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Lactose Intolerant Infants

What are the alternatives for lactose intolerance infants?
(October 14, 2011)

For infants who suffer from lactose intolerance some of the possible alternatives could be almond milk, hemp milk and coconut milk. In the case of these milks it is best to first ensure that your child does not have an allergy to nuts as this could cause other complications. Breastfeeding mothers can also try pumping breast milk and treating it with lactase enzyme if their babies are lactose intolerant. There are also a number of milk free infant formulas which can be given to babies who suffer from lactose intolerance. Sheep milk can also be a good alternative for such infants especially when complimented with fresh fruits and juices which can help fulfill the calcium requirements of an infant’s body.

Similarly oat milk is another viable option as it neither contains milk protein nor lactose. This is a good alternative for infants with lactose intolerance as well as milk allergies.
Submitted by N on October 14, 2011 at 06:49


How to test for lactose intolerance in infants?

Before we talk about temporary lactose intolerance in infants, let us examine more closely, what lactose intolerance is. Lactose intolerance refers to the inability to digest the sugar lactose. This is due to a deficiency of the lactase enzyme. Lactase is necessary to break down lactose so that it can be absorbed by the small intestine. When this does not occur, it results in lactose being poorly digested. Lactose intolerance in infants occurs under three conditions. Firstly, a baby can be born with an inability to digest lactose intolerance. This is a rare condition and is known as primary lactose intolerance. Temporary lactose intolerance in infants or secondary lactose intolerance occurs after an attack of gastroenteritis (or a stomach flu or a tummy upset). This condition as the name suggests is temporary. The third situation where this can develop it is acquired lactose intolerance. This rarely affects a child who is less than four years of age. Diagnosing lactose intolerance in infants is possible through various tests. One test for lactose intolerance in infants is the stool acidity test. Two others are the hydrogen breath test and the lactose intolerance test. Medical guidance is always recommended if you feel that your child may be suffering from this problem. Also see diet for lactose intolerance

How to diagnose lactose intolerance in babies?

If your baby is unable to digest the sugar in his milk, he is probably lactose intolerant. Lactose intolerance should not be mistaken for a milk allergy. If he were allergic to milk, he would have reacted to the protein in the milk. Lactose intolerance in babies is caused by a lactase deficiency. This intolerance could be primary or secondary. Diagnosing lactose intolerance in babies is quite simple and can be determined by the tests mentioned below. The different kinds of tests that one can use for diagnosing lactose intolerance in babies are the lactose intolerant test, hydrogen breath test, small bowel biopsy and a stool acidity test. In the first test, diagnosis is based on whether the blood sugar is raised or not, after consuming lactose rich drink. In the second, it is determined by the presence of hydrogen in the breath, due to the incomplete digestion of lactose. A small bowel biopsy is carried out only when the child is failing to pick up in health and reasons are unknown. The fourth test is based on the increased acidity in stools, due to incomplete lactose digestion. Treatment for lactose intolerance in babies is fairly easy and modifying their diet is the way to treat this condition.

What are lactose intolerance symptoms in newborns?

Lactose intolerance is a condition which occurs when there is difficultly in processing lactose in the body. Newborns could suffer with primary, secondary or genetic lactose intolerance. Symptoms of lactose intolerance in newborns are as given below. Most newborns who suffer from lactose intolerance will suffer from diarrhea, bloating or gas, or abdominal cramping. These signs of lactose intolerance in newborns usually occur about 30 minutes to two hours after drinking breast milk. Other lactose intolerance symptoms in newborns include plenty of burps following feeding.  If you feel that your newborn is exhibiting the lactose intolerance symptoms mentioned above, do seek medical guidance. There are a few tests that can diagnose whether your newborn suffers from lactose intolerance or not. Your doctor may even suggest eliminating all sources of lactose from your baby’s diet till the symptoms subside. Proper treatment can be started once a diagnosis has been made. Treatment for lactose intolerance in newborns includes avoiding all dairy products and any products that contain lactose. Switching to a lactose free formula could help as well. If this does not help the condition, check with your doctor about giving your baby a soy formula. Medical guidance is recommended if you have a newborn with this problem.

Does lactose intolerance cause constipation in toddlers?

Lactose intolerance and constipation in toddlers is connected as can be seen from the reasons given below. If you have started including whole milk and not formula in your baby’s diet and your baby is suffering from constipation daily, then the culprit might be lactose intolerance. Lactose is a sugar found in milk or dairy or milk based products. Lactose intolerance is a condition that occurs when there is a deficiency of lactase in the body and therefore there is an inability to digest the sugar lactose. This could be a lifelong condition or also the result of some infection. Symptoms of lactose intolerance include gas and abdominal bloating, pain in the abdomen, nausea, and diarrhea. In some cases, lactose intolerance could induce constipation as well. In most cases however, lactose intolerance is known to cause diarrhea and not constipation. The symptoms given above occur within minutes to a few hours of ingesting milk or dairy products. Diagnosis of lactose intolerance is possible by conducting a few tests such as the lactose intolerance test, stool acidity test or a hydrogen breath test. If you suspect that your toddler is suffering from lactose intolerance, it is recommended that you seek medical attention immediately. Treatment can then be started accordingly.
Submitted by N on October 12, 2011 at 05:49


Lactose intolerance is the inability to digest lactose, a sugar found in milk and other dairy products. Lactose intolerance happens generally when your intestine fails to make enzyme lactase. Babies’ bodies make this enzyme so that they can digest proper milk, including breast milk. Not having enough lactase may also occur as a result of intestinal diseases or after bowel surgery. Without lactase, lactose cannot easily pass through the intestinal walls and remains in the intestines. Thus it causes gas, which leads to many abdominal symptoms.
Some of the symptoms of lactose intolerance are:
  • Abdominal bloating
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Diarrhea
  • Floating stools
  • Foul-smelling stools
  • Gas (flatulence)
  • Malnutrition
  • Nausea
  • Slow growth
  • Weight loss

Usually these symptoms disappear when you stop the intake of milk and other dairy products. Removing milk and dairy products from the diet usually improves the symptoms. But not having milk or milk products can lead to a shortage of calcium, vitamin D, riboflavin, and protein. So it is essential that you add other sources of calcium and protein in your diet.

Some alternatives for milk products and other lactose intolerance alternatives which may be easier to digest are:

  • Buttermilk and cheese because they have less lactose than milk
  • Fermented milk products such as yogurt. Yogurt contains friendly bacteria which help in lactose digestion. Yogurt is a good source of calcium
  • Goat's milk, but it should be supplemented with essential amino acids and vitamins
  • Ice creams and milkshakes
  • Lactose-free milk and milk products
  • Lactase-treated cow's milk and buttermilk
  • Soy or rice milk for toddlers – but make sure that you speak to your pediatrician as not all of these products are fine for children even if they are marketed as toddler soy products.
  • Flavored milk (you may tolerate flavored milk better than plain milk)

Some non dairy foods that may contain lactose are bread, frozen vegetables, soups, salad dressings, cereals, and candies. Another way to get bone building calcium is by consuming lactose reduced milk which is available in grocery shops. Or you can also try lactase enzyme supplements. The two most common alternatives to cow’s milk are soy and rice milk. You can also try drinking milk in small quantities at a time, usually with your meals.

You should also take lactacid every time you consume a dairy product. Lactacid is an enzyme which helps digest lactose in dairy. Infants with severe symptoms of lactose intolerance need to completely avoid consuming any dairy products. However, it is equally important for them to find calcium supplements, so consulting a dietician is a good idea.

Submitted by R J on July 27, 2010 at 12:36


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