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A female asked:

What is the difference between lactose intolerance and dairy allergies in babies? i am a mother of a 4 month baby, and when she was 1 week she was diagnosed with an allergy to lactose - the smear test came out with clotted blood hidden in the poop. as a

3 doctor answers4 doctors weighed in
Dr. Laura McMullen
Pediatrics 23 years experience
Lactose : Lactose intolerance is the lack of an intestinal enzyme called lactase and is the inability to digest lactose - the sugar found in milk and other dairy products. Babies are born with the lactase enzyme and most lactose intolerance does not occur until age 3 or older if at all. Symptoms can be bloating, cramps, diarrhea, nausea and poor growth in children. Some races such as asians and african americans are more susceptable to lactose intolerance than caucasians. 2%-3% of infants have milk allergy and the good news is that many of them outgrow in by 3-5 years of age. Milk allergy is actually the body's immune system recognizing cow milk protein in the intestines as a foreign substance and causing symptoms like loose, sometimes bloody stool, irritability, vomiting and food refusal. This usually occurs in the first few months of life. The incidence of milk allergy is lower in breast fed babies than formula fed babies, but some babies react to the cow's milk protein transferred through the mother's milk from the dairy in the mother's diet. Breast feeding is best and you can continue if you restrict or eliminate milk and dairy products from your diet. Just make sure you are getting enough calcium from non-dairy sources! legal disclaimer: I am providing this general and basic information as a public service and my response to this question does not constitute a doctor-patient relationship. For any additional information, advice, or specific concerns, please speak with your own physician. The information provided is current as of the date of the answer entry.
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Dr. Thomas Klein
Allergy and Immunology 43 years experience
See your pediatricia: Lactose intolerance means difficulty digesting milk sugar. Dairy allergy means an allergy to milk protein. Patients could have both problems. A 4 mo old more likely has milk allergy. A soy based formula may be the answer. Speak to your pediatrician.
Created for people with ongoing healthcare needs but benefits everyone.
Dr. Marivic Botta
Pediatrics 21 years experience
Very different: Some babies are born with cow's milk protein allergy which they may grow out of. It can lead to blood in the stool, fussiness (gerd) or rash. Some with cows mp allergy also have soy allergy which means no milk intake for mom when nursing or a special formula for baby. Lactose intolerance happens later and is due to poor gut absorption of milk. It can lead to gassiness and loose stool.
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Last updated Oct 3, 2016


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