Are your baby’s cries persistent and left unexplained?

Could it be a symptom of cow’s milk allergy?

Jennifer Ellison shares her son’s experience of cow’s milk allergy

A new survey reveals that over half of parents with a persistently crying baby had their lives turned upside down and found it difficult to cope. Just a third of parents actually enjoyed the first few months of having a baby due to the crying and 59% were concerned their baby might be ill.

This is something TV actress and mother of two, Jennifer Ellison knows all too well.  “I breast fed my first baby, Bobby, until he was 6 months old, and when we made the transition from breast milk to formula milk, we noticed a massive change in him,” explains Jennifer. “He got this awful spotty rash around his mouth, he’d cry all the time and whenever we’d give him a bottle he was constantly being sick. The symptoms weren’t getting any better, and it was becoming distressing for the whole family – putting a strain on mine and my husband’s relationship.”

 Luckily, Jennifer’s mother-in-law recognised the symptoms, as Jennifer’s husband had cow’s milk allergy (CMA) when he was a baby. Jennifer took Bobby to the doctors where he was given an allergy test which revealed that Bobby did indeed have CMA. “Bobby was prescribed a specialist formula which we had to get from the chemist and we noticed an instant change! It was like we had our old baby back. He became so happy, so content and it was a joy to be a mum again.”

Jennifer says: “I worry that mums think the symptoms are a sign that they’re doing something wrong so they feel like failures. My mother-in-law told me not to beat myself up about it which put my mind at ease a lot. Initially I panicked – I was terrified about what it would mean in the future; but it’s important that people know that if CMA is diagnosed, it can be managed.

Could it be CMA?

Excessive, frequent and unexplained crying – also known as colic – affects around one in five babies in the UK, and can be one of the symptoms of cow’s milk allergy (CMA). CMA is the most common food allergy in young children, occurring when the immune system identifies a protein within the cow’s milk as harmful, and triggers an allergic reaction.

Cow’s Milk Allergy – some of the symptoms to look out for:

Recognising cow’s milk allergy can be difficult as symptoms can be diverse or often mistaken for other common conditions such as colic and eczema. Exact symptoms vary from baby to baby, and can be immediate or delayedso it’s good to know the signs and symptoms to look out for.

  • Colic
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • Eczema “Not knowing how to help a crying baby can be extremely upsetting, says Lindsey McManus, Deputy CEO, Allergy UK. “Parents will try numerous methods to calm their child, yet in many cases, the crying and distress continue leaving parents feeling helpless, frustrated and exhausted. CMA is the most common allergy in babies, so if you’re concerned, use the support tools available such as the Is It Cow’s Milk Allergy website and the Allergy UK helpline, to discuss your child’s symptoms with your GP.”

If you think your baby might be showing symptoms of cow’s milk allergy, make an appointment to see your GP.

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