Changes in children’s menu, whether it is the introduction of milk formula or complementary food, can cause allergies. What are its causes and symptoms, what to feed your baby and how to treat it? Answers to the most pressing questions from parents.
Causes of allergies
A child’s digestive and immune systems are immature. The intestines lack the enzymes that break down cow’s milk proteins. They enter the bloodstream in unchanged form. The body recognizes them as harmful and produces specific antibodies to fight the “enemy” – an immune response occurs. In cow’s milk about 36 antigens. The most common pathological reaction is caused by caseins and milk serum proteins (alpha-lactalbumin, beta-lactoglobulin, bovine serum albumin, immunoglobulins).
Allergy to cow’s milk protein
Symptoms of allergy
The baby is sick: refuses to eat, there were rashes on the skin and digestive problems. You can suspect a cow’s milk protein allergy if there is a reaction of two or three body systems at once:
Digestive system. Bloating, constipation, loose, foamy stools, blood or mucus in the stool, frequent regurgitation, nausea, recurrent vomiting, bloating, and stomach pain occur.
Skin lesions. Atopic dermatitis, urticaria, nodular rash, redness, itching irritations, persistent diaper rash, rashes in the mouth, conjunctivitis, and Quincke’s edema manifest themselves.
Respiratory. Appears as a runny nose, itching, sneezing, nasal congestion.
However, without consulting a doctor and collecting a complete clinical picture is not worth making a diagnosis. Because allergies to milk can be confused with lactase deficiency, reflux disease and various pathologies of the digestive system. Especially in infancy.
Cross-allergies: what are they?
With sensitivity to cow’s milk, cross-allergy to beef and veal can occur. An allergic person’s reaction to goat, sheep, and mare’s milk is also unpredictable. There is no guarantee that substituting one for the other will get rid of unpleasant symptoms, because the protein in any milk can be an isolated allergen for one or the other child.
How to distinguish between allergies and intolerances
There is often confusion between an allergy to cow’s milk protein and lactase deficiency, which is when the intestine lacks the enzyme that breaks down the carbohydrate lactose. The enzyme is scarce, so the lactase is not absorbed, but remains in the intestine. As a result, osmotic pressure increases, there is an influx of fluid, and then bloating, flatulence, diarrhea, and colic. However, it happens that both pathologies go hand in hand.
How to detect a child’s milk allergy
Observation. It is important because allergies have an inherent property: they make themselves known instantly, and a single drop of formula or milk may be enough to cause a reaction.
Elimination diet. A common scheme: the child is transferred to highly-adapted formula and is not given dairy products for 14-28 days. This is enough time to remove the allergens from the body. If the symptoms are gone, it was most likely an allergy.
Laboratory methods. Chemiluminescent serum immunoassay is widely used.
Food diary. A good aid in diagnosis. Writing down when and what he ate baby, and how it affected his condition, will greatly help the pediatrician.
Who is more at risk?
Babies on mixed and artificial feeding suffer more often, because most formula is made on the basis of cow’s milk. By the way, using goat’s milk based formulas does not guarantee that allergies are eliminated. Breastfed babies may also develop sensitization: it occurs while still in the womb, if the pregnant woman drinks a lot of whole milk, or during lactation. Babies who receive cow’s milk or sour milk drinks as part of their diet are also at risk.
Who is more at risk?
Mixed and formula-fed infants are more often affected, because most formula is made on the basis of cow’s milk. By the way, using goat’s milk-based formula does not guarantee the elimination of allergies. Breastfed babies may also develop sensitization: it occurs while still in the womb, if the pregnant woman drinks a lot of whole milk, or during lactation. Babies who receive cow’s milk or milk drinks as part of their diet are also at risk.
Milk allergy in babies
What to feed a baby in case of an allergy?
In the case of “artificial” babies, either breastfeeding is established, or transferred to hypoallergenic formula, which the doctor will advise. Then observe the reaction to the new food. If it did not fit, the doctor may advise changing it. If the baby is breastfed, milk and dairy products are removed from the mother’s diet.
When introducing complementary food, an important dietary rule is observed: children under a year should not be given milk of any farm animals, products and drinks based on it, because the baby’s body is not yet ready for their digestion. Nutritionists advise to prepare porridges, vegetable purees and soups with female (breast) milk or vegetable broth. When it is time for mashed meat, do not use beef and veal, but turkey, rabbit or lean young lamb.
The good news is that in most cases, allergies pass as the child’s immune and digestive systems mature and develop. By the age of three, about 75% of children forget about their allergies, and by the age of six, more than 90% do.
How to make up for the calcium deficiency?
Many parents worry where their child’s growing body will get calcium if not from milk. Calcium is rich in vegetables, foods such as broccoli, white cabbage, avocados, sardines, salmon, persimmons, and egg yolks. Of course, an allergic child should introduce them into the diet with caution and according to age. It is a good idea to spend more time with your child outside during daylight hours to produce vitamin D, which promotes the absorption of calcium.
Coronavirus and infertility: is there a connection and who is at risk?
Coronavirus brings with it all sorts of complications. Some studies show that it can also affect the ability to have children. Let’s look at whether this is true, in what cases it can be and what to do about it.