Milk is a very important part of a growing child’s meals. If your child is allergic to milk, then how will you ensure that their daily nutritional needs are met? If not milk, what else can you feed your child? Is there another way to ensure that your child is getting enough calcium? Also, how do you spot a milk allergy? Read on to find out:
Importance of drinking milk
Babies need to be breastfed for the first two years of life (or however long they can be fed). After this, they should switch to drinking cow’s milk. After their first year of life, you can slowly start introducing cow’s milk into their diet. Slowly start increasing the ratio of cow’s milk to breast milk until you finally wean your baby.
Up to their second year, you should feed them full-fat dairy. Once they turn two, you can switch to low-fat milk. Doctors recommend drinking 2 glasses of milk every day. Milk helps children perform better in school. It also helps their bones and muscles grow stronger.
It can be consumed in the form of other dairy products - curd, cheese, butter, etc. This is a good option if your child doesn’t like milk. But children must have at least 1 glass of milk every day along with these dairy foods.
Remember: Most children outgrow their milk allergy so you don’t have to worry about it too much.
How to spot a milk allergy
Milk allergies can be spotted early on - during the breastfeeding period. If you or anyone in your family has had a milk allergy, it is possible that your baby has a milk allergy too. It is common to spot a milk allergy in infants although you can spot them in people of any age.
Let us first try and understand what it means. A milk allergy is when the immune system overreacts to the proteins present in milk. This can happen when a baby consumes formula as certain kinds of formula are cow-milk based. Thus, eating this formula may cause an allergic reaction. If your baby is allergic to it, your doctor may recommend switching to an extensively hydrolyzed formula where the proteins are a lot easier to digest.
You may also discover that your baby gets an allergic reaction when you just had milk (or some form of dairy) before feeding them. To check if your baby really is allergic, stop eating dairy for 2-3 weeks to see if the allergy symptoms stop.
It would take 1.5 weeks for you to get it completely out of your system and about 2.5 weeks for the milk proteins to get out of your baby’s system. Wait 10 days to see if there’s an improvement. By the end of 3 weeks, your baby should be fine.
What to do about it
Breastfeeding mothers need to cut dairy from their diet. Make sure you take some calcium supplements for the sake of your health as well as your baby’s health. After weaning the baby off breast milk, you should avoid including dairy in their foods at least through early childhood (2-5 years).
Avoid anything that contains even traces of milk. Read the labels of all foods carefully before buying them. You can try offering milk and dairy to them after those initial years and see if they have any allergic reaction towards it. Most children outgrow milk allergies so it is a good idea to try and offer it to them.