Saturday, January 28, 2012

Baby Care: Lactose Intolerance

Issues with milk: Lactose Intolerance in Children.

Now that Aiden turned a year old he is supposed to be able to drink regular milk but he is lactose intolerant. He has had this problem since he was born, even when he was breastfeeding. I have scoured the internet looking for information to explain the problems he has been having, and one day I happened to find the right page that explained it all. I forget that when searching for a diagnosis, the symptoms reported on internet sites are not all symptoms, just the most common ones.

My little guy had mustard-yellow, runny stool that escaped from every crease of his diaper. He would experience several "blowouts" per week and never had the typical light yellow seedy-looking diapers with hardly any smell to them. He ruined several outfits and a bouncer with this mustard-colored mess.

He would poop within 20 minutes of drinking any milk products including breastmilk. I read several articles that said it is unusual for breastfed babies to be lactose intolerant, but I want everyone to know that if you are experiencing the same issues I did, it is possible and very likely.

Another issue is a funny smell to his breath. He drools a lot now that he is teething, and I noticed his shirts and neck area had a funky smell from his saliva. I found an explanation to this one, lactose intolerance causing their breath to have a higher concentration of hydrogen. The funky smell is slightly chemical-smelling, not like bad food or typical rancid breath.

So now that he will not be drinking milk I have decided to keep him on toddler formula with a soy-base. I had planned to breastfeed him until he was 16 months to two years old based on the recommendation of the World Health Organization. It is my opinion that babies still need that nutrition for brain development past one year and milk does not contain enough nutrients to supply it. Many health professionals do not recommend soy milk for babies, so I will transition him to a soy-based toddler formula for 9-24 month olds and then to soy milk when he is 3 years old.

For those who suspect their babies may be lactose intolerant here is a list of not so common symptoms and a link to more information:

1. Poop that is light to pale colored. Green, yellow and brown are normal but tan, lemon yellow and white are not and indicate a problem with the digestive tract.

2. Pooping 20-30 minutes after consuming a milk product including breast milk. Sometimes it does not even take that long. Tiny babies do this and it is normal but once a baby is beyond 6 months old his bowel movements should be soft but formed, not liquid and runny.

3. Strange odor to their breath or saliva if teething. This is due to an excess of hydrogen in their breath from undigested lactose in their system.

4. Frequent diaper rash with red, irritated skin. This is due to high acid levels in the stool not due to insufficient diaper changes. Often after applying diaper rash cream it is gone by the next change. Also an indication of a digestive disorder.

If your baby has any of these symptoms or ones similar to these it is very likely he or she is lactose intolerant.

Here is a link to the page where you can get more information on lactose intolerance and lactose overload. Both are very good informational articles.