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.
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
- Deli meat slicers are frequently used for both meat and cheese products
- Some brands of canned tuna fish contain casein, a milk protein
- Many non-dairy products contain casein (a milk derivative), listed on the ingredient labels
- Some meats may contain casein as a binder
- Many restaurants put butter on steaks after they have been grilled to add extra flavor. The butter is not visible after it melts
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)
Caseinates (in all forms)
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
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
Lactic acid starter culture and other bacterial cultures
Luncheon met, hot dogs, sausages