Advice on Milk and An At-Risk Infant

Published: September 1, 2010

Q. My husband has food allergies and I have pollen allergies. My concern is for our 9-month-old son. I’m breastfeeding but am aware that most people introduce cow’s milk at one year. Would you suggest we do the same for our son? Also, is there any “safer” way to introduce it?

Dr. Waserman: Having allergic parents does place your son at higher risk of becoming allergic. However the particular allergies he may develop are not predictable.

Even though you are breastfeeding, unless you have been on avoiding cow’s milk yourself, he has probably already been exposed. I would introduce milk at the recommended time.

A cautious way to do so would be to place a drop on your son’s face, wait 10 minutes to see if he develops any redness or swelling, and then increase to two drops on his lip, also waiting and observing for any reaction.

You can then slowly increase his exposure over 1-2 days. If you are anxious, skin testing by an allergist to determine his allergic status can also be done. It will delay the process, but will let you know one way or another. Good luck!

We welcome your question to Allergic Living’s Ask the Allergist. Thank you for understanding that the specialists aren’t able to answer every question received.

Dr. Susan Waserman is an allergist and Professor of Medicine in the Division of Allergy and Clinical Immunology at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ont. She is also a past president of the Canadian Society of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.

Submit a Question