Could My Baby Be Allergic to His Milk?

Bottles

Parents and grandparents worry about allergies in their new babies for two reasons. First, new babies sneeze a lot. Or, you may think your baby is having trouble digesting his milk. Before you switch your baby's milk, please consider a few things.

First, it takes time to develop a true allergy. An allergy is an over-reaction of our immune system to a foreign protein. Brand new babies immune systems haven't been exposed to foreign proteins long enough to develop allergies. Now, I am not saying that allergies are impossible, but a true allergy is rare in a new baby.

The number one reason a new baby has trouble digesting his milk is because his digestive system has never had to digest milk before. Our digestive systems need time to adapt to new foods. I recommend parents wait six to eight weeks for their new baby's digestive system to settle down to a regular, comfortable pattern. It will — you just have to be patient.

Formulas

I really try to discourage switching formulas. If you switch formula every week or two, your baby's digestive system never gets a chance to adapt to digesting the new formula. Pick a formula and stick with it.

Human digestive systems can adapt to digesting just about anything, but not right away. Especially when they are brand new, they need extra time and patience.

Thanks to Janelle Aby MD, Stanford School Of Medicine, Newborn Nursery, and Lucille Packard Children's Hospital for the use of occasional photographs.