No parent wants to see their baby suffer from �colic,� a term for when a baby cries almost all of the time but the doctor doesn�t know why. Excessive crying is something a baby should outgrow, but it can be a sign of something more serious: milk protein allergy.
A milk protein allergy is difficult to diagnose because the symptoms often look like the typical rashes, vomiting and diarrhea that babies get from time to time.
Because a milk protein allergy requires special treatment, it is important that it is correctly diagnosed. If left undiagnosed, a baby can become miserable and malnourished.
So How do You Identify Milk Protein Allergy,
Dr. John Moissidis, a board certified pediatric allergist at The Asthma Allergy Clinic in Shreveport, La., says to look for the following signs.
1. Diarrhea is common in babies, but if it happens an average of two to four times a day for more than five to seven days and/or if there is blood in the stool, it could signal a milk protein allergy.
2. Many babies spit up bits of food, but frequent vomiting is not normal. Reflux symptoms, like spit-up and difficulty swallowing, can also be symptoms of a milk protein allergy.
3. There are many reasons infants get skin rashes like eczema. A milk protein allergy is one possible cause, especially if the rash occurs along with some of these other symptoms.
4. Every baby cries, but crying continuously and inconsolably for long time periods is abnormal. Sometimes this extreme fussiness is actually caused by the proteins found in milk.
5. Most infants double their weight by six months and triple it by 12 months. But when babies are not getting the nutrition they need due to frequent diarrhea and vomiting, they can experience low or no weight gain.
6. All babies have gas, but if it happens along with several of these other symptoms, it can also signal an allergy to milk proteins.
7. Colds are common for infants, but wheezing, struggling to breathe and excess mucus in the nose and throat are more serious respiratory problems. And sometimes they can be the baby�s reaction to the protein found in milk.
8. Babies with a milk protein allergy often don�t get the nutrition they need, causing dehydration, loss of appetite and lack of energy. This overall failure to thrive is usually the result of the other symptoms effect on the infant�s body.
What Causes all these Painful Symptoms,
�Babies with a milk protein allergy cannot process the complex protein chains found in milk-based baby formula. And many also react to soy-based formulas,� says Dr. Moissidis.
What can be Done to Treat the
A milk protein allergy is treated by either eliminating the milk proteins from the nursing mother�s diet, or by replacing the regular formula with an amino acid-based formula.
�An amino acid-based formula is safe for babies with milk and soy allergies because it is made up of non-allergenic amino acids, the building blocks of protein, instead of partial or complete protein chains found in other formulas,� says Sarah O�Brien, nutrition specialist for Nutricia North America, the manufacturer of amino acid-based formula Neocate.
This specialized formula does not require a prescription, but infants taking it should be under the care of a physician.