Lactose Questions



If your child is sensitive to lactose or is lactose intolerant, or if there is lactose intolerance in your family, it is a good idea to be aware of the alternatives.

Lactose intolerance occurs in people who can’t digest lactose because their intestinal tract does not produce a natural enzyme called lactase which breaks down the lactose. When lactose is not broken down, it remains in the intestines causing gas, bloating, and stomach cramps.There is a difference between milk allergy and lactose intolerance – milk allergy is an issue with the immune system, while lactose intolerance is an issue with the digestive track.

Common symptoms of lactose intolerance include: stomach cramps, pains, nausea, bloating, and gas. These symptoms usually begin about 30 minutes to 2 hours after drinking or eating foods containing lactose, and if you think your child could be lactose intolerant, you need to consult your pediatrician.

Although lactose intolerance means being careful about all milk products, there are wonderful options out there today.

I thought it would be good to share with you some points on lactose which had me pondering.


How is it possible to give your baby yogurt or cottage cheese at 7 months when you can’t give cow’s milk until at least 12 months?

Lactose is broken down in the fermentation process, so even if your baby’s sensitive digestive system cannot take cow’s milk until 12 months, it can take in fermented milk, meaning yogurt, cottage cheese or other light cheese like ricotta cheese. I often used small curd cottage cheese to mix with fruit purees for calcium and added texture.


What are the good alternatives to cow’s milk?

There are many good alternatives, such as almond milk, soy milk, hemp milk or oat milk. It has been noted by medical researchers that too much soy can mean providing too much estrogen in your child’s diet, so it is best to alternative between the different milks. My favorites are hemp milk or oat milk.


What about baked recipes that call for milk? 

You can use cow’s milk in baked recipes, as the baking process also breaks down the lactose. But there are also good alternatives, like unsweetened or sweetened coconut milk, which can be used instead of cow’s milk.


When can you begin to give cream and butter to your child?

It is good to wait until 12 months, but in France, many baby’s are given cream and butter in their food before then. If you do decide to add butter or cream in the meals, make sure it is a modest amount, as they can be difficult for your baby to digest.


Are lactose intolerant children intolerant to all milk products?

Studies have shown that as your child gets older, they are often able to digest milk products contained in hard cheese, such as cheddar, parmesan or pecorino. They usually continue to have difficulties with soft cream cheeses, like brie, camembert or saint marcelin. They can also eventually enjoy yogurt products, but for all of the products, you should consult your pediatrician.





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