When milk was ‘humanised’ by my mother’s generation it had to be diluted, as cow’s milk contains three times the protein of human milk, and then have lactose added to bring the lactose level up to the same as human milk. When it became available powered milk was used. It should also have been diluted and have lactose added until the baby was 9 months. It had the advantage that the milk had been heated to be powered so the protein was altered and this benefited those allergic to milk, to some degree. The powdered milk was made by the Sunshine Co so babies raised on it were called ‘Sunshine babies’ and it was held in high regard, as it was the only change that could be at all useful in the milk sensitive babies. Evaporated milk was also heated so was also helpful to those with dairy allergy, again to some degree. As mentioned cow’s milk was the only option back then. This Christmas I will have been a dietitian for 50 years! And I have now researched and practiced in food sensitivity for 40 years. My mother, born in 1910, remembers people talking of babies being “poisoned by their mother’s milk”.
[Note that changing to powdered milk now does not help as it is freeze-dried these days so is just as likely to produce a reaction as fresh milk. But the idea is still around so let people know this.] Some used the idea of ‘scalded milk’. Milk was heated till a skin formed, the skin lifted off with a fork, then chilled and used. Again the change to the protein was helpful to some. Goat’s milk was a help to some as the protein is slightly different, but often at around six weeks the symptoms returned. Soy should be tried as it is only a problem to possibly 50% of dairy intolerant babies so where it is tolerated it solves all problems.
Nowadays people can use the idea of being a diet detective. They can try different formulas and see if baby’s symptoms change usefully. It is wise to have the help of an accredited practicing dietitian who may discuss the use of a partly hydrolysed formula, or a completely hydrolysed formula, or help breast-feeding mothers manage their diet. The baby can stay on the tolerated formual untill symptoms reduce. After a month of calm the parents can very gradually expand the diet. Ideas in Tolerating Troublesome Foods help, with its guide of low to medium to high risk foods. After years they can try some of the above ideas on heating milk, and having melted cheese as part of gradually testing milk protein for tolerance. It is great that parents no longer have to put up with the problems their great grand mothers had. Joan Breakey