How To Know If My Newborn Is Lactose Intolerant

Is It A Milk Allergy Instead

Is My Baby Lactose Intolerant?

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.

Whats The Difference Between Milk Allergies Vs Lactose Intolerance

With a milk allergy in infants, a babys immune system reacts negatively to the proteins in cows milk. Breastfed babies are reacting to the dairy his mother has eaten , while formula-fed babies are reacting to the cows milk proteins in the formula. In either case, a babyâs immune system sees the cows milk proteins as foreign substances.

Milk intolerance, on the other hand, has nothing to do with cows milk proteins or the immune system, and instead has to do with the digestive system. Your child might have loose stools or blood in stool hours or days later.

Congenital lactose intolerance is an extremely rare metabolic condition that also impacts the digestive system. Lactose intolerance more commonly develops in older kids and adults. The few babies with lactose intolerance will usually fare much better on a formula with little or no lactose.

  • Irritability, crying or other colic symptoms
  • Failure to thrive and gain weight

Signs And Symptoms Of Lactose Intolerance

Lactose is a type of sugar found naturally in the milk of most mammals.

Lactose intolerance is a condition characterized by symptoms such as stomach pain, bloating, gas and diarrhea, which are caused by lactose malabsorption.

In humans, an enzyme known as lactase is responsible for breaking down lactose for digestion. This is particularly important in infants, who need lactase to digest breast milk.

However, as children grow older, they generally produce less and less lactase.

Some people may also develop lactose intolerance after surgery or due to gastrointestinal diseases such as viral or bacterial infections.

Here are the 5 most common signs and symptoms of lactose intolerance.

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How Closely Do I Need To Watch What I Eat

Most babies have no problems with anything that mom eats. Its generally recommended that you eat whatever you like, whenever you like, in the amounts that you like and continue to do this unless you notice an obvious reaction in your baby.

There is no list of foods that every nursing mom should avoid because most nursing mothers can eat anything they want, and because the babies who are sensitive to certain foods are each unique what bothers one may not bother another.

How Is A Milk Allergy In Infants Diagnosed

Dairy Intolerance in Breastfed Babies: Symptoms and Remedies

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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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 hes 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 continue breastfeeding.

Weaning isnt usually recommended 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 her body produce more lactase.

If your baby is formula fed or youre considering giving him 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 six 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.

Cow Milk Protein Intolerance

Some babies have trouble breaking down the proteins in cows milk. If your little one is sensitive to milk proteins, you may see diarrhea even bloody diarrhea and mucus in the stool. Your baby may also experience a rash, eczema, abdominal pain, or vomiting.

Symptoms of this intolerance tend to develop within the first week of exposure. This condition affects formula-fed babies, but milk proteins can also pass through breastmilk if a mother consumes dairy.

Some 2 to 5 percent of babies have this sensitivity, but it generally resolves by the time they reach their first birthdays. So an ice cream cake may still be an option for the big day. Ready the camera!

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What Is Lactose Intolerance

Your child may have a different type of reaction to cows’ milk, or formula made from it, called lactose intolerance. This is when their body can’t digest lactose, which is a type of natural sugar found in milk.

About 70% of people in the world have lactose intolerance. It’s more common among people from Asian, African, and Hispanic ethnic groups.

Babies and young children can also become temporarily intolerant to lactose after they’ve had a tummy bug or another condition.

How Is It Treated

Does your Baby Have Lactose Intolerance Or Cows Milk Allergy?

There is no cure for lactose intolerance. But you can treat your symptoms by limiting or avoiding milk products. Some people use milk with reduced lactose, or they substitute soy beverage and soy cheese for milk and milk products. Some people who are lactose-intolerant can eat yogurt without problems, especially yogurt with live cultures. You can also take dietary supplements called lactase products that help digest lactose. In time, most people who have lactose intolerance get to know their bodies well enough to avoid symptoms.

One of the biggest concerns for people who are lactose-intolerant is making sure they get enough of the nutrients found in milk products, especially calcium. Calcium is most important for children, teens, pregnant women, and women after menopause. There are many non-dairy foods that contain calcium, including:

    • Broccoli, okra, kale, collards, and turnip greens.
    • Fish canned with bones .
    • Calcium-fortified soy products such as soy beverage and tofu.
    • Almonds.

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Common Symptoms Of Lactose Intolerance

Symptoms of lactose intolerance in babies and children include:

  • attachment problems during breastfeeding
  • failure to gain weight.

Even if your baby has these symptoms, it doesnt always mean shes lactose intolerant. Some or all of these symptoms can be common in healthy breastfed infants.

If you think your baby or child has the symptoms of lactose intolerance, you should talk with your GP.

Sometimes lactose intolerance is confused with food allergies like cows milk allergy. Some common food allergy symptoms include vomiting, blood or mucus in diarrhoea, hives and swelling around the eyes these arent symptoms of lactose intolerance. If your child has symptoms like these, you should see your GP for a proper assessment.

Why Do We Need Lactose

  • Lactose helps babies to thrive by providing the calories they need to grow.
  • Calcium and phosphorus aid bone development and lactose helps your child absorb these two essential minerals.
  • Friendly bacteria are thought to develop because of lactose, giving newborns the ability to fight off unwanted bacteria, thus keeping the digestive system healthy.
  • Healthy brain development and optimum growth of the nervous system is another vital function of lactose.

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How Lactose Intolerance Works

Lactoseis a sugar found in foods that many children love, including milk, ice creamand soft cheeses. Its also present in some baked goods, salad dressings,sauces, candy and other foods you might not expect. Breast milk and infantformulas contain lactose, too.

Lactoseis made up of two simple sugar molecules glucose and galactose. In order forit to be absorbed by the body, lactose has to be split into its two componentsby an enzyme called lactase, which is found in the lining of thesmall intestine.

But for those who are lactose intolerant, the activity of lactase is ineffective, and its unable to digest and absorb lactose in the small intestine. The lactose then passes into the large intestine, where it is fermented by gut bacteria. This process produces carbon dioxide and hydrogen, as well as certain byproducts that have a laxative effect.

How Is Lactose Intolerance Diagnosed In Children

How Do You Know for Sure if You

One simple way to determine if your child is lactose intolerant is to stop giving them dairy products and see if their symptoms go away. To ensure your child still eats a well-rounded diet, you can offer your child dairy replacements such as vitamin D and calcium supplements. Your child’s pediatrician can also offer additional recommendations and provide a referral to a specialist for further help.

A pediatric gastroenterologist can diagnose lactose intolerance in children by performing a hydrogen breath test. “We can perform a hydrogen breath test in the GI lab,” says Dr. Ramirez. “Increased amounts of hydrogen on the test after drinking a lactose-containing product indicates lactose intolerance.”

Your child may also be diagnosed after an endoscopy, a minimally invasive procedure to take samples of the tissues in the esophagus, stomach and small intestine. The tissue sample from the small intestine can be tested for lactase and other sugar enzymes.

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What Causes Lactose Intolerance

Lactose intolerance occurs when the small intestine does not make enough of an enzyme called lactase. Your body needs lactase to break down, or digest, lactose.

Lactose intolerance most commonly runs in families, and symptoms usually develop during the teen or adult years. Most people with this type of lactose intolerance can eat some milk or dairy products without problems.

Sometimes the small intestine stops making lactase after a short-term illness such as the stomach flu or as part of a lifelong disease such as cystic fibrosis. Or the small intestine sometimes stops making lactase after surgery to remove a part of the small intestine. In these cases, the problem can be either permanent or temporary.

In rare cases, newborns are lactose-intolerant. A person born with lactose intolerance cannot eat or drink anything with lactose.

Some premature babies have temporary lactose intolerance because they are not yet able to make lactase. After a baby begins to make lactase, the condition typically goes away.

Whats The Difference Between Cows Milk Protein Allergy And Lactose Intolerance

Cows milk protein allergy and lactose intolerance are not related. CMPA is one of the most common food allergies in babies and usually appears before 1 year of age. It is a type of milk allergy where a babys immune system responds to the proteins found in cows milk, causing the baby to have allergic symptoms such as: skin rashes, eczema, diarrhoea, vomiting and stomach cramps. For more information on CMPA read our article.

Lactose intolerance does not involve the immune system. Symptoms of both condition can be similar so it is important to get the advice of your GP who can help with the diagnosis.

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How Is Lactose Intolerance Diagnosed

A doctor can usually tell whether you have lactose intolerance by asking questions about your symptoms. He or she may also ask that you avoid dairy products for a short time to see if your symptoms improve.

Sometimes doctors order a hydrogen breath test or a blood sugar test to confirm the diagnosis. These simple tests check to see if you are digesting lactose normally.

What Causes Lactose Intolerance In Adults

Testing My Lactose Intolerance: How Much Dairy Can I Handle?

In many cultures across the world, levels of the enzyme lactase start to fall after three to seven years of age . They often fall so low that an individual may become lactose intolerant . This may not happen until adulthood and will affect consumption of cows milk products with lactose. This is not the same as lactose intolerance in babies 5. Mohrbacher, 2010 reserves the name primary lactose intolerance for this adult type.

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How Common Is Lactose Intolerance In Babies

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.

What Are The Symptoms

Symptoms of lactose intolerance can be mild to severe, depending on how much lactase your body makes. Symptoms usually begin 30 minutes to 2 hours after you eat or drink milk products. If you have lactose intolerance, your symptoms may include:

  • Bloating.
  • Loose stools or diarrhea.
  • Throwing up.

Many people who have gas, belly pain, bloating, and diarrhea suspect they may be lactose-intolerant. The best way to check this is to avoid eating all milk and dairy products to see if your symptoms go away. If they do, then you can try adding small amounts of milk products to see if your symptoms come back.

If you feel sick after drinking a glass of milk one time, you probably do not have lactose intolerance. But if you feel sick every time you have milk, ice cream, or another dairy product, you may have lactose intolerance.

Sometimes people who have never had problems with milk or dairy products suddenly have lactose intolerance. This is more common as you get older.

If you think you might have lactose intolerance, talk with your doctor. He or she can make sure that your symptoms are caused by lactose intolerance and not by another problem.

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