5. August 2011 | 16:45

How to treat CMA symptoms through diet

CMA symptoms can be managed (dietetically) by eliminating cows' milk protein from your child's diet. There are many options for elimination possible, ranging from avoiding eating cows' milk while you are breastfeeding to using a substitute infant formula.These substitutes are hypoallergenic and there are 2 types available; amino acid based formula (AAF) and extensively hydrolysed formula (EHF).

Amino acid-based formulas and extensively hydrolysed formulas can be considered a good option to manage the required replacement of cows' milk proteins. These products are regarded as hypoallergenic and provide a well-balanced diet for children with CMA and other allergy induced disorders. They ensure that your child gets all the nutrients it needs for healthy growth and development when consuming the recommended amount of formula. Extensively hydrolysed formulas still contain very small protein fragments, while amino acid-based ones are 100% free of milk proteins.

CMA and breastfeeding

If your baby shows signs of CMA while being breast-fed, you are not dealing with an allergic reaction against the breast milk itself. In fact breast-feeding can protect your child against the development of certain diseases. Yet some sensitive babies can get allergic reactions to the small amounts of dietary cows' milk proteins that pass from mother to baby by breast milk.

As a first step, try to eliminate cows' milk and dairy products from your diet while carrying on with breast -feeding. If you avoid cows' milk completely, the symptoms should soon fade away. Since cows' milk is part of many foods, you will have to take a closer look at the ingredients of your daily diet. Please consult a dietitian before you start the elimination diet.

If the baby’s symptoms don’t disappear or the diet proves too difficult for you to continue with, the dietitian might suggest a hypoallergenic diet with replacement formulas for your infant. Amino acid-based formulas for example provide your infant with a complete source of nutrition and will avoid any reaction from your baby’s immune system.

Please let your child’s doctor or dietitian know which formula you think is best for your child.