Cow's Milk Protein Allergy | Our Journey Up The Milk Ladder

Cow’s Milk Protein Allergy- Our Journey up the milk ladder #1

Well, here we are on the brink of something important – it is time to start our journey up the milk ladder. To say I am nervous is an understatement, having a Cow’s Milk Protein Allergy means mealtimes are always a stress!

*Update* We have completed the Milk Ladder – click to see the full series.  

Our Journey Up The Milk Ladder Part 1

Last month Baby L had an appointment with the dietician and we were given the pack containing the information we need to begin our journey on the milk ladder. Basically, if you do not know what this is, it is the process of reintroducing dairy into a child’s diet. Whether she makes it all the way to the top of the ladder i.e. drinking a pint of milk, will remain to be seen but we cannot avoid it any longer.

milk ladder

The first stage on the milk ladder is to try a malted biscuit, you can buy these in the supermarkets but I have had to make my own as the branded ones contain soya (another allergy!) and so will confuse the process. You only give a teeny tiny piece of biscuit on day one and slowly work up towards a whole biscuit.

Here is the recipe for anyone wanting to make their own:


110g unsalted butter

110g caster sugar

175g self- raising flour

50mls evaporated milk

(water if mixture is too dry)


Preheat the oven to 180ºC (160ºC for fan ovens)

Cream the butter, sugar and milk together and then add the flour to create a dough. Add in water as necessary so that you can roll the dough into a sausage.

Makes 40 small biscuits

Obviously you do not need 40 biscuits but they can be frozen – either raw mixture or cooked- for use at a later date.

So how did we get on?

Day 1- A 10p piece sized amount. She liked the taste (a bit like rusks) and had no reaction at all.

Day 2- We doubled the size and she was absolutely fine once again.

Day 3- Half a biscuit. She slept right through the night (one of the signs is she wakes screaming).

Day 4- A whole biscuit and still fine.


I am going to keep her on this stage for a few weeks just to make sure she is fully tolerant before moving up the the next stage- digestives!!

Come back soon to read about how we get on! 

Head over to part 2 >>>

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  • Reply
    Gym Bunny Mummy
    January 5, 2015 at 11:33 am

    My Archie had a severe allergy to the protein in cow’s milk and we too had to work with a dietician. His was awful, sickness, screaming/colic, reflux and really bad eczema too Our dietician never mentioned anything about the ladder, this would have been a great place for us to start. Instead we just had to introduce food with dried milk products in them, she told us to check the ingredients and then based on a reaction to build up to a yoghurt. Thankfully he’s outgrown his allergy now, I really hope yours does too x

    • Reply
      January 5, 2015 at 11:45 am

      I cant believe they never told you about this!! Glad it worked out ok in the end though. I so hope she grows out of it, I never want her to have problems going to peoples houses or out for dinner 🙁

  • Reply
    Sarah Christie
    January 6, 2015 at 8:24 pm

    This is great news, little steps I suppose. It must be a real worry having allergies like this x

    • Reply
      January 6, 2015 at 10:49 pm

      It was a worry in the beginning, now it is just a hassle. Always having to be ten steps ahead with any meal etc.. But you just get used to it. x

  • Reply
    Kat | Beau Twins
    January 6, 2015 at 9:48 pm

    I always say I am so grateful the girls (touch wood) have been fine with milk and all foods so far. After my efforts of BFing we did have to use 2 different formula’s – that was confusing enough. Glad you are in an easier play with this now lovely. xxxxx

    • Reply
      January 6, 2015 at 10:52 pm

      Oh why two formulas? Each have a preference? I had to give up breastfeeding at 7 weeks as she was so sensitive to the dairy in my milk. I was devastated to have the choice taken away from me 🙁

  • Reply
    January 11, 2015 at 10:36 am

    Great news she’s had no reaction. My eldest had really bad cmpa, hives the lot. He can now at 7 tolerate most things but can only have a little amount. If he has too much in one day he will will still get blotchy, stomach cramps, be sick. It took years of slowly introducing into his diet, then cutting it out when he reacted, but it looks like there might be light at the end if the tunnel for you too 🙂 x

    • Reply
      January 11, 2015 at 11:55 am

      She has now eaten 1/4 of a digestive the past 2 days so I am really hopeful that she will be ok. I don’t even mind if she never drinks a pint of milk, it would just be great not to have to worry about ‘may contain’ etc.. Glad your little boy is ok on the whole now, such a worry isn’t it? x

  • Reply
    February 4, 2015 at 12:31 pm

    That’s brilliant news, really happy for you that your daughter is doing so well. We are going into hospital on Friday to do the first step of malted milks. He is anaphylactic to raw milk so we have to do it supervised. Terrified but excited at the prospect of him passing.

    • Reply
      February 4, 2015 at 5:53 pm

      Oh god, I am so sorry your little one has such a bad reaction! I hope the hospital trip is a success for you xx

    • Reply
      July 5, 2015 at 2:11 pm

      I am heading over to you blog to have a read as our #5 is anaphylactic to CPM also. xx Will be an interesting read as one day we might get to this stage but for now it’s deemed too risky.

      • Reply
        July 14, 2015 at 4:05 pm

        Oh goodness, what a worry! I know of a few others who reacted really badly but are fine now so there is definitely hope xx

  • Reply
    Mumma McD
    February 9, 2015 at 2:56 am

    Great to read this Katy, thanks for sharing. My little guy is 18 months and intolerant to cow’s milk and soy protein too… we attempted to start the milk ladder a few months ago but ‘fell off’ before we got on the first rung due to an unexpected and unplanned challenge (i.e. he ate some food at a party that set him off badly!!), so I’ve been reluctant to try again.

    I look forward to reading more about your bub’s progress 🙂

    • Reply
      February 9, 2015 at 9:15 am

      We had a huge break due to teething. It is hard to want to try knowing what may lay ahead. We have been trying crumbs at a time and that has worked. Good luck! x

  • Reply
    Our Journey up the Milk Ladder #02 - What Katy Said
    February 24, 2015 at 8:03 pm

    […] left off having completed the first stage (hurrah!) of the ladder, which is being able to eat a malted biscuit. She is now able to tolerate […]

  • Reply
    Another Bun
    April 13, 2015 at 2:04 pm

    Hope it continues to go well! I’m finding the cmpi/a groups on fb really helpful as we start our dairy free journey

    • Reply
      April 14, 2015 at 9:49 pm

      Oh me too, not on them so much now but when I first started they were a godsend! x

  • Reply
    July 5, 2015 at 2:12 pm

    Thankyou for this popst, It is a great read. We are a way off starting the ladder with bean but hope one day we may get there!!

    • Reply
      July 14, 2015 at 4:04 pm

      I am sure you will, it is a slow process but hopefully a distant memory one day x

  • Reply
    Lindsay Hall
    March 2, 2017 at 11:26 am

    My granddaughter has started on the milk ladder, and has got to stage 4, she refuses to eat anything that she has been eating in the past or anything else on the milk ladder. All she WILL eat is spagetti bolognese ,humour sandwhich, and crackers. My daughter in law is so worried but cannot get her to eat other foods. Any suggestions please.

    • Reply
      March 6, 2017 at 2:14 pm

      Oh goodness. How old is she? I’d say not to worry if she isn’t too old. If she is happy and gaining weight then maybe just blend up veg and hide it in the bolognese sauce for goodness and just be a good role model. My children always see me eating different foods and want to copy mama x

  • Reply
    Reann Shaw
    May 25, 2017 at 11:51 pm

    Katy, we deal with a tonne of intolerances in our house, and your biscuit recipe is the first I’ve seen that doesn’t contain apple sauce and a bunch of other things I can’t sub out (successfully). Normally that first step on the ladder requires baking for ages; do you bake your biscuits at 180C (350F) for 30 mins?
    Congratulations on getting up your ladder!!!

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