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Lactose Intolerance in Infants Treatment: What Can Parents Do About It?

Lactose Intolerance in Infants Treatment: What Can Parents Do About It?

Lactose intolerance can cause a lot of pain and discomfort, especially for infants. In order to help alleviate their pain, parents should be aware of the right lactose intolerance in infants treatment.

Read on to learn more about not just how to treat lactose intolerance, but its signs and symptoms, as well as what exactly causes it to happen.

What Causes Lactose Intolerance in Infants?

Milk and dairy products are a very important source of nutrition, especially for infants. Milk provides calcium, protein, fats, and other essential nutrients that aid in a baby’s growth and development1.

In particular, breast milk is the best form of nutrition for babies, and doctors recommend that mothers exclusively breastfeed until their child is at least 6 months old.

However, there are some babies who can experience pain and discomfort when consuming milk and other dairy products. This happens because their digestive tract is unable to properly digest lactose, which is a type of sugar found in dairy. This condition is known as lactose intolerance.

There are 2 common reasons why babies have lactose intolerance2:

  • Their bodies are not producing enough lactase, which is an enzyme that helps digest lactose.
  • The lining of the gut that produces lactase has been damaged. This can happen because of a viral infection.

What Are the Signs of Lactose Intolerance?

Knowing the signs and symptoms of lactose intolerance can help parents know if they should consult their child’s doctor.

Here are some of the signs to watch out for3:

  • Stomach aches and gas
  • Not gaining weight, even if being fed regularly
  • Diarrhea
  • Having difficulty being comfortable during breastfeeding
  • Abdominal pain and bloating

If your baby shows any of these symptoms, then it might be a good idea to consult your doctor. They should be able to make a proper diagnosis, and find out if your baby has lactose intolerance or not.

Lactose Intolerance in Infants Treatment

When it comes to lactose intolerance in infants, treatment for the condition is one of the most common things that parents think of. However, the reality is that there is currently no cure or treatment that can help with lactose intolerance.

However, there are some things that parents can do in order to help their child manage their condition:

Avoid dairy products

If your baby is lactose intolerant, then the first thing you need to do would be to make sure that they don’t eat any dairy products. This means that you’ll need to check the ingredients of any food you buy for your baby, and you need to make sure that any food you prepare for them is dairy-free.

This could also mean that you might have to avoid breastfeeding since breastmilk also contains lactose.

Choose lactose-free alternatives

In lieu of dairy products, you can look for lactose-free alternatives. These include lactose-free baby formula, and lactose-free or lactose-reduced milk4.

If your baby is a bit older, you can also give them soy milk or rice milk as alternatives. Though, it is important to know that these products don’t contain the minerals found in cow’s milk, so you’ll need to supplement your child’s nutrition through other foods.

Make up for the lack of dairy with a healthy diet

Since your child can’t consume dairy products, you’ll need to provide them another source of vitamin D, calcium, protein, etc5.

A good way to go about this would be to add more fruits and vegetables to their diet. In particular, dark green vegetables are rich in calcium. Oily fish, liver, and egg yolks can be a good source of vitamin D. Protein can be found in fish, chicken, red meat, as well as nuts and legumes.

Milk substitutes such as soy milk, rice milk, oat milk, or almond milk also contain essential nutrients that your child needs.

Lactase drops can sometimes help

Lastly, there are lactase drops available that could potentially help your child digest dairy products. These are typically mixed with breast milk, and then given to babies.

The lactase drops can help digest the lactose in the breast milk and allows lactose intolerant babies to drink it without any problem.

Learn more about Baby Nutrition here.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Sources
  1. Lactose intolerance in infants, children, and adolescents – PubMed, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16951027/, Accessed July 19, 2021
  2. Lactose intolerance in babies, https://www.healthywa.wa.gov.au/Articles/J_M/Lactose-intolerance-in-babies, Accessed July 19, 2021
  3. Lactose Intolerance in Infants & Children: Parent FAQs – HealthyChildren.org, https://www.healthychildren.org/English/healthy-living/nutrition/Pages/Lactose-Intolerance-in-Children.aspx, Accessed July 19, 2021
  4. Lactose Intolerance in Infants, Children, and Adolescents | American Academy of Pediatrics, https://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/118/3/1279, Accessed July 19, 2021
  5. Lactose Intolerance in Babies | Symptoms & Signs | Aptaclub, https://www.aptaclub.co.uk/baby/diet-and-nutrition/allergies-and-food-intolerance/lactose-intolerance-in-babies.html, Accessed July 19, 2021
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Written by Jan Alwyn Batara Updated 2 weeks ago
Fact Checked by Hello Doctor Medical Panel
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