Saturday, October 19, 2019

How To Identify And Manage Baby Lactose Intolerance

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Transitioning from breastmilk to infant formula is a convenient way of ensuring that your baby receives ample nutrition throughout their most critical stages of development. However, most formula preparations are derived from cow’s milk which is high in lactose. Lactose is a sugar found in many foods that is digested by the lactase enzyme in the human body.

Surprising numbers of infants have baby lactose intolerance or a lack of this enzyme which can interfere with their ability to digest and derive nutrition from these formulas or milk containing lactose. As a parent, it is essential that you are able to identify and manage baby lactose intolerance to ensure the well-being of your infant. Fortunately, there are well-established signs and symptoms to watch for to spot lactose intolerance early. There are also some best practices to follow to ensure that your baby is well-fed despite their condition.

Let’s look at some specific ways to identify and manage baby lactose intolerance.

Spot The Symptoms

Recognising the symptoms of lactose intolerance in your infant as early as possible will prevent them from unnecessary discomfort. It will also provide you with the reassurance that there is nothing seriously wrong with your child and their symptoms are all easily avoidable through taking some simple precautions and avoiding certain foods.

Since babies are unable to explain what their symptoms are in plain language, you as a parent will have to intuit and interpret their behaviour to help them out. Early signs and symptoms of lactose intolerance in infants may include pain in the stomach, a failure to gain weight, watery diarrhoea, and irritability or crying especially after feeding time.

If you notice these symptoms in your child, consult the advice of your family physician to check if lactose intolerance is the cause. Other conditions, such as a milk allergy, may also cause similar symptoms and need to be ruled out. Lactose intolerance can also be a temporary condition that is brought on by a brief illness which will typically resolve itself after the illness has run its course. Through a series of tests including a hydrogen breath test, they will be able to confirm this diagnosis and provide you with further advice.

Manage The Condition

Babies who have lactose intolerance will have to switch to a lactose-free formula for some time. After a few weeks of using this formula, you can then slowly try feeding them breastmilk or regular infant formula again to see if they will tolerate it. If their symptoms reappear, switch back to the lactose-free preparation for a longer time.

Many babies will outgrow this intolerance as their digestive system develops. Over time, you will also be able to include solid foods in your baby’s diet. This allows you to choose from more diverse options when providing for their nutrition, though make sure to avoid foods like yoghurt, cheese and ice cream derived from cow’s milk if their symptoms persist. Kale and other leafy green vegetables, as well as most beans, are high in calcium which is important for lactose-intolerant children to have in adequate amounts.

Seek Professional Guidance

Every baby is different. That is why consulting with a medical professional who knows the unique needs of your child is essential. There are many different causes of lactose intolerance. Some are temporary and some are relatively long-lasting. Doctors will be able to confirm precisely why your child is not able to tolerate lactose and whether your child’s condition is temporary or persistent.

They will also be able to provide you with additional information about how to adequately provide for your child’s nutrition despite their lactose intolerance.


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