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What Can a Child Drink if Allergic to Milk?

For a parent whose child is allergic to milk, there may be many concerns, including how to avoid products containing milk and which alternatives can provide proper nutrition. To address these issues, parents may need to make significant adjustments to their child’s diet – but it’s not always clear what a child can eat or drink if they’re allergic to milk. After all, a diagnosis of a cow’s milk protein allergy would seem to suggest that other kinds of milk can be consumed, but is this really the case? To find the answer, keep reading as the team at Cambrooke, makers of formulas for children with milk and other food allergies, provide some helpful answers.

What Beverages Should a Child with a Milk Allergy Avoid?

Any food allergy, including a milk allergy, is restrictive by nature, because it requires avoidance of the offending food. In practice, this means that a child who is allergic to milk must avoid foods with ingredients that might trigger a reaction. While this includes cow’s milk, some parents may not realize that it also applies to milk that comes from domestic animals such as goats, sheep, and buffalo. Because the proteins in these milks are similar to those in cow’s milk and may cause a reaction, these products should be avoided as well[1].

Soy milk, another popular milk alternative, may not be the answer either. Many children who are allergic to milk protein are also allergic to soy protein, meaning that for some, soy milk is off the table. If your child is allergic to tree nuts in addition to cow’s milk, almond milk and other milk alternatives made from tree nuts may not be an option either. If you’d like to consider one of these products as an alternative to cow’s milk for your child, be sure to talk to your pediatrician or allergist first. They can diagnose your child’s food allergies using a detailed history, appropriate testing, and, if needed, an elimination diet and/or oral food challenge and let you know if a milk alternative is right for you child.

Why Your Milk Allergic Child Needs a Replacement for Cow’s Milk

It’s no secret that cow’s milk is generally good for you – as long as you’re not allergic to it. Milk supplies the body with some essential nutrients, including protein, calcium, and vitamin D, the last of which can be tough to find in other foods and drinks. Milk is considered an important part of a child’s diet because it helps provide these essential dietary components.

Studies suggest that milk-free diets may lead to nutritional deficiencies in children, which can lead to concerning health issues, such as rickets – a weakening of the bones caused by a lack of vitamin D – and failure to thrive, an inability to meet weight gain/growth goals[2].

For these reasons, a parent whose child is allergic to milk must find other sources of these nutrients – particularly calcium and vitamin D – in the diet. Below, we’ll dive into what your child can drink if they’re allergic to milk to get the nutrients he/she needs.

Finding the Right Alternative to Cow’s Milk for Your Child

Finding alternate foods and beverages that provide adequate nutrition is crucial to proper growth because a child who is allergic to milk has the same dietary requirements as any other. While milk alternatives such as almond, coconut, oat, soy, pea, and hemp are great for increasing calcium and vitamin D intake, they often fall short in other nutritional areas such as calories, fat and/or protein. It is important to discuss which option is right for your child with his/her pediatrician, allergist or registered dietitian. Instead of the milk alternatives mentioned above, parents may opt for a nutritionally complete formula.

Hypoallergenic Formulas

Though they all fall under this general category, not all hypoallergenic formulas are equally safe or effective. These products come in a few forms: those containing protein that has been extensively broken down (hydrolyzed) and those made with amino acids – the building blocks of protein – instead of whole proteins. While many of these formulas can provide well-balanced nutrition, formulas made with amino acids are the least likely to trigger a reaction in a child who is allergic to milk, since they don’t contain milk proteins in any form.

Whatever beverage you choose for your child, try to coordinate with your pediatrician, allergist or registered dietitian when coming up with a healthy, nutritionally balanced milk-free diet. Not only can they advise you on the nutrients your child needs to thrive, but they may also be able to guide you on identifying which foods or beverages to avoid.

Try a Cambrooke Formula if Your Child is Allergic to Milk

Thanks to our focus on balanced nutrition and affordability, Cambrooke offers nutritionally complete amino acid-based formulas for children who are allergic to milk, soy and many other food proteins. Our well-rounded products may help your child grow and thrive without any risk of a food allergic reaction. To learn more, visit Cambrooke online today or give us a call at (833) 377-2773.