Coughing is a natural reflex in the airways and is the way the body protects itself from phlegm and mucous, which may drip down the back of the throat, or pieces of food, which may have become stuck in a baby’s airways. A cough is one of the most common symptoms of illness in a baby or child and although it may be distressing to witness, it is not usually a sign of anything serious.

What is persistent coughing in babies?

Persistent coughing, is defined as a daily cough lasting for more than three weeks. Babies younger than three months don’t cough that much, so a persistent cough in babies is usually an indication that there might be something wrong.

Why does my baby have a persistent cough?

Your baby may have a food allergy, e.g. Cows’ Milk Allergy (CMA).

Other possible causes include a viral illness, such as a cold or flu, croup, passive smoking, reflux, or a respiratory condition, such as asthma or bronchitis.

Could it be Cows' Milk Allergy?

A persistent cough is a common symptom for babies with CMA. Almost 30% of babies with CMA will have cough as a symptom.

Babies with CMA usually experience more than just one symptom and these symptoms can be very different from one another.

If you think that your baby has a persistent cough, it could be CMA. You may have even noticed other symptoms (besides persistent coughing), which may affect other parts of your baby’s body.


For a simple and easy way to check common symptoms associated with CMA, you can use our symptom checker.

To keep an eye on your baby’s symptoms, use our symptom diary.

If your baby’s persistent cough is caused by a food allergy such as CMA, you can try our infant formula, specifically designed to help manage CMA symptoms.

SmilesBack App

Cows’ milk allergy (CMA) is a common food allergy in baby’s and young children but it is often challenging to diagnose and may take many months and doctors appointments. If you suspect that your baby might have cows’ milk allergy, you can use SmilesBack to help shorten the journey to diagnosis and help put smiles back where they belong.

SmilesBack is an easy-to-use app that has been developed with allergy experts and tested by parents. It enables you to easily record your baby’s symptoms and feeds and summarise them in a one-page, expert-designed report, to support your doctor before they make a diagnosis.



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.