Cow’s Milk Allergy: What are the alternate milk formula?

Cow's milk allergy is the most common cause of allergy seen throughout the world. It usually starts in infants in the first year of life. Cow's milk allergy can present with a variety of symptoms including rashes, urticaria, anaphylaxis, chronic diarrhea etc. Cow's milk allergy requires a complete withdrawal of milk and milk products from the child’s diet. This hence requires alternate formulas to maintain nutrition in such children.

Can children with cow’s milk allergy continue breastfeeding?
Breast milk is the best for the baby. Exclusive breast feeding is recommended for the first six months of life and can be continued wherever possible upto two years. It is nutritionally balanced and protects against many infections, allergies and chronic diseases. Most children with cow’s milk allergy do well on breastfeeding. In a very small percentage of babies where allergy symptoms persist on breast feeding cow’s milk and milk products need to be excluded from the mother's diet.

 

Cow’s Milk Allergy: What are the alternate milk formula

 

What are the recommended milk formulas for children with cow’s milk allergy?
Children with cow’s milk allergy often require alternate milk formula. Hypoallergenic formulas are available for children with cow’s milk allergy. Alternative milk formulas include extensively hydrolyzed formula and amino acid–based formula, which are adequate in nutrition. In an extensively hydrolyzed formula the cow’s milk protein is broken down into smaller chains. More than 90% of infants and children with cow’s milk allergy shall be able to tolerate and do well on an extensively hydrolyzed formula. The other alternate milk formula is an amino acid formula where the cow’s milk protein is broken down into individual amino acids. Children with cow’s milk allergy are usually started on an extensively hydrolyzed formula. The amino acid formula is reserved for children who do not tolerate an extensively hydrolyzed formula or have severe forms of cow’s milk allergy milk like recurrent anaphylaxis or food protein induced enterocolitis syndrome (FPIES).

If a child has a cow's milk allergy can other animal milks be given?
Animal milk like goat, sheep or camel milk have a similar protein structure as cow’s milk. Hence if a child has cow’s milk allergy he is at high risk of allergic reactions to other animal milks. It is not recommended to give any other animal milk to children with cow’s milk allergy.

What are milk beverages?
Milk beverages are milk like drinks which are available over the counter in most grocery shops. They are almond milk, rice milk, coconut milk etc. Milk beverages are very poor in nutrition including calories, proteins and minerals. Milk beverages are not recommended in children younger than 2 years of age.

If your child has a cow’s milk allergy consult a pediatric allergist for appropriate diagnosis and management.

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