Although cow’s milk allergy is the most common food allergy in children under 3 years of age, the good news is that more than three-quarters of babies with cow’s milk allergy grow out of it later on in early childhood. When a child has grown out of cow’s milk allergy they can consume cow’s milk without allergic reactions — in other words, they can return to a normal diet.
Most children will be able to consume cow’s milk without allergic reactions by 3–5 years of age. For uncomplicated non-IgE-mediated cow’s milk allergy, the majority of children will return to a normal diet by 3 years of age. For IgE-mediated cow’s milk allergy, the average age that a child will return to a normal diet is 5 years old.
For older children, living with cow’s milk allergy can get a bit trickier. As they start to experience social activities like parties or being in the care of others, such as babysitters and school staff, the risk of accidental exposure to cow’s milk in the diet increases. Although a bit of forward planning can help keep your child safe and stop them from missing out, being able to return to a normal diet by the time your child starts school and socialising with other children would be a huge relief for the whole family.
What would returning to a normal diet mean to your family?
Talk to your doctor
Your doctor will advise you when and how to test whether your child has started to grow out of their allergy. If you suspect that your child may be ready to return to a normal diet, make sure you talk to your doctor before you try to give them any foods containing cow’s milk protein to discuss whether it is safe and appropriate to do so.