An analysis of data on healthy infants who were exclusively breastfed until at least 3 months of age, found 38% and 74% of infants had multiple mild-to-moderate milk allergy symptoms—as defined by current allergy guidelines—at 3 months and 12 months old, respectively.

The findings—which observed 1,303 infants—that are published in Clinical & Experimental Allergy suggest that following current guidelines may lead to over-diagnoses in infants by labeling normal infant symptoms as possible milk allergies.

“There is an assumption that the existence of a guideline is more beneficial than no guideline. However, well-meaning guidelines need to be supported by robust data to avoid harms from over-diagnosis that exceed the damage of missed and delayed cow’s milk allergy diagnoses that they are seeking to prevent,” the authors wrote.