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Breastfeeding Magazine

Is Your Infant Lactose Intolerant?


What is lactose intolerance?


separation anxiety in children

Anyone who is lactose intolerant has a problem because their body cannot produce enough lactase, an enzyme used to digest lactose, the primary sugar in cow’s milk and other dairy products. Because of this, the lactose stays in the intestine and causes gastric problems. These issues can be very uncomfortable but are not actually harmful.

Is my Infant Lactose Intolerant?

Although many infants are misdiagnosed, primary lactose intolerance is an extremely rare genetic condition. If a baby had this condition, it could not have a normal life without immediate medical intervention.

A real lactose intolerant infant would fail to thrive from birth, would not gain weight and would have symptoms of malabsorption and dehydration. He or she would need a special diet from almost immediately after birth by medical necessity.

However, some medications can also cause the body to produce lower levels of lactase, causing temporary secondary type of intolerance. Individuals with long-term intestinal conditions (like celiac disease or Crohn’s disease) can also develop lactose intolerance.

Breastfeeding Oversupply

Breastfeeding oversupply can have symptoms that appear to be lactose intolerance. An oversupply causes lactose overload and can be found in babies who consume a large amount of breast milk.

The condition is usually wrongly diagnosed as lactose intolerance, colic or reflex but is really just a problem of too much milk. For more information on oversupply symptoms and tips to correct the problem, click here.

Other Common Myths about Lactose Intolerance

* 1. Lactose in the breast milk will be lowered if mom stops eating any dairy products.

* 2. If other family members are intolerant, this will mean that your baby is more likely to be intolerant too.

* 3. Infants who have symptoms of lactose intolerance should stop breastfeeding and be fed a soy-based infant formula or another special lactose-free baby formula.

* 4. Lactose intolerance is the same as an allergy to cows’ milk.

These are all simply untrue!

It is so extremely rare for a baby to have to stop breastfeeding due to this problem because of this condition. There is (except in the primary case) another cause behind perceived lactose intolerance in little ones. Finding the cause and correcting it is the real way to make the symptoms of lactose intolerance go away.

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