Lactose Intolerant Babies

Lactose Intolerant Babies

Very rarely is a baby born with lactose intolerance. Both parents would have to pass their genetics that cause lactose intolerance to their baby.  About 90 percent of Asian Americans and about 75 percent of African American, Hispanic American, Jewish, and Native American adults are also lactose intolerant.

Lactose intolerant means your body can’t produce enough lactase, an enzyme needed to digest lactose, the sugar in milk and other dairy products. The undigested lactose remains in the intestines and causes diarrhea, gas, bloating and other intestinal discomfort.

Premature babies sometimes can’t produce adequate amounts of lactase because of their under developed digestive systems.

Lactose Intolerance Symptoms:

  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Bloating
  • Gas


A baby would have severe diarrhea right from birth from not being able to tolerate the lactose in the mother’s breast milk or from formula made with cow’s milk. A baby may experience abdominal pain, bloating, or gas about 30 minutes to two hours after drinking breast milk or eating dairy products, like cheese or yogurt. This can make them fussy and increase crying time.

Is lactose intolerance the same as a milk allergy?

No. An allergy is an immune system response which can also be passed on from a parent, while lactose intolerance is a gastro intestinal condition. The symptoms can be similar to those of lactose intolerance such as abdominal pain and diarrhea after consuming milk products.

If your baby develops a dry, itchy rash, itching and swelling of the face, lips, or mouth after consuming dairy products he may be allergic to one of the proteins in cow’s milk rather than being lactose intolerant. So there is a difference.

How to avoid or prevent symptoms of lactose intolerance and milk allergies


1 Avoid milk and dairy and products containing lactose. Thanks to recent legislation, products containing lactose, milk ingredients and other food allergens must be clearly shown on the labels.

2 Try lactose free and dairy free products. They may have all the same nutrients as the regular dairy products. Just be sure to read the  labels.

3 Check with your doctor and trying supplement and probiotics to help ease or prevent the symptoms.