Very few of us know about lactose intolerance in babies, I know it as my son had it. By God’s grace, it was just a temporary phase.
My son started taking less feeding than he used to take, it was followed by loose motion and it was 10 per day initially and then it increased to 20 a day, though my child is really strong I should say he was smiling when we use to play with him but I could see the pain in his eyes. Trust me it’s really unbearable I couldn’t stop my tears, we thought due to loose motion he got rashes and then things got worse he couldn’t sleep at all and had continuous motion then we took him to so many experts and paediatrician, finally got a doctor who was like a god to us. He got stool test done and saw the rashes he gave a solution to be applied on it, in the earlier days there was a red solution that was applied in wounds, he gave that solution trust me initially it burned a lot, I could feel the pain my baby was going through, I wasn’t allowed in the room when solution was applied to him, I just couldn’t see the pain and almost fainted but it worked on his rash. Always remember no diapers, no clothes should touch the wound.
Stool report said acidic stool. The doctor said it will take time to heal and we will have to use drops to mix with my milk and give before every feed, as its lactose intolerance, he was on exclusive breastfeeding and rejected formula milk. So the only option left with me was mixing the medicine in every feed and start early weaning, I remember I had started dal water, and rice kanji, apple puree. It got better with time.
I am an anxious and detective mother, and this god gifted quality in me brought me to do so many R and D, took help from Google, spoke to experts and experienced mothers and here I am with tips and bits of advice to help other mothers, Let’s see in details.
WHAT IS LACTOSE INTOLERANCE?
- Lactose intolerance happens when the body can’t break down a sugar called lactose.
- Lactose is present in breast milk, dairy milk and other dairy products. It makes up around 7% of breast milk and infant formula.
- Usually, the lactase, which is produced in the small intestine, changes the lactose into glucose and galactose – sugars that are more easily absorbed. But sometimes children don’t produce enough lactase to break down all the lactose, so the unabsorbed lactose passes through the gut without being digested.
- Bacterias eat the undigested lactose, which leads to a build-up of gas and causes symptoms like wind and diarrhoea.
- Lactose is important for a baby’s health and development.
- It provides around 40% of a baby’s energy needs and helps him absorb calcium and iron.
- There are two types of lactose intolerance:
They have different causes.
Primary lactose intolerance
- This happens when babies are born with no lactase enzymes at all.
- This is genetically carried and extremely rare.
- Babies with this kind of lactose intolerance have severe diarrhoea from the first day of their life.
- To thrive, they need a special diet from the time they’re born.
Secondary lactose intolerance
- This can happen if a child’s digestive system is upset by tummy bugs like gastroenteritis, which causes temporary irritation of the lining of the stomach and small intestine.
- This kind of lactose intolerance is temporary and usually improves after a few weeks.
- Secondary lactose intolerance might also happen if your child’s body doesn’t produce enough lactase. This usually develops after the age of three and can be lifelong.
- Most lactose-intolerant children can continue to include some milk products in their diets, especially if they eat them with other foods and in small amounts throughout the day. These foods are an important source of nutrients, especially calcium.
Common symptoms of lactose intolerance
This causes a range of symptoms including:
- Pain and swelling in the tummy.
- Failure to settle.
- Coming on and off the breast during breastfeeding.
- Failure to gain weight.
- Red, raw nappy rash caused by acidic poop is another possible symptom or side effect of lactose intolerance. (You should put a good protective cream on your baby’s bottom if this happens)
Even if your child has these symptoms, it doesn’t always mean she/he is lactose intolerant. Some or all of these symptoms are common in healthy breastfed infants. The symptoms can happen in the first week of life and last up to six weeks or as long as five months. It’s also highly likely the symptoms will disappear.
As long as your baby’s weight and health aren’t suffering, it’s not likely there’s a problem. But it’s always wise to consult your doctor, especially if your child has diarrhoea that isn’t getting better and he’s less than three months old.
Sometimes lactose intolerance is confused with food allergies like cow’s milk allergy. Some common food allergy symptoms include vomiting, blood or mucus in diarrhoea, hives and swelling around the eyes – these aren’t symptoms of lactose intolerance.
Lactose intolerance and diet
If your child is older and diagnosed with lactose intolerance, the following food and diet tips can help. These tips also apply to adults with lactose intolerance.
These foods are OK but may vary from person to person.
- Cheeses with very small lactose content.
- Yoghurt – the bacteria in yoghurt breaks down the lactose so it’s usually fine for your child to eat.
- Calcium-fortified soy products – soy yoghurt, milk, ice-cream and cheese
- Butter and cream – these contain only small amounts of lactose and are usually fine to eat.
- Bread, cereals, fruit, vegetables, meat and other protein foods.
Watch out for these foods:
- Milk ice-cream, milk desserts, cream cheese, processed cheese and cheese spread.
- Muesli bars.
- Check the ingredients in these foods like biscuits, cakes and cake mixes.
The above suggestions are based on my research and my experience, it may or may not be same for other. Do consult your doctor.