Can Whole Milk Cause Diaper Rash?

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Whether cow’s milk can cause babies to suffer from diaper rash or not is controversial. While some people suppose that fat is the cause, others believe that lactose is the culprit.

So, can whole milk cause diaper rash? Yes, the high nutritional value and fats in the milk can give your baby diaper rash and make them sick.

Read this article for details on other symptoms that whole milk can cause, what are the specific reasons, and other valuable tips.

Can Switching To Whole Milk Cause Diaper Rash?

Many parents may wonder why doctors don’t allow them to feed regular whole milk to their newborns. The short answer is that infants can’t digest whole milk as easily and completely as formula milk.

Cow’s milk contains a high content of minerals and protein. These nutrients can stress your infant’s immature kidneys, causing severe symptoms including stomach cramps, diarrhea, fever, or nausea. In addition, lactose intolerance here can also be a contributor to bloating and diarrhea. This is why whole cow’s milk can cause diaper rash in babies.

Moreover, whole milk lacks the necessary amounts of vitamin C, iron, and other elements that newborns need. It can even induce some babies to suffer from iron-deficiency anemia because whole milk’s protein can upset the intestine and stomach, resulting in blood loss in the baby’s stools.

Whole cow’s milk also doesn’t contain enough fats healthy for growing infants. Hence, you should not feed your baby any whole milk (or milk substitute or other animals’ milk) during the first year after birth.

When your baby steps into the second year of life, you can feed them reduced-fat or cow’s milk if he has a balanced diet with solid foods, like meats, fruits, vegetables, and cereals. But limit the consumption to 16 ounces (about two cups) a day or even less.

Remember that 24 plus ounces daily might lead to iron deficiency should toddlers not receive enough essential iron-rich food.

If your baby can’t eat solid foods yet, consult your nutritionist about the ideal nutrition for him.

During this stage, babies’ bodies still require a high-fat content to function properly. That’s why doctors recommend vitamin D-fortified milk for most toddlers after the first year.

If you notice the overweight risk in your child or your family has a history of heart disease, obesity, or high blood pressure levels, your doctor may suggest 2% reduced-fat milk.

whole milk

What Is The Difference Between Whole Milk And Formula?

The formula is a product based on cow’s milk, purified to better fit infants’ nutritional demands. It contains ferrous sulfate, taurine, choline chloride, sodium citrate, potassium chloride, calcium carbonate, vegetable oils, maltodextrin, and skimmed dairy powder.

The vegetable oils, lactose, and purified protein present in the formula make it easier for babies to digest and can replace or complement breast milk during the nursing stage.

Meanwhile, whole milk is the original milk from cows. People have not modified or skimmed it in any method. It contains cholesterol, natural fats, protein, and lactose (sugar).

You may notice issues like milk allergy or intolerance in the baby when switching to whole milk because the nutrients present in whole milk are not the same as those present in the formula.

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The Difference Between A Diaper Rash and An Allergic Reaction

Dairy products are common culprits in food sensitivity and allergy. Today, people tend to consider food sensitivity and food allergy the same. However, they’re very different. We can distinguish these two by looking at their effects on the body.

If a newborn suffers from a food allergy, it’ll trigger her immune response. She will usually show whole-body hives or rash. Thus, if your newborn is allergic to any food, she will commonly experience digestive disturbances, colic, runny nose, or eczema. Sometimes, children may also develop severely warning anaphylaxis.

Meanwhile, food sensitivity would only lead to the baby’s digestive response indicated by the localized rash. Infants with cow’s milk intolerance might suffer from diaper rash and diarrhea or constipation.

diaper rash

How Do You Test a Baby for Cow’s Milk Allergy?

If your pediatrician suspects that the baby may have been allergic to cow’s milk, he will usually advise you to perform some tests. There are a few tests that pediatricians can perform to help identify and diagnose milk allergy.

They might ask you to eliminate the baby’s diet to test the symptoms.

They may perform a blood test or skin prick test if they suspect an IgE-mediated allergy because of some symptoms seen after consuming protein in cow’s milk.

After finishing the diagnosis procedure, they will advise parents on what to change in the baby’s diet and whether the suspicion about the allergy is correct or not.

When Should I Be Concerned about Diaper Rash?

While it’s hurt to witness your baby’s discomfort and illness as diaper rash occurs, you need to be mindful and alert to deal with the situation. Some home remedies can treat the ailment and heal a baby’s bottom.

If you notice more severe signs of diaper rash or still find the situation remains without improvements after 2-3 days of persistent home treatment, reach out to a doctor immediately.

That’s extremely important if the baby has a serious fever of 100.4°F (38°C) or higher. Below are circumstances when you must consult a healthcare provider:

  • Symptoms deteriorate or see no improvement after 2-3 days of applying home remedies.
  • The affected parts spread to other body regions, like the arms, face, neck, or abdomen.
  • You identify other severe skin eruptions, such as sores, bumps, pimples, or blisters.
  • The newborn has a severe fever.
  • The rash happens during the first month after birth.


Whole milk can give your infant diaper rash, especially when switching from formula. You should only feed your baby whole milk at the age of 1 to 2 because the fat content is necessary for developing the baby’s brain. After that age, you should only give your baby low-fat milk.

Parents should also understand the various causes of diaper rash to protect their children from skin discomfort and other severe disorders. In most cases, diaper rash is not that problematic, as many babies have encountered this and recovered with the help of proper home treatment. But if you notice any warning symptoms mentioned above, have a doctor examine the little one immediately.

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