Milk allergy vs lactose intolerance in babies, here’s what you need to know about it!
One thing that every parent is becoming more aware of these days is their allergic reaction to various things – food, drinks, texture, medicine, etc. Kids, especially, tend to develop many types of allergies or intolerance, and most of the time we don’t even realize that the symptoms must be related to them.
Lactose intolerant baby
Milk allergy vs lactose intolerance in babies. | Photo by Kampus Production from Pexels
So first we should understand the difference between Lactose Intolerance and Lactose Allergy. The terms may sound similar, but they actually describe two different digestive problems, and one is more severe than the other.
Lactose Intolerance: Lactose intolerance is caused by not having enough of the enzyme lactase, which is needed to break down lactose, the sugar found in milk, and other dairy products.
Lactose Allergy: Milk allergy is a true food allergy caused by an allergic reaction to the protein in milk.
Causes and Lactose intolerant baby symptoms
A definite reason that results in an allergy or intolerance is not yet known. But few are born with this symptom, few experience it while they grow older, and few develop it due to another illness of the abdomen and sometimes due to excessive stress.
Diagnosis can be done by observation first to see if your child has a peculiar reaction after a certain dairy product. Then you can try to omit and see if your child still has symptoms. If this persists, consult your pediatrician or go to an allergy specialist.
So what are the symptoms like? Every individual will have a slightly different reaction in both cases. Sometimes kids do end up recovering from lactose intolerance with age. Here we’ve tried to break it down into two columns so that one can get a better understanding and differentiation.
Milk allergy vs lactose intolerance in babies
|The symptoms of lactose intolerance typically occur between 30 minutes and two hours after eating or drinking a milk or dairy product
||The food allergy reaction to milk can begin within minutes or can be delayed for several hours.
|Caused due to a lack of an enzyme
||It is an immune disorder
|It has lesser harmful effects and can be taken care of with the help of a proper diet.
||Its effects can get severe, and sometimes even life-threatening if not taken care of.
|The common symptoms include: bloating, abdominal cramps, diarrhea
||The common symptoms include: sneezing, wheezing, rash, hives, trouble in breathing, or tightness in the throat
Food that contain Lactose:
Milk allergy vs lactose intolerance in babies. | Photo by Charlotte May from Pexels
You may only consider milk, ice cream, cheese, yogurt, etc to contain lactose as they are visibly dairy products. But many of your everyday food items contain milk, and it is essential to read the nutritional label to make sure that no types of milk products enter your child’s digestive system if they are very sensitive towards it. Here’s a list of food that contains lactose:
- Salad dressings
- Ready-to-eat cereals
- Few energy drinks
- Few canned tuna
- Many instant soups
- Biscuits and Cookies
- Few processed meat
- Some potato chips, nuts, and flavored tortillas
- Few chewing gums
Yes, milk is very important for your growing child, but once your child has a confirmed intolerance or allergy, he is bound to get deprived of calcium, vitamin D, and other important nutrients. So it’s best to feed the child more nuts, green leafy vegetables, etc.
For milk, you can try soy milk, almond milk, or brown rice milk. You can also make them at home. For soft cheese, you can try using coconut, soaked cashews, and almonds.
If your child has a milk allergy, you need to read labels and avoid foods that have any dairy, including the ingredients casein, whey, lactulose, lactalbumin, and ghee.
Signs of lactose intolerance in babies
Milk allergy vs lactose intolerance in babies. | Photo by Sarah Chai from Pexels
If your child has difficulty digesting dairy, it doesn’t necessarily imply they’re lactose intolerant. Something else could be causing their symptoms:
- Tummy hurts and swells.
- Inability to settle at feeding times
- Unable to acquire weight
- Stomach cramping
- Feces that are thick, foamy, and watery
- Passing gas
Because babies are unable to communicate, they are unable to express their distress. As a result, it’s not always easy to detect when they’re experiencing gastrointestinal problems.
- clenching fists
- kicking or lifting legs
- crying while passing gas
- arching backs
The stomach of a bloated person may appear significantly more prominent than usual and feel rough to the touch.
Symptoms that appear 30 minutes to 2 hours after ingesting breast milk, milk-based formula, or solid foods containing dairy are another evidence of lactose intolerance.
Lactose intolerance diagnosis
Lactose intolerant. | Image from Shutterstock
If your child shows signs of lactose intolerance, don’t try to diagnose it yourself. Consult your child’s pediatrician first. They’ll be better at telling the difference between lactose intolerance and milk allergy.
A milk allergy is a form of food allergy in which the immune system reacts negatively to dairy. If your child has a milk allergy, he or she may experience stomach pains and diarrhea. They will, however, experience symptoms that are not associated with lactose intolerance:
- watery eyes
Your doctor may refer you to an allergist after ruling out other possible causes of digestive distress. He or she may take a stool sample to check the acidity of your baby’s poop if they don’t have a milk allergy. He or she can also recommend cutting lactose out of their diet for a week or two to see if their digestive troubles improve.
Lactose intolerance in formula fed babies
If your baby is bottle-fed and has lactose sensitivity, your doctor will likely recommend switching to lactose-free formula milk.
Signs of lactose intolerance in breastfed babies
The amount of lactose in breastmilk is largely unaffected by the mother’s lactose consumption. The lactose content of the milk given to the infant when he first begins to feed is very similar to that of the milk given at the end of breastfeeding. However, the milk at the end has a higher fat content.
Lactose intolerance is characterized by watery, occasionally green feces. Medical tests should be positive if a newborn is lactose intolerant.
They are, nevertheless, positive in the majority of normal breastfed babies under the age of three months. As a result, their utility in identifying lactose intolerance in infants is debatable.
Food allergies or intolerances in babies can be passed down through the mother’s breast milk. In rare situations, removing foods from the mother’s diet that the infant is allergic to or intolerant to can be helpful.
Try removing items from your diet because you think your baby has an allergy or intolerance. Consult a nutritionist to help you identify the culprit foods and ensure your diet is nutritionally sufficient for both you and your baby.
Lactase replacement drops, which make it easier for your infant to digest lactose in breast milk, may aid if you’re nursing.
Secondary lactose intolerant baby
Because the enzyme lactase is created at the very tips of the intestine’s tiny folds, any injury to the lining can result in secondary lactose intolerance. Even minor gut damage can wipe out these hints and limit enzyme synthesis.
Secondary lactose intolerance is only temporary as long as the damage to the gut is repaired. The gut will heal if the cause of the damage to the gut is removed, even though the baby is still fed breastmilk.
How to tell if baby is allergic to formula
Parents should be aware that as newborns’ digestive systems mature, gassiness, crying, spitting up, and general fussiness are fairly common. These issues often go away during the first few months of life, but frequently adjusting and fiddling with your baby’s formula can exacerbate the situation.
But keep an eye out for these signs that your baby might be allergic to formula.
- Formula allergy poop or blood or mucus in your baby’s poop.
- The infant often drags her legs up into her belly toward pain.
- having difficulty gaining or losing any considerable amount of weight
- continual sobbing and showing discomfort
Lactose intolerance in formula fed babies
If your infant is having a negative reaction to the iron-fortified formulas made from cow’s milk that the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends, think about switching to a formula that contains soy or rice proteins. Formulas made with previously digested proteins are also available; they are referred to as hydrolyzed formulas and are much easier for developing digestive systems.
However, in addition to the formula problem, your baby can also require medical care for a sensitivity-related ailment, including dehydration or weight loss. Therefore, even if you are certain that your child has formula intolerance, it’s vital that you visit your pediatrician to discuss dietary changes and treatment options.
Lactose intolerance in infants treatment
Lactose intolerant. | Photo by Alex Green from Pexels
Although there is no treatment for this digestive issue, several dietary adjustments can help your child significantly.
- Instant mashed potatoes
- Ice cream
To locate likely sources of lactose in food products, look at the components on food labels and the nutrition data. On the other hand, lactose is present on any of the following food labels:
- Milk by-product
- Dry milk solids
- Nonfat dry milk powder
Consult a doctor
If you suspect your child is having difficulty digesting milk or has lactose intolerance, consult your pediatrician for a diagnosis.
Republished with permission from The Indus Parent
Additional information from Margaux Dolores
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