Breast milk is the best nutrition for babies. Not only does it provide essential nutrients, it also helps in the development of the immune system and prevention of diseases1. Breastfeeding can also benefit the mother by preventing complications after childbirth and assisting in mother-child bonding1.
The first few months are a crucial time for new babies. The Australian Infant Feeding Guidelines recommend that babies should be exclusively breastfed until around 6 months of age1. This provides your child with the nutrition they need for healthy growth and development.
If my baby has cows’ milk allergy – do I have to stop breastfeeding?
No. If an exclusively breastfed baby is diagnosed with cow’s milk allergy, this may mean that the breastfeeding mother needs to remove cow’s milk protein from her diet2. Cow’s milk protein eaten in the mother’s diet can pass through the breastmilk to the baby3. While only small amounts of cow’s milk protein are passed onto the baby, this can still cause allergic reaction in sensitive babies. Your health care professional can advise if any diet changes are needed while breastfeeding a baby with cow’s milk allergy.
If you do need to remove cow’s milk protein from your diet, this will involve avoiding dairy products and cow’s milk. Many processed foods also contain milk products so it is important to read food labels carefully. To ensure you receive all the nutrients you require during breastfeeding, non-dairy alternatives should be included to replace these foods. You may be referred to a dietitian to help with this process.
If you have any questions or concerns it is important to always discuss these with your healthcare professional.
- 2013. Australian infant feeding guidelines: Information for health workers. Australian Government. Viewed 4 June 2016. http://www.nhmrc.gov.au/guidelines-publications/n56
- 2016. Cow’s milk (dairy) allergy. Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy. Viewed 4 June 2016. http://www.allergy.org.au/patients/food-allergy/cows-milk-dairy-allergy
- Vandenplas et al. 2007. Guidelines for the diagnosis and management of cow’s milk allergy in infants. Arch Dis Child. Volume: 902 pages: 902-908