Just Found Out My 4 Year Old Is Allergic to Cows Milk

Updated on June 19, 2010
D.B. asks from North Richland Hills, TX
10 answers

Our doctor just called and my 4 year old is allergic to cows milk. She said we need to try soy. Before I go on the hunt to find milk free products with kid approval I thought I would ask other mommies what is working for your family. Thanks!

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answers from Anchorage on

I would try almond or rice, soy tends to have higher levels of estrogen which is not necessarily what you want to give to a growing boy.

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answers from Austin on

My daughter is allergic to cows milk protein (which is not the same as being lactose intolerant... So it depends on what your son's allergy actually is. Lactose free food is not the same as being cows milk protein free.)

I had to eliminate cows milk from her entire diet, including bread, crackers, store-bought food, etc. At first I was only going to cut out direct forms of diary but she kept getting sick and I had to start reading labels... Hopefully you don't have to go that route, but if you do, you'll want to look for 'milk, butter, cassin, whey' in the ingredients list. I bought a bread machine since grocery store bread, except for French bread, is made with milk. I end up homecooking most our meals. There are some pre-made pizza crusts at our local HEBs (brand is Manny's-?) that I use for her pizza (with goat milk cheese). We pack her own non-dairy snacks for school (daycare provides her with lunch). Attending a birthday party take planning... Angel Food cake doesn't contain milk. There are now some non-dairy frostings (in the aluminum cans, not the paper cartons) in most grocery stores that let you quickly frost some angel food cake and bring it along to the party. For ice-cream, she likes the Nada Moo brand (which is made with coconut milk), although popsickles are more of a favorite (the soy based ice-cream is alright, the soy-based ice cream sandwiches are better). Jello and a soy-based pudding instead of milk based pudding. At HEB and Randalls grocery stores, Nature's Best (or is it Nature's Gate? Orange labeling on the package) whole wheat honey hot dog buns are milk free also; never have tried their similar hamburger buns but I assume they would also be milk free.

I do not feel comfortable giving her a lot of soy due to the estrogen hormone link (she gets enough soy in her diet just from all the food made or cooked in vegetable oil; soy based desserts are an occasional treat). Instead her diet is based on goat milk diary. Most grocery stores do carry goat milk and a brand of goat yogurt and goat cheese. You might have to find a Whole Foods in order to get goat butter (although instead of using butter I cook with olive oil for the most part). For a long time, we used Meyenburg's goat milk (its more common in grocery stores) but recently the Whole Foods here in Austin started carrying a pasteurized, non-homogenized (meaning cream is still in the milk) goat milk from Water Oak Farms (located in Bryan (?), TX). I couldn't drink the Meyenburg's goat milk (tasted too goaty for me, but my daughter was drinking goat milk since she was 18 months so she doesn't know a taste difference) but the Winter Oak milk is really good and very comparable in taste to cows milk. I definitely recommend it. If you do go to Whole Foods, they carry fish stickd and chicken nuggets (I recommend the Bell & Evens brand; Applegate Farms is good) that are milk free. The Applegate Farms beef hotdogs (no nitrates too) are quite tasty too!

And to echo a previous post, kosher foods (look for the K not the D) tend to be dairy free (because kosher diets are suppose to keep diary separate from... is it meat? Sorry I'm not jewish and don't know the details, but kosher products are definitely one way to deal with a milk allergy.)

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answers from Indianapolis on

My advice is to go to a store and buy the smallest quantities of several different kinds. Then, let him decide which one he likes the best.

The only advice I'd offer is not to intentionally choose flavored milks (chocolate, strawberry) as they'll get accustomed to it and lose the taste for it plain.

Despite popular comments on the internet, Soy does not have estrogen in it. It's phytoestrogens which are chemically different. Men have small amounts of estrogen naturally just like women have small amounts of testosterone naturally. If it's a concern, ask your pediatrician to see what medical evidence is available.

Otherwise, it's probably like asking an adult if they prefer coke or pepsi. Essentially the same products, but people have their own independent preferences.

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answers from Allentown on

If you like to bake, try googling vegan recipes. My son has an egg allergy & the vegan recipes I have found online are a lifesaver!

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answers from Dallas on

I dont have any great advice, but I have heard Almond Milk or Rice Milk is better tasting then Soy Milk.

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answers from Washington DC on

Being allergic to milk now a days is not too bad. You just have to be vigilant, and educate everyone in the family and the teachers at school. There are several products that are dairy free. My neighbors son cannot have any milk or milk portien. Yet he can have:
special ice cream and pudding
one type of hot dogs
one type of graham crackers
golden oreos
fritos chips
grilled chicken
hamburgers (no cheese, no bun)

I grew up allergic to milk. This was 20+ years ago before the food industry began catering to those with allergies. However, with the help of my grandma, I was able to build up a tolerance. I used to eat cereal dry because I couldn't have the milk. My grandma saw me one day, and asked why? I told her cuz I was allergic. Duh! We'll see she said. She mixed Carnation coffee creamer with water and bingo had made me milk. I was so happy I cried!

Did your doctor mention how severe the allergy is? Is it that your 4y is just allergic to cows milk or all milk protien. There is a difference, and the answer will define your 4y eating options.

Good luck

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answers from Salt Lake City on

I agree, Almond milk does taste pretty good. We did a milk free trial with our son, and he liked the Almond milk, and chocolate soy (go figure) the best. You can get lots of books from the library with milk free recipes and such.

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answers from Dallas on

How allergic is your son? Will you need to carry an Epipen or at least Benadryl? Very important to ask your Dr. My son is also allergic to milk, and nuts, wheat and eggs. My son really likes Silk yogurt and they even have a chocolate pudding that is pricey, but good, my older son will even eat it.

You need to read ALL labels now. Many things have dairy as an ingredient, even where you wouldn't expect it. For example, vitamins. Margarine is not dairy free, but Earth Balance is. But not Smart Balance. So if you're cooking for the whole family, you'd want to substitute Earth Balance for butter or margarine. Sauces, dry flavored noodles and rice will also have dairy. Some flavored lunch meats will also have dairy. Anything that has a smooth texture or creamy taste, you can bet there is dairy of some sort. I hope your son isn't as allergic as my son, it's tough, at least in the beginning. I have found Sprout's to be the best source for food w/o dairy. Also, if a product says par eve (sp?) that means it is TRULY dairy free.

I suggest you carry Benadryl at all times no matter how minor your son's allergies are. And double check with your Dr. about how severe his allergies are. We've had an incident where we did have to use our Epipen and I'd hate for you to be caught needing one and not have it Don't want to scare you, just give you a heads up.

Let me know if you want more info. One more thing: READ ALL LABELS, every time you buy a product. Some products do change their ingredients from time to time.

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answers from Cincinnati on

Oh how well I know this story...I found out when my daughter was two and a half. I tried her on every soy milk under the sun and she wouldn't drink ANY of them. The transition was not pretty UNTIL.... Silk Soy Milk makes individual milks with straws (like juice boxes only it's milk). That's what finally turned her around. I didn't read all the replies but it looks like you got some good information but I wanted to pass along the single serve milks. They are much more expensive but if he'll drink those, then you can be magically surprised to find the exact same milk at the store in half gallon size ;)


answers from Detroit on

Hello Daisy ~ Sorry if this is a a repeat as I didn't read the other replies...My 5 yr old daughter is also severely allergic to dairy has been since she was about 7 months....check out http://zensoy.com/ they have pudding...silk soy makes a yogurt you have to be very careful of the cheese there is a dairy free cheese I can't think of the name/brand b/c even though it may say dairy free it does contain casein which is a dairy derivative. I also have some easy recipes for cakes & pudding other things please feel free to email me if you'd like. I know how overwhelming it can be to try to figure it all out.

here is a list of dairy/derivatives ....other names for dairy

Lactose (milk sugar) intolerance is the most common form of milk allergy or adverse reaction to cow, goat and sheep's milk. Lactose needs to be broken down by an enzyme called lactase to be absorbed in the body, but some people do not produce enough lactase for this to happen. The digestive system cannot cope with raw lactose, so it reacts against it with symptoms such as stomach pain, bloating, vomiting and diarrhea.
For others a milk allergy is a reaction to milk proteins such as casein that can be very difficult for humans to digest. Alternatively, the digestive system may not be functioning correctly and partially digested proteins may be crossing the stomach wall and causing an adverse immune reaction, contributing to a host of symptoms, and/or aggravating others.
If you see any of the following items listed as an ingredient in a food, it will not be milk-free:
Butters: artificial butter, artificial butter flavor, butter, butter extract, butter fat, butter flavored oil, butter solids, dairy butter, natural butter, natural butter flavor, whipped butter

Casein & caseinates: ammonium caseinate, calcium caseinate, magnesium caseinate, potassium caseinate, sodium caseinate, hydrolyzed casein, iron caseinate, zinc caseinate

Cheese: cheese (all types), cheese flavor (artificial and natural), cheese food, cottage cheese, cream cheese, imitation cheese, vegetarian cheeses with casein

Cream, whipped cream
Dairy product solids
Half & Half

Hydrolysates: casein hydrolysate, milk protein hydrolysate, protein hydrolysate, whey hydrolysate, whey protein hydrolysate

Ice cream, ice milk, sherbet
Lactalbumin, lactalbumin phosphate
Lactate solids
Lactyc yeast
Lactitol monohydrate

Milk: Acidophilus milk, buttermilk, buttermilk blend, buttermilk solids, cultured milk, condensed milk, dried milk, dry milk solids (DMS), evaporated milk, fat-free milk, fully cream milk powder, goat’s milk, low-fat milk, malted milk, milk derivative, milk powder, milk protein, milk solids, milk solid pastes, non-fat dry milk, non-fat milk, non-fat milk solids, pasteurized milk, powdered milk, sheep’s milk, skim milk, skim milk powder, sour milk, sour milk solids, sweet cream buttermilk powder, sweetened condensed milk, sweetened condensed skim milk, whole milk, 1% milk, 2% milk.

Milk fat, anhydrous milk fat

Nisin preparation
Renned, rennet casein
Simplesse (fat replacer)
Sour cream, sour cream solids, imitation sour cream

Whey: Acid whey, cured whey, delactosed whey, demineralized whey, hydrolyzed whey, powdered whey, reduced mineral whey, sweet dairy whey, whey, whey protein, whey protein concentrate, whey powder, whey solids

Yogurt (regular or frozen), yogurt powder
Possible sources of milk:

Natural flavoring
Caramel flavoring
High protein flour
Lactic acid (usually not a problem)
Lactic acid starter culture
"Non-dairy" products may contain casein.
Rice cheese
Soy cheese
Also avoid products that have an advisory label that indicates that the product MAY contain milk or that is processed on shared equipment.
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