Moms Expertise

Cows milk and babies: lactose intolerance

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Lactose intolerance or allergy (honestly not sure which one) runs in the family from my mother in law. She was in a children's hospital from the time she was born until 6 months because she could not tolerate the milk, breastmilk or any other substitues they had available in the 1950s. It was passed onto her sons, who passed it onto their kids. While my middle two could not tolerate any dairy at all in my diet, nor in theirs up to two years. I know with my boy and his dad, whenever they get too much dairy they are covered in hives.
My niece has also had lactose intolerance (testing was done) from the time she was born (she will be 13 in October). What my brother was told from a children's hospital is that babies are not equipped to digest the proteins in cows milk. Some babies do better than others, some do a lot worse than others.
If your baby has a lot gas, bad diarrhea, is just grumpy and spitting up or puking a lot, talk to the pediatrician. Make sure you know when the problems occur and when they don't to help them know what's going on.


True lactose intolerance usually shows up in the grade-school or teen years. While it's possible for symptoms to appear earlier, it's very unlikely that your baby is lactose intolerant.
Lactose is a type of sugar found in milk and other dairy products. Lactose intolerance develops when the small intestine does not make enough of an enzyme called lactase. The body needs this enzyme to digest lactose.

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