Managing your baby’s cows’ milk allergy
When your baby is diagnosed with CMA (cows’ milk allergy), it’s natural to feel worried. But now that you know the cause of your baby’s symptoms, you can take positive steps to keep them healthy. It may be reassuring to remember that most children grow out of CMA by their third birthday.
CMA and breastfeeding
Breast milk is the best form of nourishment for your baby, even if they have been diagnosed with CMA.
While cows’ milk protein can pass into breast milk from your diet, most babies with CMA can tolerate it. In rare cases, babies do react to the cows’ milk in their mothers’ milk. If this happens, your healthcare professional or doctor may advise you to avoid all dairy products to see if this makes a difference to your baby’s symptoms.
Balancing a dairy-free diet
You should only eliminate dairy on the advice of a doctor or healthcare professional to ensure that other vital nutrients are not inadvertently removed from your diet. Most people get the majority of their calcium from dairy products, so if you need to follow a dairy-free breastfeeding diet, it’s important to boost your calcium intake in other ways.
"Your calcium needs increase to 1,250mg per day while breastfeeding.”
When breastfeeding, you need 1,250mg of calcium every day1: 550mg more than usual. This is usually achieved by drinking low-fat milk and eating cheese and yogurt regularly – you would need to include dairy foods up to 5 times per day to meet this increased requirement.
If you have been advised to follow a diary-free diet, you should consume plenty of non-dairy sources of calcium instead. These include:
- Tinned sardines, with the bones
- Calcium-fortified fruit juices
- Soya milk, oat milk, rice milk or nut milk1
- Green, leafy vegetables
- Wholegrain bread
- Almonds and Brazil nuts2
Speak to your healthcare professional about your calcium intake to ensure you’re getting what you need.
Watch our video for an overview of milk allergy and intolerance, and see how special infant formula can help manage the symptoms.
CMA and bottlefeeding
If your doctor diagnoses your baby with CMA, they may prescribe a special kind of formula known as extensively hydrolysed formula.
This is made with proteins that have been broken down, so that your baby’s immune system doesn’t recognise them as an allergen. They are formulated to retain their nutritional value and provide the wide range of vitamins and minerals your baby needs.
"It’s normal for your baby’s feeding habits to change when you switch to an extensively hydrolysed formula.”