Milk Allergy? What Else Can I Try Besides Soy?

Updated on January 19, 2011
M.E. asks from Coeur d Alene, ID
24 answers

I think my 13 month old is allergic to milk. Even though he his on similac sensitve which is a dairy based formula. I've tried lactos free milk mixed with formula and he still gets stuffy and coughs alot. I just don't understand why he would have a reaction from the lactose free milks but he is. I've heard to many bad things about soy milk and the bad things they put in it. What else can I try instead of soy? I can't afford to keep giving him formula and if I keep him on a bottle it will start decaying his teeh.

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So What Happened?

A few weeks ago when I started him on whole milk he started gettig stuffy nose and coughing so much he would thow up. So I switched him to lactos free milk and his stools turned into a creamy whiteish color and he was constipated. I took him to the dr. and she said to put him back on straight formula for a week or two and then try the lactos free milk again. Two weeks later here I am trying it again and same results except his stools aren't creamy color. I think I will try organic milk and if that doesn't work than try something else. He is not yet ready to be taken off a bottle. I'm slowly working on that. He does eat 3 meals a day but is still dependent on the bottle as well. Thanks for your advise everyone. It does help to hear it!

Featured Answers



answers from Minneapolis on

Look into coconut milk. I know of two families who use it for their babies who have dairy and gluten allergies.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Tampa on

Try goat's milk and see if a Health Food Store sells an organic goat's milk formula. Goat's milk is closest to human breastmilk.

Hmmm... maybe I should read other responses first ;)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Charlottesville on

I have to agree with Rachel, almond milk is great, nutritious and has a lot of protein. I've also heard great things about coconut milk although I haven't used it yet. I would stick to organic varieties and those with low sugar or altogether unsweetened.

1 mom found this helpful

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answers from Colorado Springs on

Have you tried raw milk? Many times they are allergic to milk because all of the enzymes needed to digest the milk are killed off in the pasteurization process. Live, healthy, clean, raw milk is nothing like the junk they sell in stores.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

Give goat's milk a shot... It's supposedly the closest thing to human breast milk (nutritionally speaking). My daughter is lactose sensitive, not intolerant, but definitely cannot drink regular milk. She didn't go for the goat's milk, but your kiddo might.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Atlanta on

Hi Mariciana,

Goat milk and also Almond milk have been substitutes for centuries and are tolerated well by most little ones. Goat milk is closest to human breast milk. My daughter was diagnosed as lactose intolerant but in fact was not. She was having a reaction to the chemicals in the cow's milk (hormones, antibiotics, preservatives, pesticides, etc).

The liquid goat milk at the grocery store (Meyenburg) tastes good. The concentrate and powdered milk is not as tasty. Most almond milks on the market are full of sugars. You may have to simply test them...

God bless!


2 moms found this helpful


answers from Santa Fe on

Milk allergies typically refer to a milk protein allergy. The lactose in the milk is the milk sugar, not the protein.
For my little guy the allergy showed up as blood in his stool (poop) - and made him really uncomfortable/gassy. Not a stuffy/cough sort of reaction.

I'd talk to your pediatrician and see what they think - as what you describe does not sound like a milk protein allergy to me. (And limiting your child's food is both challenging, and really not helpful if that is not the true cause.) Call and just talk to one of the nurses for suggestions, if you do not have the time to take him in. :)

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

Goat's Milk would be an excellent switch. If you can find a farmer, raw goat or cow milk is awesome and super healthy, but I strongly recommend being wary of regular milk. Regular milk is pasteurized and homogonized which is necessary to keep it from spoiling and looking disgusting due to the bacteria, pus and other contaminants in it. The pasteurization kills much of the bacteria making it safe to consume for many, but there is a reason so many people are allergic and sensitive to it - growth hormones, antibiotics, contaminants, unhealthy cows, etc. The pasteurization also destroys the digestive enzymes, probiotics and nutrition in regular milk. The homogenization basically destroys the molecules of the milk making the cream stay suspended in the milk instead of rising to the top, it also keep the dead bacteria and cells from sinking to the bottom showing a sludge that would prevent anyone from drinking milk. The other negative of homogenization is that the molecules are very tiny now and they can pass through the intestines of undeveloped babies (most children under 1 year) and cause intestinal bleeding. Another reason to choose raw milk. Any farm that sells raw milk will usually grass feed their cows, keep them in the pasture where they get fresh air and are healthy and do not require antibiotics. They are not overmilked or mistreated avoiding mastitis. The farmers drink the milk themselves which is another way to tell that it is quality milk. We switched to raw milk with our twin babies as they were not thriving and in 3 weeks they both gained over a pound and looked much healthier! Now that they have been on it for 3 months we have also seen additional benefits such as chronic ear infections have gone away, colds have been minimized and/or eliminated, they are growing at a very steady pace and are happy and healthy. We are thrilled!

Here are some resources:

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

My sister drank goat's milk as a kid because of all her allergies.

If he's allergic to milk, is it simply a question of how to handle drinks when he's not taking formula? What about going straight to water and ensuring he gets calcium from other sources? A kid I babysat drank fortified orange juice (even on cereal!).

It might also entice him to try a sippy cup if it's something different.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Portland on

Definitely try rice milk to avoid other allergies.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Rochester on

Try rice's what I use, because I am nursing an 8 month old who is allergic to milk...and yes, soy has some sort of hormonal quality to it that in large doses can really change a person. can buy the generic store brand rice milk for about a dollar a quart...not really cheap, but again, not very expensive. I use the plain flavor, and I think it tastes better than soy milk as well.

Oh, and you can also use goat's milk.

Also, after reading your question more carefully, I have to agree that this does not sound like a milk allergy, and the person who mentioned it above is right...when children are allergic to milk, they are allergic to the protein in it, not the lactose. Lactose intolerance is really very different, and is usually only marked by discomfort and gas.

MY daughter's milk allergy showed in the form of constant diarrhea all day long, in blow out proportion, with blood...literally, having to change clothes about eight times a day...and it took several weeks of me with no dairy before the symptoms started to go away.

Has a doctor verified a milk protein allergy? Because really, none of the substitutes compare with actual milk, if a person can tolerate cow's milk.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

He's old enough, that liquids shouldn't be his main nutrition source. He should be getting his nutrition from food and whatever "milk" you give him will be a bonus. He does not NEED any kind of milk. My son can't have milk and is 20 months. He has never had a drop. I couldn't have milk as a child. I know many children who can't. His first source of nutrition should be food. So many kids drink their calories in liquids and this is so inferior. As a supplement to his food, you can try goats milk. A little warning goats milk is NOT lactose free. People who can't have lactose should not drink goats milk. I would focus on getting your son to eat food and take the bottle and liquids, but water away.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Portland on

I've nannied for lots of families whose boys drank rice milk, and that's what I serve my own son. (My husband drinks it too.) Rice is one of the most easily digestable foods, and the allergic reactions are rare. Soy milk is certainly not recommended for growing boys, and even young girls need to be moderate in their consumption.

I love the taste of coconut milk, but am unsure of the cholesterol. Almond is tasty, but again, the allergies.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Portland on

Rice milk... Sold at costco isn't too expensive either.


answers from Austin on

rice milk is good and i've heard almond milk is a little sweeter. have you tried going down to 2% on the lactose free? could just be too much fat that's bothering him.



answers from Kansas City on

Almond milk!! Totally yummy!! Coconut milk. I haven't had it, but it is supposed to be good/good for you.



answers from Seattle on

Talk to your ped, but you can try almond, coconut, rice or hemp milk. Rice milk has the lowest nutrition of those.



answers from Seattle on

As Audrey Z said, goat milk might be a solution to his milk intolerance (different protein structure?). BUT (!), make sure it is pasteurized. Otherwise, you would be gambling with your son's health. Goat milk is available in lots of grocery stores these days. It's expensive!! But so is formula.

If you try soy or almond milk or something similar, make sure it is full fat. The fat is important for you son's brain development. Keep it full fat until he is 2 years old.



answers from Portland on

There is a difference between lactose intolerance and milk allergy. If he's allergic being lactose free will not help him. Has he been tested for a milk allergy? If not I recommend that you have that done.

This sounds more like he is allergic to something in his environment rather than a milk allergy or lactose intolerance. Both of those result in digestive upsets, primarily gas and diarrhea. yes, a milk allergy can cause a stuffy nose but I'd only think of the cause as a milk allergy if tests have shown that he's allergic.

My granddaughter is allergic to pollen, house dust,animal dander. She takes an antihistamine every day to help keep her nose clear and reduce coughing. She also has asthma. I saw from a previous post that your son was being given similar medications. I'd talk with the pediatrician about continued use of an antihistamine.

Soy is also a common allergen.

My granddaughter was allergic to milk and she thrived on Alimentium, a milk free formula, as a baby. When she was over a year in age she drank rice milk.

Keeping him on a bottle will not decay his teeth. What causes tooth decay is allowing the formula/beverage to sit on his teeth. To avoid this do not put him to bed with formula or beverage in a bottle or a sippy cup. My grandkids took sippy cups of water to bed with them.



answers from Detroit on

we love almond milk!



answers from Portland on

I took my son off a bottle at 13 months and he has a complete personality change. I had to put him back on the bottle for at least until he was two. Every child is different but please be aware that not every child can get off the bottle at 13 months. That is really, really young. Wash his mouth out with water if it is during the day. My son took sippy cups but still wanted the bottle. His teeth is excellent, has a rare cavity and he is an adult now.

As far as a milk allergy you might try I will have to ask how young they are to take the treatment. An easy, no pain treatment for food and other allergies.

You might try goat's milk. He is not too young for that.



answers from Chicago on

My daughter is on Rice Dream Milk, Silk Live (Milk Free Soy Yogurt), and Rice Dream Cheese, Better N Cream Cheese (Tofutti). We do a mix of soy and rice products. She is peanut allergic (as well as milk, eggs and fish) so we do not do almond milk (chance she could develop nut allergies as well) or hemp milk which will likely be other suggestions you receive. My daughter started these at 14 mos upon diagnosis of her allergies. Her milk allergy showed up in eczema all over. She has always been about 75th percentile height and 50th weight. She gets other good fats from lean meats, avocados, olive oil, etc. She is extremely smart and well adjusted -- she is now 3.5 years old. Remember, when you do milk elimination, it takes a week+ to get out of the child's system completely so do not discount it if it doesn't seem to work immediately.

By the way, I get stuffy and thick mucus from drinking milk -- but I am not milk allergic (nor lactose intollerant -- they are 2 VERY DIFFERENT things). I am however allergic to other things and have a higher "drainage" down my throat than others. Causes me to clear my throat more than others. Might be your child is allergic to something else and the thick milk-based formula is just aggravating it. I would take him to a pediatric allergist for a back scratch test to be sure of the allergies.

As for other recommendations for goat's milk, it shares some of the same proteins as cow's it might not help if the kiddo is allergic to that protein or proteins.

Best wishes and Good luck!



answers from Portland on

My son is allergic to tons of things, including milk AND soy. We give him Rice Dream Rice Milk that is enriched with vitamins A, D, B12 and calcium. Our pediatrician told us to include avocados in his diet since he is not getting the fat from milk. There is also almond milk available. Good luck!


answers from Eugene on

Goat milk. I used it and when my children got older I kept goats and milked them. You don't have to milk goats as goat milk is in stores food stores where you should be buying all your food for an allergic child and the rest of the family.
He's too old for Similac. Quit wasting money on it. Since you have milk sensitivities in the family breast feed your next child and she/he will have few allergies or maybe none.

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