What is CMPA?
Cmpa is a cow's milk protein allergy. Some babies have it. It impacts 2-3% of babies and is the most common baby allergy. CMPA is basically an abnormal reaction to cow's milk protein from the mom’s milk or formula.
CMPA is frustrating.
It is often hard to detect how some babies will react after 1-2 hours of having dairy and others up to a full day or 2 days later. Babies with CMPA could be breastfeeding or formula feeding.
What are the symptoms of CMPA?
Symptoms of CMPA include diarrhea and explosive stools, throwing up, colic, skin rashes, sometimes constipation, crying, inability to sleep, and sometimes blood in the stool. It can also impact breathing and cause inadequate weight gain. Breastfeeding babies with CMPA get symptoms when the mom consumes dairy.
What to do?
Some babies can’t handle a single drop of dairy, and others can handle more. Each baby is different. For those babies, it is important for the mom to cut out dairy completely out of her diet for 2 weeks and up to 6 weeks and see if the symptoms go away. For most babies this is life changing. Some moms might have to stop eggs as well. In some cases peanuts as well. Formula fed babies may need to have a CMPA free formula.
CMPA can go away at 6 months, 1 year, 2 years, or 3 years. You have to cut out dairy completely to find out. In most cases it’s a good idea to cut out CMPA products until 6 months or even 9-12 months. And then introduce it in very tiny amounts. Please discuss introduction with your doctor as in extreme cases it can be dangerous.
In my case I started trying very small dairy amounts for Karim starting 9 months and watching for symptoms. I continued to do this every 2 months until he grew out of it at age 2. I kept increasing the amount until I felt he was comfortable with it.
When reintroducing dairy, discuss it with your doctor first especially with extreme cases. You should discuss with your doctor the intervals to re-introduce cow's milk formula if you are formula feeding. Your doctor may recommend trying again every 4 weeks. Breastfed babies with CMPA do better than formula fed babies. So don’t stop breastfeeding if you can.
I hope this was helpful!
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Mirna Sabbagh, an adult and child dietitian, nutritionist, and lactation consultant. She also has several digital courses: Pregnancy Nutrition Course, breastfeeding course, starting solids 6-12 months course, and also the Feed with Confidence course that you can sign up for from the comfort of your home.
The courses are pre-recorded. As soon as you make the course purchase, you will receive a link to watch the course from your phone or laptop.
You can also e-mail Mirna for questions at firstname.lastname@example.org
Mirna is no longer doing consultations. Her online courses cover 95% of parents' common concerns.