Children develop problems with milk manifesting two different types of reactions, they can develop an allergy or an intolerance. However, these reactions are also seen in nursing babies as they can react to foods that the mother eats, including cow's milk. These are the care to be taken with babies with an allergy to cow's milk protein.
Allergy to cow's milk protein (CMPA) is an excessive reaction of the immune system to cow's milk protein (PLV), while lactose intolerance, which occurs when there is a deficit in a enzyme called lactase, which is why lactose, the sugar in milk, accumulates, undigested, in the gastrointestinal tract, producing gas and other gastric symptoms.
Lactose intolerant children, in general, can consume milk that does not contain lactose. In addition, they can include fermented dairy products in their diet, since in the milk fermentation process, the bacteria in charge of the process use lactose and produce lactic acid instead, which does not usually cause intolerances.
Children with CMA, unlike those who are intolerant, tend to react to different milk proteins, although sometimes their reaction is exclusive to one. In this aspect, beta-lactoglobulin is the most allergenic milk protein, since it is totally foreign to the body.
As a general rule, when a breastfed infant develops CMPA, the mother must do without cow's milk and any other food that may contain proteins similar to those present in cow's milk. Unfortunately, there are trace amounts of PLV in foods that originally did not have cow's milk in their preparation, simply due to cross contamination during their preparation process, and therefore we must take extreme precautions with industrial products. In addition, it is convenient to know the composition of the additives, since some may come from milk.
You may also need to avoiding other milks and dairy products, whether from goat or sheep, since its proteins are too similar to cow's milk, and can trigger the same reaction as cow's milk proteins.
If the infant is formula fed, the options available are varied, although the pediatrician will recommend one or the other. First of all there are hydrolyzed or hypoallergenic milks, others that are made with simple amino acids and milks made from adapted soy drinks. Due to the cross-reactivity between soy and cow's milk proteins, higher than 75% in many cases, it is advisable to carry out a tolerance test before offering it to an infant.
The baby CMPA will have to continue with a diet free of cow's milk and its derivatives until the specialist recommends its introduction. According to the most recent research, approximately 80% of babies allergic to cow's milk protein outgrow it by 2 years.
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