Weaning a baby with cow’s milk allergy can sound daunting but these tips will help guide you through the process. You should also download A parent’s guide to cow’s milk allergy: From diagnosis to weaning and beyond, which is full of advice on introducing solid foods to an infant with cow’s milk allergy plus a range of nutritious milk-free recipes.

Tips when starting new foods

If you have a child with cow’s milk allergy and want to begin weaning, please talk to a healthcare professional first

  • It’s best to make sure that infants with cow’s milk allergy aren’t poorly or experiencing any obvious signs of their allergy before beginning weaning 
  • If you want to start your child on any new foods, it’s best to do it at lunch not dinner as it’ll be easier to keep an eye on them and to get medical assistance if they have an allergic reaction
  • Keep a record of when you give your child any new foods and what, if any, reactions they have to them
  • Babies are more likely to prefer foods with flavours that they know, so introduce new foods along with familiar ones, rather than on their own
  • Wait until your baby is hungry before offering them a food they haven’t tried before
  • Don’t worry if your baby doesn’t like a new food straight away. Sometimes they may need to try it up to ten times before they get used to it
  • Babies can sense negative reactions so try to be positive when feeding your baby
  • Help your baby feel included by weaning them at family mealtimes and talking to them while feeding them

General feeding tips

  • Babies should be allowed to feed as quickly or slowly as they like. Don’t rush or push your baby into eating more when they feel like they’ve had enough
  • So that your child doesn’t feel they’re missing out on what the rest of their family are eating, download A parent’s guide to cow’s milk allergy: From diagnosis to weaning and beyond for recipes that use hypoallergenic formulas in place of milk

Stage 1 tips (6 months)

  • Just give your baby little bits of a new food to start with — one or two teaspoons of smooth purée is enough
  • The amount of food that babies eat doesn’t matter, what counts is getting them used to eating
  • Try giving your baby food with a variety of textures as weaning goes on

Stage 2 tips (6-9 months)

  • Before giving babies other potentially allergenic foods such as egg, nuts and soya, get advice from a specialist
  • Make more food than is needed and freeze the leftovers

Stage 3 tips (9-12 months)

  • While babies are still spoon feeding, offer them milk-free finger foods so that they can hold them and get used to chewing