Children with lactose intolerance are not always completely deprived of milk. Depending on the severity of the intolerance, children can sometimes consume small amounts of milk, without the risk of unpleasant symptoms of bloating, abdominal cramps or diarrhea. Even in severe cases of lactose intolerance, there are nutritious alternatives for milk, which supplement and replace much of the nutrients that the little ones in cow's milk benefited from.
Even though some children with intolerance may consume small amounts of milk, without digestive problems, there are cases when milk and milk should be completely excluded from the diet. But dairy is an important part of feeding a young child. The benefits that milk has on the growth and development of the baby can hardly be matched or replaced by other foods.
There are plenty of dairy products on the market that can be successfully introduced to lactose intolerant baby nutrition. Each of them has specific properties. It is important to be careful when buying such milk variants, because many of them are not suitable for cooking, they are not indicated in the case of children with milk protein allergy, while others should be consumed to some extent or only under certain conditions.
Milk without lactose
Lactose-free milk is the ideal option for the child who does not tolerate cow's milk. It contains exactly the same nutrients as normal milk, including protein, except lactose, which is removed from its composition. Therefore, it is not a food recommended for children allergic to milk proteins, but only to those with lactose intolerance.
The taste of lactose-free milk is almost the same as normal milk. It may even be to the child's liking, as it is a little sweeter than normal.
Soy milk is a food source rich in calcium and essential nutrients for the baby. It is one of the most widely used milk substitutes for lactose intolerant children. It has vegetarian origin, being produced from plants, which makes it even more attractive for parents, because it can be consumed by children with an allergy to milk proteins of animal origin.
Soy milk is the most widespread alternative for cow's milk for those who suffer from lactose intolerance, milk allergy or who want to become vegetarians. It is slightly richer in protein than normal milk, but lacks the fat and vitamin D that are normally found in it.
It is important for parents to supplement the nutrient deficiency in soy milk from other food sources. If you are opting for soy milk in your child's diet, always focus on calcium and vitamin D.
Rice milk is another vegetarian alternative to cow's milk that can be adopted in the diet of a child with lactose intolerance. However, unlike soy or "lactose free" on the market, it is quite poor in essential nutrients, proteins, fats and calories, which are crucial in raising a baby at a young age.
It is a good option, because it is tasty and child-friendly, but must be supplemented with other food sources rich in essential nutrients that are missing from it.
Almond milk is less widespread and known in the diet of children, but it is an effective alternative to cow's milk, if the young suffer from lactose intolerance. With a slightly sweet taste, adored by many chickens, almond milk has begun to gain quite a lot of popularity among parents with children who cannot tolerate lactose.
It is rich in a lot of nutrients essential for growth - magnesium, potassium, calcium, iron, fiber, phosphorus, vitamin E, etc. It contains even more antioxidants than cow's milk.
And this type of milk has important nutritional deficiencies, which must be taken into account by parents: it has quite a few calories and is low in zinc, a nutritional element essential for the immunity of the little ones.
What is lactose intolerance in children
Lactose intolerance is quite common among children, even though it is more often present in adulthood, most commonly in adolescence. It is not considered a disease, but a food intolerance that is defined by the body's inability to digest lactose, a carbohydrate found in milk and dairy products.
When the child consumes a lactose-containing food, an enzyme called lactase is produced in the body. It has the role of breaking down lactose into simple sugars: glucose and galactose. They are easily absorbed into the blood and transformed into the energy your daily needs need.
The child with lactose intolerance does not produce enough lactase and fails to break down lactose to be assimilated into the body. In this situation, lactose from milk is deposited in the intestines and causes gas, bloating, abdominal cramps and diarrhea.
Lactose intolerance has no specific symptoms, which makes it difficult to diagnose at a simple examination. Disorders associated with the condition can be easily confused with other digestive disorders. For the diagnosis of lactose intolerance, the pediatrician will subject you to an anamnesis regarding the child's diet, the moment when the symptoms of bloating, abdominal cramps, etc. appear.
Sometimes the simplest method of diagnosis is the so-called therapeutic test. This means that the very therapeutic measure of adopting a lactose-free diet becomes an effective diagnostic tool. In case the baby feels good after eliminating lactose-containing foods, the pediatrician diagnoses and gives you the necessary tips for his nutrition.
If the therapeutic test is irrelevant, he will recommend either the acidity test in the chair or the measurement of hydrogen in the air to detect whether lactose is deposited in the intestines or absorbed into the body.
Do you know of cases of children with lactose intolerance? Which milk alternatives are best for these children? Do you know any alternatives other than those recommended? Tell us your tips in the comments section below!
Tags Lactose intolerance for children Milk for children