Is my child lactose intolerant? Learn about lactose intolerance in kids
Lactose intolerance is a condition that is becoming increasingly common in children and babies, causing concern among parents.
Cicona is dedicated to the health and nutrition of children, which is why we created this post to ensure that you have all the necessary knowledge and may approach the subject with confidence and security. However, if you feel your child has an intolerance, you should consult your pediatrician for a diagnosis.
What is lactose intolerance in children?
To begin, it’s important to define lactose intolerance, as it’s not to be mistaken with lactose allergy.
In this scenario, lactose intolerance is a clinical syndrome that inhibits our body’s capacity to digest lactose (a type of sugar present in milk and dairy products). This happens because our small intestine does not produce enough lactase (the enzyme responsible for this function).
Regarding babies, it is usually more common in premature children since their digestive system is not fully developed.
Symptoms of lactose intolerance
Lactose intolerance in children manifests itself in a variety of ways. Lactose cannot be digested by the digestive system, thus it is sent to the colon, where it is fermented, releasing gases.
At this stage, the body starts a sequence of reactions to “expel” what it can’t digest properly. This is manifested as:
- Bloating and abdominal pain.
The symptoms can appear all at the same time or in an isolated way, in any case, it is best to go to a specialist doctor or pediatrician so that they diagnose our child and propose a suitable treatment.
Causes of lactose intolerance in children
As parents, we are worried about our children’s health and always prefer to prevent rather than cure, yet problems like lactose intolerance are difficult to forecast.
As our diet gets more diversified, we all lose a little bit of our ability to digest lactose as we get older. However, there are two main reasons why this can happen in the case of infants and babies who still get all of their nutrients from milk:
- Premature birth
Premature newborns, as previously said, have immaturity in the development of their digestive system, which leads them to be unable to digest certain meals. Lactose in this example.
- Any bowel disease
The intestinal flora can be changed after a time of localized viral infection in the stomach, and our child may experience transient lactose intolerance. That is why it is critical to see our doctor, since he is familiar with your medical history and will be able to advise you or request the tests he considers necessary.
What to expect if my child is sent tests to determine if he is intolerant or not?
If the pediatrician suspects that our child has lactose intolerance, he will order a series of tests to evaluate whether or not this is the case. They are usually very simple tests that do not cause any discomfort to the child:
- Examination of feces. To check for substances such lactose-specific sugars, fructose, glucose, and galactose, a little sample of the child’s feces will be required.
- The air test has expired. This test determines how much hydrogen is present in the patient’s exhaled air. This hydrogen is a result of the lactose fermentation process, which was not adequately digested.
All your questions about lactose intolerance answered
Food intolerances are issues that should always be left to the experts, however we’d want to help you clear up some of your questions, such as:
Is it possible for my child to be lactose intolerant to my own milk?
Although breast milk is without a doubt the best nourishment for a newborn, it must be noted that it also contains lactose, and, in fact, more than other milks.
However, if our child’s pregnancy was carried to term, intolerances normally do not appear until they are three years old.
As previously said, it’s better to see a pediatrician if you suspect your own milk is causing your child’s intolerance.
Is it okay for my baby to drink veggie drinks?
Consult a specialist before changing your child’s diet, especially if milk is their primary source of nutrition (al least until the first 2 years of life).
Remember that milk is their primary source of nutrition, thus we must make sure that their substitutes include the necessary nutrients for our infant.
These drinks are discouraged because they lack the nutritional value that a child requires at this age. If parents wish to feed this sort of food to their children as early as the age of two or three, they should always consult with their pediatrician to find the most acceptable product on the market.
How do I make sure he gets enough calcium?
If you’ve seen a doctor to determine whether or not your child is lactose intolerant, one of the measures suggested by the doctor will be a sufficient calcium intake.
Even so, keep in mind that just because the items are lactose-free does not mean they are calcium-free. Calcium can be found in green leafy vegetables like spinach and broccoli, almonds, and fish like salmon… If you believe your child is deficient in calcium, you can include these foods in his or her diet.
I suspect that my child may be lactose intolerant, should I eliminate its consumption?
It is best to see a doctor before deciding, as fully eliminating lactose can result in increased sensitivity to it.
In most cases, and depending on your child’s age, your doctor will advise making certain dietary modifications and adding enzymes to help digest lactose.
How can we help you from Ciconea?
At Ciconea, we defend breastfeeding as the ideal way to feed a newborn. However, there are different situations that make this impossible and that is where formula milks like the ones we offer come into play.
Neolact Premium Lactose free is a food specially indicated for feeding children with lactose intolerance.
It has been specially created for medical use in infants and young children, in fact, it can be consumed as the only source of food from birth to 6 months.
Before starting to take Neolact Premium Loctose Free, or any other formula milk, you should get the advice of a qualified physician or pediatrician.
We hope this article has caught your attention and helped you to clear up some doubts.
See you in the next article,