Always consult with your baby's healthcare provider before introducing dairy back into your babies diet.

When’s best to
introduce milk/dairy?

When should I consider introducing dairy foods?

The first thing to know is that the majority of babies outgrow their allergy by early childhood. But it will depend on the CMPA symptoms your baby presented with in the first place.

If your baby initially had a severe reaction that happened very quickly after consuming cow’s milk or dairy, then it might be an IgE-mediated CMPA. This type of allergy can take longer to outgrow than other types. If you are unsure, then it is best to talk to your baby’s allergy healthcare provider about this.

Meanwhile if your baby’s reaction was slower and less severe, taking many hours or even days to present, it might be a non-IgE-mediated CMPA. This type of CMPA will resolve more quickly.

Kid eating cereal

IgE-mediated CMPA

Even if your baby has an IgE-mediated CMPA the prognosis is good, with around 65–75% of children outgrowing it by 3–4 years. When it is a mild form of this allergy (e.g., your baby never had a severe or anaphylactic reaction) then something called a “Milk Ladder” might be used to help you introduce milk and dairy into your baby's diet. This should always be done under the supervision of your baby’s dietician or healthcare provider, however.

If your baby has had a severe life-threatening reaction to milk, such as anaphylaxis or has asthma that remains uncontrolled, then introducing milk should be performed in a medical facility, in consultation with your baby’s allergy healthcare provider.

Non-IgE-mediated CMPA

If your baby has non-IgE-mediated CMPA and has been avoiding milk for around 6 months, then your baby may be able to tolerate baked milk at around 9 - 12 months of age. Again however, you should always discuss this first with your baby’s allergy healthcare provider. They will be able to tell you when your baby is ready to start.

The Milk

Adding milk to your baby’s diet with the Milk Ladder

To obtain the information that you need about the Milk Ladder, always speak to your baby’s healthcare provider.

Adding milk back into your baby’s diet should be done gradually, for example, using the “Milk Ladder” to start with, milk is introduced in its least allergenic form (i.e., well-cooked or baked). When your baby shows no negative reaction then other forms of cow’s milk can be added, for example cooked or processed milk products.

The Milk Ladder uses a stepwise approach to introducing milk while your baby’s progress should be continuously monitored by their healthcare provider.

How long this takes varies between each individual child and hence it is so important that this process is monitored by your healthcare provider.

Adding milk to your baby’s diet with the Milk Ladder.

What should I do if my baby has an
allergic reaction?

This is quite common. And despite all precautions, there are times when allergy babies accidentally eat dairy or cow’s milk products. When this happens, and if you are present, make a note of how soon the reaction occurred after the food was eaten, note the symptoms your baby experienced, and if any other foods were also consumed. Be sure to contact your baby’s allergy healthcare provider for advice.

Note: If the reaction was mild, such as hives or angioedema (swollen eyelids), an over the counter (or prescription strength) antihistamine can ease their symptoms. BUT you should always discuss it with a healthcare provider before giving these medications.

If the allergic reaction is more severe, for example your baby’s throat or tummy (digestive system) is also affected — then you should use adrenaline (epinephrine). If your child has a severe reaction or signs of anaphylaxis, administer adrenaline and then call for emergency medical assistance.

It is very important to discuss this with your baby’s allergy healthcare provider in advance, so you know exactly what you need to do in an emergency!