Click4Assistance UK Live Chat Software
Helpline01322 619898
Search
Menu
Close

Cow's Milk Allergy

On this page you will find information on suspected Cow’s Milk Allergy / Cow's Milk Protein Allergy in babies and children. We have free factsheets on the symptoms of CMPA and how to create a cow's milk free diet for your baby.

Quick Access to Our Factsheets

To go straight to our Cow's Milk Allergy Factsheets, including cow's milk free diet information and our symptoms diary, please click above.

What is a Cow’s Milk Allergy?

Cow's Milk Allergy (also known as Cow's Milk Protein Allergy or CMPA) is an abnormal response by the body’s immune (defence) system in which proteins in a food (in this case cow’s milk) are recognised as a potential threat. This can cause the immune system to be 'sensitised'. When this happens, there is the potential that when cow's milk is consumed the immune system remembers this protein and may react to it by producing allergic symptoms. 

Whilst Cow’s Milk Allergy is one of the most common food allergies to affect babies and young children in the United Kingdom it is still rare. Formula fed babies, although very rarely, breastfed babies can also be affected. Allergic symptoms to CMPA can happen immediately after feeding or they can be delayed. In the case of immediate symptoms such as swelling of the lips or the tongue or breathing difficulties, immediate medical help must be sought.

New Masterclasses for 2018!

Join us in London for "Paediatric Allergy Study day" - Our Masterclass for Health Visitors and Practice Nurses on 12th September at 9:00am

Cow's Milk Allergy (CMA)

Kate found out that her firstborn, Eben, had a Cow's Milk Allergy, after he suffered from a reaction following a few spoonfuls of yoghurt. The experience was terrifying for new mum Kate.

Types of Cow's Milk Allergy

There are two types of Cow’s Milk Allergy depending on how the immune system reacts. Symptoms that are ‘immediate’(quick to appear) are caused by the immunoglobulin E antibody (called IgE). Typically these allergic symptoms happen within minutes of consuming cow’s milk or up to two hours afterwards. This type of reaction is described as IgE mediated food allergy.

The other type of milk allergy happens when symptoms are ‘delayed’ (slow to appear) and are caused by a different part of the immune system reacting in
a different way. This type of reaction is described as Non-IgE mediated food allergy and is the most common type. The symptoms typically develop from two hours after consumption but can take up to 72 hours. If cow’s milk continues to be consumed in the diet, the immune system will continue to produce such symptoms over days or even weeks.

Could it be Cow's Milk Allergy?

Download our free leaflet for further information on CMA.

Symptoms of Cow’s Milk Allergy

Symptoms of CMPA often start in the early weeks and months of life. There are many possible symptoms which may suggest your baby has a Cow’s Milk Allergy. Allergic symptoms can affect one or more of the body’s systems, including the skin, digestive and, less commonly, breathing or blood circulation. Allergic symptoms may be called mild, moderate or severe. However, it is important to note that some of these symptoms, such as reflux, colic and constipation are commonly seen in this young age group.

Differences between Immediate and Delayed Symptoms

Find out more on differences between IgE and Non IgE mediated symptoms in our "Does my child have a Cow's Milk Allergy?" factsheet below.

Ongoing support for Cow's Milk Allergy

Your GP is responsible for the diagnosis process and for providing ongoing care, with support from a dietitian for any confirmed mild-to-moderate type of delayed onset Non-IgE mediated Cow’s Milk Allergy. They will usually advise referral of any suspected severe Non-IgE mediated and all suspected immediate onset IgE mediated milk allergy to a children’s specialist allergy service.

Fortunately, most children will grow out of their Cow’s Milk Allergy in early childhood. Until that happens, your GP or allergy specialist will work with you, usually with the supporting help of a dietitian, to ensure that your child remains healthy whilst excluding all forms of cow’s milk from their diet.

If you suspect your child has CMA......

Seek advice from your GP or Health Visitor. They will be able to assess whether the symptoms may be due to milk allergy or another cause.

Share this factsheet

Download more detailed information

When you download one of our Factsheets, we collect and store this information. We do this anonymously - we do not collect your personal data and we do this to help improve our services. If you have not opted in to receive correspondence from us via email, then your email address will only be used for identifying if you have an existing record and this email address will not be used for communication purposes. If you do choose to sign up to receive our newsletters by providing us with your email address and opting in, we collect and store your personal details, along with which Factsheet you downloaded. We do this to learn more about you and your interests. More information about why we collect your data, how we use it, and your rights, is available in our Privacy Policy. Please take a moment to read it.

To access any of the following information, please enter your email address.

We would love to also send you our newsletter and information or services related to allergy and the work that we do, and news on fundraising opportunities and how to donate. Please tick any of the boxes below to sign up.

Your privacy is important to us and we will not contact you unless you wish us to. You have the opportunity to unsubscribe or change your preferences at any time. More information about why we collect your data, how we use it, and your rights, is available in our Privacy Policy.

Ask us for help with your allergy

Get Help

Find products to help manage your symptoms

View Products