In cow's milk allergy (CMA) the immune system mistakenly identifies a protein in cow's milk as harmful and triggers an allergic reaction. This leads to a range of symptoms that can vary in type, severity and time of onset from baby to baby.
The symptoms of CMA and the severity of the reactions are wide ranging. They can include colic, skin reactions (such as a red itchy rash, eczema or swelling of the lips, face and around the eyes), digestive problems (such as vomiting, abdominal pain or diarrhoea) and hay fever-like symptoms (such as sneezing or itchy, blocked or runny nose). Symptoms can range from mild to severe reactions.
These symptoms can either appear immediately after consuming dairy (within minutes or up to a few hours) or may be delayed, taking a few hours or up to a few days to develop. Babies with CMA may have a mixture of both 'immediate' (usually IgE-mediated) and 'delayed' (usually non-IgE-mediated) symptoms. Symptoms may also lead to night-time waking, crying or distress during feeding, or poor weight gain. Find out more about the different types of cow’s milk allergy.
Swollen lips, tongue or face
Hives, rash, redness, itching or swelling
Eczema flare up
Hay fever-like symptoms
Anaphylaxis seek emergency help immediately
Eczema, itching or redness
Some of these symptoms can also occur for reasons other than CMA, so it is important to discuss them fully with your doctor.