Can lactose intolerant babies drink breast milk?

In this short article, we will provide an answer to the question “can lactose intolerant babies drink breast milk?” and the lactose-free formulas for babies.

Can lactose intolerant babies drink breast milk?

Lactose intolerant infants do drink breast milk, which is a good thing. A baby that is lactose intolerant should not be weaned from breast milk and instead should be fed lactose-free or soy-based infant formula.

Lactose intolerance 

Lactose intolerance is separate from an allergy or intolerance to cow’s milk protein, which is two different conditions.

Lactose is a naturally occurring sugar that may be found in all mammalian milk, including cow’s milk. It is produced by the mammary glands. The lactose content of breastmilk remains largely consistent regardless of the amount of lactose consumed by the mother. Lactose levels in a newborn’s milk are about the same as those seen in milk received after a breastfeed when they first begin to feed. The fat content of finished milk, on the other hand, is greater.

Lactase is an enzyme that is required for the digestion of lactose. Individuals who are lactose intolerant develop the condition when they are either lacking or producing inadequate quantities of this enzyme, which prevents them from digesting lactose. Once it has been broken down and digested, it will not be absorbed into the body. The lactose will then circulate through the digestive system until it reaches the large intestine if this happens. Bacteria decompose in this environment, releasing acids and odors as a result.

When a child has lactose intolerance, they will have watery, typically green, foamy feces as well as an agitated baby who will often pass wind. The presence of lactose intolerance in a baby should be confirmed by medical testing (such as a positive hydrogen breath test and the presence of reducing sugars in the stool). In the vast majority of properly breastfed babies younger than three months, they are, nevertheless, positive. As a result, their diagnostic utility in the diagnosis of lactose intolerance in newborns is questionable.

Secondary Lactose intolerance

Because lactase is produced at the very tips of the small folds of the intestine, anything that changes the gut lining has the potential to cause secondary lactose intolerance in certain people. Small stomach injuries, for example, may result in the loss of these tips and a reduction in the amount of enzyme produced.


Food intolerance or allergy to a certain food As a consequence of dietary proteins found in cow’s milk, wheat, soy, or egg consumption, or as a result of other food components that enter breastmilk via the mother’s diet as well as food that the baby has eaten, this may develop in breastfed babies.

Milk Allergy in babies

An uncomfortable feeling in a baby may be caused by dietary allergies or intolerances. When a baby is born, breastmilk may include allergies or intolerances to foods that the mother is allergic or intolerant to. In certain cases, eliminating items from the mother’s diet that the baby is allergic or intolerant to, such as cow’s milk products, may be beneficial to the infant’s health. You should consult with a nutritionist if you want to experiment with eliminating foods from your diet on the assumption that your baby has an allergy or intolerance. A nutritionist can assist you in identifying the problematic foods and ensuring that your diet is nutritionally sufficient for both you and your child.

It is common for people to confuse an allergy (or intolerance) to cow’s milk protein with lactose intolerance, and many people make this mistake themselves. This isn’t accurate at all. This mistake is most likely caused by the coexistence of cow’s milk protein and lactose in the same meal, which is especially true in the case of dairy products. Because an allergy or intolerance to a dietary protein may result in secondary lactose intolerance, the two diseases may coexist, further complicating matters.

The lactose-free formula

In the case of a baby who is being artificially fed and is extremely malnourished or losing weight, artificial lactose-free infant milk should be recommended only in extreme cases. Nursing mothers’ breastmilk remains to be the best milk available, and it may help to repair the stomach in the event of secondary lactose intolerance in children (Shulman). Infants under three months of age who have acute gastroenteritis will usually recover in four weeks, but it may take up to eight weeks for a newborn under three months. Children over the age of 18 months who are older babies may need as little as one week of recuperation time. A medical evaluation should be sought by any baby who shows persistent symptoms and/or is not developing normally.


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Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.