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How to reintroduce cow′s milk?



Prof. Christophe Dupont, Service d'Explorations Fonctionnelles Digestives Pédiatriques, Hôpital Necker-Enfants Malades, 149, rue de Sèvres, 75015 Paris, France.

Tél.: +33 1 7119 6083

Fax: +33 1 4438 1660



In a child that is allergic to milk, the natural next step, following the elimination diet, is the reintroduction of cow's milk. Several questions may arise. When feasible, this reintroduction has many benefits for the child and his family. However, the disease needs to be well defined by physicians and explained to parents. They need to understand that there are different types of allergy to cow's milk, specifically IgE- and non-IgE-mediated, and each of these may exhibit both a variable duration and frequently an incomplete recovery. Deciding where to first reintroduce cow's milk to a child who has previously followed a milk-free diet, whether it be at home or in a hospital, also frequently presents an issue. Following this first reintroduction, the progressive increase of milk into the diet needs to be managed properly, as not all children will go back to a normal dairy products intake. Recent studies show that most children with milk allergy tolerate products containing baked milk and that their consumption might speed up recovery. Hence, the purpose of the milk challenge in a child on a milk-free diet is becoming, even in a child still reactive to milk, the first step of gradual and individually adapted reintroduction of milk or dairy products. When reintroduction of cow's milk does not work, immunotherapy becomes an option, and this is carried out in specialized centers.

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