About Cow’s Milk
Protein Allergy

CMPA – also known as cow’s milk allergy or CMA – is a type of milk allergy found in babies and young children. This is where their developing immune systems respond negatively to the proteins found in cow’s milk, which can cause a range of symptoms, from skin rashes to upset tummies.

We can help break it down for you.

Mother holding and kissing her baby boy on the cheek Mother holding and kissing her baby boy on the cheek


CMPA symptoms often presents before the baby is 6 months old

The majority of infants with CMPA have at least 2 symptoms affecting at least 2 different organ systems

Lactose intolerance rarely occurs in babies and is not an allergy

What are food

Food allergies occur when the body's immune system (the body's own defense mechanism) responds abnormally to certain foods. Usually, the immune system is there to protect you and for example, to fight off harmful pathogens. For children with food allergies, the immune system incorrectly identifies certain food components as harmful and produces an inappropriate response. This leads to the unpleasant, and sometimes life-threatening, signs and symptoms associated with allergies.

More than 120 foods are known to cause food allergies. Cow’s milk protein allergy (CMPA), also known as cow’s milk allergy (CMA), is one of the most common food allergies in babies, and usually appears before 1 year of age.

What is CMPA?

All you need to know
about CMPA

Illustration of CMPA causes

CMPA causes

CMPA is caused by the immune system mistaking one or more of the proteins found in cow’s milk to be a harmful substance, which triggers an allergic response.

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Illustration of CMPA types

CMPA types

There are two main types of CMPA: IgE-mediated and non-IgE-mediated. Each type can manifest symptoms at different stages in different ways, and both can be as common as each other.

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Illustration of CMPA versus Lactose intolerance

CMPA vs Lactose

It is important to know the difference between lactose intolerance and CMPA, as they have different causes, treatments and onsets.

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Illustration of multiple food allergies

Multiple food allergies

Some children can have more than one food allergy, as their immune system becomes increasingly confused about what is and what isn’t a threat.

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Illustration of FAQs and resources about CMPA

FAQs and Resources

Still need more information?
We’ve got answers to frequently asked questions and a collection of support materials and tools to help you through your family’s CMPA journey.

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What other families are asking?

Here are the most common FAQs asked by parents, but you can read the full list below.

Some experts suggest CMPA is increasing in children: 3 out of every 100 babies are diagnosed with CMPA.


No. There is currently no research to indicate that CMPA is caused by genetics.

Babies and children experience CMPA when their immune system mistakes the proteins found in cow’s milk as a harmful. This then causes an allergic reaction, creating one or more of CMPA’s symptoms.

CMPA can make life a bit more complicated, both for children who are diagnosed and their parents. But millions of children grow up with CMPA, and everyone’s solutions are different. With the right medical support and an imaginative approach to mealtimes, you can find a balance that works for you and your family.

There are two types of immune reaction that cause CMPA symptoms: immunoglobulin (Ig)E-mediated or a non-IgE-mediated. In some instances children experience a combination of the two. If an allergic reaction happens straight away within just a few minutes or hours of ingesting cow’s milk protein, it is probably an IgE-mediated. Delayed reactions that take 48 hours or longer are more likely to be non-IgE-mediated.