One of the major health challenges that pediatricians across the globe face is that of infants with milk allergy. Milk protein allergy (MPA) is a widely reported problem that affects about 60% of infants worldwide. In particular cow’s milk protein allergy (CMPA) is the most common one. Because diagnosing the cause is usually a problem, pediatricians do rely on parental allergy history to establish the cause in infants. Reliable diagnosis usually takes time as pediatricians monitor the presented symptoms.
Infants allergic to milk proteins do present similar symptoms to those presented by adults. This means that such infants do go through a very hard time considering the fact that some of the symptoms can be very serious. Such include serious skin infections, shortness of breath and stomach problems.
The first line of treating infant milk allergy is usually through proper management. In most cases, avoidance of the suspected allergen is usually the first step toward minimizing and eliminating symptoms. There are also instances where infants become allergic to breast milk, meaning that their mothers have to avoid consuming cow’s milk or any other type of milk. In serious cases, mothers may be advised to stop breastfeeding and instead rely on infant milk formulas to feed their infants.
Mothers who continue breastfeeding are usually advised to work very closely with nutritionists or dieticians for proper advice on the best alternative foods to eat so that their infants continue receiving the necessary proteins for good health.
Infant milk formulas
Infant milk formulas have lately become very useful in feeding infants allergic to milk proteins. Two types of formulas are available; hydrolyzed protein formulas (EHFs) and amino acid formulas (AAFs). Although hydrolyzed protein formulas contain certain proteins available in cow’s milk, their use has been found to be safe in most infants who suffer milk allergy.
Some infants fed on EHFs however experience allergy symptoms. On the other hand, AAFs have been found to be of benefit to most infants although some (such as lecithin) contain allergens that can cause milk allergy in some infants. One disadvantage of both formulas is their resultant taste that some infants may not like.
One serious mistake that parents with infants do once their children are diagnosed with milk allergy is to stop feeding them on any foods laced with milk. The fact that an infant is allergic to CMPA does not necessarily mean that the infant is allergic to all forms of milk.
It is therefore very important for parents to work very closely with their nutritionists and pediatricians so that the particular allergen can be identified and eliminated, leaving an infant to enjoy other types of milk. It is a fact that infants need sufficient nutrients for proper growth and development and denying them the same at such an early age can have serious effects once they grow up.
Introduction of milk
The fact that most infants overcome their milk allergy once they grow past three years means that consumption of cow’s milk can be re-introduced without any problems. This must however be done with care. It should be done with the amount of milk increased gradually. Most infants actually live to consume milk and milk products without experiencing any allergic symptoms.
Jane Kraus is a mother who has had lots of problems with milk allergies, and is very experienced on the subject of using different baby formula (in Denmark it’s called modermælkserstatning) to avoid the problem.