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How To Deal With Lactose Intolerance In Children?

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Food intolerance is getting quite common in today’s children, and lactose intolerance may be the most common of it all.

Dairy products such as ice cream, cheese, butter, etc., contain lactose, which is not easily digestible in many children. We have put a comprehensive piece to aid you to identify the warning signs and what measures to take for your lactose intolerant child.

What Is Dairy Intolerance?

Lactose is the sugar present in dairy products. The enzyme ‘lactase’ made by the small intestine helps to digest that sugar present in dairy. Some cannot digest such products, because their body is not able to produce the required amount of lactase.

Lactose intolerance may be temporary caused due to intake of antibiotics and for some it may be permanent.

Symptoms Of Lactose Intolerance In Children:

Between 30 minutes and 2 hours, after having any of the dairy products, if you observe the following symptoms, it is time to respond to these signs of lactose intolerance in children:

  • Cramps
  • Painful gas
  • Diarrhea
  • Bloating
  • Gas
  • Unexplained Weight loss
  • Malnourishment
  • Gradual growth
  • Watery eyes
  • Coughing
  • Vomiting

Diet For Lactose Intolerance Children:

Once lactose intolerance is discovered, you will have to make the necessary changes in your little ones diet. A very important source of calcium and vitamins are lost due to the omission of milk products from the diet. Hence, Lactose-intolerant children should fed proper calcium and Vitamin D supplements.

Though lactose intolerance in children is not completely curable, by following a proper diet your child can kick out those symptoms and feel better.

1. Alternatives For Milk:

You are probably worried out of your mind with the question of what exactly to give your lactose-intolerant child! Do not worry; you have great alternatives today for cow’s milk.

  • Options such as Lactose-free cow’s milk can be used to manage with lactose intolerance. Most grocers provide lactose reduced milk, Lactaid brand milk, etc.
  • You can also explore options like rice milk, almond milk and soya milk. You can get these in specialty gourmet stores in both online and offline ways.
  • You can make almond milk at home! Browse the net for suitable recipes.

[ Read: Soy Allergy ]

2. Calcium Supplements:

Calcium is needed for the growth of bones, teeth, and muscles. The amount of calcium needed by children depends upon their size and age. Toddlers between 1-3 years of age need about 500mg of calcium a day and about 400 IU of vitamin D a day.

  • Include calcium rich products like dark green vegetables such as spinach, fish with soft bones etc in your child’s diet.
  • Canned salmon with soft bones is good in calcium and vitamin D. Also calcium fortified cereals, orange juice, apple juice, soy milk, rice milk or tofu provides great deal of calcium and vitamin D.
  • Swiss cheese, mature cheddar cheese and cottage cheese are low at lactose and rich in calcium.
  • Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, dried figs and sardines are non-dairy foods, which are rich in calcium.

3. Alternatives For Milk-Based Desserts!

Like any child, yours may also love a milk-based dessert and may miss it. Here are some alternatives:

  • Fresh, frozen and canned fruit that does not contain milk proteins or sugars. Again fruit juices and fruit drinks too are milk-free.
  • Frozen fruit bars, plain gelatin, jellies, jams etc. are all great options, as they are all lactose free.
  • Go for desserts made with French and Italian breads, since they are made without milk.

[ Read: Food Allergy Food Intolerance ]

Finding Levels Of Lactose Intolerance:

The committee on Nutrition for the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends slowly introducing the dairy products to judge the child’s level of tolerance.

  • Some children are able to tolerate one glass of milk, but get symptoms with a second one.
  • Some can’t tolerate milk but can tolerate yogurt because the lactose is partly broken down by bacteria; and some can tolerate hard cheese.
  • Keep a record of your child’s tolerance by first eliminating and then slowly reintroducing specific dairy products and observing the change in symptoms.
  • Based on this record, you can monitor his dairy intake and make sure he does not miss out on his nutrients.
  • If your child has very low tolerance for dairy, you have to alter his diet so that he gets calcium and other nutrients in another form.

Lactose intolerance is not a critical condition but may prove to be a nuisance if not handled properly. Certain diet changes are called for in your child’s diet, to make meal times a pleasure for your little one. Hope this article helped you in achieving that!

Don’t forget to share your views and experiences in the comment section below. Wish you good luck.

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