Lactose Intolerance in Babies

It can be very hard to spot lactose intolerance in babies. Some of the symptoms shown by lactose intolerance are common in new born babies. The can be sick after a feed (breast or bottle), and they can have diarrhea on and off for some weeks.

Lactose is found in all milks whether cows milk or a mother’s breast milk. It is sugar like substance. For our bodies to be able to digest milk it has to produce lactase, if we can’t make enough of this our bodies become lactose intolerant.

It is not very often that a baby is diagnosed with this kind of intolerance. As I mentioned above it is very common for babies to be a little bit sick, and diarrhea is also extremely common. This would have to be happening for a long period of time before a doctor would even refer you for the tests to be done. If this is an official diagnosis, the child would need to start on a lactose free diet immediately.

Consuming too much lactose may produce an overdose effect, this will result in the child being;

*Extremely uncomfortable,
*Trapped or breaking wind
*Wants continuous feeding
*May be sick a lot
*May have watery stools
*May have very pasty stools

Although the babies may take some relief in continuous feeding, this is actually detrimental to them as it often worsens the effects.

These symptoms may occur due over feeding on the low fat breast milk or other milk substitute. Babies will probably be producing enough lactase but have simply had a higher amount of lactose than their bodies can handle.

You may be able to prevent these symptoms from occurring, by limiting the amounts of feeds your baby is having in any one day. This would mean feeding 4 hourly, so it would be 6 bottles per day.

I have 4 young children of my own, two of them were sickly babies, it took around a week to get them into a comfortable 4 hourly feeding routine but you notice a change in their bowel movements almost instantly.

Whilst lactose intolerance in babies is found to be very rare, it can appear as a result of the following;

  • Any recent surgery on the bowel
  • Interaction with antibiotics
  • Another intolerance or allergy
  • Celiac disease
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Upset stomach

If lactose intolerance has occurred due to any of these, it may only last a week or two, this is called temporary lactose intolerance. If you are worried seek advice from your doctor or other health professional, they may suggest switching to a lactose free milk substitute.

If your child is suffering from any of the symptoms mentioned above, seek medical advice. If these symptoms are left untreated your condition may worsen.

Lactose intolerance in babies can be treated with the use of a lactose free substitute. Other diary products may also have to be avoided depending on the severity of the intolerance. Always ask for advice from a medical professional, they may be able to point you in the right direction.