The answer is yes, toddlers can drink lactose free milk. Lactose intolerance (LI) is a group of symptoms such as nausea, gas and bloating that result from an inability to digest lactose a form of sugar found in milk and other dairy products.
Lactase is the enzyme needed to break down or digest lactose. This enzyme is produced by cells that line the small intestine, which break lactose down into two simpler forms of sugar called glucose and galactose (milk sugar).
When infants consume milk during infancy, some of them produce enough lactase to digest milk. Others do not produce enough. As the child becomes older, the body often decreases the amount of lactase made, which is called primary LI. In these cases, the body cannot break down all of the milk sugar before it reaches the colon where bacteria ferment some of what is not digested. This process produces gas and other symptoms that may lead to secondary LI.
Gastrointestinal illnesses such as viral or bacterial infections can also cause LI. When milk is digested, it produces lactic acid and other metabolic acids. When the body is fighting infection, these acids lead to symptoms such as abdominal cramps.
LI usually resolves itself by the age of three years for most children who are lactose tolerant during infancy; however, cases may persist past this age.
If your child has LI, then he or she can drink lactose-free milk instead of regular milk because it contains more fully broken down sugars. Lactase enzyme drops are also available to add to the child’s favorite dairy foods.
What causes lactose intolerance?
Lactose intolerance is caused by the body’s inability to produce enough of an enzyme called lactase. A lack of lactase can lead to gas, abdominal cramping, bloating and diarrhea in some people when they eat dairy products.
How do I know if my child is lactose intolerant?
If your child has gas, bloating or diarrhea after drinking milk, he/she may have lactose intolerance. A diagnosis of lactose intolerance requires a medical evaluation and dietary history to help determine if there is any improvement when dairy products are eliminated from the diet.
What is the difference between lactose intolerance and a milk allergy?
Lactose intolerance is a digestive disorder. A milk allergy is an immune response.
Can my child drink lactose-free milk instead of regular milk?
Yes, your child can drink lactose-free milk, because it contains more fully broken down sugars. Lactase enzyme drops are also available to add to the child’s favorite dairy foods.
What is lactose?
Lactose is a form of sugar found in milk and other dairy products that requires the body to produce the enzyme called lactase in order to digest it.
What is lactose intolerance?
Lactose intolerance is a digestive disorder in which the body cannot produce enough of the enzyme called lactase that breaks down lactose found in dairy products. This can lead to gas, abdominal cramping, bloating, and diarrhea when consuming these foods.