Wondering If It's a Milk Allergy

Updated on April 22, 2011
C.H. asks from Groveport, OH
15 answers

Sorry this is a little long! I have a 10 week old who is exclusively breastfed. About 3 weeks ago I found blood in his stool when I changed his diaper. There continued to be a little blood in his diaper for the next several diapers. I ended up taking him to the ER that evening to get it checked out. The ER Dr. told me it was either a small anal fissure or a mild milk allergy. He recommended that I reduce my milk intake and see how things went. I cut back significantly on dairy and he didn't have any more trouble. The next week we went to his 2 month check up and I mentioned it to his DR. His Dr. didn't help at all. He just said that I should avoid dairy for another month and then start to reintroduce it. He didn't tell me anything else to look for other than more blood. So for that last couple weeks I have cut out all obvious dairy (milk, cheese, ice cream, etc) and tried to reduce the baked goods that might have dairy in them like bread and crackers. He was fine and then 2 days ago had 2 back to back diapers with just a little blood in them. Again, the next day his diapers were fine and back to normal. I know I hadn't had any obvious dairy that day.
My question is, would this be a dairy allergy since the blood has only happened a couple times. I don't feel like he has any other symptoms. He is a little more gassy than my other kids were but generally some extra burping and maybe some gas drops will take care of it. I am wondering if any of you moms who have kids with dairy allergies could tell me what their symptoms were. If they had bloody stool, how often was it and was it immediately after you ate dairy or just random? Was there a lot of blood in the diaper or just a little? Was it in just one diaper or in several in a row? Did your kids seem to be in extreme pain or extra fussy? My son is actually much easier and happier than either of my other babies were and already sleeps and eats much better too. From what I've read, if he had a dairy allergy he would be very fussy and miserable. I am just confused and didn't get much help from his dr. Thank you in advance for any help you can give me!

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answers from Dallas on

The only symptom my daughter had was blood in her stool, other than that she was a happy healthy baby. And yes, until I cut it out completely, there was blood in her stool, but it wasn't consistant in every one. The good news is, that most infants out grow it. My pediatrician told me to wait a until she was a year to try regular cow's milk. My neice was fine by 6 months. My pediatrician did run tests on my daughter. I never thought allergy because she was a "good" baby all other times. It didn't start happening until 3 months, and by then she was eating 7 oz a feeding, and sleeping through the night. She did have gas, but nothing painful.

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answers from Ocala on

I have four children.
I breastfeed them all.
My 3rd child is allergic to all dairy - he has never had a bloody diaper.
Right now I am breastfeeding my 4th child she is 5 months old.
A few months ago she had blood in her stool. I looked it up online and it appeared to be that maybe she is allergic to dairy.
I took her in to see her Dr. - he didn't care much. He thinks she has a small rip up inside of her buttie. I disagreed with him.

I decided to stop all dairy. THAT IS SOOOOOOO HARD TO DO.
My daughters diapers got better.

My daughter is a very happy baby.

Just try staying away from dairy and see how your little one does.

God bless.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Cleveland on

My 6 1/2 month old daughter has a milk protein allergy/intolerance. She is formula fed, and I was feeding her a milk based formula for the first 6 weeks. She would scream and cry like she was in pain for hours, I had two different doctors diagnose her as having colic and to wait it out but I knew something else was going on. She had very bad gas and bad excema on her face and neck. I started her on a soy formula and she became a COMPLETELY different baby. I was told by her doctor that a lot of the time they grow out of this around the 3 month mark and I could try giving her the milk based formula at that time but he suggested I just wait until she is a year old. She never had blood in her poop, but I know that is one of the symptoms of a milk allergy.

I have been paying close attention to the ingredients of things just to have an idea of what she may not be able to eat if this allergy doesn't go away and there are SO many things that contain milk. I gave my daughter these rice rusks that said on the back of the box, may contain traces of milk. I thought she'd be fine, but she had the same reaction as she did when she was on the milk based formula. She was miserable for a few days, so even a small trace of milk could cause a reaction. I would definitely talk his doctor about your concerns and get a second opinion if you don't agree with his opinions. I had to do that for my daughter, even though both doctors looked at me like I was dumb, I was RIGHT and they were wrong! Trust your instincts.

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answers from Chicago on

My daughter's only symptom of a milk allergy was horrible eczema! (she has a confirmed milk allergy and is currently almost 4). She never did have blood in her stool as an infant or any other symptoms. Also, sometimes the reaction doesn't happen immediately so dairy that day wouldn't have mattered. It gets into your system and take 2-3 weeks to be totally eliminated from your body and baby's after eliminating it in your diet as a breastfeeding mama. My daughter was never fussy or miserable with her dairy allergy either....just the eczema and scratching little bloody raw spots everywhere because of it. To this day she has no dairy -- if she does, it shows back up in a few days (the eczema) :( They generally won't allergy test infants until 12 mos or 6 mos if there is a history of food allergy in the family -- at a minimum...so for now all you can do it totally eliminate dairy and hope for the best. If you need MILK FREE alternatives for things, please let me know -- we have become masters of it :) because we don't want our daughter to miss out!

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answers from Portland on

I would look more closely at what you are consuming, to see if you are really dairy-free yourself. Many foods have casein or lactose added to them, and it is virtually impossible to buy any type of processed food that doesn't. (unless you go to a health food or whole foods store)

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answers from Tampa on

Im assuming it was bright red blood, not a darker brown or black blood. Bright red blood can mean he may have had some straining issues, small anal fissure or milk allergy - which you've already been told.

If the stool was loosely formed and not hard, then I'd go with milk allergy.
Organic milks tend to not have the same reactions... so if you feel you cannot keep up eliminating all dairy for 3 months, then maybe slpurge every once in awhile with 100% organically made milk products. Not actual milk, try to avoid that... but organic cheeses, creams, yogurts, and ice creams.



answers from Dayton on

I dont know if this will help but my son had a milk allergy. I didnt breastfeed but his syptoms were extrememly fussy! He never had blood in his stool. When I say extremely fussy I mean like screaming all day and night long. Mostly at night! Have you thought of maybe getting a second opinion from another doctor? My son finally grew out of his food allergy, which his doctor said was normal when he was about 2. Good luck! Hope this helps



answers from Cleveland on

I just wanted to direct you to www.theleakyboob.com breastfeeding support forum. I think I've seen a similar question there before lots of experienced bfing mammas (including those who supplement, but is mostly exclusively bf'ers). Anyway I'm sure they can help, good luck!


answers from Modesto on

Personally I dont think a food allergy would cause the blood in the stool. I think it's something else and you should tell your doc that you arent convinced either.


answers from Austin on

Both my daughters were allergic to cows milk protein (which is different than being lactose intolerant). They never had blood in stools... They had gross mucousy diapers, congestion/ear infections (sinus infections started later, not as new baby), difficulty gaining weight, and eczema.

However, I'm not sure what the symptoms of a lactose intolerance would be... Maybe someone else can answer-?

By the way, high correlation between milk protein allergy and andcallergy to soy. If you're eating a lot of soy, they could bring on other symptoms. Basically blood in stools is a sign that the intestines are irritated (from the allergen) and are bleeding... Blood then passes with stools.



answers from Cleveland on

my son has a dairy allergy and because I couldn't eliminate enough of it, he's no longer exclusively breast fed, but gets a couple bottles of special formula a day as well. No bloody diapers but the gas, OMG I've never had a child pass so much gas. Because he passes it one way or the other he isn't any more fussy than any other kiddo of mine, it's when they aren't passing gas and it builds up that they get fussy and miserable. His only symptom of his allergy is extreme eczema, and I mean patches that cover over half his body at any given point if I have milk. eliminating the obvious sources helped but the only way I could completely cure the problem and the gas was to eliminate all dairy in all forms and I just kept missing things, which is why we decided I'd keep checking labels and do the best I could, but we'd switch between non dairy formula and breastfeeding. We are now basically gas free and if he has a breakout it's a few quarter sized spots in random places, and he no longer itches himself bloody even with trimmed nails and baby mitts on.

Oh and to add, I read that it can take a good three weeks for all the milk protein to be out of your system and then another 3 to be out of babies system, so it isn't something that will instantly clear up, or show up if you have a slip.



answers from Portland on

My granddaughter had a dairy allergy as a baby. She was very fussy, had eczema, and lots of gas. she didn't have blood in her stool. Her pediatrician did a blood test that confirmed the allergy to dairy as well as several other things.



answers from Cleveland on

The easiest and safest way to rule out milk allergy is to completely avoid it. What were you expecting him to do? You don't want any invasive treatments unless you have to and this is always the first step. Avoid milk, icecream, cheese, yogurt. I wouldn't worry about the hidden dairy unless it is a main ingredient. You rule this out first . It's a better option than having celiac disease or crohn's. Stick to this diet for a a month and then follow up with your doctor. If anything else occurs that worries you call him immediately. I know it's hard to watch our kids go through anything. (mother of 4) But if you rush into something you may cause more problems. Just be patient.



answers from Chicago on

I've heard of blood in the stool due to dairy allergies. My friend's adopted son had to go on Alimentum formula due to his milk allergies. Once he was on that, his bloody stools went away.

I recently realized that my 14 week old son is probably allergic to dairy. (My 5 year old daughter is also allergic to milk, so I had a hunch he would be allergic too.) He developed eczema, and he had been extremely fussy. I cut out dairy for two weeks, and the eczema and fussiness went away. Last week, I broke down and had a few blueberry muffins. His eczema came back with a vengeance, and he cried and scratched at his scalp all night.

It is extremely difficult to cut milk completely out of your diet, but you should try it for at least two weeks to see if the bloody stools go away. If they don't, you should stick with the milk free diet and also eliminate other possible allergens, such as nuts, shellfish, and tropical fruits.

Meanwhile, maybe you can take him to a pediatric GI specialist. Not like you want such a young baby to be poked and prodded, but blood in the stool can't be good. Good luck to you!



answers from Houston on

Perhaps I am not the brightest bulb in the pack, but, I have NEVER heard of blood in the stool due to dairy allergies AFTER dairy has been ommited. I would think something else is going on. Its probably not serious, and probably an allergy...but milk? perhaps not. Have you considered wheat or gluten effects?
Also, how are his BM's? Are the soft? Maybe hard stools can be to blame for blood...

Good luck to you and I hope you find your answer...

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