Lactose is the major type of sugar found in all milks, including breast milk, infant formulas and animal milks, and is also an important source of carbohydrates for infants and young babies.
In order for babies to use lactose efficiently, they should have enough of the lactase enzyme in their bodies.
So, if your baby is incapable of producing lactase or at least a sufficient quantity of same to breakdown and digest lactose and facilitate its digestion, he’s probably lactose intolerant. In this case, the lactose stays in his body in its complete form causing him various symptoms like diarrhea, flatulence, vomiting, discomfort and frequent crying spells.
It is to be noted that these symptoms can occur within minutes or hours after consuming milk and any other dairy product, but their general nature makes it hard on you as a mother to spot their real cause.
Lactose intolerance is of different types, including:
Congenital lactase deficiency or congenital lactose intolerance: In congenital lactose intolerance, baby is born with lactase deficiency. Early symptoms start to show after the first nursing sessions and can lead to serious complications.
Primary Lactose Intolerance: In primary lactose intolerance, baby is born with the ability to produce the lactase enzyme. But, this ability lessens with time and the production of lactase gradually falls off causing the intolerance symptoms to worsen.
At first, your baby may manage to have small quantities of your milk, but over time, using milk substitutes may become a necessity.
Secondary lactose intolerance: In Secondary lactose intolerance, the illness affects the body’s ability to produce the lactase enzyme, causing symptoms that typically fade within 3 to 4 weeks.
If you suspect your baby is suffering from lactose intolerance, make sure to pay his pediatrician a visit to so he can rule out any possible medical condition.
During the visit, the doctor will review your baby’s medical record and growth rate, and make a note of his symptoms. He will most likely recommend you to use a lactose-free easy-to-digest infant formula with high contents in whey (that accelerates digestion and stomach emptying) and superior quality protein (that offers a composition close to that of breast milk and reduces metabolic stress on immature kidneys).
The doctor may also ask you to avoid lactose containing weaning foods, for a certain period of time just to see if this solves your child’s problem. If it does and symptoms start gradually to fade, then you should stick to this strategy till they disappear for good.
Read More: Tips To Wean A Baby At Risk Of Allergies
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