My Baby is allergic to milk. What should I do? 

February 16, 2023

Symptoms of milk allergy can vary from person to person – some babies may have immediate reactions, while others may take several hours to show symptoms. What are the symptoms of milk allergy in babies? Let’s find out together!

Symptoms can generally be categorised into skin reactions, gastrointestinal, as well as respiratory reactions.

Skin allergies
Skin reactions such as rashes or eczema and rash may manifest in babies with milk allergies.

Gastrointestinal reactions
Such reactions often cause vomiting and diarrhoea a few hours after ingestion. Diarrhoea after drinking milk may point towards babies having trouble breaking down the proteins in the milk. In addition to diarrhoea, there may also be blood or mucus in the stool.

Respiratory reactions
Like adults, babies can experience allergic reactions with symptoms such as sneezing and runny nose. In severe cases, one can experience shortness of breath and rapid breathing.


Raising a Baby With Milk Allergies



Breastfeeding is one way to minimise the risk of infant milk allergies. This is because the protein in breast milk is the same kind of protein for babies; it also has low allergenicity. Furthermore, breast milk also contains probiotics that can help establish a healthy gut flora, and strengthen babies’ immune systems.

Moderate hydrolyzed whey protein formula

Hydrolysis is a process that reduces the size of protein amino acid chains by cutting it up before it is digested. The terms “hydrolyzed” and “hydrolysate protein” refer to hydrolyzed proteins.

The intestines of healthy infants can and should work to digest protein. However, breast milk proteins are smaller and less allergenic than those in cow and soy milk. Hydrolyzed proteins are less difficult for a baby to digest because they are closer to the size of breast milk proteins. However, they still teach a baby’s stomach and intestines how to handle protein.

Therefore, the process of hydrolyzing proteins evens the playing field for infants who are fed formula and require some assistance with digestion. Hydrolysate protein-based infant formula looks very promising for digestive and immune issues.  For babies who are at risk for food allergies or immune diseases, hydrolyzed proteins may be less allergenic (or induce an immune response). In fact, solid research indicates that switching to a partially hydrolyzed formula improves eczema, an immune reaction, in infants who develop it.

Paediatric experts – whether it is the American Academy of Pediatrics, the European Pediatric Gastroenterology, or the French Academy of Pediatrics – all emphasise the need to prevent allergies through nutritional intervention.  It is important to note that not all hydrolyzed protein formulas have allergy prevention effects, but are low in allergenicity and have potential preventive effects.


Parents of babies with milk allergies should follow the advice of their doctor and monitor the baby’s condition closely. They may need to switch to hypoallergenic formula or other alternative milk sources, and gradually introduce small amounts of milk to help build the baby’s immunity. It’s important to be patient and cautious, as sudden exposure to milk can trigger severe allergic reactions.


Link Doctors recommends choosing a professional institution to carry out allergen testing, where a medical professional will carry out treatment based on a test report of your baby’s unique skin reactions. Single allergen testing can cost as low as S$50. If you’d like to make an appointment to carry out allergen tests with us, please reach out to us at +65 6708 8000 or email to


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