Food Allergy in the Breastfed Infant

Kirsi Järvinen-Seppo, MD, PhD


May 13, 2014

Case Presentation: Is This Food Allergy?

A full-term, exclusively breastfed infant girl developed mild atopic eczema, bloody stools, and symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux (GER) at the age of 1 month. Her mother also reported that the infant had nasal congestion and symptoms of colic after nursing, starting at 2 weeks of age. Dairy was eliminated from the mother's diet, although avoidance was not complete. This resulted in improvement of colic symptoms and bloody stools, although symptoms of GER continued.

The infant had an episode of lethargy and nasal congestion at 2 months of age, which occurred within 15-20 minutes of nursing. These symptoms spontaneously resolved in 20 minutes, with residual fussiness. Her mother decided to embark on a more strict avoidance of dietary cow's-milk protein, and noticed further resolution of GER symptoms in the infant.

When the infant was 3 months of age, her mother ate a milk protein-containing scone; within 15 minutes of nursing, the baby became limp and had escalating difficulty breathing. Emergency medical services took her to a local emergency department, where oxygen was given, with symptom resolution. An electroencephalogram was normal.


Comments on Medscape are moderated and should be professional in tone and on topic. You must declare any conflicts of interest related to your comments and responses. Please see our Commenting Guide for further information. We reserve the right to remove posts at our sole discretion.