Milk allergy is ironically most common in children, the part of the population that consumes and seems to need most of the milk produced. You would think that babies would have a natural affinity to milk as this is what they predominantly live on for the first few months and years of their lives. In fact studies have shown that about 2 to 5 percent of infants become allergic to milk.
So does that mean that mothers are forced to continue breast feeding their children until they are ready to graduate to solid foods? As much as new mothers these days are breast feeding less with new products such as baby bottles and powder milk, it could help in this instance. Apart from the bonding aspect of breast feeding, it could also help in averting the possibility of your infant developing a milk allergy. It is found out from the studies that breast fed children are less prone to developing an allergy to milk compared to those who are not.
Although milk allergy is more common in children than in adults, this allergic reaction can affect people at any age. However, because newborn children depend solely on milk for their food intake, such a reaction can be a little more daunting. They will inevitably be deprived of the nutrients found in milk that are so important in their early development.
On the other hand, if a child is allergic to milk and a mother continually feeds them with cow, goat or sheep milk, this could have grave effects in their development process. Despite the many nutrients found in milk, if a mother sees any reactions in the child that they suspect are manifestations of a milk allergy, they should stop feeding the child milk or dairy products immediately. Adults should also heed this advice and stop taking anything containing milk as soon as they suspect they may be allergic to milk or dairy products.
It seems rather unnatural for infants to be allergic to milk and even unfair as this their primary source of food. However, it is not a common condition and most children who have a milk allergy will most probably grow out of it by the age of 2 or 3 years old.
Although mothers should be cautious when feeding a child and it reacts negatively to certain foods they should not immediately panic and assume it is fatal. They should not become unnecessarily anxious and obsessively watch the infant for illness or allergic reactions. Experts say that fatalities in children due to food allergies are very rare.
In the UK, a study by the Newcastle General Hospital pointed out that although 5% of children have some allergy, chances of them dying from that allergy are 1 in 800,000 in a year. They had had eight deaths in 10 years from infant allergic reactions. The main concern of medical bodies is information especially in schools on how to handle children with all types of food allergies not just milk allergy.