A dairy allergy baby can be something that’s difficult to diagnose.
It’s extremely frustrating to watch your baby be in discomfort and not know why or how to fix it. As a mom, you just want to make everything ok. When you can’t, your left feeling helpless. I’ve been there and it’s not a good feeling. For weeks my baby was miserable all because of what I’d been eating. The guilt can be overwhelming.
The good thing is once you find the source, you’ll have a happy baby in no time.
It’s time to find out what is making your baby so fussy. Have you eliminated the usual suspects? Gas, reflux, and colic? It is quite possible that you have a dairy allergy baby. The symptoms of a dairy allergy baby can often be attributed to other things, delaying the diagnosis. Here are the 5 main signs that your baby has a dairy intolerance.
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How do you know if your baby has Cow’s Milk Protein Allergy (CMPA)?
1. Your baby cries constantly or seems “colicky”
No one wants their baby to have the dreaded colic. You know, the episodes of inconsolable crying that occurs night after night and often leaves mommy crying too! It’s awful.
The good news is that colic is actually a symptom and not a diagnosis.
According to Mayo Clinic, the usual causes are:
- A digestive system that isn’t fully developed
- Imbalance of healthy bacteria in the digestive tract
- Food allergies or intolerances
- Overfeeding, underfeeding, or infrequent burping
Once you can pinpoint what’s bothering your baby, the constant crying will go away.
We explored several different possibilities, reflux, gas, and P.U.R.P.L.E crying (peak of crying, unexpected, resists soothing, pain like face, long lasting, evening). In our case, the P.U.R.P.L.E crying seemed like the winner until we started connecting the other symptoms.
During the process, we did find some products that actually seemed to giver her relief.
These were a life saver. It took a couple of days to notice a difference but when it did take effect the change was very noticeable. They are a bit on the expensive side but I learned quickly that the cost of a happy baby is priceless. I loved the fact that I could just give her drops versus getting her to take a syringe of medicine.
Fortunately I had registered for this and other over the counter baby medicines during my pregnancy. It was a relief to have it on hand when I needed it. We used this very often and had great results.
I also had gripe water on hand and it seemed to help at first. Then, she seemed to choke on it and I was afraid to give her anymore.
2. Your baby has visible red spots of blood in his/her poop
Most of the time when you are changing diapers, your goal is to get in and out as quickly as possible without getting peed on. Especially if you have a baby boy! Just make sure to pay attention to what’s in the diaper too.
Often times blood won’t be visible. And if it is, it may be extremely hard to identify.
At my daughter’s 2 month appointment I saw a red speck while changing her poopy diaper. Her pediatrician had it tested and it came back positive for blood.
There are several reasons for occult blood (blood that is not easily visible)in the stool:
- Slight anal tear or fissure
- Food allergies
- Mom has a cracked, bleeding nipple
- Breastmilk oversupply
- Vitamin/fluoride drops
- Temporary lactose intolerance
- Infectious bacteria
- Colitis and other intestinal disorders
In the absence of a fever, food protein intolerance is the most common.
Dairy intolerance or dairy sensitivity along with soy intolerance is the most diagnosed protein intolerance in infants. Although dairy intolerance itself is said to be unusual.
3. Your baby has diarrhea
When diagnosing a baby with diarrhea, healthcare professionals look at changes in the stool versus the amount of times a baby poops in a day.
Normally, infants have frequent loose stools especially if they are breastfed. This makes it extremely difficult to say if your baby’s pooping patterns are normal or if it’s something you should be concerned about.
Looking back, my baby was experiencing diarrhea but I didn’t know it. I never noticed a change in the consistency or frequency of her stool. It had always been very loose and she typically went after every feeding. I thought this was a great sign and indicated that she was getting plenty of milk.
According to KellyMom, after 4-6 weeks, some babies can go as long as 7-10 days without pooping. But, on the other hand, some breastfed babies will still go frequently.
Diarrhea is not without consequences. If you suspect that your baby has diarrhea, make sure to observe for signs of dehydration:
- Dry mouth
- Lack of tears when crying
- Sunken fontanelle
- Dry diaper for more than 3 hours
If you see any of this, call your doctor right away. You’ll also want to seek medical attention if diarrhea is combined with a fever greater than 100.4˚F, vomiting, irritability, or the baby is younger than 3 months of age.
4. Your baby has eczema
There are several different types of eczema, but the one that results from a dairy allergy is atopic dermatitis.
According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma, & Immunology, 60% of babies will exhibit symptoms of eczema by their first birthday.
Typically, once an infant is diagnosed with eczema it is only a matter of time before they are subsequently diagnosed with a food allergy then allergic rhinitis, followed by asthma. This is called the atopic march.
Fortunately, we haven’t experienced the atopic march. Our introduction to eczema started within the first month after delivery. At around 4 weeks my baby developed what looked like baby acne on her face and ears. I was told not to do anything about it and that it was due to left over hormones from me.
About a week later I noticed tiny bumps on her legs and on her arms. Her pediatrician told me it was normal for the acne to spread. She suggested I keep it moist so that it wouldn’t evolve into eczema.
Despite my best efforts to keep her moisturized, her arms and legs developed very dry patches. I was then told that she indeed had infantile eczema.
This came as a shock to me. No one in my family or her dad’s immediate family had eczema. I couldn’t understand where it was coming from.
5. Your baby spits up, a lot!
You’ve seen babies who sit there smiling and then all of a sudden they are spitting up. It seems like it’s coming from nowhere. The babies don’t appear to be in any discomfort and they just keep cooing and blowing raspberries.
It’s totally normal and very common in healthy babies. The medical term for this is reflux regurgitation. It peaks around 3 months and most babies outgrow it around 12 months.
Usually it’s not a problem but when you start going through 5 bibs in an hour or changing outfits 6 times a day, you want to find a solution.
The steps to reduce spit up include:
- Keeping your baby upright
- Avoiding overfeeding
- Burping your baby
- Putting your baby on their back to sleep
If you implement these steps but your baby is still spitting up a lot, it’s time to dig deeper. This is often a sign that your baby has a dairy intolerance or a dairy allergy.
There are other symptoms of dairy intolerance. Make sure to get your Dairy Allergy Symptom Tracker so you don’t miss any important signs. Plus, you’ll have something concrete to be able to share with your Pediatrician.
Having a dairy allergy baby is easy to miss
Looking back on it, it was hard for me to consider that dairy or any other food was causing Kenz’s night episodes. In isolation and even in combination all of these things can be fairly normal in an infant. So it’s challenging to know if a dairy intolerance is the culprit.
There is no test to tell if you have a dairy sensitive baby
Unfortunately there is no test for protein intolerance or sensitivity. Unlike with a true allergy there isn’t an immune system response. The only definitive way to determine if your baby is suffering from a particular protein intolerance is to do an elimination diet.
To avoid confusion, I need you to know there is a difference between a dairy allergy and dairy intolerance.
What’s the difference between a dairy allergy and dairy intolerance?
The terms dairy allergy or milk protein allergy are often used interchangeably with dairy intolerance. But a food allergy and food intolerance are two different things.
For one, when your baby’s body is exposed to something they are allergic to like milk,the body views it as being harmful. It becomes defensive and wants to protect them from the milk proteins. So, it creates a substance called an antibody.
Basically an antibody is like placing a tag on an item so when you see it again you recognize it immediately as a threat. When the body encounters that antibody again, it’s prepared for attack. This is an immune response.
Once your baby is 6 months of age, they can be tested for various food allergies through both blood and skin testing.
With a protein intolerance there is no immune system involvement so there is no way to test for it. The symptoms can be similar to an allergy (vomiting, diarrhea, and colic in a baby) but are often delayed.
Dairy allergy support
If you suspect your baby has a dairy intolerance or dairy allergy , make sure to use the dairy allergy symptom tracker and consult your child’s Pediatrician. He or she will most likely have you eliminate dairy from your diet to see if your baby gets better. Even if it turns out that dairy isn’t responsible, be sure to join our Facebook Group for additional support through motherhood.