One of the most common food allergy in infancy is the allergy to cow's milk consumed by mother. This type of allergy is seen in 2 to 7 percent of infants. This problem usually disappears by age 3. Sometimes, however, allergy to cow's milk protein is observed up to age 6 or 8.
Lactose intolerance should not be confused with allergy to cow's milk protein. Lactose intolerance is a non-immunological reaction and may be due to enzymatic defects, drug, etc.
The immune system of infants who are allergic to milk has a negative reaction to the proteins in cow's milk. If the baby is breastfed, Incidence of allergies is a sign of allergy to the dairy products consumed by mother. But if the baby is fed with infant formula, it indicates the infant's allergy to cow's milk proteins. Some symptoms of allergy to cow's milk protein include: vomiting, abdominal pain, persistent and severe crying, infant restlessness especially after weaning, diarrhea, bloody stools, no weight gain, hives, coughing or wheezing.
Treatment of cow's milk protein allergy:
- In cases where there is a family history of allergy to cow's milk protein, a special formula (HA; Hypo-Allergenic) is used instead of the usual formula to prevent allergy. In this formula, the protein are partially hydrolyzed.
- If clinical trials show that the baby has allergy to cow's milk protein; (Cow's Milk Allergy), a special formula is used. In this formula, protein is fully hydrolyzed.
- Another dietary formula used to treat cow's milk allergy is the "soy-based formula". However, this product is not recommended in case of allergy to soy.
- If the infant is very sensitive to cow's milk and the infant is also sensitive to soy protein, "amino acid-based formula" is used. Almost all children who are sensitive to cow's milk and soy can tolerate this type of formula.
- If the infant is breastfeeding and has symptoms of allergy, this problem can be remedied by removing dairy products from mother's diet.