A very commonly found sugar in milk is lactose. Babies need an enzyme called lactase to break down this sugar in order for it to be digested properly. When a baby’s body is not able to produce enough lactase, it is known to cause lactose intolerance.
How is milk allergy different from lactose intolerance?
There are two things that people confuse mostly with. One is milk allergy and the other is lactose intolerance. Both these are different terms and should not be used in substitute for each other. Milk allergy is an immune response when a baby has an allergic reaction to the (excess) protein present in cow’s milk and lactose intolerance is when a baby’s body is unable to digest the lactose present in milk.
How can I know for sure it is an allergy and not intolerance?
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One thing to note here is that cases of lactose intolerance are very rare in babies and toddlers. However, in case of premature babies the chances are higher as the levels of lactase are only increased during the end of the third trimester. Any baby born before that may show definite signs of lactose intolerance.
Now that you know the basics, let us come down to what actually happens (the symptoms that is) when your baby has lactose intolerance.
One of the very common signs to watch out for in case there is lactose intolerance in your baby or toddler is stomach pain. You do have to watch out for what your baby eats. If he’s eating more of dairy products, and is constantly crying in pain, gently touch his stomach. If it is hard and he cries louder or doesn’t let you touch it, then he definitely has stomach pain.
2Bloated stomach and Gas
Watch out for bloated stomach in your baby, which is hard to go unnoticed. A bloated stomach is usually hard to the touch and may even be painful in some areas. Not only that bloating will also mostly be accompanied by passing of excessive gas. You may think that it must be something that he ate, but don’t ignore the obvious signs.
One more thing to watch out for in case of lactose intolerance is diarrhea in your baby. Although diarrhea happens to most babies at some point or the other, however, if it lingers on for some time (say 2 or 3 days), it is definitely a reason of concern. Watery and loose stool is never a good signs if it continues longer, it shows definitive signs of lactose intolerance.
4Nausea and vomiting
Although rare but a lactose intolerance can also cause nausea and cases of vomiting in babies. It is not only best to get a doctor’s consultation if you suspect it could be because of lactose intolerance or also otherwise.
All these symptoms may not happen altogether. Some may be accompanied with each other but in a lot of cases, it is either of these symptoms that usually happen. But whatever the case may be, lactose intolerance is to be treated in a timely manner. You must check with your doctor if your baby happens to be going through any of these above mentioned symptoms.
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Do not try to treat it on your own because it may sometimes also be caused by an infection in the gut. So consult with your doctor immediately.