Does your little one become fussy when you try to feed him his formula milk? Maybe your baby is lactose intolerant. Learn about the signs of lactose intolerance and milk allergies here.
In this article, you’ll read:
- Signs of a lactose intolerant baby
- How do you know if your child has a milk allergy?
- Treatment for lactose intolerance
One thing that every parent is becoming more aware of these days is their child’s allergic reaction to various things – food, drinks, texture, medicine, etc. Kids, especially, tend to develop many types of allergies or intolerance, and most of the time we don’t even realize that the symptoms must be related to it.
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So first we should understand the difference between lactose intolerance and lactose allergy. The terms may sound similar, but they actually describe two different digestive problems, and one is more severe than the other.
Lactose Intolerance: lactose intolerance is caused by not having enough of the enzyme lactase, which is needed to break down lactose, the sugar found in milk, and other dairy products.
Lactose Allergy: milk allergy is a true food allergy caused by an allergic reaction to the protein in milk.
Causes and symptoms
It is important to note that a definite reason for having an allergy or intolerance to lactose is not yet known. Some babies are born with this condition, few experience it as they grow older, and few develop it due to another illness of the abdomen and sometimes due to excessive stress.
Diagnosis can be done by observing if your child has a peculiar reaction to a certain dairy product. Then you can try to omit and see if your child still has symptoms. If this persists, consult your paediatrician or go to an allergy specialist.
So what are the symptoms like? Every individual will have a slightly different reaction in both cases. Sometimes kids end up recovering from lactose intolerance with age. Here we’ve tried to break it down into two columns so that one can get a better understanding and differentiation.
|The symptoms of lactose intolerance typically occur between 30 minutes and two hours after eating or drinking a milk or dairy product
||The food allergy reaction to milk can begin within minutes or can be delayed for several hours.
|It is caused due to a lack of an enzyme
||It is an immune disorder
|It has lesser harmful effects and can be taken care of with the help of a proper diet.
||Its effects can get severe, and sometimes even life-threatening if not taken care of right away.
|The common symptoms include: bloating, abdominal cramps, diarrhoea
||The common symptoms include: sneezing, wheezing, rash, hives, trouble breathing or tightness in the throat
What foods contain lactose?
Sometimes, milk is not the only culprit of your child’s symptoms. If your baby has started on solids, it can also be that the food he ate contains lactose.
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You may only consider milk, ice cream, cheese, yoghurt, etc to contain lactose as they are visibly dairy products. But many of your routine food items contain milk, and it is very important to read the nutritional label to make sure that no types of milk products enter your child’s digestive system if they are very sensitive towards it.
If your baby is lactose intolerant, you might want to steer clear of the following:
- Salad dressings
- Ready-to-eat cereals
- Few energy drinks
- Few canned tuna
- Many instant soups
- Biscuits and Cookies
- Few processed meat
- Some potato chips, nuts, and flavoured tortillas
- Few chewing gums
Yes, milk is very important for your growing child, but once your child has a confirmed intolerance or allergy, he is bound to get deprived of calcium, vitamin D, and other important nutrients. So it’s best to feed the child more nuts, green leafy vegetables, etc.
For milk, you can try soy milk, almond milk, or brown rice milk. For soft cheese, you can try using coconut, soaked cashews, and almonds.
If your child has a milk allergy, you need to read labels and avoid foods that have any dairy, including the ingredients casein, whey, lactulose, lactalbumin, and ghee.
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Signs of lactose intolerance in babies
Photo by Sarah Chai from Pexels
If your child has difficulty digesting dairy, it doesn’t necessarily imply they’re lactose intolerant. Something else could be causing their symptoms:
- The tummy hurts and swells.
- Inability to settle at feeding times
- Unable to acquire weight
- Stomach cramping
- Faeces that are thick, foamy, and watery
- Passing gas
Because babies are not yet good at expressing themselves, they are unable to express their distress at times. As a result, it’s not always easy to detect when a baby is lactose intolerant or he is experiencing gastrointestinal problems.
- clenching fists
- kicking or lifting legs
- crying while passing gas
- arching backs
The stomach of a bloated person may appear significantly larger than usual and feel rough to the touch.
Symptoms that appear 30 minutes to 2 hours after ingesting breast milk, milk-based formula, or solid foods containing dairy are another evidence of lactose intolerance.
Lactose intolerance diagnosis
Lactose intolerant. | Image from Shutterstock
If your child shows signs of lactose intolerance, don’t try to diagnose it yourself. Consult your child’s paediatrician first. They’ll be better at telling the difference between lactose intolerance and milk allergy.
A milk allergy is a form of food allergy in which the immune system reacts negatively to dairy. If your child has a milk allergy, he or she may experience stomach pains and diarrhoea. They will, however, experience symptoms that are not associated with lactose intolerance:
- watery eyes
Your doctor may refer you to an allergist after ruling out other possible causes of digestive distress. He or she may take a stool sample to check the acidity of your baby’s poop if they don’t have a milk allergy. He or she can also recommend cutting lactose out of your child’s diet (also you if you are breastfeeding) for a week or two to see if their digestive troubles improve.
Lactose intolerance in formula-fed babies
If your baby is bottle-fed and has lactose sensitivity, your doctor will likely recommend switching to lactose-free formula milk.
Signs of lactose intolerance in breastfed babies
The amount of lactose in breastmilk is largely unaffected by the mother’s lactose consumption. The lactose content of the milk given to the infant when he first begins to feed is very similar to that of the milk given at the end of breastfeeding. However, the milk at the end has a higher fat content.
Lactose intolerance is characterized by watery, occasionally green faeces. Medical tests should be positive if a baby is lactose intolerant.
Food allergies or intolerances in babies can be passed down through the mother’s breastmilk. In rare situations, removing foods from the mother’s diet that the infant is allergic or intolerant to can be helpful.
Try removing items from your diet because you think your baby has an allergy or intolerance. Consult a nutritionist to help you identify the culprit foods and ensure your diet is nutritionally sufficient for both you and your baby.
Lactase replacement drops, which make it easier for your infant to digest lactose in breast milk, may aid if you’re nursing.
Secondary lactose intolerant baby
Because the enzyme lactase is created at the very tips of the intestine’s tiny folds, any injury to the lining can result in secondary lactose intolerance. Even minor gut damage can wipe out these hints and limit enzyme synthesis.
Secondary lactose intolerance is only temporary as long as the damage to the gut is repaired. The gut will heal if the cause of the damage to the gut is removed, even though the baby is still fed breastmilk.
Treatment for children with lactose intolerance
Lactose intolerant. | Photo by Alex Green from Pexels
Although there is no specific treatment for this digestive issue, several dietary adjustments can help your child significantly.
- Instant mashed potatoes
- Ice cream
To locate likely sources of lactose in food products, look at the components on food labels and the nutrition data. Lactose is present in any of the following food labels:
- Milk by-product
- Dry milk solids
- Nonfat dry milk powder
Consult a doctor
If you suspect your child is having difficulty digesting milk or has lactose intolerance, consult your paediatrician for a diagnosis.
Republished with permission from theAsianparent Philippines.
Here at theAsianparent Singapore, it’s important for us to give information that is correct, significant, and timely. But this doesn’t serve as an alternative for medical advise or medical treatment. theAsianparent Singapore is not responsible to those that would choose to drink medicines based on information from our website. If you have any doubts, we recommend consulting your doctor for clearer information.