand & see so many babies refussing the breast due to reflux, buy allergies are not well researched here and Drs dont seam to suggest staying away from Dairy, I can tell women to try until im blue in the face but i will print out this article and give it to women. Thanks.
Elizabeth on July 07, 2010:
This is a great site. I have a baby who is dairy and wheat intolerant. She tested negative for food allergies and for celiac. However, when I give her milk products her nose runs, her face breaks out, and she screams having a bowel movement. On wheat her face breaks out, she's fussy, restless, and vomits all stomach contents while having a bowel movement. One other symptom of milk allergy is constipation. It's not always diarhea. Check out drgreene.com. I love the info here, and I hope all of the readers children outgrow their intolerances. God bless you all.
Clare on July 06, 2010:
I just had to write and say that my 4 month old, totally breast-fed baby has been diagnosed with constipation since he started pooing just once every 5 days from about 2 weeks. I didn't know that breast-fed babies could be constipated and had also been told this by so many people. Anyway there are new NICE guidelines on Constipation in children and that is how he got diagnosed. I really want to know how he became constipated and I have heard that cow's milk allergy can cause constipation. I have asked for him to be tested and am waiting for the results. Trying to cut it out of my diet at the moment.....
For his constipation he is on movicol. Do you have any knowledge about the type of poo a dairy intolerant child does - sometimes he has yellow liquidy poos with chalky white bits in (as well as many other consistencies and colours) and i wonder if this means anything? I have heard that green poos can indicate and allergy.
Susana Smith (author) from UK on July 02, 2010:
Hi Mim, No, I've never heard of constipation as a symptom of dairy intolerance, but thinking about it, my daughter used to only go poo about once a week so maybe there is a connection. Nowhere near as horrendous as every 3 weeks (!). Your poor baby must have really been suffering. I'm glad you resolved it :)
Mim on June 30, 2010:
Hi, thank you so much for going to the effort of providing this information. My baby is 5 months old. Since he was 6 weeks old he has only pooed once every 22 days. He has had terrible tummy pains, awful wind, colic & reflux symptoms & a rash on his face. he is a fully breastfed baby. A week ago I decided to remove all dairy from my diet. The change in my baby is remarkable. He now poos every day & doesn't have anywhere near the amount of pain he had prior to my change of diet. Has you come across the lack of passing a bowel motion as an allergy/intolerance symptom? Thanks!
Susana Smith (author) from UK on June 23, 2010:
Tracey, I'm not sure you're qualified to tell people what their babies and children are experiencing in the way of milk allergy, lactose intolerance or milk protein intolerance. Soy is not harmful in any way: https://hubpages.com/health/soy
Though around 40% of children with dairy intolerance also have soy intolerance.
Hi Sp96, You're right Goats milk is not good for everyone with cows milk allergy, but for some reason some people can tolerate it a lot better.
Sp96 on June 21, 2010:
Goats milk may not be a good alternative because if you have an actual milk allergy like me you are allergic to the protein that’s in the milk that goats milk may also contain .
Tracey on June 05, 2010:
First of all formula intolerance is not a lactose problem, your little one has a problem digesting MILK PROTEIN. Buying a lactose free formula will not solve your problems. Nutrimigen has the milk protein predigested, because babies with milk intolerance can't digest the proteins. You might want to avoid SOY if possible. Soy can cause allergies (especially nut allergies) and severe constipation. My daughter had milk intolerance which settled around 10 months and I have now discovered my 2 month old is suffering from it as well. Also they find that most cases of milk intolerance is hereditary and most babies will out grow it by 2 years of age.
Susana Smith (author) from UK on June 05, 2010:
Hi California Dad, I hope it helps you in some way too. I'm sorry to hear that you are struggling to find out what could be wrong with your son. Is he on a dairy free diet?
California Dad on June 04, 2010:
I have heard all this before as my wife and I are going through all this now and from the time he was 8 months old... Now my boy is now 29 months old and still no diagnose.... Reflux and poor weight gain and delayed milestones but no answers from any GI Doctor or anyone else... Thanks Susana for the research you have done I hope this helps us in some way..
Fiona on June 01, 2010:
Hi Babymama. My son also refused nutramigen but will accept SMA LF formula (which is also cheaper!). Hope this helps.
Susana Smith (author) from UK on May 23, 2010:
Hi Babymama - Glad to hear that after all your persistence you're daughter is getting checked out for food allergies. I've written more on specialist baby formulas which you might want to read and it should answer your questions about soy, lactose free and hypoallergenic formula milks: https://wehavekids.com/parenting/infant-formula-hy...
Best wishes to you and your daughter :)
Babymama on May 21, 2010:
Hi all. Very intersting article. My daughter is almost 5 months and my gut instinct tells me she is lactose intolerant. It's been a constant struggle with the health profession. After seeing my doctors 15 times!! I finally got a referal to see a paedietrician next month. My daughters suffers several times a day with severe gas and bloating and really bad smelling stools, I have likened the smell to a farmyard! I feel so sorry for her as she is clearly in so much discomfort. The doctor has prescribed a formula called nutramigen (which is a lactose free based formula). She totally refused to drink it as both the smell and taste is awful. Is soya milk similar? I'd really like to make my daughter as comfortable as possible so any suggestions will be much appreciated.
Susana Smith (author) from UK on May 07, 2010:
Hi jm - I'm glad it's getting looked at and your doctor is seriously considering a milk allergy (some just won't). I hope your daughter is feeling better soon, and you get an answer about what is going on to put your mind at rest. I'll look forward to hearing the outcome. Best wishes x
jm on May 07, 2010:
thank you susana for doing some research on this for us. the doctor yesterday suggested cows milk intolerance. she said to see how symptoms go over weekend and she is ringing us on monday. if symptoms are persisting then she suggests we try soya milk and will get referred to hospital. she also took a stool sample to rule out infection/bug. thank you again for your help. will keep you updated
Susana Smith (author) from UK on May 06, 2010:
Hi jm - don't worry about calling me Sarah :) I didn't know about blood in stools being a sign of dairy intolerance or allergy so I did a little hunting around and found this: http://www.breastfeeding.com/helpme/helpme_asklc_a...
It says, "Blood in stools in an infant is almost always associated with a dairy allergy. It is the bovine protein that causes the problem."
My advice would be to get a soya formula, (they are available in supermarkets), and see how your daughter gets on with that. It certainly won't do her any harm and may resolve the problems you've been having.
What can happen, is that over a period of months the offening allergen (usually milk protein) builds up to such a level in the babies system that more extreme symptoms occur, hence the reason why it has not been overly apparent until recently that something is wrong.
Best wishes and do let me know how it turns out :)
jm on May 06, 2010:
sorry susana just realised a called you sarah in my post
jm on May 06, 2010:
hi sarah. my 4 month old daughter has been off her milk for about a month now, until she was 3 months old she loved her milk but in the last month every feed is a battle. she used to take 30oz no problem and would aften cry to be fed. lately she has been taking 15-25 oz a day but that is with a struggle. she has also been having diarrhoa. i spoke to my health visitor who just said we have to persevere. a week ago we took her to the doctor who said she is fine as she is putting on weight. we again went to the doctor yesterday as she is struggling even more with feeding and with the diarrhoa, she checked her over and said she is fine, no fever, no sign of dehydration etc and that is probably a bug but this seems strange to me as she hasn't got a fever etc. today there is a little red blood in her nappy with the diarrhoa, i rung back the doctor and we are going back in this afternoon. but i was just wondering whether you know if babies can only show signs of intolerance after 4 months or would this happen straight away from birth? also do you know if blood in stools is a sign? she has always suffered bad wind but has been fine other than that. thanks
Susana Smith (author) from UK on April 27, 2010:
Hi Sarah - I'm so sorry that you and your daughter had to go through all of this. I can't believe it took the medical profession so long to diagnose a milk allergy - that's really terrible. I really appreciate you sharing your story here and I'm sure it will help other parents struggling with wondering if their baby has a dairy intolerance. I wish you all the best and I'm sure that your daughter will thrive on a dairy free diet and catch up with her developmental milestones quickly. Best of luck and thanks again xx
Sarah on April 27, 2010:
Thank you for a very intresting article, My little girl is 13 months and has only just been diagnosed with a milk allergy.I would love to share my story with other mum's, if I can help just one mum out there with my story then I will be a happy mummy. It all started when my little one was just a few months old, she was never a big lover of her formula and was often sick, I took her to the doctors SEVERAL times and was told to give her gaviscon, then other occasions I was told it was a sickness virus. My daughter was struggling to gain weight and then started pushing her bottle away. We struggled for some time and saw a dietician who put her on high calorie milk, within 24hrs she was violently sick so much so we ended up at hospital again to be told it was a sickness bug. I told the gp I thought it was the milk but it was again dismissed as it always was. When my little girl reached 10mts she was so underweight we had a stint in hospital. I explained to the hospital that my daughter was always unwell, screaming in the night, always being sick, constant runny nose and totally malnurished and always pushing her bottle and food away. I suggested again it was the milk but was told it was a rare thing and that it was a behavor problem with her food and if she screams when I put food in her mouth basically let her. We spent one night in the hospital and was discharged on the basis that it was all in my daughters head with the food. I went on another few weeks of struggling to feed her and several vomits and insisted we return to the hospital and she be sorted out once and for all. My daughters blood tests came back fine, she was tested for gluten, again fine and she was even tested for cf again fine. The hospital fed my daughter through a tube with a high calorie milk and again she kept vomiting, they told me this was because her tummy was so small she could'nt hold the milk down, she was 1yr old at the time and was only been fed 70ml of milk so hardly anything, her weight at one year was 14lb3 so i was going out of my mind with worry. THe hospital basically accused me of starving my child and the whole experience was just so awful, I was worried sick as I didn't have answers as to why she was always sick and so deperatly tiny. My daughters development has suffered as she still hasn't the strengh to crawl let alone walk. When the hospital fed her and she was vomiting she would bring up food from 12hours ago, she just couldn't digest her food but i was worried sick her digestive system was failing her. After the first week in hospital and still no answers we met a new consultant who listened to me and my husband and diagonsed a milk allergy within the day. My daughter had a bug and by chance the hospital took her off the milk and fed her water and dyrolyte salts and she was nt sick that weekend. The alarm bells rang with the hospital when as soon as she was off the milk she wasn't sick where as before it was every day. My daughter has now been off dairy for six weeks and has not been sick once, she is so happy now and sleeps through, she has put on over a pound and a half in weight and is trying her best to crawl. We have spent the first year of her life in and out of hospitals and doctors, my poor little girl will have been feeling so poorly for so long and Ive even had the finger pointed at me. The whole thing has been horrid and im so angry that no one listened to me and it took so long for them to reach the diagnosis. I really hope that by sharing my story I can help and no other mum or child has to suffer like we have. Best wishes Sarah x
Susana Smith (author) from UK on April 21, 2010:
Hi monica - as you're finding out it really is difficult to find out for sure if your baby has a dairy sensitivity. The symptoms can be vague and can be confused with a multitude of other conditions. Doctors often don't know that much about it (unless it's a full lactose intolerance and your baby is not gaining weight), which makes life really hard for us moms!
My advice would be to cut out all dairy from your diet for a minimum of two weeks and watch your son's symptoms. It is tough to start with, but if you buy yourself soya or rice milk to use instead of diary and homecook most of your food, it's quite easy to avoid. It's processed foods that tend to have dairy inside them as dairy is used as a flavor enhancer in many foods. Watch out for whey and casein as these are dairy derivatives.
As a bonus, when I was on a diary free diet when I was breastfeeding, I lost a lot of my baby weight and I felt a lot healthier as well! If your son does have a dairy intolerance, you will see a marked difference in him over 2 weeks.
Feel free to come back to me if you have any more questions. Best wishes, Susana
monica on April 20, 2010:
that would be tamiflu not theraflu
monica on April 20, 2010:
first of all this is a great site thanks for all your hard work. I have a stricktly beastfeed baby who is almost 3 months I found out that he had a milk allergy/intollerance after having the flu I had to have theraflu which ment no nursing and had to give him formula when he was 2 weeks old he threw it all up. when I nurse him after having dairy he spits up a lot gets a stuffy runny nose gets a rash on his face head and neck and runs a small fever off and on this usually last 2 weeks which I read on one sight that it takes milk up to 14 days to get out of your system. I think a lot of dr dont understand this so they dont have much info for you my sons rash was dismissed as a viral however this was after the formula incident. he didn't start with all symptoms they came one or two at a time because I didn't know he got it thru my milk. people I talked to told me. since dealing with this I have heard of lots of things related to milk sensitivity such as ear infections a nursing mom took dairy out of diet and saved her child from getting tubes. she took all dairy out for 2 weeks and then would eat like cheese see if a reaction then something else this takes a while. I have talked to a chiropractor she says I bring food in and she can test him but I haven't done that yet. I have heard there are some enzymes they or you can take to help them digest but haven't tried that either. It is a lot of work to nurse and eat to not affect your baby but it is all worth it. I have been checking out vegan sites to get product list resturant lists etc. I still eat meat but had no clue what else to eat as everything almost has milk in it. thank goodness for that allergy warning on products it makes reading labels easier.
cbris52 on February 28, 2010:
Great hub! Really enjoyed reading this! Thanks for sharing!
Susana Smith (author) from UK on February 06, 2010:
Thanks gojijuice :) Do you have milk allergy too?
GojiJuiceGoodness from Roanoke, Virginia on February 05, 2010:
Goat milk is a pretty good alternative. Good, thorough article.
Susana Smith (author) from UK on January 11, 2010:
Hi Elly and thanks for reading :) I'm sorry you felt there were inconsistencies in the article as I do like to do my research thoroughly, so I would like to challenge some of the things you have said in your comment. Please feel free to link to your own sources if you want to come back to me.
Here are a couple of sources I have found show that milk allergy (not lactose allergy) afffects 2-3% of babies: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milk_allergy
In this article it's a larger %: http://www.aafa.org/display.cfm?id=9&sub=20&am...
Quite a lot of babies are born with lactose intolerance, especially those born prematurely. It's not strictly an allergy it's an inability to produce enough lactase which usually rights itself quite quickly. The genetic cause of lactose intolerance is a lot rarer. Here's more on lactose intolerance: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lactose_intolerance
There's a good map in the article above too, which shows the incidence of lactose intolerance around the globe. My own view is that it is more of a genetic problem rather than an early weaning problem, although early weaning may have a role in it.
Some babies and children with milk allergy or dairy intolerance can take goat's milk, certainly not all of them but some of them. It depends on what type of intolerance or allergy it is.
Elly on January 11, 2010:
My son has Milk allergy, and he is breastfed. I liked the article, although there are a few inconsistencies. The number of babies with true Lactose allergy is 0.01% it is extremely rare. However Lactose intolerence is quite common in older children, and formula fed older babies - this is usually after a bug or virus, which has damaged the stomach. No baby is born with a Lactose intolerence (although as we are not baby cow's I suggest none of tolerate cow's milk well).
The other thing likely to cause intolerences is feeding solid food too young, recent studies show that an infant's stomach is lined with 'white paint' this protects the lining and digestive system, and contains enzymes that helps break down food. Any substance (other than breastmilk) that enters the system before about 6 months will strip away some of the lining. Cultures where they fully breastfeed, and don't give solid foods until beyond 6 months, do not suffer with allergies and intolerences.
My baby is fully breastfed, and not given solid food until 6 months, he does have a milk allergy, a sign of the times perhaps? Also a true milk allergy cannot tolerte goats milk either - I had some goats cheese and my son's symptons came back :(
Susana Smith (author) from UK on January 10, 2010:
Maternity Clothes - I guess the people that know about it are the one's that dairy intolerance or milk allergy effects. At least the medical world seem to be taking it more seriously now and there are tonnes of products that can be bought as alternatives such as soya.
Maternity Clothes on January 09, 2010:
Interesting article. I'm surprised that more people don't know about this.Sounds like your problem is a little more complex-- but today, some people just don't know about any alternatives.
zmansfam on January 05, 2010:
Its good that you pointed out that their different levels of allergies.My daughter, now 15 has an anaphylactic reaction to egg and milk, and latex. Their has been many improvements throughout the years with labeling, but unfortunately we still have some issue. The key is to read the ingredients every time you purchase something. My daughter also use to feel left out at birthday parties, I started bringing cupcakes, milk and egg free, always brought about a dozen, and many kids asked for those instead, the host knew about the allergy and was always supportive!
HealthFreak2009 from Texas on December 29, 2009:
What an awesome hub! I am actually allergic to milk and so are both of my children. Many people dont understand the difference between being allergic and being intolerant. Friends think we can just take some kind lactose pill and be just fine. I wish it were that easy. Thanks for having so much information in one place!
Rochelle Frank from California Gold Country on October 11, 2009:
Great informative article-- I'm surprised that more people don't know about this.
My mom (born in the 1920's) didn't do well on cow's milk. Her parents knew what to do-- they bought a goat.
Sounds like your problem is a little more complex-- but today, some people just don't know about any alternatives.
Leah Wingert from Texas on October 11, 2009:
Hallelujah, other people in the world who have to deal with the insanity of a dairy allergy. Wishing you all the best because this stinks, in more ways than one.
OTmommy from Southern USA on October 10, 2009:
Very thorough hub on dairy intolerance and allergy. My 2 kids have multiple food allergies including dairy. They drink a hemp beverage because it is higher in fat (good fat-Omega 3 & 6)and protein than rice beverage. Other alternatives include almond, nut, oat, and hazelmilk beverages to get calcium, vitamins, and to cook with. If anyone is allergic to the protein casein, they should not try goat or sheep's milk because they contain casein. I'm glad you listed out the symptoms of intolerance/allergy to dairy, because I also think it is under-diagnosed.
Susana Smith (author) from UK on August 26, 2009:
Julie - I'll give some thought to writing a hub on the causes and treatments for colic. Thanks for the idea!
jULIE on August 26, 2009:
Interesting article. Its also worth considering oversupply as a cause of colic symptoms in a breastfed baby though so perhaps some information on that could be added.