A diagnosis of CMA can be worrying


Symptoms of cows' milk allergy (CMA) in your baby can be distressing. The good news is that cows' milk allergy can be easily managed by adjusting your baby’s diet to remove cow’s milk proteins. Once managed correctly, you are likely to quickly notice improvements to symptoms in 2 to 4 weeks.

It is important that you do not experiment with a cow’s milk-free diet for your baby without recommendation and guidance from your doctor or healthcare professional.


Breastfeeding is the best feeding option for you and your baby. Even if your baby has been diagnosed with cows' milk allergy, you should continue breastfeeding. Based on the severity of your baby’s symptoms, and whether your baby might also be allergic to any other foods, your doctor will help you to choose the most appropriate feeding option to manage your baby’s cows' milk allergy.

Breast milk contains all of the nutrients your baby needs in the first 6 months and continues to be beneficial for much longer. In addition to nutrients, your breast milk also passes the protection of your immune system to your baby. In rare cases, when your baby’s immune system reacts to cows’ milk proteins in breast milk, your doctor might recommend you to start an elimination diet totally free from cows’ milk protein.


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The Earlier The Better

  • Breastfeeding within the first hour of birth ensures the baby receives the first milk, called colostrum
  • For the first 6 months, exclusive breastfeeding is recommended
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Protective Role For You And Your Baby

  • Breast milk is rich in protective factors that are good for infant health, growth and development, and decrease the risk of your baby developing diseases later in life
  • Mothers who breastfeed have a reduced risk of developing diabetes as well as of developing breast and ovarian cancer
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Emotional Benefits

  • You and your baby develop and maintain a strong emotional bond.


The only way to improve your baby’s symptoms is to remove cows’ milk proteins from your baby’s diet.

It is important that you do not experiment with a CMPA breastfeeding diet for your baby without recommendation and guidance from your doctor.

CMPA food list

If you’re unsure about which foods are allowed and which to avoid with a CMPA diet, check out our food list below:

Food Group




Soy and plant-based milks, water, fruit drinks

Any drinks containing milk or milk products including but not limited to: all types of milk including chocolate milk, yogurt, milkshakes, etc.


Milk-free breads, graham crackers, rice wafers, French bread, soy breads, corn breads, graham breads and gluten breads

Biscuits, donuts, muffins pancakes, waffles, crackers, saltines, wheat bread, white bread and rye bread


Any that don’t contain milk or milk products

Prepared cereals that contain milk solids, chocolate, casein, etc and high-protein cereals


Meringues, ice lollies, angel food cake, cakes, cookies and pie crust (made without milk)

Ice cream, pies with cream, pastries brushed with milk, cake, cookies, custard, cream desserts (made with milk)


Most are safe unless they’ve been prepared with milk

Scrambled egg made with milk, creamed eggs, egg substitutes


Freshly prepared fruits, frozen, canned and juices are all fine

Avoid fruits that are served or prepared with milk, butters or creams


Vegan cheeses

Avoid all types of cheeses including cottage and cream cheese


Veal, pork, chicken, turkey, lamb, fish and tofu

Deli and lunch meats, sausages and ham

Sometimes an allergy to beef may develop, so be cautious with this

Some sausage products, bologna and hot dogs may contain dairy

Avoid breaded meats, meatloaf’s, croquettes, casseroles and hamburgers made with milk

Starchy foods

Macaroni, spaghetti, noodles, rice and penne pastas

Plain white or sweet potato

Potatoes prepared with butter or cream, frozen French fries and au gratin


Bouillon, broth, soups with a plain base

Bisques, chowders and cream soups


Honey, corn syrup, jam, jelly, hard sweets without dairy, granulated, brown or powdered sugar

Chocolate, fudge, caramel, nougat and all sweets containing dairy


All fresh, frozen, canned and juices prepared without milk products

Buttered or creamed vegetables, battered or dipped vegetables and souffles

The above CMPA food list should just be used as a guide and it’s important that you carefully read labels to ensure products don’t contain dairy. If you’re unsure about which foods are safe, consult your healthcare professional.

Formula for babies with CMPA

When exclusive breastfeeding is not feasible, or when it is supplemented with formula, your doctor will help you choose the suitable formula that is free from cows’ milk proteins. These formulas have been designed with your baby in mind and contain the necessary nutrients to support growth and development.

These specialised formulas can be based on cows’ milk that have been treated in a certain way to ensure that proteins, whey for example, are less likely to be recognised by your baby’s immune system and so do not cause an allergic reaction or Amino acids that are the individual building blocks that make up proteins.

The table below describes the differences between the different types of formulas.




What is it?

eHF stands for “extensively hydrolysed formula.” The proteins in cows' milk that cause your baby’s allergic reactions have been extensively broken down (hydrolyzed).

AAF stands for “amino acid formula.” This formula does not contain any cows’ milk protein. It instead contains amino acids that are usually derived from vegetarian sources.

What does it consist of?

Cows’ milk proteins have been broken down to smaller parts, which means that they are less likely to be recognised by your baby’s immune system.

The formula consists of amino acids, which are the individual building blocks of proteins, and does not contain intact or partially broken down cows’ milk proteins. Amino acids do not cause an immune reaction. The formula also contains other nutrients to support your baby’s growth and development.

What is it used for?

These formulas also contain other nutrients to support your baby’s growth and development.

This formula is recommended for babies with severe cases of cows' milk allergy, multiple food allergies and babies whose symptoms do not improve with extensively hydrolysed formula. 

Find out more about our CMPA formulas in our guide.


By the time your baby is 6 months old, breastfeeding (or infant formulas) is no longer sufficient to fully support growth and development, and complementary foods should be introduced. The exact timing will depend on the individual infant and family.

Weaning before 17 weeks is not recommended. If you start complementary feeding too early, you can increase the risk of your baby becoming ill—the reflex that supports moving of solid foods around the mouth and swallowing them usually develops between ages of 4 and 7 months.

Similarly, if you start too late, your baby may not be getting all the nutritional support they need, which increases the risk of your baby developing deficiencies in key vitamins and minerals and delayed growth.

Learn more about weaning a baby with CMPA and get delicious recipes and handy tips, next.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: Breastfeeding is the best form of nutrition for babies and provides many benefits to babies and mothers. It is important that, in preparation for and during breastfeeding, you eat a healthy, balanced diet. Combined breast and bottle feeding in the first weeks of life may reduce the supply of your own breastmilk, and reversing the decision not to breastfeed is difficult. Always consult your healthcare professional for advice about feeding your baby. The social and financial implications of using infant formula should be considered. Improper use of an infant formula or inappropriate foods or feeding methods may present a health hazard. If you use infant formula, you should follow the manufacturer’s instructions for use carefully – failure to follow the instructions may make your baby ill. Formula for special medical purposes intended for infants must be used under medical supervision.