Whole Milk Diaper Rash – What Parents Need To Know

It is a disconcerting feeling to discover a diaper rash in your baby. Of all the possible causes, such as diaper irritation or yeast infection, who would think that it’s probably related to your baby’s milk? Whole milk diaper rash mostly happens because of the baby’s intolerance to the milk’s protein content. The breakout is normal, especially during its first introduction. But eventually, his digestive system will improve to take on the whole protein. Thus, his tummy problem will also be resolved. You can avoid diaper rash and other tummy problems by gradually easing your baby into whole milk.

Unfortunately, whole milk diaper rash is a thing that every mom should look out for. If you offer whole milk the first time and your baby seems to exhibit a nappy rash, he likely has a food sensitivity. That is why you need to be watchful when introducing something new like food.

What’s whole milk and how does it differ from formula milk?

Cow’s milk and whole cow’s milk are two different products parents should not confuse with. Cow’s milk formula contains purified milk protein, lactose, and vegetable oils. It is easy-to-digest and suitable for feeding infants in supplement or replacement of breastmilk.

Whole cow’s milk, on the other hand, is the closest to a cow’s milk composition. It contains dietary nutrients like calcium and vitamin D that your now active baby needs.

It also has the necessary fats that will support your baby’s growth and brain development. You may introduce whole milk only after your little one turns one year old.

Diaper rash and whole milk relation

An infant boy has a diaper rash after drinking whole milk.

Milk is a common culprit in food allergy and sensitivity. Now, people also tend to refer to food allergy and food sensitivity as the same thing. But they are different things, and we can tell them apart based on their effects on the body.

When a baby has a food or milk allergy, it will trigger his immune response. He will commonly exhibit whole-body rash or hives.

So if your baby is allergic to cow’s milk, he will likely experience eczema, runny nose, or colic in addition to digestive disturbances. In some cases, children may develop life-threatening anaphylaxis.

On the other hand, food intolerance will only set off his digestive response along with localized rash.

Babies with whole milk intolerance may suffer from either diarrhea or constipation and diaper rash.

Introducing whole milk in baby’s diet

The good news about dairy intolerance is that it will likely resolve when your baby reaches his first birthday.

If he wasn’t able to tolerate the cow’s milk formula in infancy, his system might accept whole milk now that he is older. But if your baby is taking hydrolyzed or soy formula, you should consult your doctor first before introducing whole milk.

If your baby does not have any underlying medical conditions, here is the best way to start with whole milk:

Start giving whole milk gradually

Whole cow’s milk tastes different from breastmilk or formula. Your baby may develop an aversion to its taste at first.

So, it is best to give it by mixing whole milk into his current milk diet. Increase the amount gradually until he gets accustomed to the taste.

Aside from preparing his taste buds for whole milk, it is also an easier way to tame his tummy to adjust. Thus, you will not have to deal with digestive trouble and diaper rash anymore.

Sneak it into food

Parents are sneaking a bit of whole milk into their infant son's baby food, to introduce whole milk to his body and help him adapt to it.

At age one, your baby is good to try various solid foods. You may include whole milk into it by adding it to cereal or oatmeal.

Some children will have no issue with whole milk, which is a great start. Lacing it into food will help your little one adjust his tummy to whole protein.

Replace the bottle of formula milk with whole milk

If he seems fine with whole milk, you can now go ahead and sneak whole milk into his bottle.

You can also introduce it in a sippy cup to make it more enjoyable. He needs to drink about 2 to 3 cups of milk a day in supplement with other solid foods.

Other Types of Milk

You probably walk into the grocery aisle and are flaunted with different milk products.

There are labels like organic, low-fat, non-fat, or skim milk. And just because non-fat is fancier and healthier for adults, it doesn’t mean they are for babies. Here are the various types of milk and when you should give them.

Whole cow’s milk

Whole cow’s milk retained its fat content at about 3.5 percent. It is best for toddlers from one to two years of age. It contains calcium and protein that your baby needs in his daily nutrient requirement.

Whole milk also has the essential Vitamin A and Vitamin D.

Low-fat milk

Low fat or reduced-fat milk is whole milk that undergoes fat reduction. Therefore, it contains a lesser caloric value and retains only two percent of its fat content.

However, reducing fat may also make it lose some of its vitamin content. But milk companies mostly fortify their low-fat milk with solids to bring back some nutrients lost in the process.

Skim milk

Skim or nonfat milk, as the name suggests, does not contain fat content. But like the low-fat, it also has lower vitamin content.

But through fortifying, skim milk also regains its nutritious content. Both skim and low-fat milk is ideal only for children older than two years.

Organic milk

Organic milk is the latest fad in milk products that are ideal for vegans. It comes from grass-fed cows that contain higher omega-3 than whole milk.

However, there is not enough evidence to prove that they are better than whole milk for the child’s nutrition. Buying organic products is simply an individual choice.

Almond milk

A cup of almond milk, a possible alternative to an infant or toddler who is having a negative reaction to drinking whole milk.

Almond is plant-based milk with low calories and fat. It is a milk alternative that some moms use if the child has lactose intolerance. Although it contains high calcium through fortification, it does not have enough protein that cow’s milk has.

Soy milk

Soy milk is another non-cow milk alternative for kids with lactose intolerance. However, it is not often the best choice.

Some children may also have an allergic reaction to soy. Always consult your healthcare provider if you want to use this milk alternative.

Rice milk

For babies with dairy, soy, or nut allergy, rice milk is the best option. It came from milled rice and is fortified with vitamins.

On the downside, rice milk is high in carbohydrates, calories, and sugar, but low in protein.


A baby boy is laying down and drinking whole milk.

Is there a limit to how much whole milk I can give to my toddler?

Since whole milk is not very kind to a baby’s tummy, you need to limit its intake, unlike breastmilk. Your toddler will only need about two to three cups or 24 oz at most. But it is also important that he gets at least 16oz of whole milk in a day.

Can I wean my baby from breastmilk?

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends breastfeeding your child until two to three years of age. Weaning is your sole discretion if you think your baby is getting enough nutrients from solid food. But remember that whole milk should only be given as a beverage and not as breastmilk or formula substitute.

Until when does my baby need whole milk?

Toddlers need to get their whole milk until the second year of their lives. From there, you can switch to low-fat milk or skim milk that contains less fat and calories.

How do I get rid of diaper rash?

If the diaper rash is due to his whole milk protein intolerance, you should take the process slowly. You can introduce a small amount of whole milk intermittently until his diaper rash clears out. Eventually, when his tummy adapts to it, the diaper rash will also resolve even while drinking his needed daily ration.  

When to talk to my doctor about a whole milk diaper rash?

If your baby has a cow’s milk allergy, consult your doctor before offering whole milk. You can also use other whole milk alternatives like soy, almond, coconut, or rice milk. But they may not offer the same value that the whole milk has. Your doctor will have a better recommendation and alternative to give your baby his nutrition requirement. 


Whole milk for toddlers contains whole protein and fat. It is the formula closest to a cow’s milk. The whole protein is hard to digest, so your baby’s tiny tummy will have trouble breaking it down.

It may cause diaper rash or other digestive disturbances. But you cannot set aside whole milk as it is essential for your toddler’s growth and development. When he is ready for his solid foods, you can gradually introduce whole milk into his diet.

It will give time for his digestive system to adjust and avoid food sensitivity problems.

But remember, when buying your baby’s whole milk, always mind the label. Your pediatrician may also have a better option about a good brand for your baby. The grocery store is filled with various sales pitches of the best milk product.

But some of it may be only as healthy as a boxed juice drink. Have you ever tried whole milk on your baby? How did it go? Share your experiences with us in the comment section below!

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Ann Marie is a licensed nurse in the Philippines. She experienced handling and assisting deliveries of newborns into the world. She also trained in labor rooms and pediatric wards while in nursing school - helping soon-to-be mothers and little kids in the process. Though not a mother by nature but a mother by heart, Ann Marie loves to take care of her younger cousins as well as nephews and nieces during her free time.

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