What Are Some Symptoms of Milk Allergies in Infants?


Quick Answer

In infants, a cow milk allergy may cause symptoms such as vomiting, wheezing, swelling, irritability and bloody diarrhea, according to KidsHealth. Hives or other itchy rashes, such as eczema, may appear on a child's skin. Other symptoms include colic, gagging and refusal of food. Some infants may experience a severe reaction, known as anaphylaxis, which triggers changes in breathing and blood pressure. Symptoms may manifest immediately or within seven to 10 days of milk consumption.

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Full Answer

Roughly 2 to 3 percent of infants develop an allergy to the proteins in cow's milk, and they are more likely to have a similar reaction to goat's milk, sheep's milk or soy milk, KidsHealth states. While an exclusively breast-fed infant is less likely to develop an allergy, the child may still experience allergic reactions if the mother consumes cow's milk.

To diagnose the condition, a pediatrician may evaluate the family's allergy history, perform an allergy test and examine the infant's stool to rule out milk intolerance, What To Expect explains. Lactose intolerance develops when the digestive system is unable to break down lactose, a natural sugar found in milk. If the doctor suspects an allergy, she may advise a breast-feeding mother to abstain from drinking cow's milk. Formula-fed infants usually need a hydrolysate formula that contains partially broken down proteins, reducing the risk of a reaction.

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