Lactose or bovine protein intolerance?

Postnatal, Your questions

Your baby of a few months squirms and cries several times a day. Could it be lactose or bovine protein intolerance?

According to the latest research on the subject (FMOQ April 2024 update), intolerance to lactose, the milk sugar, is very, very rare in very young babies. It’s not impossible, but it’s still very rare. In this case, the baby doesn’t produce enough lactase, the enzyme needed to digest lactose. To correct this situation, this enzyme can be given by mouth to the baby, with medical indication after evaluation.

This type of condition is most often diagnosed after the age of 3 (and most often around the age of 5), and often has a family connotation or intestinal problems when the health situation is assessed. In the case of young babies, intolerance is much more likely to be attributable to bovine proteins than to lactose.

The rate of allergy to bovine proteins is more frequent, ranging from 2 to 5% for commercial milk formulas and 2.1% for breast milk.

At the same time, let’s not forget that a 2-month-old baby is in a very demanding period. In addition, the neurological development of his brain is accelerated at this particular moment, which translates into a more fussy baby, who demands more of his parents’ arms and seems less satisfied with everyday life. This difficult period will pass, I promise! Secondly, don’t forget that your baby is just beginning to expel gas and stools more efficiently and voluntarily, in line with his or her intestinal maturity, which is advancing by leaps and bounds. All this may well explain what you’re noticing in your baby, which is not associated with intolerance.

Having said all that, however, it’s important to keep an eye on things, because if the situation seems to be getting worse, a visit to the doctor may be necessary to rule out other possible causes.

Breastfeeding and drinking

If you’re breast-feeding, you can follow a bovine protein-free diet for two to four weeks, to test whether baby is doing better. If you’re feeding commercial formulas, it would be a good idea to review the milk category and give him a milk formula more suited to his condition.
But be careful! Never change milk without consulting a health professional. And above all, never use soy-based milk. Soy milk can cause up to 30% of allergic reactions.

If you have any doubts or concerns, it’s always important to have your situation assessed. Don’t hesitate to ask for help and follow-up afterwards.

Marie Fortier
The Baby Expert

Article updated : July 2024.


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