Milk Rash in Babies

Milk rash is a common reaction in newborns and infants, in which small white pimple-like bumps appear on the baby's skin 2. Usually these rashes will clear up within a few weeks, provided you keep the affected area clean and dry, but a persistent rash may be a sign of milk allergy 1.


Milk rash is a red facial rash that is common among newborns and infants during the first few months of life. The condition is characterized by small, white pimple-like bumps on the face, shoulders and tops of arms. These bumps, or "milia," will usually appear on your baby's cheeks, nose and forehead, but may also spread to the arms, torso or genitalia.


The most commonly accepted cause of milk rash is a change in your baby's diet 2. Infants and small children have an immature digestive tract and immune system, and they may not be ready for the hasty introduction of some foods. Cow's milk, in particular, seems to be a primary cause of milk rash, although highly refined sugary foods may also be at fault 2.


In most cases, milk rash will disappear within a few weeks on its own, but it can help to keep the affected area clean and dry 2. If the rash persists, your baby could have a more serious condition, like an allergy to cow's milk or other new food 1. According to the Mayo Clinic, symptoms of an allergic reaction could be wheezing, vomiting, hives and digestive problems 1.


While no universally accepted cure exists for milk rash, simply avoiding cow's milk may help the rash disappear. If you are breastfeeding, removing dairy products from your own diet may also help. When introducing new foods to your baby, start with just one food at a time and gauge the baby's reaction before moving on to another new diet addition. This should help narrow down any potential allergies your baby might have.

Alternative Treatments

One homeopathic remedy is switching from cow's milk to goat's milk, as it does not contain the complex protein component casein. If you are bottle-feeding, you may consider switching to a soy-based formula. Hypoallergenic formulas are also widely available from several major baby formula manufacturers.