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Thread: Cow's Milk Allergy Missed by 80% of Doctors & Clueless About Treatment

  1. #1

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    Exclamation Cow's Milk Allergy Missed by 80% of Doctors & Clueless About Treatment

    Oh wow, really?!!! Well it's no surprise, how can human babies be allergic to human milk?!?! This just makes common sense really, and to think that so many doctors are clueless on this....

    Milk allergy in babies 'missed'
    BBC News Health
    BBC NEWS | Health | Milk allergy in babies 'missed'

    Special formula may be prescribed

    Cow's milk allergy in babies is being missed by doctors, a survey suggests.
    Nearly 80% of 500 doctors polled by a formula milk manufacturer thought their colleagues confused milk allergy symptoms with other conditions.

    Experts say the problem lies in the symptoms being both vague and common - including skin rashes and diarrhoea.

    The poll also found many of the doctors did not know the best treatment. Without treatment food allergies can be distressing and even deadly.

    "The symptoms do vary so it can be hard to spot." -- Judith Moore, paediatric dietician and spokeswoman for the British Dietetics Association

    Officials recommend babies who are allergic to cow's milk can be given special low-allergy or hypoallergenic milk, such as an amino-acid based formula.

    Many of the doctors questioned, however, said they would advise a soy-based formula.

    The Department of Health and the British Dietetics Association advise against this because soy contains high levels of compounds called phytoestrogens that mimic the action of the female hormone oestrogen and which could pose a risk to the long-term fertility of infants.

    There is also a risk that babies who are allergic to cow's milk will also be allergic to soy milk, and sheep and goat's milk.

    Cow's milk protein allergy

    1. Symptoms can be vague and include diarrhoea, vomiting, wheezing and skin rashes
    2. Not to be confused with food intolerances, such as lactose intolerance, which do not involve the immune system
    3. Other common food allergies in infants are soy, egg, peanuts, wheat and shellfish
    4. Correct advice is to avoid cow's milk and seek medical advice, which may include using a prescribed hypoallergenic formula milk
    5. According to the Food Standards Agency, allergy to cows? milk is the most common food allergy in childhood and affects 2-7% of babies under one year old.


    Nearly all of the doctors questioned agreed that better information would make it much easier to diagnose the condition in infants.

    The taskforce, which includes expert paediatric gastroenterologists, has developed guidance for doctors that will be published next year.

    Judith Moore, paediatric dietician and spokeswoman for the British Dietetics Association, said: "If a parent suspects their baby has a milk allergy then they should see their GP who can refer them to a paediatric dietician.

    "If you take a good medical history then you can pick it up but it can be difficult to diagnose. The symptoms do vary so it can be hard to spot."

    She added that many babies whose parents suspect have an allergy turn out not to have one.

    Left untreated, infants with food allergies can fail to thrive and grow, have developmental problems and can develop severe shock and even die.



    The World Health Organization recommends that babies are breastfed for the first two years of their lives if possible.

    The poll was carried out by Act Against Allergy, an initiative set up to increase awareness of milk allergy, by SHS International Ltd, which produces its own versions of formula milk.
    Kelly xx

    Creator of BellyBelly.com.au, doula, writer and mother of three amazing children
    Author of Want To Be A Doula? Everything You Need To Know
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  2. #2

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    Who'd have thunk it - babies do not have the same digestive systems as calves?

    Seriously though, this must be a real dilemna for parents who are faced with poor advice from their drs, even if the cows' milk allergy is correctly diagnosed. I know my best gf eventually had her son on the prescription formula because of this and several other allergies that developed after he started having cows' milk formula. He thankfully grew out of most of his allergies by about two years of age. But he does have a life threatening allergy to nuts that will remain with him for life.

  3. #3

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    Well both my girls are allergic to milk, and we only picked it up when my LC suggested it with DD2. Once off all dairy, she lost all symptoms. Unfortunately for DD1, I followed paediatricians advice and switched off breast to formula to her detriment. We had heaps of health issues and constant diarrhoea. She is 5 and now still has a severe allergy to cows milk, DD2 is 3 and growing out of it.

  4. #4

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    DS can't have cow milk, but can have goat milk. It's an intolerance. And I in no way blame a doctor for not picking it up. The doctor isn't there to see DS screaming in pain 30-90 minutes after he has some dairy. I didn't pick up on the link for a while. And even then, I just picked up on it for cheese, and didn't think it was a general cow thing. Which caused many sleep issues too.

    FWIW, I had a dairy intolerance and still don't like too much milk. No-one, not even my parents, picked up on this. My dad had a dairy intolerance too, although this was picked up on and dealt with.

    I just think there are SO many things in infants that look the same, they can't tell you what hurts or why or when... it's hard. It's the PARENTS who should be picking this up and asking for tests and help, not presenting vague symptoms to doctors and hoping it's picked up.

    (DS was vomitting after formula, screaming in pain after cheese, eczema (which hasn't gone yet), not sleeping... surely I see this every day and should pick it up myself?)

  5. #5

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    It's true that we can't blame GP's for not picking up on every vague symptoms, but I have to admit that it should be one of the main things they think of when any sort of concerns are raised. I'm a naturopath and I have seen just from people I've helped how common these intolerances are. While parents are the ones who should be able to see the link with dairy and symptoms, doctors should be on the ball about it too.

    I've also heard some BAD advice given to patients. One mother of a baby who had serious digestive issues even asked her GP if it could be the dairy formula and they told her that lactose is in breastmilk as well as cow milk, so it is a myth that babies become intolerent to dairy formulas. The fact that a doctor doesn't know the difference between lactose intolerance and food allergies is scary.

    I don't mean to 'doctor bash' as there are plenty of good doctors out there, but some of these nutrition facts should be acknowledged by the medical world, and not just considered myths.

  6. #6

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    Default Cow's Milk Allergy Missed by 80% of Doctors & Clueless About Treatment

    For us dd was intolerant to breastmilk and cows milk. We were told it was everything from colic, reflux etc. Eventually we found a formula she could tolerate and she could have tiny amounts of yoghurt, about 30 grams a day. It was dd who worked it out herself at around 9 months, she refused to bf and only drank the LF formula we used to top up her feeds. I really noticed an improvement, looking back at photos she looked so pale and sick. She seems to have outgrown it for the most part but she still hates custard and cheddar cheese, and we are all on lactose free or a2 milk.

    As a kid I was always throwing up, I hated breakfast, had migranes and had sinus problems, I finally worked out I was lactose intolerant at about 30 and I can have breakfast without feeling sick. All my other symptoms have gone too, wish they had worked it out when I was younger.

  7. #7

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    My mother thought I had an allergy to cow's milk (she's allergic to all sorts of things, including cow's milk). Turns out I have a mild allergy to an artificial additive that is often *in* milky products, which was confusing the issue. It is soy based, which explains why I absolutely hated the soy milk I was given as a milk substitute as a kid, refused to have it, and ended up with juice on my cereal and was sneaking cow's milk on the side - which kind of confirms I *didn't* have the allergy ...

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    When my son was 5 months old i had whooping cough and was on antibiotics....up until then he had been a great sleeper and feeder & was a great baby...then he wouldn't go to sleep during the day (would wake up after five minutes)...would be soo tired at night he would scream at 4pm on the dot for at least 2-3hours; then sleep most of the night cuz he was so tired...he also wouldn't feed, even screamed every time i went to feed him. He also had liquid poos!
    Went and saw a LC about a thrush issue....she put me on a diet for that as well as for food intollerances for William. turns out that diary is the worst! followed closely by tomatoes, eggs & sausages....among other things....
    i can't even have lactose free milk cuz it still has this protein in it...
    Within three weeks of starting the diet he was a completely different child. He has up to 5 short naps a day plus only wakes up once or twice during the night....no screaming anymore, great feeder again & goes backwards as soon as i have even the smallest amount of diary.
    Everyone keeps telling me to put him on formula because the diet must be sooo hard on me rah rah and they are baffled when i tell them he can't have the forumla cuz it is cows milk or soy and he can't have either...their response is 'Well what are you meant to do?'....duh!! Keep breastfeeding and not have these foods! its not so hard!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lady Zaidie View Post
    DS can't have cow milk, but can have goat milk. It's an intolerance. And I in no way blame a doctor for not picking it up. The doctor isn't there to see DS screaming in pain 30-90 minutes after he has some dairy. I didn't pick up on the link for a while. And even then, I just picked up on it for cheese, and didn't think it was a general cow thing. Which caused many sleep issues too.
    (DS was vomitting after formula, screaming in pain after cheese, eczema (which hasn't gone yet), not sleeping...
    My DS was/is exactly the same if he comes into contact with dairy products. My brother was actually the one that suggested taking him off cows milk and putting him onto goats milk after seeing his ezcema type rash on his face. I tried soy milk first as I thought if he handles soy he will handle goats milk. he was fine with both, neither didnt bother him.

    As a baby he used to wake up screaming in pain about 1-2 hours after I would put him down to sleep, was so horrible to hear him like that. I always put it down to wind and for a while there (after we figured it out ) I felt a bit guilty that I hadnt come to that conclusion myself. (he was FF from 4 weeks)

    Now he has hit 2 I am starting to slowly 'test' him with cheese and normal yoghurt; giving him little bits at a time but yeah he is still getting the rashes on his face and the diarrohea so he hasnt totally grown out of it yet.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kirley64 View Post
    they are baffled when i tell them he can't have the forumla cuz it is cows milk or soy and he can't have either.!
    You may already know this but Karicare actually do a GOATS MILK formula. I tried DS on it initially and had no problems, its alot more expensive than the cows milk formula but LOL

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    Quote Originally Posted by nagromeyk View Post
    You may already know this but Karicare actually do a GOATS MILK formula. I tried DS on it initially and had no problems, its alot more expensive than the cows milk formula but LOL
    Yeh I've been told about it - but I have to stay away from Goat's milk also at this stage....and I dont want to give up bf...I don't see why everyone has been pressuring me to. They all act like giving up dairy is too much of a sacrifice on my part - even my motherinlaw who kept encouraging me the first week he was born to keep bf (I had to express for a week and put him on formula for a couple days because he had destroyed my nipples even before my milk came in) is now saying 'prehaps it's time for a bottle then??' I just don't get it??!!

  12. #12

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    Goats milk, contrary to popular belief, is not very similar to human milk, and in fact is not recommended for you babies or young children. I can't remember now what it is high in that is bad, but it is definitely not something that should be given to babies as their main drink. Kirley, you are doing a fantastic job hun. It's unbelievable that people can't get that you are doing the easiest and best thing

    Kirley, another thing you might not have considered is that babies (and adults in fact) can have temporary lactose intolerance from damage to their tummies - such as from antibiotics or after gastro. It might be that your son would be fine with lactose now - although if things are going well for you I can understand why you would be reluctant to change your diet again. How old is your DS now - your ticker says 4 months, but your post said you had the antibiotics when he was 5 months?

    nagromeyk, there are two cows' milk proteins and often people with allergies are only allergic to one. Some mums find it helpful to do an elimination diet with a dietician to work out exactly what the allergy is to, because then they can usually add things back into the diet - eg some people with dairy allergy can eat cheese, and some can eat some yoghurts.

  13. #13

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    whoops, he is four months...i meant to write 5weeks!! lol sorry. And thanks for your compliment
    nah even still when i have just a small amount of dairy (say once piece of pizza with a small bit of cheese or even more than one cuppa a day with a splash of milk) or egg or tomato, he is feral again and his runny poo is back. I dont think it is actuallythe lactose he is intollerant too...cuz i have tried lactose free milk and even that affects him...so there is another protein that causes the intollerances not just lactose.

    I didn't know about that temporay intollerance after antibiotics....they did seem to make it all worse though - and then it got worse again after his immunisations *sigh*

  14. #14

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    Thanks for bumping this Kelly
    Quote Originally Posted by MantaRay View Post
    there are two cows' milk proteins and often people with allergies are only allergic to one. Some mums find it helpful to do an elimination diet with a dietician to work out exactly what the allergy is to, because then they can usually add things back into the diet - eg some people with dairy allergy can eat cheese, and some can eat some yoghurts.
    I'm really interested in this. Boytwin was diagnosed with a cows milk protein allergy so we have taken him off all dairy. When he was on dairy he responded worse to milk (especially light milk) and cream. Is there somewhere I can see what the different proteins are in? Or should I just try him on yoghurt and other dairy products to see if he can tolerate it?

  15. #15

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    I believe what MantaRay is talking about here is Casein 1 and Casein 2. The A2 milk at the supermarket only has Casein 2 in it. I notice a big difference between using this milk and the other milk. They also make A2 yogurt, which might be worth a try first, as the good bacteria in the yogurt if brought in slowly should counteract the more severe reaction to an intolerance if they are still going to react to Casein 2.

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