Does My Baby Have a Cow’s Protein Allergy or Lactose Intolerance?

The learning curve for breastfeeding a newborn can be challenging. Likewise, when you are starting an infant on formula, you have to pay attention to whether the baby gains weight appropriately and if he or she seems comfortable after a feeding.

Regardless of the feeding method, if a baby shows discomfort or seems to be fussy and unhappy all of the time, one of the biggest considerations is whether the baby has an allergy or intolerance to cow’s proteins and/or lactose.

What Are Signs of a Potential Allergy or Intolerance?

 Protein Allergy or Lactose IntoleranceA cow’s protein allergy can make an infant very uncomfortable. Consequently, the parents may have higher stress levels because they are adjusting to the care of an infant and can not seem to make that infant happy with the typical advised methods, such as feeding, diaper changes, cuddling, rocking or shushing. The signs of a cow’s protein allergy may be as follows:

  • Diarrhea, including bloody diarrhea, can be a sign of an allergy
  • Eczema over a significant portion of the infant’s body can also be a sign
  • Vomiting
  • Hives
  • Wheezing
  • Swelling on the infant’s body
  • Constipation

Meanwhile, signs of lactose intoleraProtein Allergy or Lactose Intolerancence can be similar, including discomfort during bowel movements, bloody bowel movements and irregular stool. For a baby, soft stool is normal, but runny to the point of watery consistency is not. Meanwhile, green stool is typically an indication of an allergy or intolerance as well.


In severe cases, the baby may have a severe reaction and have high blood pressure and see an impact on the baby’s breathing, stomach and skin. In this case, an emergency trip to medical professionals is immediately necessary.

What are the Possible Solutions to this Condition?

For a breastfeeding mother, the solutions to this problem include changes in the diet. In extreme cases where the dietary restrictions do not help the infant’s condition improve and the infant is not gaining weight and showing signs of healthy growth, then a switch to formula may be required.

In addition, for those formula feeding mothers, changes from one formula to one that is labeled lactose-free or even a soy formula may be recommended. If these changes do not work, there are some specially made formulas that the infant can be prescribed in order to help them gain weight and be more comfortable when they are being fed.


The first days of feeding an infant can be hard. Everyone is adjusting to a new routine, and for the infant, each new experience is a challenge. Therefore, in cases where the infant shows signs of a cow’s protein allergy or lactose intolerance, it can seem to be a significant hurdle.

New parents should take heart in their efforts to provide comfort to their baby. Talk to the pediatrician and determine the best course of action. Your baby may outgrow this condition. If not, it is still something that can be addressed with some changes to diet and some attention to detail.

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