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ItalianPrincess1217's avatar

Does this mean my toddler is lactose intolerant?

Asked by ItalianPrincess1217 (10529points) December 18th, 2013 from iPhone

I’ve been noticing my toddler’s tummy gets very bloated and hard after drinking his milk. He also gets gas soon afterwards. He doesn’t usually get diarrhea, in fact it sometimes causes him to be constipated instead. Do any of these symptoms sound like lactose intolerance? We just had to switch his primary dr and can’t get an appointment for a couple weeks. He doesn’t seem to be in pain or bothered by this but I’d still like to have some idea of what’s causing these issues.

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11 Answers

funkdaddy's avatar

You can try lactose free dairy milk and that would probably let you know pretty quickly if there would be a change without the lactose. There are usually several kinds right next to the “normal” milk at the store, but sometimes it’s hard to find whole milk that is also lactose free. It’s definitely worth just giving a shot though. (different doctors seem to have different opinions on how important “whole” milk is)

You can also try other types of milk, like soy milk, goat milk, or rice milk. But the lactose free stuff will be most like what he’s used to now.

All that said, constipation doesn’t sound like lactose intolerance and could be related to anything from dehydration to something else he’s eating. It’s a pretty simple check to rule that out though and then ask your pediatrician at your first visit.

ItalianPrincess1217's avatar

@funkdaddy Good idea. I’ve tried the soy milk and he hated it but I never knew about the lactose free milk. Maybe he’ll like that more than the soy stuff.

Also, I should mention a couple weeks ago he guzzled 2 cups of milk and then got bad diarrhea shortly afterwards. Usually he’s only drinking a little at a time but it seems if he drinks more than a cup at once, he does get diarrhea.

creative1's avatar

There is a good possibility that your toddler is lactose intolerant, it can start at different ages. I know a friends daughter became lactose intolerant as a toddler. Mine were on Almond and Coconut milk until we moved up by a farm since I didn’t want them to have the hormones and antibiotics that are in milk in the stores, they loved them both. You can get the pre-sweetened ones or the unsweetened variety, I know mine didn’t like the soy flavor at all. The reason why doctors want children on whole milk is because of the fat in the milk, the brain needs a certain amount of fat to help with development.

Smitha's avatar

I too feel it could be Lactose intolerance. When there isn’t enough lactose or the lactose consumed is not digested well, it tends to stay in the intestines causing gas, bloating, stomach cramps, and diarrhea. Try to cut back all milk products or suspect foods out of your child’s diet for 2 weeks and see if symptoms improve.Then begin to reintroduce the foods, one at a time. This can help you pinpoint which foods cause symptoms. Talk with your pediatrician before beginning an elimination diet to be sure the diet provides adequate nutrition. As @funkdaddy said you can use lactose-free or reduced-lactose milk and dairy products. Also try to include Broccoli, brussels sprouts, dried figs, and sardine in his diet to get the required calcium. Check this chart for lactose free diet.

Pandora's avatar

Does the formula (if it is formula) contain iron? Sometime iron can make babies constipated. I would try giving him more water, and if that doesn’t work than half a teaspoon of Karo syrup in warm water. This will help flush his system out. Babies get constipated or the runs from time to time. Its just natural. A doctor once told me that the intestines take longer to develop.

My son was colic for the first 3 months and I kept giving him formula. Only I gave him the powder one to make it easier for him to digest. I feel so many people jump to the lactose intolerance conclusion. Even doctors. As a result it seems there are a lot of kids growing up on juice and soda. I wonder how on earth did children survive the 60’s.

If you are feeding him regular 2% milk, then you may want to change to organic.
I became lactose intolerant in my late 30’s and I am back to drinking milk. I changed from 2% crap water, milk, to all natural organic whole milk, with no synthetic hormones or pesticides and it doesn’t cause me any pain. On the up side the milk taste like I remember when I was growing up. I think most people are not lactose intolerant. They are just allergic to all the pesticides and synthetic hormone and antibiotics injected an fed to the cows. I’m also convinced that 2% or less, milk is striped of all the natural healthy nutrients that is needed to absorb the milk.

KaY_Jelly's avatar

It’s hard to say. I can say I have lactose intolerance as a child I felt nauseous and sometimes threw up. As an adult the symptoms turned more into severe nausea and diarrhea and stomach rumbling, pains and cramps and gas.

Now that I am a vegan I have no symptoms woohoo!

When my daughter was a baby as I started her on milk after breast feeding she threw up constantly, I was concerned took her to the doctor and he said she was lactose intolerant as well. Now she drinks lactose free milk and still eats some cheese because she likes it so she eats lactose pills just to get by otherwise she is in pain or sick because she’s throwing up or has severe nausea.

Here is some info on the symptoms.

Judi's avatar

Rice milk tastes better than Soy if it ends up being a dairy thing and not just lactose.

ItalianPrincess1217's avatar

@Pandora He’s not on formula, he drinks whole milk. When he was on formula he needed a special kind because the regular stuff didn’t do well with his tummy.

creative1's avatar

@ItalianPrincess1217 Was it a soy based formula or was it the one that partially breaks it down to aide in digestion. Maybe he has always had trouble with either milk or breaking down milk and needs something easier for him to digest. I know when my youngest was having a bit of issue putting her on soy milk her pediatrician told me I could give her the orange juice fortified with Calcium and Vitamin D instead of milk. So she was on that for a bit of time before I tried the Almond and Coconut milk for her.

ItalianPrincess1217's avatar

@creative1 It wasn’t soy based. It was called gentle ease. I believe it was for aiding in digestion and breaking it down. I’ll have to ask about what the best alternative would be. I definitely need to incorporate more calcium into his diet but I worry that eliminating milk will deprive him of some other necessary nutrition. I’ve heard the fats help brain development? So before making a permanent switch I’ll get the dr’s okay. For now, until we can get him in for the appointment, we are going to switch to latose free milk and see how that goes.

Pandora's avatar

Did you try the powder formula? When my son was colic we had to change him to the powder formula. I don’t know if they still make it but it is not as heavy as regular formula or regular milk. He probably isn’t ready for cow milk. You can also try goats milk. It is better for nutrition than cows milk and digests much better. Only more expensive. My mom said back in her day there was no soy milk and so babies were given goats milk, instead of cows milk. Unfortunately it only comes in can, but if the few things we tried didn’t work that was going to be the next step. We didn’t have soy milk as a substitute either. When I worked in daycare, it always seemed to me that the weakest and sickest babies were the ones being raised on soy milk.

You could also try cleaning out your babies tummy before going into something else. It will not give your baby the runs. I’ve seen it on line and used it for my kids plenty of times when their tummy was ill. I would give them anise seed tea (do not use the star one), just the seeds.
Make the tea with just water and a tiny bit of sugar and let you kid drink it warm. Make the tea a light yellowish color. Give him this instead of a bottle of milk . All this will do is clean his stomach out of gas and help settle it before his next feeding. I did this for a day with my son when he was colicky , but that was for a whole day. Next day he was able to feed without pain. I would also do it when they were sick because it would help settle their tummies. There is nothing harmful in this for babies but if it makes you nervous you can give him just a spoon to try. (make sure all the seeds are filtered out)

Found this site about the benefits of goats milk .

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