Cow’s Milk Allergy in Infants

This is oat milk. Diego drinks this as a milk substitute.

Milk allergy in infants is a topic close to me. As I have explained here, when my son Diego was 3 and a half months old he developed very severe eczema, so I was pleased when a couple of weeks ago my husband came home and showed me this article.

It is striking to know that cow’s milk allergy (CMA) has increased significantly in many countries around the world. However, it is a condition that very often goes undiagnosed as explained in the article above. It certainly was in our case. When my son started showing the symptoms (severe eczema) I was breastfeeding him exclusively and I was vegetarian (but eating dairy and eggs). This meant he was getting the cow’s milk protein through my breast milk. However, when I took him to the GP, the diagnosis was eczema and the cause unknown. My aim here isn’t to complain about the NHS. I am actually very pleased that a new guidance for GPs to better diagnose cow’s milk allergy in infants is now in place.

According to this article, CMA affects two per cent of infants up to the age of four in the UK. Also, about half of them have the non-IgE or “delayed” allergy strain. This means that the symptoms do not show until after 2 hours or more and it could be days later. In addition, its symptoms can vary from mild, moderate to severe. As explained here, in the case of non-IgE the symptoms of atopic dermatitis, pruritus (itchiness), irritability, constipation or diarrhoea can be treatment resistant. Very often these symptoms get confused with other conditions. In the case of my son Diego who suffers from CMA, the diagnosis didn’t come until he was 14 months old through a skin prick test. My son also had a blood test when he was about 10 months old, however, that test came out negative. In our case, the community dermatologist decided to discharge my son based on this result. Soon after this result and after the failure to find the cause of his eczema, when Diego was about 10 months old I decided to stop having dairy, then later I stopped having eggs as well and I saw a huge improvement weeks after giving up both dairy and eggs. Actually, by the time the skin prick test result came back, it just confirmed to us what we highly suspected.

However, the diagnosis from our GPs was always infant eczema and I actually remember asking a doctor whether I should change our diet and the doctor said to me “continue eating what you are eating”. A milk allergy test only came after months of visits and treatment trials that were not working and us trying by ourselves a new diet (following a plant-based diet in our case).

In fact, my idea when creating this blog was to help parents like me that find themselves in the situation of raising a baby with allergies. I know how overwhelming it can be at first, just thinking where your baby / toddler will get calcium from, what can I use instead of cheese on his toast and so on. However, for me this experience was a blessing because it took me down a path I wanted to walk and also encouraged me to carry out research and awaken my passion and interest.

 

In addition to oat milk, Diego also drinks other plant-based milks.

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