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Milk Ladder Recipes | Stage 3 | Muffins

Inside: Milk ladder recipe for stage 3 – muffins.

The fact you are here means you have a child with a cow’s milk protein allergy (or perhaps lactose intolerance which is different but with many overlaps). Your little one may still be on a milk diet at this stage, either with you on a dairy free diet yourself if giving breast milk or using hydrolysed infant formula prescribed by the doctor.

Either way, if you are thinking about weaning your child you may be panicking about when they’ll be able to have dairy again.

Having a child with a food allergy is very stressful, always having to check food labels, asking for the allergy menu at restaurants and constantly panicking that they might have a reaction if there has been cross contamination of products.

So it is understandable that you’d want to get them over the cow’s milk allergy and up the ladder as soon as possible!

The Milk Ladder

If you have been frantically searching for recipes for the milk ladder challenge, you are in the right place. I have been through the process twice and so know what you are going through and the worries you have. My youngest daughter and my son both had an allergy to dairy products as well as soya based products – it was hard going!

But I assure you, you can get through it and it will all be ok. Both of mine happily eat ice cream there days and those difficult days of food allergies are long behind us.

First of all, there is no rush. There is so much choice for dairy allergy suffers these days thanks to companies catering for vegans. But if you’d like to start the process of weaning dairy into your child’s diet then I can guide you through.

If you haven’t completed the first step of the ladder yet then head over to the first post in the series for the malted milk biscuit recipe.

Although this post is titled stage 3, I have included stage 2 below as it didn’t need an entire post of its own due to the lack of recipe but is relevant all the same.

Stage 2 – Digestive Biscuit

The next stage in the Milk Ladder is a digestive biscuit. Assuming you have no other allergies to contend with then you are able to buy these from a store and work through the process. If you have a soya allergy to consider then there are certain supermarket-own packs that are soya free – just be sure to check the product label first.

The process is the same as stage 1 – give a quarter of a biscuit on day 1. If there are no side effects then continue with the same amount for day 2 and day 3. Then you start over, this time with half a biscuit each day. Carry on with this method until you have completed 3 days giving a whole biscuit.

What if they fail a step?

It is absolutely normal to reach a stage and stay there for a while. It doesn’t mean you’ve done anything wrong, just that they are not ready to progress further at that very moment.

The advice from healthcare professionals is to wait 3 months if you encounter an allergic reaction of any kind (ours were always delayed onset reactions such as an upset tummy as well as immediate such as hives). Not to stop completely, but just not to take on the next stage. So if you completed stage 1, stay on that for now and try again in a few months.

Stage 3 – Muffins

Once you have completed the digestive biscuit stage, you can move them onto muffins. You don’t need to wait to do this, just proceed through the stages unless you get a reaction. Of course, if you’d like to be more cautious and stay at a stage for a while before proceeding then that is entirely up to you.

Here is the recipe for 8 muffins:


132g flour

40g cocoa powder

1 1/2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda

100g soft brown sugar

40ml oil (vegetable oil is fine)

70ml apple puree

200ml milk

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract


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

Mix all of the dry ingredients in one bowl. Mix all of the wet ingredients in another and then combine.

Place in muffin cases and bake for 20 mins at 180ºC. The mixture is quite runny but they do rise nicely.

Allow to cool and then they are ready to eat.

As mentioned above the process is the same at each step, giving a little at a time over the course of a few days. Starting with a quarter of the muffin, moving onto a half and then finally a whole muffin – gradually increasing the amount of milk products they are consuming each time.

Good luck!

The next step is scotch pancakes and as with the digestive biscuits you can buy the packaged ones if you’d like.

If you have a soya allergy to deal with then the next post in my series has the recipe you’ll need. This is also the final stage of the baked milk challenges – with the recipes after that being milk cooked within a meal rather than part of baked products.

If you’d like further information or are in any doubt about anything, please do get in touch with a health professional for medical advice.

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