Can Babies Be Allergic To Baby Formula? Signs & Symptoms

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Baby Allergic To Formula

Table of Contents

Have you witnessed your baby vomiting, coughing, or having diarrhea after consuming infant formula? It may be so because your baby is allergic to formula. Before we get into the signs and symptoms caused by formula, let’s read what a milk reaction is.

What Is Milk Allergy?

Infant formulas sold in markets contain cow’s milk with the proteins present in it adjusted for infants to digest. Lactose, i.e., milk sugar is added to the formula to equalize the concentration. Lactose is also found in breast milk. There are many other ingredients added to infant formulas such as vegetable oils and essential fats to make them easily digestible. Minerals and vitamins such as calcium, vitamin D, and iron are also added to baby formulas to meet the nutritious benefits for proper growth.

A baby with milk allergies is actually allergic to the proteins present in cow’s milk, i.e., whey and casein. This condition is called Cow’s Milk Protein Allergy (CMPA).

Effects Of Milk Allergies On Babies

A baby with a milk allergy will have the proteins present in milk stick to particular antibodies that are created by the immune system. This can cause mild to severe symptoms as explained below.

Signs & Symptoms Of Formula Allergy In Babies

The symptoms and signs of formula allergy in babies depend on the severity of the child’s allergy. Here are the formula allergy symptoms you should look out for.

  • Hives
  • Wheezing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Coughing
  • Congestion
  • Vomiting
  • Sneezing
  • Fussiness
  • Changes in behavior
  • Diarrhea
  • Cramping in the abdomen
  • Decrease in blood pressure

What Should You Do If Your Child Has A Milk Allergy?

If you found out that your baby has an allergic reaction to milk,

  • Contact your pediatrician right away even if the symptoms are mild.
  • It will help you find ways to alleviate the symptoms.
  • If your little one has difficulty breathing, develops swelling, or is vomiting after consuming infant formula you need to seek urgent medical care.
  • Children with a severe allergy need to be injected with an epinephrine auto-injector to treat the reaction.
  • Do closely read the ingredients listed on the products you buy for the baby and change the formulas if the one you are feeding your child is causing an allergic reaction.

Symptoms of Baby Formula Allergies: Diagnosis and Treatment

Once you visit a doctor with a baby showing signs of formula allergy,

  • They will ask you questions about what kind of products you are feeding your child and might want to examine your baby’s poop or blood.
  • In extreme cases, you will be referred to an allergist (a doctor who specializes in diagnosing and treating allergies). You must tell them your baby’s eating habits and the symptoms exhibited and how long they have been happening.
  • An allergist will do an oral food challenge or an allergy skin test to milk. For this, the allergist will make your baby consume the milk and wait to see if a reaction happens. But do not worry as a medical team is always nearby to take care if any severe reactions happen, so you are not putting your baby at any risk.
  • The doctor might also use a skin prick test or a blood test to look for immunoglobulin E antibodies. For this test, the doctor places a sample of the culprit milk on the baby’s skin and pricks the area to make the milk go inside the body. If there is an allergic reaction it will be evident within 10 to 20 minutes.

Prevention Of Allergic Reaction To Formula

  • You will not straightaway know what product will cause an allergic reaction on your baby. Once you find out the culprit product, change the formula immediately.
  • However, before you switch, consult your baby’s pediatrician if they have something to recommend that will be safe for your baby.
  • Research shows that breastfeeding will reduce the risks of having an allergic reaction.
  • Suppose, breastfeeding is not a viable option, you can opt for amino acid formulas, rice hydrolysates, and soy formulas. Remember that infants who are allergic to cow’s milk also tend to be allergic to soy-based formulas.

Amino-Based Formulas As A Substitute To Milk-Based Formula

Amino-based formulas provide all the nutritional needs of an infant to toddlers to older children. These formulas are appropriate for babies who are allergic to milk-based formulas or are unable to tolerate extensively hydrolyzed formulas. The building blocks of proteins are amino acids and formulas with amino acids do not contain any proteins that are intact. Thus, they are easily digestible by most kids. These amino-based formulas are called ‘elemental’ formulas.

Extensively Hydrolysed Formulas

The protein casein is the main reason cow’s milk is allergic to most children. Extensively hydrolyzed proteins formulas break casein into pieces making it suitable for children with a milk or formula allergy.

Can Babies Be Allergic To Baby Formula? Final Words:

Can babies be allergic to formulas? Yes, since most baby formulas contain cow’s milk. The allergic reaction is towards the proteins like whey and casein that are present in cow’s milk. Caregivers should be vigilant of all the symptoms and signs of a formula allergy and take measures to address it as soon as possible.

You must immediately diagnose the cause of symptoms of baby formula allergies to ensure that the child is on a nourishing diet routine. There are different viable options if a baby is allergic to milk such as rice hydrolysates or amino acid formulas.

Can Babies Be Allergic To Baby Formula? FAQs

1. What does the baby poop look like with milk allergy?

A baby with a milk allergy will pass watery and loose stool. These may appear frothy or bulky too. They are acidic which means your baby is prone to a diaper rash as the skin becomes irritated.

2. What color is baby poop with a milk allergy?

A baby with a milk allergy will have blood in its poop sometimes. At times it may be black which means it is been digested. A Poop with bright red in it may happen for very different reasons. Consult your doctor immediately if you happen to notice, poop tinged with red blood as it may indicate an allergy to milk.

3. How can you tell the difference between a milk allergy and acid reflux?

Symptoms of acid reflux are accompanied by distress such as restlessness and back arching are symptoms of an allergy to milk.

4. What are the symptoms of milk allergy in babies?

Symptoms of milk allergy will be evident soon after they consume milk. Watch out for these signs:
  • Wheezing
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Hoarseness
  • Coughing
  • Stomach upset
  • Throat tightness
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Swollen, itchy, and water eyes
  • Hives
  • Swelling
  • A drop in blood pressure
  • Loss of consciousness
  • 5. What are the symptoms of a formula allergy?

    If your baby is allergic to an infant formula he or she will show:
  • Red itchy patches around the mouth
  • Swelling of the lips and mouth
  • Swelling around the eyes
  • Red bumps on the skin
  • Bloated abdomen

  • On behalf of the editorial team at Parenthoodbliss, we follow strict reporting guidelines and only use credible sources, along with peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and highly respected health organizations. To learn about how we maintain content accurate and up-to-date by reading our medical review and editorial policy.

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