My sister is lactose intolerant, but fortunately, I never developed this intolerance since I love milk so much. Lactose intolerance can develop in adults as well as babies, but it’s harder to detect in infants and toddlers. There are two ways that babies can become lactone intolerant, and they’re called primary lactose intolerance and secondary lactose intolerance.

What Is Lactose Intolerance?

First of all, lactose intolerance is the inability to break down a sugar called lactose, which is found in breast milk, cow’s milk, and many other dairy products. Lactose provides your baby’s body with about 40% of the energy they need and it also helps them absorb calcium and iron. To be able to break down lactose, you need lactase, which is an enzyme found in the small intestines. When you don’t produce enough lactase, you’re lactose intolerant.

Primary Intolerance
The first type of lactose intolerance is very rare. It’s when babies are born without any lactase enzymes at all. When this happens, your child will need a special diet right from the beginning. Unlike secondary lactose intolerance, your child will never be able to handle any type of dairy or milk product.

Secondary Intolerance
This type of intolerance occurs when an illness disrupts your child’s digestive system, causing a temporary decrease of lactase enzymes. Some of the most common illnesses that cause this to happen are stomach illnesses that usually result in gastroenteritis and coeliac disease.

Secondary lactose intolerance can also be caused by not producing enough lactase. Usually this happens when a child is about three years old. With this type of intolerance, your child can still handle small amount of milk and dairy. The most common symptoms of lactose intolerance are:
•    Gas
•    Diarrhea
•    Crankiness
•    Pain and swelling in the stomach
•    Failure to gain weight
There are a few different ways to diagnose your child if you believe she might be lactose intolerant. The first way is with a Clinitest tablet. For this you need a stool sample from your child mixed with a little water. A Clinitest tablet is them mixed in. This method is usually used to help diagnose intolerance from gastroenteritis. The second method is a hydrogen breath test. Children who are lactose intolerant will have higher levels of hydrogen in their breath. The last method is an elimination diet. This means you simply cut out dairy products for a time and see if your child’s symptoms go away.

Children Network. (2010, December 30). Lactose intolerance. Raising Children Network.