How Do You Know If Your Newborn Is Lactose Intolerant

What Happens In My Body If Im Lactose Intolerant

Does your Baby Have Lactose Intolerance Or Cows Milk Allergy?

When we drink milk or have a milk-based product, lactase in our small intestines breaks down the milk sugar. It then gets absorbed into the body through the small intestines.

But people who are lactose intolerant donât have it so easy. In them, the lactose doesnât get broken down. Instead, it goes on to the colon, where it mixes with normal bacteria and ferments. It can cause things like gas, bloating and diarrhea.

The symptoms are no fun, but theyâre not dangerous. Most people can manage their symptoms by changing their diet and limiting the amount of lactose they consume. Some people do better by cutting lactose out of their diet altogether.

Your body may be able to handle some lactose without symptoms. Experiment to find out the types and amounts of products with lactose you can eat and drink.

There are some steps you can take to test yourself:

  • Go without milk or milk products for a couple of weeks.
  • If your symptoms disappear, bring dairy products back into your diet a little at a time to take note of how you react.
  • If your symptoms continue after cutting out the dairy or if they return see your doctor to find out whatâs going on.
  • How Do I Know If My Newborn Is Lactose Intolerant

    • BA in Environmental Studies at Saint Mary’s College of Ca

      Full Spectrum Doula at Amy Ray Doula LLC


      Lactose is the sugar found in milk. In human milk it is full of lactose and newborns are usually well adapted to it. So it is rare for a newborn to be true lactose intolerant . What newborns may experience is a lactose overload. Lactose overload is when there is too much lactose in their gut for them to digest.What are some signs of a lactose overload? Gas , green or mucousy poops, tummy aches and an unsettled or unhappy baby. What are some ways to stop a lactose overload? Make sure when you are breast/chest feeding that you fully drain one side before moving onto the next. The fat content in human milk increases overtime. The more fat in the babies stomach will help digest the lactose. So babies with a lactose overload may not be getting enough fat during their feeds.With all that being said there is a difference between a true and overload of lactose and a milk allergy. A milk allergy involves the immune system and may have signs such as wheezing, coughing, vomiting, itchy eyes, swelling and itching. If you suspect an allergy or a lactose overload, reach out to your pediatrician and you can get help or tips on how to control it.

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    Lactose Intolerance In Babies

    Posted by ImmunifyMe | Early Childhood Care

    In addition to vaccinations, taking care of your childs dietary needs is important. You have to note down if their body responds in a certain way and accordingly decide whats best for them. Lactose intolerance in babies is a pretty common affair. It is a condition where milk is indigestible, so knowing its symptoms and the manner how its treated is necessary. Keep reading our article to know more about its causes, and how it can be diagnosed.

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    How Do You Know If Your Child Is Lactose Intolerant

    Take your child to the doctor to get a lactose intolerance diagnosis. The doctor might look into your medical history, diet, and family history to assess and examine your baby during the diagnosis. If she rules it is lactose intolerance, you may be asked to feed your child lactose-free milk for a few weeks to see if the symptoms subside. If the symptoms do subside, you will be asked to continue feeding your child a lactose-free diet or opt for lactose substitutes where feeding is concerned.

    Avoid Solid Foods That Contain Lactose

    How To Know If Your Baby Has Lactose Intolerance

    If your baby is already eating solid foods, or once they become old enough to begin eating solids, youll want to be sure to avoid feeding them foods that contain lactose. Also, be sure to check the labels on any prepackaged foods, as many foods contain ingredients with lactose.

    It can be worrisome if you think your baby is lactose intolerant. But, once you use the signs and symptoms to identify the lactose intolerance, with just a few modifications, your baby can continue to grow and thrive!

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    How To Take Care Of You

    Looking after a baby with lactose intolerance is bound to affect your own emotional state. Remember that youre not alone and its important to look after yourself. Try to ask friends and family for help and find time to do something for yourself such as having a bath, going for a walk or at the very least enjoying a hot cup of tea. If you or your partner feel out of control, anxious, depressed, or unable to cope, its important to speak to a doctor. Feeling this way isnt unusual and its not something to be afraid to talk about.

    How Common Is Lactose Intolerance

    In the UK, only 1 out of 50 kids exhibit this condition while people who live in parts of Asia and the African-Caribbean region are more prone to it. Those who have underlying medical conditions like Crohns disease and Celiacs disease usually are lactose intolerant and their diet restricts dairy along with other things.

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    Lactose For Babies Isnt The Enemy

    Can babies digest lactose? In most cases, yes. Lactose literally means milk sugar.” Unlike regular table sugar or high-fructose corn syrup, lactose is very good for infants because it improves health three different ways:

    • Its digested into glucose, the key fuel for your babys bodyand brain.
    • It provides loads of galactose, essential for building your babys nervous system.
    • Any excess lactose that passes through the intestine undigested gets fermentedto gas plus a vinegar like acidin the lower intestine. This causes frothy, acidic stools that can irritate your babys skin . But the mild acid can also save your babys life by killing bad bacteria and boosting Lactobacillus acidophilus .

    Assessment And Diagnosis Of Lactose Intolerance

    Cow’s milk protein allergy: how do I know if my child has CMPA?

    These are the 2 main tests that your doctor might recommend if your child has symptoms of lactose intolerance.

    Hydrogen breath test For this test, your child drinks a standard amount of lactose. Then the amount of hydrogen gas in your childs breath is measured. Lactose-intolerant children have higher levels of hydrogen in their breath.

    Elimination diet This involves removing foods containing lactose from your childs diet to see whether symptoms improve. If the symptoms come back once the foods with lactose are reintroduced, lactose intolerance is most likely the cause of the problem.

    Its best to speak to your GP or a dietitian before starting your child on an elimination diet. Theyll ensure that your childs diet continues to give your child the nutrition they need for growth and development, even while youre eliminating things from it.

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    Prematurity And Lactase Deficiency

    Though lactose intolerance is not common in babies, some babies who are born before 34 weeks don’t have a fully functional gastrointestinal tract. They may lack lactase and other enzymes they need to digest food, though these can develop later as the child grows. Interestingly, these premature infants may still tolerate intact milk protein based formulas.

    How Is A Milk Allergy In Infants Diagnosed

    If your baby has symptoms of either a milk allergy or milk intolerance, see your pediatrician. He or she will probably check for both with a physical exam, an examination of your babys stool, a discussion your family’s history of allergies and/or a skin-prick test.

    If your doc thinks your baby may have a milk allergy or intolerance, then youll probably be asked to eliminate milk from your diet or switch to a different formula to see whether your newborns symptoms improve.

    After your baby has been cows-milk-free for about a week, the doctor may have you reintroduce cows milk to see whether your little one has a reaction to it.

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    Food For Lactose Intolerance In Babies

    If youre breastfeeding, continue to offer regular feeds as this will help to heal their gut5. Despite what you may have heard, you dont need to follow a lactose-free diet as research has shown that this doesnt change the amount of lactose in your breastmilk5. Although you may wish to try giving your baby lactase enzyme drops, which can be bought from a pharmacy2,5.

    If your baby is formula-fed, you may wish to try a lactose-free formula, but only do so on the advice of a healthcare professional, such as your GP, health visitor or public health nurse. Try to reintroduce your babys usual formula within eight weeks, once your babys gut has healed1,4.

    If your baby has started solids, avoid offering foods containing lactose to allow their gut to heal3,4. But make sure you reintroduce these foods back into your babys diet once their symptoms have improved, as they contain calcium, which is an important nutrient for helping build strong bones and teeth2. Most babies with lactose intolerance will be able to tolerate a certain amount of lactose, it might just take some experimenting to find out how much2.

    If your babys symptoms dont get better or youre worried that your baby may have primary lactose intolerance, visit your GP for further assessment. Your GP may refer you to a dietitian for nutritional advice.

    How Common Is Lactose Intolerance In Babies

    Lactose intolerance in infants

    Most people with a lactose intolerance dont develop symptoms until later in life when their bodys natural production of lactase the enzyme that helps the body digest lactose declines.

    This decline doesnt usually take place until later in childhood, during the teenage years, or in adulthood. So lactose intolerance in babies under age 1 is pretty rare but its not impossible.

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    Treatment: Lactose Intolerance In Babies

    The treatment for lactose intolerance in babies often depends on the cause. And no matter whats causing your babys lactose intolerance, its important to soothe and comfort your baby when theyre showing symptoms.

    Congenital lactase deficiency If your baby has congenital lactase deficiency, your GP, paediatrician or dietitian will guide your childs treatment.

    Secondary lactose intolerance For a breastfed baby with secondary lactose intolerance caused by gastroenteritis, you should be able to keep breastfeeding.

    Weaning off breastmilk isnt usually recommended. This is because breastmilk has so many nutritional benefits and lactose is good for your babys growth. Your child can usually tolerate a small amount of lactose, and gradually increasing it can help your childs body produce more lactase.

    If your baby is formula fed or youre considering giving them formula, consult your GP or a dietitian before using or changing to a low-lactose or lactose-free infant formula. If your child is under 6 months, avoid using soy-based infant formula.

    Talk to your GP if youre thinking of using Lacteeze drops in expressed breastmilk or Lacteeze tablets. Theres some debate about the effectiveness of these treatments. Also talk to your GP if you want to try replacing breastmilk or alternating breastmilk with formula, or youre generally worried about your babys nutrition.

    What Are The Symptoms Of Lactose Intolerance

    The symptoms of lactose intolerance will always involve your babys digestive system and can include your little one experiencing diarrhoea, wind, bloating and sometimes nappy rash. Lactose intolerant babies often cry a lot and are uncomfortable which is why its sometimes linked with colic. Its important to note that if your baby has mucus or blood in their poo too then its not a lactose intolerance and you should see your GP.

    Lactose intolerance is diagnosed by a doctor taking a detailed history and testing your babys poo for acid. Hydrogen breath tests that measure the amount of hydrogen your baby breathes out can also be done but it can be quite difficult to get young babies to do this effectively, so this test tends to be reserved for older children and adults.

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    What Should I Do If I Think My Baby Is Allergic Or Intolerant To Cows Milk

    If you think your baby is having a reaction to cows milk, see your GP to discuss your concerns.

    They will be able to assess if your babys symptoms may be caused by a cows milk allergy or something else. Make sure you get medical advice before taking cows milk out of your childs diet as it contains important nutrients.

    Diagnosis And Dietary Changes

    How To Tell If Your Baby Has COWS MILK ALLERGY | Formula & Breast-fed Infants

    Itsquite easy to test for lactose intolerance. Its done using a lactose breathtest, which measures hydrogen levels in the breath after consuming lactose.

    Normally,very little hydrogen is detected in breath. Raised hydrogen breath levelsindicate the improper digestion of lactose, which could indicate lactoseintolerance. In young children and those who cannot perform the breathtest, strict elimination of lactose-containing food for two to four weeks isanother option.

    Althoughthere is no cure for this digestive problem, some dietary changes can make ahuge difference for your child. I also recommend children with lactoseintolerance take an over-the-counter lactase enzyme supplement if they aregoing to eat any lactose-containing foods to help alleviate symptoms. However,this may not help if consumed with large amounts of lactose-containing foods.

    Overtime, you and your child will learn how much dairy-based food and drink he orshe can handle. For patients with significant symptoms, a dietitian can helpidentify foods containing lactose.

    It is also important to make sure your child still gets enough calcium and vitamin D, since dairy is normally a good source for these nutrients.

    Recommended Reading: How Do You Know If Your Newborn Is Constipated

    Lactose Intolerance And Breastfeeding

    This information can also be viewed as a PDF by clicking here.

    The information provided is taken from various reference sources. It is provided as a guideline. No responsibility can be taken by the author or the Breastfeeding Network for the way in which the information is used. Clinical decisions remain the responsibility of medical and breastfeeding practitioners. The data presented here is intended to provide some immediate information but cannot replace input from professionals.

    Lactose is the sugar in all mammalian milks.

    The amount of lactose in breastmilk is independent of the mothers consumption of lactose and hardly varies.

    The quantity of lactase, the enzyme needed to breakdown the sugar, does vary.

    Lactose intolerance occurs when a person does not produce the enzyme lactase, or does not produce enough of it, and is therefore unable to digest lactose. If it is not digested and broken down, lactose cannot be absorbed. The undigested lactose passes rapidly through the gut until it is broken down by bacteria, producing acids and gas. The production of lactase decreases in most humans from the age of two years although symptoms of intolerance are rare before the age of six. Lactose intolerance in adults is very common. Lactose intolerance is not the same as intolerance to cows milk protein .

    Is It A Milk Allergy Instead

    Keep in mind, too, that your baby might not have a problem with lactose, but rather a milk allergy.

    Milk allergy symptoms are similar to symptoms of a lactose intolerance, but these conditions arent the same.

    A milk allergy is a type of food allergy that occurs when the immune system overreacts to dairy. If your baby has a milk allergy, they may have an upset stomach and diarrhea. But theyll also have symptoms that dont occur with an intolerance:

    • wheezing
    • watery eyes
    • vomiting

    If you suspect a milk allergy even a mild allergy see your doctor. A milk allergy can advance and cause severe symptoms like a drop in blood pressure, trouble breathing, and anaphylaxis. According to Food Allergy Research and Education, milk allergies affect about 2.5 percent of children under 3 years old.

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    What Does It Mean To Be Lactose Intolerant

    If a person is lactose intolerant, it means that their body is unable to break the lactose down enough so that it is easy to digest. Our bodies produce lactase, a digestive enzyme, which works in our gut to break down the lactose.

    If a person or baby is lactose intolerant, it means that their body isnt able to produce enough lactase to sufficiently digest the lactose. This can lead to the person or baby experiencing uncomfortable side effects.

    If your baby is lactose intolerant, it does not mean they have a milk allergy. If you suspect your baby has undiagnosed allergies, please take your baby to an allergist.

    With lactose intolerance, the persons body isnt able to properly break down the lactose with a milk allergy, they are allergic and react to the proteins in the milk. A milk allergy is typically more severe than a lactose intolerant.

    Treatment For Lactose Intolerance

    How Do I Know If My Baby Is Lactose Intolerant?

    Your GP will help find out if your child is lactose intolerant. Your child may be given a lactose intolerance test, which measures blood sugar levels before and after having a lactose solution drink.

    If the test confirms lactose intolerance, your child will likely be referred to a dietitian, who will give you advice on what foods and drinks are suitable. Babies and young children need to get the right nutrients to make sure they grow and develop properly.


    For bottle-fed babies with lactose intolerance, your GP will probably advise you to switch to a lactose-free formula milk.

    If you are breastfeeding, it may help if your baby has lactase substitute drops, which make it easier for them to digest lactose in breast milk.

    Lactose intolerance is often only temporary for many babies and young children. Their symptoms will often get better within a few weeks. At this point, its safe to start gradually bringing milk and dairy back into their diet.

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