Cow’s milk allergy (CMA) in babies: facts and feeding tips

In this article you can find information and tips if your child has a cow’s milk protein allergy or soy allergy. You should quickly think about what you are going to do with your child’s food because this allergy has a major effect on your baby’s health. Fortunately, with some research, there are a number of options for a varied diet as a breastfeeding mother or child with allergies.

Cow’s milk protein allergy or intolerance

, the rates of cow’s milk protein allergy or intolerance in babies have skyrocketed in recent years. This is not to be confused with lactose intolerance where people cannot tolerate milk sugars. With cow’s milk protein allergy, it is specifically the proteins that cause problems. It also often happens that a cross allergy with soya develops, which of course makes nutrition even more difficult.
These allergies can have a huge impact on both the parents and the child. Unfortunately, it is very difficult to test whether your baby is allergic. Blood or scratch tests at a young age are often not reliable, so it is often better to test by adjusting the diet of the mother or child and seeing how the child responds. Children can grow out of it, so over time you can carefully test the allergens again to see if your child reacts. Symptoms of cow’s milk protein allergy may include:

  • eczema or rash (red bump on the face)
  • constipation or diarrhea
  • cramps/pain
  • unrest
  • vomit

Sometimes it seems as if the child has reflux , but through a PH meter measurement you can rule out whether it is reflux or not. This way you do not have to give medication that is not necessary. Vomiting often reduces drastically with adjusted nutrition.

Breastfeeding or formula feeding

Although it is an adjustment, breastfeeding remains best for children with a cow’s milk protein or soy allergy. These children already have sensitive intestines and breastfeeding remains easy to digest. It also costs nothing, while special milk powders can be very expensive. It is quite a process to find a suitable type of milk, especially if you also have a soy allergy. Of course, it is sometimes difficult for the mother to change the entire diet. Milk, butter, cheese and cream are used in many products and it takes some time to read everything carefully and adjust your diet. Sometimes it can also be better to switch to a special diet because you can be sure that you do not accidentally eat the wrong product. Every situation is different and it is best to always consult with a pediatrician.


Milk and soy are often “hidden” in food. Names such as whey powder, casein and milk powder also indicate milk! Lactic acid and lactate have nothing to do with it. Things like processed meat (minced meat), breadcrumbs, bread and flour improvers can also contain milk or soy. Pre-packaged bread must clearly state what it contains so this is usually safer.
Soy lecithin is found in many products as an emulsifier. However, very few people with a soy allergy react to this because the proteins of soy are not normally contained therein. So you can try eating this, but pay close attention to your child’s reaction.

Foods without milk or soy

Here is a limited list of suggestions to use when breastfeeding and dieting.

  • Mochi: a product made from sweet rice, available in health food stores and online (bioplanet). You can bake waffles from it or prepare it in the oven or a pan. A light and delicious dish.
  • Oskri bars: bars with coconut, nuts or seeds
  • Oat, spelled, almond or rice milk
  • Rice milk chocolate: Bonvita range, also available online
  • Almond or hazelnut “cheese” instead of peanut butter in case of peanut allergy
  • Ikea foods: oatmeal cookies, gingerbread cookies, cinnamon rolls (not frozen!), kotbullar > all soy and dairy-free
  • sesame paste and vegetarian pate
  • Homemade hamburgers: américain, ketchup, breadcrumbs (read first!), egg and salt and pepper
  • Speculoos (not always soy-free)
  • Boudoirs or long finger cookies
  • Wayang: cooking butter (contains soy lecithin)
  • Dark chocolate (sometimes check to be sure)
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