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Living with a Milk Allergy

Approximately 2.5% of children younger than 3 years of age are allergic to milk.  Nearly all infants who develop an allergy to milk do so in their first year of life.  Most children will outgrow it in their first few years of life.
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Fortunately, milk is one of the easiest ingredients to substitute in baking and cooking.  It can be substituted in equal amounts with water or fruit juice.

Some Sources of Hidden Milk

Commonly Asked Questions

Is goat milk a safe alternative to cow milk?

Goat’s milk protein is similar to cow’s milk protein and may, therefore, cause a reaction in milk-allergic individuals.  It is not a safe alternative.

What formulas are recommended for children with milk allergy?

Extensively hydrolyzed, casein-based formulas are often recommended.  These formulas contain protein that has been extensively broken down so it is different than milk protein and not as likely to cause an allergic reaction.  Examples are: Alimentum and Nutramigen.

If the child is not allergic to soy, the doctor may recommended a soy-based formula.

When should a child stop using formula?

When to wean from a milk-free formula to a milk substitute (such as rice milk or soy milk) will vary depending on the child’s current diet.  A milk-free formula is an excellent source of necessary nutrients, so many doctors recommend continuing its use well past the age of one year for children on restricted diets due to food allergy.

Do these ingredients contain milk?

The following ingredients do not contain milk protein and do not need to be restricted:

Calcium lactate Calcium stearoyl lactylate Cocoa butter Cream of tarter Lactic acid (however, lactic acid starter culture may contain milk) Oleoresin Sodium lactate Sodium stearoyl lactylate

How to Read a Label for a Milk-free Diet

All FDA-regulated manufactured food products that contain milk as an ingredient are required by U.S. law to list the word “milk” on the product label.

Avoid foods that contain milk or any of these ingredients:

Butter, butter fat, butter oil, butter acid, butter ester(s)



Casein hydrolsate

Caseinates (in all forms)


Cottage Cheese






Half & Half

Lactalbumin, lactalbumin phosphate




Milk (in all forms, including condensed, derivative, dry, evaporated, goat’s milk and milk from other animals, low-fat, malted, milkfat, nonfat, powder, protein, skimmed, solids, whole)

Milk protein hydrolysate



Renner casein

Sour cream, sour cream solids

Sour milk solids


Whey (in all forms)

Whey protein hydrolysate


Milk is sometimes found in the following products:

Artificial butter flavor

Baked goods

Caramel candies


Lactic acid starter culture and other bacterial cultures

Luncheon met, hot dogs, sausages



Nondairy products