Babies & Kids Motherhood

Does My Baby Have a Dairy Allergy: Our Experience

August 21, 2020
milk allergy baby

As a first time mom it’s easy to google everything.

“My baby is sleeping all day instead of at night, is that normal?”

“My baby cries all the time”

“How to get baby to take a pacifier”

And the list goes on and on. 

One thing I didn’t think I would have to google is “Does my baby have a milk allergy?” But I found myself doing just that.

Disclaimer: I am not a doctor and don’t claim to be one. The statements on this blog are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. The author does not in any way guarantee or warrant the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any message and will not be held responsible for the content of any message. Always consult your personal physician for specific medical advice.

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Babies spit up and cry, it’s what they do but when does that become “not normal.” When should we start thinking that it might be something more?

Let’s get into what it might look like if your baby has a milk allergy.

milk allergy baby

I know I put a disclaimer at the top of this but I just want to reiterate that I am not a doctor and don’t claim to be. I am speaking from our personal experience and what it MIGHT look like if your baby has a dairy allergy.

When our daughter was born she was on a mix of pumped breastmilk and Enfamil Gentlease.

We chose the Gentlease because it’s what was given to us in the hospital so we just went with it and our daughter seemed to like it.

Fast forward to when she was 2.5 months old and we were thrown for a loop.

Our first sign of a dairy allergy

The first thing we started to notice was that 30ish minutes after every bottle our daughter would projectile vomit up what seemed like her entire bottle.

I’m not exaggerating when I say she projectile vomited. It went out and everywhere.

We ended up having to cover our couch in blankets and keeping towels in the living room in case she threw up. This made for a cranky baby and frustrated parents.

We were changing outfits a lot and doing a ton of laundry.

She would throw up on herself, get worked up until we changed her, and then it would take her a while to calm down then repeat cycle every 2-3 hours that she was eating.

I knew that couldn’t be normal so of course, I turned to Google.

After reading a bunch of stuff on the internet I decided that we should take her to the pediatrician and look into a dairy allergy.

At this time we had just switched pediatricians and hadn’t actually seen the doctor yet.

We got an appointment with a random doctor in the clinic who immediately denied that my daughter had a milk allergy.

She said we could try a hypoallergenic formula but she thought it was expensive and unnecessary and that what my daughter was doing was normal.

I knew it wasn’t normal for a baby to projectile vomit their entire bottle after every feeding.

Needless to say, we saw a different doctor in the clinic whom we love to this day!

Anyway, she ended up agreeing that we had a dairy allergy on our hands and suggested the hypoallergenic formula.

We went with Enfamil Nutramigen and oh my goodness is that stuff expensive but that’s not the point. Switching to this formula was amazing!

No more vomit and we had a much happier baby.

We did try switching her back to Gentlease once when she was about 7 months old but it didn’t go well.

Fast forward til when she turned one and was old enough for allergy testing and she was confirmed to have a milk allergy.

new mom printable

What are some other signs of a milk allergy in a baby?

According to whattoexpect.com, the common signs are vomiting, diarrhea, colic like symptoms, or respiratory symptoms.

There are many different symptoms so if you suspect a milk allergy in your baby I would definitely talk to your child’s pediatrician.

Milk intolerance vs. Milk allergy

Believe it or not, there is a difference between a milk allergy and a milk intolerance.

A milk intolerance or lactose intolerance is when you can’t process the lactose in milk. Your baby might just need a lactose free formula.

Again, check with your child’s doctor. A true milk allergy is apparently less common and the symptoms can be a little different.

I will say that there’s a significant price difference between lactose-free formula and hypoallergenic formula so you definitely want to make sure you actually need the hypoallergenic formula before you spend the money on it.

Breastfeeding a baby with a milk allergy

I do not have experience with breastfeeding a baby with a milk allergy.

Shortly after we found out Braelynn had a milk allergy I stopped pumping because I wasn’t producing much.

There are differing opinions on breastfeeding a baby with a milk allergy so you just need to do your research and talk to your pediatrician.

Allergy testing

From my experience, they typically don’t allergy test on babies younger than one year.

Our pediatrician said it’s not as reliable before that so they wait till they are older. If you want to read more about our allergy journey check out this post

We were told that milk allergies are often outgrown by the time the child turns 5 (same for egg allergies).

Thankfully this has been the case with us as our daughter is now 3 and can drink milk and eat yogurt and ice cream. We are still waiting to get an official milk allergy-free diagnosis though.

Don’t Panic!

If you’re anything like me you thought that having a milk allergy was terrible.

My first thought was “but there’s milk in everything!” Which is true but I was overreacting.

It’s so easy to make dairy-free alternatives with nut milk or oat milk. It’s also pretty easy to find allergy-friendly snacks in grocery stores.

My daughter ended up only having reactions to things with high milk concentration like milk, yogurt, ice cream, etc.

She could tolerate things with baked in milk like muffins and cake. This might not always be the case.

You should talk with your child’s doctor before introducing any new foods containing allergens.

milk allergy baby

If you suspect your child has a milk allergy, you should talk with their pediatrician and come up with a game plan. And remember mama, don’t panic or overthink it.

Don’t make things more difficult than they need to be. It might be a little inconvenient to start with but once you get used to the dietary changes, it becomes your new normal.

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