This study examined whether maternal background and perinatal factors were associated with the risk of cow's milk allergy (CMA) in infants up to 2 years of age in a nested case-control study. All children born in 1996-2004 in Finland and diagnosed with CMA by 2006 were identified (n = 16,237). For each case, one matched control was selected. Information on maternal and perinatal factors was derived from the Medical Birth Register. The associations were analyzed by conditional logistic regression. Cesarean section (adjusted odds ratio (OR) = 1.18, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.10, 1.27) and high maternal age (> or =35 years; adjusted OR = 1.23, 95% CI: 1.11, 1.36) were associated with increased risk, whereas low maternal socioeconomic status (adjusted OR = 0.65, 95% CI: 0.59, 0.71), smoking (adjusted OR = 0.72, 95% CI: 0.67, 0.79), high number of previous deliveries (> or =5; adjusted OR = 0.71, 95% CI: 0.59, 0.86), and multiple pregnancy (adjusted OR = 0.70, 95% CI: 0.60, 0.82) were associated with decreased risk of CMA. In conclusion, maternal background and perinatal factors may play a role in the development of CMA, but further research is needed to clarify these associations and the underpinning biologic mechanisms.