Since childhood we have repeatedly heard that cow's milk and its derivatives is one of the most beneficial foods for the body; but this is not the case in all cases: allergy to cow's milk protein (CMPA) can cause symptoms such as digestive problems, breathing difficulties, skin rashes or swelling of the face. But confirmation of a CMPA diagnosis can also start a new period of worry about the types of foods your baby can eat and how their development may be affected.
It is the most common food allergy in early childhood with an incidence of 2 to 3% during the first year of life. The immune system of children with allergy to cow's milk protein identifies this protein as dangerous; therefore, the immune system tries to "protect" the body by fighting against it. This defense is what leads to the allergic reaction.
"When the parents of these children receive the diagnosis, they may feel insecure, because they do not know which foods contain hidden allergens and they may become anxious about some daily activities, such as food shopping and cooking," says Dr. Pablo Ferrer González, a specialist in gastroenterology and pediatric nutrition, who comments that, unlike what happens with other types of food allergies, babies with this condition can acquire tolerance.»While the allergy persists, the solid diet of babies should be restricted because they do not they can consume products made from cow's milk", clarifies the expert.
According to this doctor, acquiring tolerance to PLV at an early age allows infants and children to return to a normal diet more quickly, minimizing the impact on their development. "Fortunately, many children tend to outgrow this condition and the probability that a child with CMPA will be able to enjoy a glass of milk one day is very high," explains Ferrer González. Studies have been published showing that 8 out of 10 children acquire tolerance after 12 months of treatment, after being fed an extensively hydrolyzed casein formula, which includes the probiotic lactobacillus rhamnosus GG (LGG), a type of bacteria that lives naturally in the human body and offers numerous health benefits.
If the pediatrician suspects that a baby may have CMPA, or the diagnosis has been confirmed, cow's milk protein should be removed from the newborn's diet to prevent reappearance of symptoms. This includes milk and its derivatives, but also a series of hidden allergens to which you have to pay close attention, warns Ferrer González.
What can the baby be fed? “If a baby has been diagnosed with CMPA, breastfeeding is the best nutrition because mother's milk contains the right nutritional composition for babies, and antibodies that stimulate the infant's immune system to help reduce illness and disease. infections”, points out the consulted specialist.
However, some infants may be so sensitive that they experience allergic reactions when drinking breast milk, to the small amounts of cow's milk protein (from the milk or milk products the mother has ingested) that pass from the breast milk to the boy or girl. "If this happens, it may be advisable for the mother to reduce or eliminate cow's milk, dairy products and all those products that contain it from her diet, always under medical advice and supervision," the specialist recommends. symptoms of CMPA persist, you should talk to your doctor about recommending an adapted infant formula that is hypoallergenic.
• If you have a baby under 2 or 3 years old who has symptoms of lactose intolerance.
• If your child is growing slowly or not gaining weight.
• You or your child has symptoms of lactose intolerance and needs information about substitute foods.
• Symptoms worsen or do not improve with treatment.
• You develop new symptoms.
• Reducing the intake of lactose-containing dairy products from the diet almost always relieves symptoms. Also check food labels for hidden sources of lactose in non-dairy products and avoid them. Dairy products that may be easier to digest include buttermilk and cheeses (which contain less lactose than milk), fermented milk products, such as yogurt, ice cream, milkshakes, and aged or hard cheeses, lactose-free milk and milk products, and lactase-treated cow's milk for older children and adults.