Milk Allergy in Babies and What Parents Need to Know

If the milk allergy in young children is not detected early and handled promptly, it can make the baby feel uncomfortable, anorexia, … If this condition lasts long, it can seriously affect the child's health.

What Is A Milk Allergy?


An allergy is a hypersensitivity disorder of the immune system. An allergic reaction that occurs against foreign substances in the environment is called allergens. Allergens can be pollen, fur, some foods, … Allergic reactions usually happen quickly and can be predicted.

Milk allergy is the body's allergic response to the proteins in milk. That is, the immune system will mistake milk proteins for foreign substances that are harmful to the body and begin to work to fight them. From there, causing the manifestation of a milk allergy.

Subject Is Susceptible to Milk Allergy

Milk allergy can be seen in both children and adults. However, children are the most susceptible to a milk allergy. Because a child's digestive system is still immature and has not been fully developed, the risk of allergies is often higher.

Babies with an allergic predisposition to any agent are likely to be more likely to be allergic to milk than other babies. In particular, if your baby has chronic atopic dermatitis, he or she is likely to be allergic to milk.

For children with relatives, especially fathers, mothers with a history of allergies, urticaria, eczema, bronchial asthma, … the percentage of babies with milk allergy is also very high.


Signs of A Milk Allergy

Milk allergy is often confused with lactose intolerance (also known as lactose intolerance) because the symptoms are quite similar.

Lactose intolerance occurs when the body lacks the enzyme lactase that helps metabolize lactose in the gut (lactose is the characteristic sugar found in milk and dairy products). The sign is that when the body tolerates lactose, it will cause digestive disorders such as bloating, nausea, stomach pain, diarrhea, …

Lactose intolerance can occur in both adults and children. The feature of this disease is not related to the immune system. For children with lactose intolerance, parents need to choose suitable alternative foods to provide adequate and balanced nutrition for a normally developing child.

Milk allergy is a reaction of the immune system to milk proteins that causes an allergic phenomenon. Milk allergy usually occurs minutes to hours after drinking milk and eating dairy products. Milk allergy is more common in children.


The manifestations of a child's milk allergy are often a combination of many symptoms and depending on the body condition, environment, and daily diet. If parents have a history of milk allergy, the baby is also at risk of having a milk allergy.

  • Immediate symptoms of an allergic reaction may include: hives, vomiting, wheezing, …
  • Signs after a few hours of milk consumption may include: abdominal cramping in a newborn, wheezing, an itchy rash on the skin (usually around the mouth), diarrhea, loose stools (blood may be present), …
  • Sometimes a milk allergy can cause anaphylaxis – Which is a particularly serious reaction that can be life-threatening.

Causes of Allergy Milk

The immune system thinks that milk protein is harmful to the body, so it produces antibodies immunoglobulin E (IgE) to neutralize milk proteins (allergens). When children tolerate these proteins, IgE antibodies recognize them and send signals to the immune system to produce histamine and other active substances that cause a range of allergy signs and symptoms.

Cow's milk foods are the leading cause of milk allergy in babies, especially formula. However, dairy from sheep, goats, buffalo, and other mammals can also cause an allergic reaction. There are two main types of protein in cow's milk: Casein and whey protein.

  • Casein is usually in the solids component of milk (cheeses often have a high casein content).
  • Whey protein is usually present in the liquid portion of milk remaining after lumping.

Children with a milk allergy may be allergic to either of the above protein components or both.

In addition, many scientific studies show that children with milk allergies may partly be inherited from their parents. If a baby's parents have had a milk allergy as a child, their baby is also at a higher risk of having a milk allergy when compared to other babies.

Another possible cause of a milk allergy in a young child can be the condition, the daily diet, or the environment.

Currently, scientists have yet to find the exact cause of milk allergy. The causes of a milk allergy can vary depending on the circumstances.

How to Prevent


For babies at high risk of milk allergy, you need to prevent your baby by the following methods:

  • Exclusive breastfeeding for at least the first 6 months after birth. If possible, breastfeed your baby for a longer time. This is one of the recommended solutions to reduce the risk of infant formula allergy risk.
  • Check carefully the ingredients of powdered milk and formula milk before giving it to your baby. On most baby milk products today, there are labels clearly stating the ingredients of the milk. Before giving it to your baby, you need to check this ingredient sheet to see if there are any ingredients that cause allergies to your baby. This is especially important for babies with atopic sites.
  • Inform relatives who regularly take care of the child such as grandparents, preschool teachers, babysitters, … that the baby has a milk allergy, to prevent the baby from using inappropriate milk.
  • Always have some antiallergic drugs available in the house (as directed by your doctor) for use when needed. Absolutely not to use arbitrarily buy and use allergy medicine for children without the consent and guidance of the doctor.
  • Perform tests for your baby to find out the cause of the allergy, from which it is easy to find the right treatment.

Some Frequently Asked Questions About A Milk Allergy Parents Need to Know

When will my baby stop allergy to cow's milk protein?

Cow's milk protein allergy usually occurs in a short time and usually occurs when children are young, according to some surveys of the health ministry as shown as follows:

Children aged 0 – 1-year-old have a milk allergy rate of 10-30%.

For children from 1 – 3 years old, the rate of milk allergy decreases.

From over 3 years old, up to 75% of children no longer have a milk allergy.

In addition, there are still some special cases where there are babies who can develop a lifelong milk allergy. Therefore, parents need to monitor their child's symptoms after using dairy products to take appropriate handling measures. What should a baby with a formula milk allergy do? Milk allergy often occurs in young children when using formula. So what should parents do when a baby has a formula allergy?

  • First: Use a small amount when starting a new formula. After that, parents need to carefully observe the child's behavior after using milk and dairy products. If you see any abnormal signs, you should immediately take the child to medical facilities for examination or emergency in case of emergency.
  • Second: Change to another formula if the baby shows an inappropriate reaction.
  • Third: If the child has a milk allergy, it is necessary to determine which part of the protein allergy in milk (whey or casein or both).
  • Fourth: Read carefully the expiry date and ingredients when buying formula to choose the right product for your baby.

Milk is a food that provides an important source of nutrients for a child's overall development. However, the only way to prevent an allergic reaction is to not use milk and dairy products.


If your child has a milk allergy, you should see a doctor to determine the severity of the disease and be instructed on the right diet, as well as to choose the right alternative products.

With the above sharing about milk allergy in young children. Hope to help parents understand more about milk allergy as well as know the cause and appropriate treatment if the baby has the above symptoms.

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The site cannot and does not contain medical advice. The medical information is provided for general informational and educational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional advice. Accordingly, before taking any actions based upon such information, we encourage you to consult with the appropriate professionals.