By Kinza Asghar Khan, PharmD

Up-Dated at 03-Feb-2024

As a parent, ensuring the optimal health and well-being of your infant is paramount. One of the conditions that may cause discomfort or harm is lactose intolerance and milk allergy, which are prevalent in infants.

Therefore, it is crucial to have an understanding of these conditions to prevent them from occurring. This article discusses infant lactose intolerance and milk allergy risk factors and offers prevention advice.

How do I know if my baby is lactose intolerant or allergic to milk?

Lactose intolerance and milk allergy are two different conditions that can affect infants. While they share some similar symptoms, the two have distinct differences.

What are the symptoms of lactose intolerance?

Lactose intolerance occurs when the body has difficulty digesting lactose, a sugar in milk and dairy products. Symptoms may include:

  • Stomach cramps
  • Diarrhea
  • Bloating
  • Gas

These symptoms usually occur within 30 minutes to 2 hours after consuming milk or dairy products. Lactose intolerance is not life-threatening but can cause discomfort and distress in infants.

What are the symptoms of milk allergy?

Milk allergy, on the other hand, is an immune system response to the proteins in milk. Symptoms can range from mild to severe and may include:

  • Anaphylaxis (a severe, life-threatening allergic reaction)
  • Trouble breathing
  • Stomach upset
  • Wheezing
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Eczema
  • Hives

Symptoms of milk allergy can occur within minutes to hours after consuming milk or dairy products. If you suspect your baby may have a milk allergy, it’s important to speak to your pediatrician immediately.

If you notice any of these symptoms in your baby, speak to your pediatrician. They can help you determine whether your baby has lactose intolerance, milk allergy, or another condition and provide guidance on managing the symptoms.

What causes lactose intolerance in babies?

Lactose intolerance in babies is typically caused by a lactase deficiency, an enzyme produced in the small intestine that breaks down lactose. Lactose is the main sugar found in milk and other dairy products.

When there is insufficient lactase in the small intestine to break down lactose, it passes through the gut undigested. This leads to symptoms such as gas, bloating, diarrhea, and abdominal pain.

In some cases, lactose intolerance can be a temporary condition. Lactose intolerance can develop after a bout of gastroenteritis or another illness that damages the small intestine’s lining. In these cases, lactose intolerance often resolves on its own as the small intestine’s lining heals.

It can also be a genetic condition that is passed down through families. Some ethnic groups, such as people of African, Asian, or Native American descent, are more prone to lactose intolerance than others.

In these cases, lactose intolerance is typically a lifelong condition. However, it can be managed through dietary adjustments and the use of lactase supplements.

What milk is best for lactose-intolerant babies?

Lactose intolerance in babies can often be temporary and improve over time. Breastfeeding is generally continued, even if breast milk contains lactose, because of its high nutritional content.

However, in cases where lactose intolerance is severe, causing dehydration and weakness, lactose-free formula milk may be added to the routine. In such cases, breastfeeding is either stopped completely for a few weeks or reduced in frequency.

A healthcare provider can guide you about the best combination for your child. NowBegins Iso Lac Lactose-free formula milk is an ideal choice for lactose intolerant babies.

Our formula is not only lactose-free; it also contains critical components to assist your baby’s growth and development. GOS, DHA, lactoferrin nucleotides, ARA, proteins, and vitamin E are carefully selected to offer your infant the nourishment he or she requires.

How can I prevent my baby from being lactose intolerant?

Lactose intolerance can cause discomfort and distress in infants, but preventing it entirely may not be possible. Often lactose intolerance is caused by genetic factors.

However, there are some steps you can take. These steps can reduce the likelihood of your baby developing lactose intolerance. It will also help you to manage the symptoms if they do.

1.Choose a suitable formula: If you’re formula feeding, choose a formula that is lactose-free or has reduced lactose content. Speak to your pediatrician or a registered dietitian for recommendations. Now Begins also has a premium infant formula range, including Iso Lac lactose-free formula rich in proteins, vitamins, and probiotics.

2.Introduce dairy products gradually: If you’re introducing dairy products into your baby’s diet, do it gradually and in small amounts. This allows your baby’s digestive system to adjust to the lactose.

3.Consider lactase drops: Lactase is an enzyme that helps break down lactose. Lactase drops can be given to help your baby digest lactose. Consult the pediatrician before using lactase drops.

4.Avoid high-lactose foods: As your baby starts eating solid foods, avoid giving them high-lactose foods such as cheese and yogurt until they’re 12 months old. Gradually introduce these foods and monitor your baby’s reaction.

5.Maintain good gut health: Good gut health can reduce the risk of lactose intolerance in infants. To maintain good gut health, ensure your baby gets plenty of fiber from fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Consider giving them probiotics or prebiotics.

If you suspect your baby has lactose intolerance or any other condition, speak to your pediatrician. They can diagnose the condition and guide you on how to manage it.

How to choose the right formula for a lactose-intolerant baby?

Here are some tips for choosing the right formula for a lactose-intolerant baby:

1. Look for lactose-free formulas: Lactose-free formulas are made with a different type of carbohydrate that is easier for lactose-intolerant babies to digest. Now Begins Iso Lac lactose formula is an ideal choice for lactose-intolerant babies.

2. Consider hydrolyzed formulas: Hydrolyzed formulas are another beneficial choice. These formulas have partially or fully broken down proteins that are easier for lactose-intolerant babies to digest.

Lactose intolerance in infants is usually not severe. It can often be managed through dietary adjustments or lactase drops to aid digestion. However, if you suspect your baby has a milk allergy or other condition, speak to your pediatrician. They can diagnose the condition and guide you on how to manage it.

What are some common foods that contain lactose?

Common foods for babies that contain lactose include:

  1. Milk: Cow’s milk, goat’s milk, sheep’s milk, and other animal milk products all contain lactose.
  2. Dairy products: Cheese, yogurt, ice cream, and other dairy products are high in lactose.
  3. Infant formula: Most infant formulas are made from cow’s milk and contain lactose. However, lactose-free or reduced-lactose formulas are available for babies with lactose intolerance.
  4. Other foods: Lactose is often added to processed foods as a sweetener, so it can be found in a wide range of products, including baked goods, sauces, and other packaged foods.

Not all babies with lactose intolerance need to avoid all lactose-containing foods. In many cases, small amounts of lactose can be tolerated without causing symptoms.

How can my child get enough calcium in their diet if milk or lactose is reduced?

If your child is allergic to milk or lactose, there are plenty of other ways to ensure they get adequate calcium.

Numerous brands in Pakistan provide calcium-rich lactose-free milk, cheese, and yogurt. Leafy greens, such as spinach, mustard, and turnip greens, are high in calcium and readily available.

Almonds, sesame, and poppy seeds are abundant in calcium and make delicious snacks. Dried fruits such as raisins, figs, and dates are handy and calcium-rich.

Tofu, derived from soy milk, is another excellent calcium source accessible in Pakistan. Chickpeas, lentils, and kidney beans are similarly high in calcium and can be added to soups, stews, and salads.

If you are concerned that your child is not getting enough calcium, consult their pediatrician, who can prescribe a calcium supplement if necessary.


In conclusion, lactose intolerance can be a common issue among infants. Still, it can be managed effectively with the right diet and care.

Breast milk is often continued in lactose-intolerant babies. However, if breastfeeding is not an option, lactose-free or hydrolyzed formulas are available for formula feeding.

At Now Begins, we understand the importance of providing high-quality baby formulas that meet the nutritional needs of your little one. Our formulas are carefully crafted with the best ingredients to ensure optimal nutrition and easy digestion.

If you are looking for a trusted source for your baby’s formula and nutritional needs, look no further than Now Begins.

Visit our website to learn more about our products and resources. Start your journey to happy, healthy, and thriving parenthood today. Read More

Open chat
Hi! Nowbegins
Available for live chat only