What does lactose intolerance in children mean? When you’re lactose intolerant, it implies your body can’t produce sufficient lactase, the enzyme needed to digest lactose, the main sugar in cow’s milk and other dairy products. As a result, the undigested lactose stays in the intestine and causes intestinal problems. These problems tend to be uncomfortable but not dangerous.
Children who are born too soon sometimes can’t produce sufficient quantities of lactase for a while. A baby’s level generally increases during completion of the last trimester of pregnancy.
True lactose intolerance typically shows up in the grade-school or teen years. While it’s possible for symptoms to appear earlier, it’s extremely unlikely that your baby is lactose intolerant.
What causes lactose intolerance in babies?
We have no idea why some people are lactose intolerant and others aren’t, however it’s not rare. In between 30 and 50 million people in the United States are lactose intolerant.
Genes play a role: About 90 percent of Asian Americans– and as numerous as 75 percent of African American, Hispanic American, Jewish, and Native American adults– are lactose intolerant. About 15 percent of people of northern European descent have the condition.
Very rarely, a baby is born with lactose intolerance. (Both parents would have to pass the gene for this type of lactose intolerance to the baby.) From birth, the baby would have severe diarrhea and be unable to tolerate the lactose in his mom’s breast milk or in formula made from cow’s milk. He ‘d need a special, lactose-free baby formula.
If your baby has had a severe case of diarrhea, his body may temporarily have difficulty producing lactase, and he might have symptoms of lactose intolerance for a week or 2.
Some medications can also cause the body to produce lower levels of lactase, triggering temporary lactose intolerance. People with long-term conditions that affect the intestines (like celiac disease or Crohn’s disease) often struggle with lactose intolerance as well.
What are the symptoms of lactose intolerance in babies?
If your baby is lactose intolerant, he might have diarrhea, abdominal cramping, bloating, or gas about 30 minutes to two hours after drinking breast milk or eating dairy products, like cheese or yogurt, once he starts eating solids.
Babies must not drink cow’s milk until their 1st year of life.
Some lactose-intolerant individuals can take in a small amount of dairy without symptoms. Others will be uncomfortable each time they have food consisting of even a small amount of lactose.
Is lactose intolerance the same as a milk allergic reaction?
No. An allergy is an immune reaction, while lactose intolerance is a digestive condition. The symptoms can be similar, however. Abdominal pain or diarrhea after taking in milk products might be caused by a milk allergic reaction or by lactose intolerance, for instance.
If your baby establishes a dry, itchy rash or itching and swelling of the face, lips, or mouth whenever he has dairy products– or symptoms such as hives, watery eyes, or a runny nose — he might dislike one of the proteins in cow’s milk.
How will I know for sure if my baby is lactose intolerant?
Once again, it’s very not likely that your baby is showing signs of lactose intolerance at this age, but talk with his doctor. She’ll ask about your baby’s symptoms to assist figure out whether it’s a possibility. She might recommend that you remove all sources of lactose from your baby’s diet for a number of weeks to see whether his symptoms go away.
Can lactose intolerance be treated or avoided in babies?
No, but there are things you can do to assist your baby if he’s lactose intolerant.
Check out labels. You’ll want to avoid dairy products and all other foods which contain lactose. Some seemingly innocuous foods include milk products: pancake and cookie blends, breakfast cereals, instant potatoes and soups, margarine, salad dressings, breads, and lunch meats. Examine food labels for active ingredients such as whey, curds, milk by-products, dry milk solids, and nonfat dry milk powder.
Thanks to current legislation, products containing milk active ingredients (or other common allergens) should be clearly labeled as such. This need to make your task much easier.
See how your baby responds. Some individuals who are lactose intolerant can absorb small amounts of lactose, while others are very conscious the tiniest quantities. You’ll most likely find out through experimentation how much of which dairy foods your baby can deal with.
Some cheeses have less lactose than others, for example, so they may be much easier to digest. And live-culture yogurt is generally much easier to digest than milk and other dairy products since the healthy bacteria in it helps produce lactase.
If your baby is extremely sensitive, you’ll wish to avoid all sources of lactose. If not, you might have the ability to give him percentages of picked dairy foods. He might discover it much easier to endure dairy products if he consumes them along with other foods.
Make sure all of your baby’s nutritional needs are being met. If you find that you need to remove dairy products from your baby’s diet as he grows, you’ll want to make certain that he has other sources of calcium, which helps bones and teeth grow strong. Nondairy sources of calcium include leafy greens, fortified juices and soy milk, tofu, broccoli, canned salmon, oranges, and strengthened breads.
Other nutrients to be worried about are vitamins A and D, riboflavin, and phosphorus. See our post on food sources of various nutrients for recommendations on how your child can get the nutrients he requires from nondairy sources. You might likewise find it helpful to consult a dietitian.
Lactose-free dairy products are now available in lots of supermarket. They have all the nutrients of routine dairy products without the lactose.
And lastly, if you discover that it’s tough to obtain your baby all the nutrition he needs without dairy products, talk with his doctor about whether your baby may gain from taking supplements.