Allergic Reactions in Breastfed Babies

Breast milk is the best food for your young baby. However, in some cases your baby may suffer from breast milk related allergies. It’s important to note that in rare cases, babies may actually be allergic to its mothers’ breast milk. This usually happens when your baby cannot completely digest part of its milk.

What Causes These Allergies

Breast milk related allergies are often caused by the mother’s diet. Some of the food that the mother eats may pass to your baby through breast milk and trigger an allergic reaction. Foods notoriously known to trigger such allergies include:

  • Dairy products –These are such as ice-cream, milk, cheese and yoghurt and high on the list of allergens. Your baby’s digestive system may have problems digesting the protein in cow’s milk thus triggering an allergic reaction.
  • Soy – Research shows that babies who have problems with cow’s milk also have a problem with soy.
  • Peanuts –Protein from peanuts that has passed to your baby through the mother’s milk may cause an allergic reaction.
  • Food additives– Food additive may also pass to your baby through milk. Some foods that have been treated heavily with pesticides and chemicals may also cause an allergic reaction.
  • Eggs– Protein from Eggs may also cause an allergic reaction to your baby.

Signs that Your Baby Has Had an Allergic Reaction

  • Eczema
  • Hives
  • Diarrhoea
  • Constipation
  • Cold like symptoms

In rare cases your child may get a severe reaction called anaphylactic shock which is signified by problems in breathing. In such a case, an emergency hospital visit is required.

How to Treat Allergies

  • Eliminating all dairy products and any other foods that are suspected to cause the allergic reaction.
  • A topical ointment for Eczema may be recommended by your doctor 
  • Formula feeding may also produce allergic reactions. Changing your baby’s formula to one that is allergen free is recommended.
  • Lactose Intolerance shouldn’t be confused with an allergic reaction. In lactose intolerance the baby isn’t able to produce enough lactase to digest milk properly. This isn’t a serious concern and is often temporary. The mother may continue breast feeding normally till then.

Allergies when Weaning

Paying close attention to your child when introducing new foods is important. Foods that are high on the list for causing allergies include:

  • Cow’s milk
  • Eggs
  • Peanuts
  • Shellfish
  • Soya.

Introducing new foods, one at a time will help in catching the allergies and treating them effectively.

Your doctor may offer support when it comes to treating and managing some of these allergic reaction. When in doubt, ensure you consult with one.



Please note that development differs from one child to another. 

Content intended for educational purposes only, and should not be substituted for medical advice from your doctor.

Be careful when using any products mentioned on this website. We hold no regulations for such products or their providers.


Last reviewed March 2019

Sources: livestrong, livestrong, babymed, itchylittleworld, madeformums

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