When Your Child Has a Food Allergy: Milk
When a child has a milk allergy, even a small amount of milk can cause a serious reaction. For that reason, your child must avoid dairy products and any foods likely to contain milk. Make sure you know:
About milk allergy
What foods to avoid
What to look for on food labels
How to prepare dairy-free meals.
Foods to avoid
Children with milk allergies should avoid all dairy foods, including:
Butter. Also some margarines, butter substitutes, and spreads. Some "nondairy" spreads, including margarine, contain whey, a milk protein.
Cheese. Cheese made from rice or soy may also contain casein, a milk product.
Cream, sour cream, and half-and-half, also some "nondairy" creamers
Ice cream, frozen yogurt, and sherbet
Milk. This includes whole, low-fat, skim, evaporated, condensed, powdered, buttermilk, and goat's milk.
The following foods often contain milk.
Baked goods, such as cakes, muffins, and some cookies and pies
Puddings, custards, and cream sauces
Eggnog, milkshakes, and malts
Candy made with milk, such as fudge, caramel, and nougat
Meats, other meat dishes
Meatloaf, breaded meats, and meats containing casein, a milk protein
Many processes meats, including hot dogs, sausages, and luncheon meats
Canned tuna containing casein
Cream soups, bisques, and chowders
Pancakes, waffles, and french toast
Some boxed cereals or precooked cereals
Frozen vegetables in sauce
Buttered, creamed, scalloped, or au gratin vegetables
Mashed, au gratin, creamed, and scalloped potatoes. Some french fries may contain lactose, a milk sugar.
Salad dressings or mayonnaise containing milk, milk solids, or milk products
Caesar salad and Caesar dressing. These often have Parmesan cheese.
Some high-protein flours and protein powders
Vitamins and medicine in pill form. Pills often contain lactose as a filler.
Some dry-powder inhalers used to treat asthma
What to look for on labels
Food labels can be misleading. “Nondairy” foods often contain milk proteins such as casein and whey. And kosher foods labeled “pareve” may have traces of milk from processing. Pareve means the food doesn't contain meat or dairy products. Read labels carefully, and stay away from products that contain:
Casein or caseinates
Lactalbumin or lactalbumin phosphate
Whey or whey protein
These foods are safe for children with milk allergies:
Boxed pastas, such as macaroni and spaghetti
Breads made without milk
Fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables
Fresh, frozen, or canned fruit and vegetable juices
Grains, such as rice, wheat, barley, and oats
Meat, chicken, and fish cooked without butter or other milk products. Precooked meats such as ham may contain lactose.
Peanut butter and other nut butters made without milk solids
Rice, soy, and nut milks. These are found in most natural food stores and some grocery stores.
Sauces that don’t contain milk or cream, such as spaghetti sauce
Tofu and other soy products
White or sweet potatoes cooked and served without butter or milk
Cooking without milk
Try these tips for making your favorite recipes without dairy products:
In baking, substitute equal amounts of water, fruit juice, rice milk, or soy milk for cow’s milk.
Use 3/4 cup applesauce for every cup of butter called for in baked goods, or use a butter substitute made from soy.
Use chicken broth for cream in sauces and soups, or puree foods for a creamy texture.
Dress potatoes, vegetables, and grains with olive oil, vegetable oil, or soy lecithin spread instead of butter.
Your child needs calcium
Ask your healthcare provider about calcium or vitamin D supplements for your child. Be aware some will contain milk, so be sure to read the labels. These foods are good sources of calcium:
Calcium-fortified orange juice
Canned salmon (with bones) and sardines
Cooked dried beans
Enriched soy milk and rice milk
Turnip greens, kale, broccoli, and cabbage
If your child has any of the symptoms listed below, act quickly!
If one has been prescribed, use an epinephrine autoinjector right away. Then call 911 or emergency services.
Trouble breathing or a cough that won’t stop
Swelling of the mouth or face
Dizziness or fainting
Vomiting or severe diarrhea
February 08, 2018
Guidelines for the Diagnosis and Management of Food Allergy in the US: Report of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Boyce J. The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. 2010;126(6):s1-s58.
Bass, Pat F. III, MD, MPH,Blaivas, Allen J., DO,Image reviewed by StayWell art team.,Pierce-Smith, Daphne, RN, MSN, CCRC