Lactose intolerance in Infants and children

Do you feel that your child always finds a way to escape a glass of milk? Does he/she complain about stomach discomfort and you feel it’s just an excuse? Then he/she is not alone. About 60 % of the world’s population is unable to process lactose from animal milk and he/she might really be lactose intolerant and having issues in digesting ‘The complete food’ i.e. milk and is

Already ruffled about lactose tolerance? Put your worries to rest. This article will help you understand about what exactly Lactose Intolerance is, what best you can do to provide him/her the goodness of Milk and make his/her everyday meal well-balanced and nutritious.

What is Lactose?

Lactose is a Latin word ‘lac’ means milk and the suffix ‘ose’ means sugar.

Lactose is the sugar found in milk and is primary source of energy that comes from milk. Milk contains 2-8 % of lactose by weight.

Mother’s milk is rich in lactose and forms the complete daily supplement in infants specially during first 6 months when they cannot eat and are only dependent on milk (mother’s milk or formula milk).

What is Lactose intolerance?

Lactose intolerance (lactase deficiency or hypolactasia) is inability to digest lactose found in milk and other dairy products.

Lactose Intolerance is caused by lactose malabsorption. Lactose malabsorption occurs due to lactase enzyme deficiency which leads to indigestion of lactose which is further broken down into glucose and galactose. Lactose is the only source of galactose.

Congenital Alactasia (or Congenital lactase deficiency) is a disorder in infants in which he is not able to break down lactose in mother’s milk or formula milk causing severe diarrhea. Thus, leading to lactose deficiency.

Lactose intolerance is different from milk allergy. Lactose intolerance is a digestive condition while Milk allergy is an immune system disorder. A milk allergy is quite common in infants and children and is body’s abnormal response to the protein found in cow’s milk. Most of the children outgrow milk allergy as they grow up.

How will I know that my child is Lactose intolerant?

Lactose free











Your child might be having following symptoms if he is lactose intolerant:

  • Stomach ache
  • Bloating
  • Flatulence
  • Loose stool (sometimes green and frothy)
  • Itchy rash or itching
  • Swelling of the face, mouth or lips
  • Irritability
  • Noisy breathing or wheezing
  • Hoarse voice
  • Not gaining weight/losing weight

If your child has vomiting or diarrhea 2-24 hours after having milk repeatedly then you need to consult a doctor and get him/her tested for lactose intolerance.

Lactose Intolerance can be treated or prevented?

Lactose intolerance cannot be treated but there are precautionary measures which you can take to avoid the symptoms related to lactose intolerance.

Lactose Intolerance: Do’s and Don’ts

If your child is lactose mal-absorber and is lactose deficient don’t worry we have a list of things to avoid and things to include in his diet so that he doesn’t miss out on the nutrients of milk and remains unaffected by lactose malabsorption.

Things to do/Do’s 

1. Read Labels while buying products:

Now that you are aware that your child is lactose intolerant make sure that you buy products which doesn’t have ingredients like whey, curds, milk by-products, dry milk solids, and non-fat dry milk powder.

2. Check your child’s reaction while introducing a new food/product:

If your child is sensitive to even the smallest quantity of lactose make sure you keep a check on all the new food items that you are feeding him and stop immediately if he shows any symptoms of lactose intolerance.

3. Make sure your child is not missing out any essential nutrients:

Eliminate all the dairy products from your child’s diet plan but include substitute products rich in calcium essential for your child’s growing needs like leafy greens, fortified juices and soy milk, tofu, broccoli, canned salmon, oranges, and fortified breads.

Also don’t miss out on essential nutrients and look for substitute to make your child’s daily diet complete.

Lactose free dairy products are now available at many grocery stores which contains all the goodness of milk while you don’t have to worry about lactose.

Things to Avoid/Don’ts

  • Prescription and over-the-counter drugs as it might have lactose base.
  • Milk free and lactose free diet
  • Artificial butter flavour
  • Butter, butter fat
  • Buttermilk
  • Casein
  • Caseinates (ammonium, calcium, magnesium, potassium, sodium)
  • Cheese, cottage cheese, curds
  • Cream
  • Custard, pudding
  • Ghee
  • Half-and-half (a blend of whole milk and light cream)
  • Hydrolysates (casein, milk protein, protein, whey, whey protein)
  • Lactalbumin, lactalbumin phosphate
  • Lactoglobulin
  • Lactose
  • Lactoferrin
  • Milk (derivative, protein, solids, malted, condensed, evaporated, dry, whole, low-fat, non-fat, skim)
  • Nougat
  • Pudding
  • Rennet casein
  • Sour cream
  • Sour cream solids
  • Whey (delactosed, demineralized, protein concentrate)
  • Yogurt

If you are still confused about the right substitutes to nourish your child for his overall physical and mental development then you should consult your doctor to find the best possible substitutes or supplements along with right quantity and right time to have it. A mother always knows the most satiating things for her child’s taste buds so you can make the substitutes as tempting as any other meal.

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