Lactose Intolerance or Allergy

Postnatal

To learn more about diets and their association with allergies, go to the previous entry, Diet to Prevent Allergies?

Lactose (milk sugar) intolerance or allergy is very rare for babies and is often associated with family history and genetics.

There’s about one case in 1 million, so I don’t think we need to worry, right?

In the latest research, this is a lactase deficit rather than lactose intolerance. This missing enzyme, which digests milk sugar (lactose), leads to reactions in newborns. It’s not a defence reaction by their immature immune system like with more severe food allergies. Even if you give the baby this enzyme orally, it seems to not really change anything. Given the infrequency of this situation, the mother doesn’t need to stop breastfeeding. However, we can suggest consulting to get proper support for the breastfeeding experience with the baby and be thoroughly evaluated.

Parents contact me regularly to say that they changed their baby’s formula three times over a three-week period because their baby is intolerant or allergic. Why do they say this? Because they noted that their baby cried at night or that their stool was a bit hard. Wrong! You shouldn’t self-diagnose intolerance or allergies in a baby and change their formula without getting a recommendation from a health professional. I note that many parents change the baby’s formula but remain in the same composition category. So, they changed the company, but they gave them similar milk.

The baby’s gastrointestinal system needs time to adapt to milk. Both for breast milk and formulas, the system must learn to digest it and absorb it. Generally, allergy signs develop over time. Repeated contact is needed to get these reactions. Most of the time, you will see reactions occur gradually over a few weeks. Are my baby’s reactions or discomfort normal? Alternatively, is it a food intolerance or allergy? Yikes! How can parents know?

To continue reading, see What is a Food Allergy?

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