Symptoms of Lactose Intolerance in Babies


There are many symptoms of lactose intolerance in your baby. Diarrhea is a pretty common symptom. Apart from that your baby will show signs of uneasiness and restlessness. He/she will not stop crying for a long time. Loose and watery bowel movement is a definite sign. Then there will be frequent vomiting. Flatulence is also very common. Trapped wind inside your child’s wee belly will cause much distress. There will be noisy bowel sounds. All these symptoms will happen within few minutes of having milk or milk related products.  Sometimes the symptoms will be confusing as other factors might also trigger such reactions.

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Types of Lactose Intolerances:

Before knowing the symptoms of lactose intolerance you must also know about the types. It is very essential to know the roots of the problem. There are basically three types of lactose intolerances.

Firstly, there is the hereditary lactose intolerance. In such cases the baby is born without any lactase enzyme. Quite severe impacts are observed just after feeding milk.

If the intolerance is not hereditary then the baby might also grow such symptoms.  In such cases, even though the baby is born with proper lactase enzymes they get smaller in number and eventually trigger the intolerance.

Then there can be the case secondary lactose intolerance where a temporary ailment will disable your baby from the capacity of digesting milk or milk based products. This phase is temporary. This kind of lactose intolerance is not severe. It can be cured quite easily.


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Symptoms of Lactose Intolerance in Babies:

Early detection of lactose intolerance is quite challenging. That is because babies mostly live on milk and you cannot be 100% sure that it is the milk which is causing the problem. However, there are certain symptoms which you can look out for in order to detect the hint of lactose intolerance in your child.

Crying after having milk:

If he/she is crying just after having milk then it can indicate the early signs of lactose intolerance. He/she cannot be hungry just after having a belly full of milk. Now if it is not the wet nappy then it must be the aching stomach. The inability to digest milk will cause much discomfiture. This will make the baby to cry out loud.

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Constant Restlessness:

If not crying, the baby will show constant restlessness. He/she will be uncomfortable even after burping. A recent study conducted by Harvey & Ludwig (2018) indicate that many children, instead of crying, will show signs of distress. They will throw their legs and would not be able to sit in any particular place for few minutes.

Lactose Intolerances


Flatulence and trapped Wind:

Frequent flatulence is a very basic symptom of lactose intolerance. If the baby is just on milk based diet then it is an obvious sign. However, flatulence can happen due to many reasons. The trapped gas in your child’s belly will cause pain and discomfiture. He/she will again show signs of restlessness. Your child would not be able to sleep properly at a stretch. He/she will wake up in the middle and start crying.

Problem with digestion:

Lactose intolerance pretty much messes up the entire digestive system for a child. He/she will not be able to digest solids even properly, whilst suffering from lactose intolerance. This will cause a lot of distress to your child. The tendency of indigestion can happen due to many other things. That is what makes the detection of the issue, even more challenging.


Some children have this tendency of reflux just after having something. But it should not be confused with lactose intolerance. Throwing up just after having milk or milk based products is a basic symptom. You have to keep track of his/her reactions after having milk based products. In a way vomiting is better than suffering from stomach ache. Vomiting does not allow your child to undergo the pain and suffering.

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Loose of Watery Bowel Movement:

This can be considered as a severe symptom of lactose intolerance. Watery bowels, usually having the colors of yellow or green is a serious sign of the inability to digest any milk based products. This sign should be considered as something critical and should be addressed before things go out of hand.


It is the ultimate symptom and the most critical situation in case of lactose intolerance. If the intolerance remains unnoticed for days then it triggers a severe case of diarrhea. Now diarrhea can be caused due to many other things. Starting from having uncooked food to putting something in the mouth can cause diarrhea for a child. However, it is also true that unattended lactose intolerance can also lead your child to such ailment. Check with your pediatrician if such symptoms are visible.


Treatments and Precautions:

Lactose intolerance is pretty common. All you need to do is avoid feeding your child milk or any milk based products. However, it is much easier for adults to make this switch. In case of babies it is much more difficult because he/she normally survives on milk, at least for the first few months of their lives.

There are many lactose free milk formulas in the market. Ask your pediatrician about the choice of lactose free product which is suitable for your child. Check the ingredients’ list before offering any sort of formula to your child.

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Look for words like milk, curds, whey, milk by-products, milk powder etc. These are the things which your child cannot have under any condition. Homemade nut milks can be a suitable alternative. Nut milks are normally free of lactose. However, you need to preserve them carefully to make sure that there are no bacterial contaminations.

If the lactose intolerance is not hereditary then you child can have certain milk based products like cheese and yogurt. It is important that you consult with your doctor before introducing the same to your child. Check for all the new lactose free products.

Try and offer him/her with other food alternatives which are rich in calcium, magnesium and zinc.


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