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 cow’s 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 baby’s pediatrician. Many suspected cases of lactose intolerance actually turn out to be other simple digestive issues that are easily managed. It’s a good idea to come prepared and bring a list of questions with you.
What are some things I can do to help my baby be more comfortable if they are sensitive to lactose?
If you’re breastfeeding, you can eliminate cow’s milk from your diet, along with common dairy foods like butter, cheese and yogurt. If you are formula-feeding, try switching to a formula specially formulated for sensitive tummies and has complete nutrition.
Should I eliminate all lactose from my baby’s diet?
If your baby can tolerate some level of lactose, keeping it in baby’s diet can be beneficial. Lactose contains glucose which is a source of energy for brain development. Research also suggests if may help their body absorb calcium and promote the growth of beneficial bacteria in their digestive tract. Always check with your doctor before deciding to eliminate anything from your baby’s diet.
Even if your baby is sensitive to lactose now, know that most babies outgrow lactose sensitivity and successfully transition to cow’s milk when the time comes. In the meantime, you have lots of options to help ease your baby’s discomfort caused by lactose sensitivity.