Most children with milk allergy will outgrow the problem. It has been shown that many children who react to fresh milk, cheese and yoghurt may tolerate milk in a cooked or baked form. Cooking or baking milk, especially when mixed with flour and other foods makes the milk less likely to cause allergic reactions.
Your doctor has asked you to introduce cooked and processed milk into your child’s diet. This may help to make your child’s diet less restrictive, more interesting and enjoyable. It may also help your child to improve their tolerance to cow’s milk and dairy products.
Points to remember
- DO NOT attempt reintroduction of dairy products at home if your child has previous suffered from breathing problems or floppiness after eating milk or other dairy products
- this milk ladder can be used for children who have previously suffered from delayed skin or gastrointestinal reactions, as well as in children who have had hives or skin swellings
- ensure your child is well when introducing dairy. If your child has been wheezy recently or has taken antihistamines in the last 5 days wait until they are better. DO NOT increase food portions or introduce new foods when your child is unwell
- start at the step you have been advised by your doctor or dietitian. Your child may already be tolerating some foods of the ladder, so you can then progress from there
- if your child reacts to an increase in amount/frequency of milk protein please DO NOT stop completely, go back to the previously tolerated stage until further review by your health professional
- wheat free/egg free options of the milk ladder are available and should be discussed with your dedicated health professional
Stop the challenge if any of the following develop
- Red, raised, itchy rash
- Swelling to where the food has been applied
- Vomiting / tummy pain / loose stools
- Difficulty / noisy breathing
- Wheeze / persistent cough
- Dizziness / feeling faint / floppiness
Give antihistamine if a rash or swelling develops. Symptoms should resolve within half an hour.
In the unlikely event of breathing problems or faintness, please take your child to the nearest Accident & Emergency Department. Do not re-challenge, but contact your allergy team for further advice.
Table 1 – MILK LADDER Which foods
|1||Biscuits containing milk|
|3||Baked products cooked for less time|
|4||Foods containing cheese or milk|
|5||Less processed milk|
|6||Milk (can be mixed with milk alternatives to taste)|
Table 2 – MILK LADDER How much food
Give the food at LEAST 3 times a week once tolerated. Increase each stage weekly if possible.
|Stage||Amount of food|
|1||Grain of rice size (400mg)|
|2||Pea size (1000mg / 1g)|
|3||Teaspoon size (5g)|
|4||Tablespoon size (15g)|
|6||½ standard portion|
|7||Full standard portion|