Baby swelling involves the deeper layers of the skin, often around, but not limited to, a baby’s eyes and lips. The swelling is not itchy but may be painful and warm.

Why does my baby have swollen eyes or lips?

The most common causes of swelling include food allergens, such as a Cows’ Milk Allergy (CMA). Amongst other reasons, your baby may also experience swelling from other allergies such as insect bites/stings, medication or latex.

Could it be Cows' Milk Allergy?

Baby swelling is a common symptom for babies with CMA. 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 swelling, it may be CMA. You may have even noticed other symptoms (besides hives or swelling), which may affect other parts of your baby’s body.


For a simple and easy way to understand the symptoms associated with CMA, you can use our symptom checklist or symptom diary to track symptoms.

The symptom checker will allow you to select all the symptoms that your baby may have that may be cows’ milk-related. You can then discuss these with your doctor

Other causes for baby swollen eyes and lips

If you don't think your baby's swollen eye or lips is caused by CMA, there could be a number of other causes. To understand what could be causing your baby to have a swollen eye, you should ask yourself if the swelling is in one eye or if the swelling is in both eyes.

Baby swelling in one eye could be because of:

  • Your baby rubbing their eye - cells around the eye release histamine when they are rubbed, which can cause swelling and also make the eye itchy and sore
  • A stye - caused by an infected gland in the eyelid caused by staphylococcal bacteria. Whilst not contagious, they can be painful, developing on the inside or outside of the eyelid, causing swelling
  • Insect bites - your baby can develop a welt at the site of the bite and if this is near the eye, this can cause swelling
  • Blocked tear duct - this is common amongst babies under 12 months old and prevents tears from draining properly, which causes swelling
  • Contact dermatitis - an allergic reaction caused by an irritant that comes into contact with the skin

Baby swelling in two eyes could be because of:

  • Conjunctivitis - this can either be viral, bacterial or caused by an allergic reaction. If you think your baby has conjunctivitis, it's best to get them to see a doctor
  • Anaphylaxis - a serious allergic reaction that can be life-threatening if not treated

Treating a baby with swollen eyes and lips

For mildly swollen eyelids, gently cleaning the eyelids with a warm, wet cloth and cool compresses can provide some relief to the itchy and pain related to the swelling. Antihistamines may also provide relief, especially if your baby's swollen eyes are caused by allergies.

In any case, if you have any doubts or concerns about your baby’s health, you should always seek advice from a medical professional as soon as possible.

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.