Milk Allergy & Eczema

Updated on February 25, 2008
J.D. asks from Saint Petersburg, FL
30 answers

I have a 2 year old that suffers with eczema. We recently found out that a lot of it has to do with her drinking milk. When we stopped giving her milk her skin cleared up. I recently purchased Lataid Milk for people who are lactose intolerant and she was doing fine with it. She had been drinking it for a couple of days. Last night after she had some she broke out again. I now believe she has a milk allergy. I wanted to find out if anyone else has had a similar issue or knows of another remedy. We know that she is allergic to eggs and peanuts. I have never really had any allergies so I don't really know how to handle this situation. We are setting up an appointment with an allergist but wanted to get other mom's feedback. Thanks for your help!!

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V.H.

answers from Atlanta on

i cant give you a lot of advice. my daughter still continues to battle her eczema. she was tested positive for allergies to milk, eggs, peanuts, dog, cat, etc. etc. etc. when she was about nine months old. she has pretty much grown out of the milk and eggs (no facial redness, gagging, or throwing up, etc) but she still battles eczema. Her dermatologist has at one time or another given her every prescription cream but the one thing that seems to help is Hylira lotion. It is this really thin clear gel type lotion that is prescribed by a doctor. It is pretty expensive but comes in a huge bottle. I lube her up all the time. Her dermatologist also told me to occassionally (every other bath) to add 1/4 cup bleach to her bath water. Although I recently had hear prick tested by an allergist to see if we could pin point her issues and it was totally inconclusive. I have to take her for blood work again. Good luck.

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S.B.

answers from Atlanta on

My daughter, now 11, developed what I believed to be an allergy when she was almost 3. I was told that it could possibly have been due to lactose intolerance. I immediately took her off all cow dairy products and switched to soy and goats milk. It did clear up, but only temporarily.

More tests revealed that she did have a form of eczema and I was told to use only "Dove" soap followed by "Lubriderm" lotion. Every winter it flares up and we just get more aggressive with the lotion.

Last November we were in Barcelona when it flared up. We went to several stores looking for Lubriderm, and found out it's not available there. The pharmacist suggested "Fenistil Gel." That cleared it up in 2 days.

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K.C.

answers from Atlanta on

My kids have a milk allergy. We use soy milk. It is a great substitute. You could also use rice milk. Both are in the grocery store.

Thanks.

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S.M.

answers from Spartanburg on

I am allergic to milk and so were my two children when they were young. We went to several allergists and were told by all that there is no "treatment" for food allergies and the best you can do is eliminate the allergen from the diet. Both my children ultimately outgrew their dairy allergy, but I have not. Lactaid is for lactose intolerance individuals. People who are allergic to milk generally are allergic to milk PROTEIN, not the lactose, so lactaid doesn't help. Both my children drank milk substitutes like almond, rice or soy milk and I cook with them even today.
Sometimes cooking a protein will change it enough that there is no allergic reaction, but you have to try it an see if there is a problem. Some people are able to eat cheese, others cannot...it just depends on which milk protein is the culprit.
It is not an easy allergy to deal with, as dairy seems to be in most everything we eat, but it IS possible to eliminate it from the diet, if necessary.
It will be important to make sure your daughter gets enough calcium and you may need to give her a calcium and vit D supplement, but be sure and discuss this with your doctor. Soy and rice milk often have calcium and vit D added, if you buy the right brands.
My daughter was extremely allergic to milk from birth, so she never tasted cows milk until she was a teenager, and she still really doesn't like it. She loves soy milk, however, and that works well.
I know how difficult this change in diet may seem, so take it in "baby steps" if you can. If your daughter is indeed allergic to dairy milk, you may see a LOT of positive changes besides just the eczema once all milk protein is eliminated.
Good luck
S. M

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S.

answers from Spartanburg on

Hi J.!I have a 19 months old that has always dealt with eczema off and on throughout his life, and I can tell you one thing for sure: it doesn't have a thing to do with milk!!!
Infact my son right after he turned 1 (about a couple of weeks after I had introduced him to regular milk successfully) he refused to drink milk altogether and he still has outbreaks of eczema (especially in Winter - the air at home is dry because of the heat).
What I do to prevent it is treat him with cocoa-butter lotion (the same that I use!) after every bath and it is working magic! Before this, he had a major outbreak that I cured with Elidel for about a week. Elidel alwaus worked really well but i'd rather prevent the eczema so I don't have to use a medicine on him. Try and good luck!

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J.S.

answers from Atlanta on

My son has both a dairy and rice allergy. We are currently doing OK on soy (cheese, milk, yogurt and ice cream). I will not say it is easy though. For instance we went to a birthday party last night and they served cheese pizza, ice cream and cake. He ate the crust with some sauce and only cake but he is two and beginning to struggle with the fact that he loves the taste of the "real" cheese. Also, most soy cheese on the market still has casein in it which is cows milk protein and still causes the same problems. I think your decision to seek the specific advise of your allergist is great but also realize that they can only treat what they see/test so that bringing as much infomation as possible to the appt will be really helpful. Your own trial and error of what has and hasn't made the issue better should really help the Dr. help you both. For most highly allerginic kids it is a lot of trial and error to determine what is really the root of the issue. I, my husband, and both of my kids fight with mild eczema. It is worse in the winter (dry skin has a harder time healing) and I do see that it has been linked to allergies, hormones, milk and excessive handwashing. Lots of things can cause it though- both internal and external allergins. We have had the best results with using Aveeno Baby Cream for the eczema. Also pure aloe has helped but make sure it is pure-lots of aloe has other additives in it.
I wish you & your daughter the best. Remember that lactose is just the cow milk sugar, most kids have an issue with digesting the protien and lots of them out grow that!
J.

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E.W.

answers from Charleston on

Dear J.,
My brother-in-law was allergic to cows milk when he was a baby, and adapted to goats milk well. The processes our bodies have to take in order to digest goats milk are much more similar to goats than those of cows. However, some say "raw milk" that hasn't been pasturized, can help with allergies (unprocessed cheeses, yogurts, milk). You may have luck finding some at a local farm or co-op. Most dairy products from Europe haven't been pasturized. I've heard that soy and wheat allergies may be attributed to the many genetically modified crops we are victims of as a society. Wheat is another growing allergy epidemic. There are many support groups and moms who have come up with a variety of remedies and creative alternatives to cows milk. I would love to hear what you've found as a remedy. For winter eczema, I try to limit baths, and put some Apricot oil in the tub, while using some moisturizing lotion or cream to seal her skin after the bath. I know of a mom in Miami who is opening a store focusing on children with food sensitivities and allergies. I hope you find comfort and alternatives in many of the previous posts. Warmly, E.

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C.O.

answers from Augusta on

Well, you have gotten many responses to your question, some of them are good and some are completely wrong. I don't know where you are in this process, but I know how frustrating it can be. Milk can cause an allergic reaction OR your child can be sensitive to it, but eczema definitely CAN be caused by a milk allergy or sensitivity. I would respectfully recommend that you visit hwwshow.com This is a website that has health supplements and they will help you find what is best for treating your child's eczema. Every child's skin responds to differnt things differently. Some children with eczema will NOT respond well to vaseline. Some need zinc creams to help their skin. There are SOOOO many ways to deal with eczema, you need the help of a professional. There are holistic and homeopathic doctors out there who can help with these kinds of systemic reactions. I uggest that you find a good one in your area.

Lactaid milk only helps if your child is having issues with lactose, a sugar in the milk. If she is allergic to the proteins in the milk, it will do no good. It would seem that she needs to be off cow's milk comepletely for now. There are lots of milk alternatives out there such as goats milk, rice milk or almond milk. If you feel the need to continue giving her milk (which is not necessary at all) try a different option. Almond milk you need to be careful of unles you've already given her nuts. Almonds can cause an allergic reaction too.

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C.M.

answers from Columbia on

Hi J.,
I've been reading some of the replies and just wanted to give you a bit more advice on the eczema. I realize you've already gotten a lot of advice on this subject but I suffered with it so much and believe me, it can be unbareable at times. It's been in my family for generations and when I was 16 my mother found a wonderful dermatologist who finally helped me. The first thing he told me (which I did not know before) was that there are over 200 different types of eczema and it's hard to pinpoint which one a person has. That's why you can go through so many different prescriptions and treatments before finding one that works.

One common thread in any eczema is water. The more the skin is exposed to water, the more it can dry out, flake, itch, etc. So if your daughter doesn't get especially dirty and doesn't need a bath every single day, then try bathing her every other day when the eczema is flaring up. You also want to be sure to dry her very well afterwards too. It can help to buy detergents that are fragrance free and dye free and not use bleach in her sheets and towels.

The best advice I can give you is to buy Cetaphil cleanser. It's available over the counter. It's a very mild, fragrance free cleanser that you can rub on and wipe off with a tissue. You don't even have to use water to rinse if the eczema is particularly bad. It also makes a great lotion to help soften the skin when it's dry and flaky. When the eczema was really bad on my hands, I used the Cetaphil in place of soap and water. I only used soap and water when my hands actually got visably dirty. And I used the Cetaphil about a dozen times a day as a lotion too. This was in addition to the prescription cream and pills the doctor gave me. Ask your doctor about it. I highly recommend it in addition to any other treatment and prescriptions your doctor may give her.

Another thing that causes eczema to flare up really badly is acidic foods and juices. Citrus juices and tomatoes bothered me alot, really made the eczema break out and itch like crazy. And be careful about using hydrocortizione creams on her. Baby skin is so sensative and it's not recommended by doctors at a young age as it can cause scarring (white patches) on the skin.

I don't know if milk has anything to do with eczema or not. I've never heard that before. But here's something to think about in regards to the milk allergy........humans are the only animals that continue to drink milk after they've been weaned from their mother AND the only animals that drink ANOTHER animals milk, rather than their own mothers milk. Think about it. Cows milk is made for calves. Goats milk is made for baby goats. Makes a lot of sense to me. My youngest is lactose intolerant and the doctor told me almost everyone has some degree of lactose intolerance because of that very reason. He said most people never make the connection because their reactions aren't severe enough for them to feel they need to see a doctor about it. It's usually put down to a bug/virus or just an upset stomach. Good luck with this.

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J.G.

answers from Athens on

J.,
I don't know about the cause of eczema, but both my 4 year old and my 9 month old have it on their faces. I have always used the 1% hydracoritzone cream on her ( it is over the counter) and with him I have been using vaseline, which was recommended by my pediatrician. THey both work well. Both of my children have it worse during the winter, so I run a cool mist humidifier in their rooms all winter....it also helps if they have any congestion. Hope this helps. J. A.

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J.F.

answers from Atlanta on

My daughter is now 4 years old. I found out that she was actually allergic to the protein that is found in cow's milk. As an infant she was on Alimentum formula, it disguises the milk protein so the body does not recognize it. I say all of this to say, we too had eczema problems and concerns. I have found the greatest product on earth, it is called Multistrenght. It has many natural oils and moisturizes within it. You can get it at www.multistrenght.com It has worked miracles on her eczema as well as mine. Also, we recently took a zone two allergen blood test and it confirmed that she is still allergic to milk. We do yogurt and other forms of calcium. The multistrenght has returned her skin to baby smoothe. Hope this helps...

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J.S.

answers from Atlanta on

Hi J.,

It looks like most everything has been covered in previous responses, but I'd like to reiterate how important it is to remove the foods she's allergic to from her diet, and check labels carefully. I would also recommend having her tested for allergies, and if she's allergic to many things, I'd recommend allergy shots. Speaking from experience, they helped me a lot!
I suffered from allergies to just about everything, and I had eczema when I was a child. My allergy symptoms to foods caused me to feel itchy all over, have stomach aches, wheeze, and caused my toes to crack open and bleed. I felt miserable, anything you can do as a parent to eliminate this for your child is worth it, even though it will be a pain for you to do.
I received allergy shots off and on from age 7-16 for animals, grasses and trees. I no longer suffer from allergies to 99% of the things I was once sensitive to. I am still somewhat sensitive to milk, wheat, yeast and eggs and notice I start to wheeze just a little, get stuffed up, develop phlegm in my throat, and have stomach problems when I eat too much, but I don't have to completely avoid these items now. I am still deathly allergic to walnuts and pecans and must avoid them completely though. It's possible your daughter will be able to be reintoduced to the foods she's allergic to later, but for now, remove them from her diet completely. She'll feel better, and be happier, if she doesn't eat them at all. I'm sorry she suffers from allergies, good luck in keeping her healthy and happy.

M.S.

answers from Atlanta on

I know exactly what you are going through. My son just turned 2 in Jan. and has had eczema since he was
born. He also has allergies to milk, eggs, peanuts, and soy. Our allergist said my son was actually allergic to the milk protein so he could not even have lactaid. My son drinks rice milk and does fine. As far as the eczema that has been a huge battle!!!!! I have been through every medicine and cream available. It seems to get a little better with age, but after every bath I put Cera Ve lotion on his skin and it really seems to help. I have only found it at CVS. Hope this helps and good luck!

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M.H.

answers from Atlanta on

Hi J.,

Allergies to natural things are caused by a weakened immune system. Your body shouldn't have a reaction to something like milk. What I thought was my daughter's allergy to milk was really a reaction to the chemicals (pesticides, preservatives, hormones, etc.) in it. The doctors told me that she was lactose intolerant. Sometimes that kind of milk was okay but as soon as we tried organic whole milk, her life changed. She can now enjoy it anytime she wants!

I believe that is also the link between Ezcema and milk. Ezcema is systemic and caused by the state of our immune system which is directly related to what we eat and expose ourselves to.

I also know of a lotion that has been tested against Eucerin and found to be 95% more effective in a double blind test. It has completely rid my Dad of his Psoriasis and Ezcema. He's had it all his life and then we straightened it out primarily with his diet, got his immune system working and the Ezcema didn't come back until I couldn't control his diet anymore. That's when we found the lotion, Renew.

Let me know if your interested in hearing more. I would love to help if I could.

Regards,

M.

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L.J.

answers from Savannah on

I have a 18 month old with the same problem. She has eczema and is lactose intolerant, I just never thought the two were linked. I have a 4 year old who had sensitive skin as an infant and toddler, so I thought that was the reason for my 18 month olds problem. I have to get eucerine cream original formula, and it helps, but does not make it go away completely. It is worse now during the winter and I have to keep a close watch on her diaper rash. I hope she will grow out of it. I do not believe there is anything an allergist can do, the pediatrician said that by the time they are four they should grow out of their lactose intolerance. If not then they will always be lactose intolerant. As far as her eczema, I hope she will grow out of that as well. Let us know what the allergist says.

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D.P.

answers from Atlanta on

Eczema and allergies go hand in hand. I'd just switch to soy milk and ask the pediatrician what he/she wants you to do to keep Calcium up.

Hopefully, with time away from the allergens, she'll outgrow the allergies!

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S.B.

answers from Atlanta on

J. - try Rice Milk or Goat Milk. Soy may also cause a reaction.

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C.D.

answers from Atlanta on

Dear J.,

My son had VERY bad eczema when he was baby until he was about 6 months. We literally tried EVERYTHING from changing the diet, to changing detergents,, baby washes, etc. It was only when I changed ALL of the products in my home to safer alternatives did his condition completely disappear. This is a PROVEN way to get rid of eczema and all around help of your family's health. For more information on these products please visit http://www.momsmovingforward.net and request more info!

Make it a great day!
Christine, Proud Motivated Mom

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P.W.

answers from Atlanta on

Dear J.,

I know you've received a lot of great advice about changing diet, etc. You may also want to change the products you ise on her skin. I've been making natural and organic skin care products for a while and would be glad to make some soap and also perhaps lotion for you to try on her that should really help with the allergic skin and eczema.

I have two kinds of soap that might be most helpful to start with--my family and friends with eczema and psoriasis have really found them too help. One is called Repair? and I make it with a very gentle and nourishing goats milk and shea butter soap base and then add a number of natural botanical ingredients such as calendula, jojoba, emu oil, tamanu, etc. It's a very rich and gentle soap that is very soothing. The second is even more basic for people with extremely sensitive skin--just a shea butter-glycerin base with ground oatmeal and no fragrances added.

I also have some wonderful lotions and can make them fragrance-free or with a very mild fragrance. The formula is mild enough for a baby. I can also add botanicals to the motions and creams as well.

Go to my web site and see what you think, and know that I am glad to work with you to customize anything you might like.

Best wishes!

P.

[email protected]____.com
http://www.greenberrysoaps.com

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A.M.

answers from Spartanburg on

I have eczema, but I think enough has been said about that. I just wanted to warn you about soy - be careful if you switch to soy exclusively. So many people do not realize there are dangers associated with soy, especially the way it is processed in this country. I would go with rice milk if you have to have a milk substitute. Otherwise load up on other calcium rich foods like broccoli, calcium fortified orange juice and other juices, tofu (which is a different form of soy and processed differently than soy milk), white beans, and sesame seeds (tahini being a great choice) assuming she is not allergic to any of these. You could use soy yogurt sparingly.
To read more about soy check out: www.soyonlineservice.co.nz
and other websites like that. I read an investigative, well researched book that confirmed most of what I had previously read about soy online. I am a vegetarian and I have endometriosis. When I cut out soy, as much as possible except in the more native produced forms, I saw huge improvements with my symptoms.

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D.C.

answers from Charleston on

It is very hard with kids and allergies. My son has plenty and the doctor said I was lucky if he even had a good day. Until you see the allergist stay away from what you know he is allergic to. He should have the skin test done for allergies and be put on medicine to help. My son is doing better with the right help.

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N.S.

answers from Atlanta on

I am sorry that you little darling is suffering with allergies. As a mom I am well aware that it is very hard to watch your children adjust to what the world has to offer, like food allergies. I wanted to ask you if you would like to try soy or rice milk. It might be agreeable with her digestion and she will get the protein and vitamins necessary. I have found these types of milk in the organic/vegetarian section of the supermarket. Good Luck and I hope it resolves itself happily.

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P.U.

answers from Atlanta on

hi J.
my 4 year old have allergies, they all star when she was a baby, she had eczema all over her body, there is no cure for allergies the best is just to avoid what it make you react if you think is the milk, just stop drinking for a week and see what happens, if you think is the dairy then you also have to avoid yogurt, cheese, read all labels, maybe is not the milk maybe she ate something with eggs or peanuts..
You can also so a skin test...put a couple of drops of milk in a bandage and put it in her back leave it there for 2 a 3 days and see what happend....my daughter after 15 min reacts she was screeming...so we knew for sure dairy is a big no no..
good luck dealing with allergies is very hard, there is no way to know for sure you just have to try and see,
pam

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R.M.

answers from Spartanburg on

Hi J.,

I have three kids who were all allergic to milk. I put them all on soy and after 1-2 years they were all able to eat milk products again. When you start looking at ingredients you will be surprised to see how many things contain milk. Good luck.

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J.T.

answers from Spartanburg on

My 19 month old daughter gets eczema when she has dairy as well. She drinks soy milk instead of milk. Lactaid milk is still cow milk, so it can cause eczema the same way that regular cow milk will. She can eat a little bit of cheese without a problem, but can't eat a lot of it. Since she loves cheese, we bought some "rice cheese" made out of rice instead of dairy. HTH!

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B.

answers from Augusta on

I had a milk allergy as a small child and I threw it all up. I was given goats milk as a substatute. As for the eczema I would look at enviromental causes, such as fabric softener , or detergant.

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T.B.

answers from Atlanta on

Hi J.,

Sorry to hear about yoru daughters allergies. Good thing you found out though. Lactaid is milk it's not a milk alternative. This is probably why she broke out. I am lactose intolerant and I have been drinking lactaid for years, however lately I have noticed that I have had alot of intergestion and gas, so I have decided to start drinking rice milk. I am just recently married and my husband has been drinking it for years. He swears by it; I must warn you though, it is very expensive, even more than Lactaid. I hope this helps.

T. B

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J.S.

answers from Atlanta on

Hi J. ~ we've never had our daughters on cows milk as we are vegan but we had the same issue with soy milk. My oldest daughter had such bad eczema over 75% of her body that it just broke my heart everyday. We switched to almond milk and she's not had a problem since. Even some of her scarring started to heal. I know you mentioned an allergy to peanuts so if you're nervous to try almond milk you might want to start with soy. Eczema is a condition of the body trying to rid itself of a toxin from the inside out... that's why dietary choices are so important! Good luck and I hope you find a remedy soon! Take care.

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D.H.

answers from Atlanta on

Hi J.,
My daughter was also allergic to dairy, peanut, egg and wheat. She is 8 now and can tolerate wheat. As a baby, she had eczema on her arms cheeks and chin. I was nursing her at the time she went for allergy testing. I cut the dairy,egg,peanut and wheat out of my diet and she never had a problem again.

Today, she is still allergic to milk, it causes violent vomitting. Eggs cause nausea, peanut causes swelling of face and throat and there are no signs of the wheat allergy.

It is not easy, I have a family of 5 and all of us love cheese, dairy, pizza, ect. Many times I have to make sure I have another meal or a non-dairy version of our meal for my daughter with the allergies.

I nursed her until she was two and she has never had cow's milk or any other milk. There are so many other things that has calcium. Talk to your pediatrician. Eczema is an allergic reaction to "something". Whether it is the milk or the hormones in the milk, as a mom you'll have to decide what you and your baby are willing to tolerate.

Things may change as she get older. Talk to your mom and mother-in-law about the family's history. Most babies on my husband's side can't tolerate cow's milk until they are 5 and older, allergy/eczema and asthma also runs in the family. My side of the family have stomachs lined with steel and are strong as horses! So I understand the challenge!

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A.B.

answers from Atlanta on

J.,
I have been dealing with milk allergies for about 14 years now. My oldest was allergic, and ended up being hospitalized due to milk allergies when he was 2 wks old, and I decided to breast feed my 2nd, hoping he would do better w/ allergies. Well the oldest has mostly grown out of his allergy (meaning he can eat cheese, ect, and drink milk sparingly), but the 4yo is not going to grow out of it, he still gets digestive upsets if he drinks any milk. My advise would be to read every label of any thing she is eating, lots of this that you would never think of have milk or milk byproducts in them ( one instance is strained spinach, I found this the hard way). Even if you aren't giving her milk she could be getting it some where else. I do give the boys soy milk, but not alot, and we eat lots of veggies and other foods rich in calcium, and when X. (the 4yo) was smaller I gave him a calcium suppliment. He can now eat some processed dairy, cheese, yogurt (live active cultures only), and I do give the Lactaid pills when he is going to a party and I don't want him to be daprived of cake/ ice cream, etc., but I do monitor how much he eats of any dairy foods and limit it to a max 3 servings/ day of all dairy. It will take some time to get it right and figure out what she can and can't have, but as I assume with the nut allergies you already read labels for things w/ nuts also look for milk, whey, casin,cheese and protiens of any of these. If you need any more help just ask me, I have gotten this down to a science, where I don't even consciencely think about it any more. Good luck and HTH
A.

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