Common Food Allergies in Children: Milk Allergy

Cow’s milk allergy is fairly common allergy among children and can present in a variety of ways. Once your child is diagnosed with an allergy it is important they avoid all sources of milk, which can be found in baked goods and processed foods as well as obvious sources of dairy.

Symptoms of Milk Allergy in Children

Most common symptoms of milk allergy occur on the skin and in the gastrointestinal tract. Symptoms on the skin include eczema, hives and swelling, and GI symptoms include abdominal bloating, pain, gas, diarrhea, constipation, nausea, vomiting and blood in the stool.

A symptom found in children that is difficult to identify as allergy is inability to sleep or poor quality sleep. Asthma and upper respiratory tract symptoms are sometimes aggravated when they consume milk or milk products.

In infants, poor growth and weight gain (failure to thrive),  can be a sign of an allergy to milk. Here is a great dairy free menu planner: Click here to view more details.

Milk Allergy vs. Lactose Intolerance

Separating milk allergy from lactose intolerance is a difficult matter. Many people use the two terms interchangeably, however in reality they are completely different issues.

Lactose intolerance is caused by a lack of lactase, an enzyme needed to digest lactose. True lactose intolerance is very rare in infants.

An allergy is an immune mediated reaction to a protein and is usually more serious than lactose intolerance. In most cases infants outgrow allergies to milk by the age of 18 months.

Milk Proteins

All allergens are proteins. The most common proteins in milk are casein and whey. Most dairy allergic children are allergic to both proteins. It is extremely important to read food labels to make sure foods are dairy free before offering it to your child. Below is a list of ingredients that indicate the presence of milk in food.

Ingredients that Indicate the Presence of Dairy


o Ammonium Caseinate

o Artificial Butter Flavor

o Butter solids/fat

o Calcium Caseinate

o Caramel color

o Caramel flavoring

o Casein

o Caseinate

o Delactosed Whey

o Demineralized Whey

o Dried Milk

o Dry Milk solids

o High Protein Flour

o Hydrolyzed milk protein

o Lactalbumin

o Lactalbumin phosphate

o Lactate

o Lactoferrin

o Whey

o Whey protein concentrate

o Lactoglobulin

o Lactose

o Magnesium caseinate

o Milk derivative

o Milk fat

o Milk protein

o Milk solids

o Natural flavoring

o Opta

o Potassium caseinate

o Rennet casein

o Simplesse

o Sodium caseinate

o Solids

o Sour Cream Solids

o Sour milk solids

The diet of a child allergic to milk can contain a wide variety of foods as long as the ingredients above are eliminated from the diet. If you have any questions or are having trouble planning a diet, make an appointment with us or consult a dietitian in your area who will be able to ensure your child is eating a balanced diet free of the offending allergens.