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cow's milk allergy

Breast Milk – Can It Trigger Allergic Reactions?

carter | July 8, 2022 | 10:47 pm

Babies being allergic to cow’s milk is a topic that is often discussed among parents. Standard infant formula, which is made from cow’s milk will trigger this allergy, but what about human breast milk? Do breastfeeding moms need to worry about their baby being allergic to breast milk? The answer is complicated. While human breast milk and its naturally occurring proteins cannot cause allergic reactions in human infants, there’s a chance that babies who are exclusively breastfed may still experience allergies due to foods consumed by their moms. Unlike standard infant formulas, the proteins in Harmony’s formula are bioidentical to those found in human breast milk, meaning they are naturally hypoallergenic and parents will not have to worry about triggering allergies in their child. 

According to research published by MDPI, human breastmilk can contain proteins and/or protein fragments from allergenic foods. These proteins are generally from the foods consumed by moms prior to breastfeeding and when consumed, they can potentially invoke allergic reactions in the baby. While any food can cause an allergy, some of the most common food allergens are dairy (including all products that contain some form of cow’s milk), nuts/tree nuts, eggs, shellfish, soy, and wheat.

It is also worth noting that babies of parents who had food allergies have a higher chance of sharing the same allergies as their parents. 

If you are exclusively breastfeeding your baby and notice allergy symptoms, you can consider using an elimination diet to try and identify which foods your baby may be allergic to. The elimination diet is when you take out either all potential allergens or one at a time from your diet for a certain period of time while you continue breastfeeding to observe whether your baby’s symptoms subside. However, this is often very challenging for a mother and can sometimes be unsustainable or even dangerous to severely limit a mother’s diet. Before beginning an elimination diet or making any other changes in your own or your baby’s diet, always consult with your pediatrician, dietitian, and/or medical professional. 

Photo by D. L. Veksler