Milk Allergy in Early Infancy: One Mom’s Story

Elizabeth’s five-month-old daughter Carly was diagnosed as a newborn with allergies to milk and soy. Here Elizabeth tells how Carly has benefited from nutritional intervention following her diagnosis.

I first knew something was “off” when Carly was about two days old and we were still in the hospital. She was fussy after eating and gassy. I spoke to the nurse and she said we could switch from milk-based formula to soy formula, so we did that. At her intake appointment with the pediatrician when she was six days old, her doctor explained to us that something like 90 percent of babies using soy formula were on it unnecessarily, so we decided to try milk-based formula a second time. Almost immediately she started being extra fussy, so we called in and they had us start a lactose-sensitive formula. Things were still bad, so they told us just to go back to soy.

It was incredibly stressful. Here I was with a brand-new baby as a first-time mom, not knowing anything, but knowing something was wrong. I constantly second-guessed myself. Was something actually wrong, or was I just being paranoid? Going through the process of first trying lactose-sensitive formula was torture when I didn’t see an improvement. Things were getting progressively worse.

She was diagnosed at about two weeks old. We went in to be seen and they tested her diaper and found blood in her stool. She’s allergic to both milk and soy, which I understand is common. At that point we switched her to an extensively hydrolyzed formula, and she’s done great on that.

Carly continues to be seen by her pediatrician; she hasn’t been referred to an allergist. She’s never had eczema or wheezing. She does suffer from excessive sneezing, but it doesn’t interfere with her quality of life.

Researchers have found that the presence of one food allergy early in life may be associated with other food allergies and manifest in other allergic conditions, a process termed the allergic march. Nutritional intervention can help reduce the risk of future allergies and reduce the likelihood of the allergic march during the first three years of life. Learn more about the importance of effectively managing early cow’s milk allergy here and here.

This article and the Infancy: Early Steps content series are powered by Mead Johnson’s Allergic Action Campaign.