Is My Newborn Lactose Intolerant

What Are The Causes Of Lactose Intolerance

Is My Baby Lactose Intolerant?

Only 1 in 50 people of European descent have an intolerance to lactose2. In the UK, its more common in people of Asian or African-Caribbean origin3.

There are three main causes of lactose intolerance4:

Primary this is when the bodys natural lactase production decreases by around 10-30%. This could be as a result of age, or in response to reducing the amount of dairy products that you eat. A primary lactose intolerance doesnt usually occur before adulthood, and in most cases is associated with cultural groups where dairy products are not a regular part of the adult diet5.

Secondary this type of intolerance is temporary. It occurs as the result of gut damage, caused by a stomach bug or infection, undiagnosed coeliac disease, or a long course of antibiotics, for example.

Congenital an extremely rare, genetic form of the lactose intolerance, where babies are born without, or with very low amounts of lactase.

Lactose intolerance may also occur in babies who are born prematurely. This is because their small intestine is not developed enough at birth, and things usually improve as babies get older.

What Are Some Of The Signs Of Lactose Sensitivity In Babies

Lactose sensitivity in babies can cause fussiness, gas and crying. This digestive discomfort can occur anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours after consuming lactose. The degree of lactose sensitivity differs from baby to baby. Some babies may have a mild sensitivity, and it may be just a matter of managing the amount of lactose ingested. If babies have more severe or persistent issues, it could signal an underlying cause like a cows milk protein allergy.

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Signs Of Lactose Sensitivity In Babies

If your baby has a hard time digesting the sugar in milk, they might have lactose sensitivity. This can be uncomfortable for baby and can make the time after feeding difficult for parents. Here are a few signs of lactose sensitivity in babies to watch for.

What is the difference between lactose intolerance and lactose sensitivity in babies?

Lactose intolerance causes harsh digestive issues that occur after ingesting milk or milk products. However, lactose intolerance in infants is extremely rare. Lactose sensitivity on the other hand, is much more common in babies and is typically temporary.

What are some of the signs of lactose sensitivity in babies?

Lactose sensitivity in babies can cause fussiness, gas and crying. This digestive discomfort can occur anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours after consuming lactose. The degree of lactose sensitivity differs from baby to baby. Some babies may have a mild sensitivity, and it may be just a matter of managing the amount of lactose ingested. If babies have more severe or persistent issues, it could signal an underlying cause like a cows milk protein allergy.

How do I know if my baby is sensitive to lactose?

If you think your baby might be sensitive to lactose, make an appointment for an exam with your babys pediatrician. Many suspected cases of lactose intolerance actually turn out to be other simple digestive issues that are easily managed. Its a good idea to come prepared and bring a list of questions with you.

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Testing For Lactose Intolerance

While these signs of lactose intolerance in toddlers will help you spot the condition, you can also test for lactose intolerance at the doctor. Depending on your pediatrician, they may recommend a simple breath test, which measures hydrogen levels in the breath after consuming lactose. When hydrogen levels are present or increased, its an indication that lactose isnt being properly digested.

Based simply on symptoms, or on proven test results, your pediatrician will recommend diet changes to support kids allergies such as eliminating or greatly reducing dairy products form your childs diet.

What Are The Symptoms Of Lactose Intolerance

Lactose intolerance in infants

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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Will My Baby Grow Out Of Lactose Intolerance

Your babys lactose intolerance may resolve on its own, or they may be able to tolerate more lactose in their diet as they get older1. However, for some people, lactose intolerance may be a long-term condition2.

Your GP or paediatric dietitian may encourage you to reintroduce lactose-containing foods into your little ones diet after a certain amount of time to see if theres been a change in tolerance1,6.

How To Know If Your Baby Is Lactose Intolerant

Do you think your baby may be lactose intolerant? If so, as well as a distressing time for your baby, its likely to be confusing for you. Can you still breastfeed? Should you switch to goat milk formula? Will this be forever? Relax: help is at hand. Read on for our brief guide that will answer some of your questions about lactose intolerance in babies.

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Breastfeeding A Baby Who Can’t Tolerate Milk

If your baby is lactose-intolerant, you don’t need to change your diet. It doesn’t matter how much dairy you consume, the amount of lactose in your milk will be the same.

However, if your baby is diagnosed with milk allergy, you will need to remove all dairy from your own diet too. You will need calcium and vitamin D supplements every day. Your doctor or allergy specialist will advise you.

What Is Lactose Intolerance In Children

Does your Baby Have Lactose Intolerance Or Cows Milk Allergy?

Lactose intolerance is when the body cant easily break down or digest lactose. Lactose is a sugar found in milk and milk products.

If your child is lactose intolerant, your child may have unpleasant symptoms after eating or drinking milk products. These symptoms include bloating, diarrhea, and gas.

Lactose intolerance is different from having a food allergy to milk.

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What Are The Signs Of Being Lactose Intolerant

It occurs when there is insufficient lactase, an enzyme. Lactase is an enzyme that breaks down lactose in meals. Lactose intolerance is characterized by stomach cramps and soreness, nausea, bloating, gas, and diarrhea. It can also lead to weight loss if you arent drinking enough water and eating foods with protein for fuel.

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms regularly, it may be time to switch to a dairy-free diet. Doing so should help alleviate some of your discomfort and might even help you lose some weight over time.

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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 .

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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 cant digest lactose, which is a type of natural sugar found in milk.

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

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

Lactose For Babies Isnt The Enemy

Lactose intolerance in infants

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 .

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Is Lactose Intolerance The Same As Cows Milk Allergy

No. Having a reaction to traces of cows milk protein that enter breast milk via the mothers diet is not the same as lactose intolerance or lactose overload. However an ongoing food allergy can damage the lining of the gut where the enzyme needed to digest lactose is produced, causing symptoms of lactose overload. Lactose overload and cows milk allergy can therefore both be present at the same time.

Eliminating lactose from a mothers diet wont help a babys symptoms of lactose overload because lactose is added to breast milk in the breast. However, if the real issue is sensitivity to cows milk protein then avoiding foods with lactose probably will help the symptoms because cows milk proteins and lactose tend to be found in the same foods.

Symptoms Of Lactose Sensitivity In Infants

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If you have a fussy baby or your baby suffers from diarrhea or frequent spitting up, you may suspect lactose intolerance. Before you stop breastfeeding or switch formulas, check with your health care provider about other possible explanations for her symptoms. Lactose intolerance is extremely rare in infants and is usually a result of another condition.

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What Happens In My Body If Im Lactose Intolerant

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.
  • Things To Try For Unusual Poop Or Other Symptoms That Suggest Milk Issues

    Signs My Infant is Lactose Intolerant

    You may want to switch formulas with the guidance of your doctor if your child is allergic to milk or if they show a protein sensitivity. There are a variety of choices on the market, including soy and hypoallergenic formulas that you can purchase both over the counter and by prescription.

    Breastfeeding mamas may need to modify their own diets to ensure that milk and its protein isnt passed through down to their baby. This means avoiding obvious foods like milk, cheese, yogurt, and other dairy products.

    Youll also need to read labels carefully to look for things like dry milk solids, buttermilk, casein, and other products found in processed foods. Talk to your doctor before following any strict elimination diet, as you may be missing out on important nutrients.

    If you suspect foremilk/hindmilk imbalance, a visit to a certified lactation consultant may be helpful. You may want to try feeding more frequently or feeding baby fully on one breast before changing to the next.

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    Types Of Lactose Intolerance

    Its important to understand that lactose intolerance is really uncommon in children under ages 2 to 3 years old. In fact, it tends to appear more often in adolescents and adults, when its usually known as primary lactose intolerance.

    People with this condition begin life with a good supply of lactase, the enzyme that breaks down lactose. As they get older, their lactase levels may decrease dramatically and make digesting even small amounts of milk products difficult.

    Primary lactase deficiency impacts up to 70 percent of people and is determined in part by genetics. It also happens to be more common in individuals of Asian, African, Hispanic, American Indian, Mediterranean, and Southern European descent. Not all people with lactase deficiency will have symptoms.

    What To Do If Your Child Shows Signs Of Lactose Intolerance

    Talk with your child’s doctor if your baby is showing signs of lactose intolerance. They’ll ask about your child’s symptoms to help determine whether or not it’s a possibility.

    To diagnose your child, the doctor may:

    • Suggest that you eliminate all sources of lactose from your child’s diet for a couple of weeks to see whether their symptoms subside.
    • Arrange for a lactose intolerance test, which measures blood sugar levels before and after your child has a lactose solution drink.
    • Give a hydrogen breath test. In lactose intolerance, hydrogen levels increase after eating lactose.
    • Test your child’s poop. A fecal pH test can sometimes help show if your child is having trouble absorbing lactose or other carbohydrates.
    • Refer your child to a gastroenterologist for further evaluation, if symptoms continue.

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    How To Know If My Newborn Is Lactose Intolerant

    What are the symptoms of lactose intolerance in babies?

    • check Bloated Tummy, gastric pain, and flatulence- caused by the trapped air inside the tummy
    • check Diarrhea- wet and frequent pass of poo that usually comes with tummy ache
    • check Fussy mood- makes it difficult for baby to settle down
    • check Frequent Crying- due to the pain and discomfort.
    • check Nausea or vomiting

    What are the signs and symptoms of being lactose intolerant? Lactose intolerance symptoms. The most definitive symptoms of lactose intolerance include bloating, gas, watery and odd-smelling stools , and even abdominal pain in some cases. How bad your symptoms are depends on how much dairy you have consumed and how much of a tolerance you have for lactose.

    Can babies grow out of lactose intolerance? This is quite common in young babies and fortunately they usually grow out of it. There isnt an exact figure for true lactose intolerance in babies but its very rare.

    What are the dangers of lactose intolerance? Research shows lactose intolerant individuals have a higher health risk for osteoporosis, weak bone density, hypertension and several caners such as breast and colon cancer.

    Can lactose intolerant babies put on weight? Sometimes when a baby has a lactose intolerance they dont gain enough weight . Since the lactose intolerance can cause vomiting and diarrhea, this can sometimes contribute to poor weight gain in a baby. Lactose intolerance can also sometimes lead to rashes on the skin or frequent colds.

    Milk Allergy Vs Lactose Intolerance: What’s The Difference

    Quick Link of the Day: How to Tell if Your Baby is Lactose Intolerant ...

    A milk allergy is an immune response. The immune system overreacts to protein in cow’s milk and sends histamines to fight off what it believes is an invader. This could cause swelling, skin symptoms such as hives or itching, respiratory symptoms , or digestive symptoms. An allergy to milk could cause an anaphylactic reaction, which can be life threatening.

    Lactose intolerance, on the other hand, is a digestion issue. It’s when someone can’t digest milk and dairy products properly, causing discomfort. It isn’t dangerous, just unpleasant.

    Children with a milk allergy usually show signs in their first year. Fortunately, they tend to outgrow the allergy by 18 months to 2 years old. Lactose intolerance is the opposite. It’s rare for babies, but can appear in kids and teenagers.

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