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  1. #1

    Can you breastfeed a baby with an allergy to lactose?

    Hello everyone, my new baby has been diagnosed with an allergy to lactose. I have been struggling to breastfeed and wondered if the two could be linked.

  2. #2
    Senior Member

    Join Date
    Feb 2014

    Here is some information pulled from La Leche Leagues website...they offer a great amount of educational information to breastfeeding mothers.....

    Signs and symptoms of lactose intolerance, diarrhea, and allergy may occur in exclusively breastfed infants. These problems may be the result of sensitivity, intolerance, or allergy, terms not always defined correctly in the literature.
    An adverse reaction is any abnormal reaction to food or additives; food intolerance is any abnormal physiologic response to ingested food; and food hypersensitivity (true allergy) involves an immune reaction to ingested substances, often synonymous with IgE-mediated reactions. Immune reactions to ingested substances are classified into two broad types: IgE, with involvement of the cardiovascular system, respiratory system, and/or skin; and milk protein enterocolitis, limited to gastrointestinal involvement.
    The top three food antigens are cow's milk protein (mostly the beta-lactoglobulin component), soy bean protein, and egg white, followed by peanuts, meat, and fish, especially cod. About 50 percent of infants allergic to cow's milk protein will also be allergic to soy bean protein, and soy is virtually everywhere in processed foods. Allergens can be hidden in minute amounts, even occurring as cross contamination during food processing.

    Research has shown that foreign proteins do pass into breast milk and can cause allergy. There are case reports in the literature of cow's milk protein in breast milk causing anaphylactic shock in infants. The possibility of allergic disease should be considered when a breastfeeding baby is not acting quite right, especially if the baby is not growing well.

    In diagnosing allergy, a complete history, including information about the baby's behavior, is important. Sleeping patterns, colicky behavior, and crabbiness may be signs of allergy. A complete physical is also important. Sometimes it is helpful to examine a baby just after a feeding because some babies will react immediately, providing clues to the practitioner.

    If the only symptom is colicky behavior, fussiness, gas, and/or loose stools, it can be helpful to examine the feeding pattern before starting an elimination diet.

    If an elimination diet is necessary, it should begin with the top offender, cow's milk protein. Once the mother's elimination diet has started, it can take anywhere from a few days to six weeks for an infant to show improvement, making it difficult to use elimination as a "test" to prove or disprove allergy to a particular protein. Many infants will outgrow their allergies by about 6 to 18 months. After a period of elimination, infants should be rechallenged with the offending protein to determine the need to continue with the diet.

    As you can see a true lactose allergy is very complex.
    Im curious as to how your baby was diagnosied and what came about to get him tested.
    It would be nice if you could share your babies age as well.

    I do hope that this helps you understand more about your babies condition.


  3. #3

    Thank you for replying and for gathering so much information for us.

    My baby is 11 months old now and his lactose allergy, along with a number of other food allergies, has only just been diagnosed. He was born with a low birth weight despite being very long and had problems feeding from day 1. Initially he refused to breastfeed and would become very distressed whenever we tried. Because of his refusal to take the breast or the bottle we were in hospital for two weeks, with him at one stage having a feeding tube, before he eventually began to take anything. When we got home he continued to struggle to feed and because of his weight we decided to supplement with formula. The pattern was that he would take a bottle or breast feed early morning and was then violently ill, he would then refuse to take any more food until he was absolutely starving, sometimes 10-12 hours later. He has never been a fussy baby and other than when we feed him he is actually a very happy baby.

    His physical symptoms were very low weight, vomitting on average 15 - 20 times a day, diarhea approx 8 - 10 times a day. Later on he began to struggle with very thick mucus when he was sick which would cause him to choke.

    After many visits to baby clinic we eventually met a new midwife who suggested lactose could be the problem and we removed it from his diet, he improved greatly but still had some problems so he was given a full spectrum of allergy tests. Thankfully we know now what to avoid but he has still occasionally having problems that we haven't been able to isolate the source of. He likes to breastfeed occasionally still as a comfort and I was worried that it may be the culprit.

    I will remove all foods from my diet that he is allergic to and hopefully he can carry on feeding as he asks.

    Thank you again

  4. #4
    Senior Member

    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Ok, so your baby is much older, I originally though he was a new born.
    I am so sorry that you are going through all of this.
    I highly suggest that you research everything you can get your hands on about this issue and start a elimination diet for your self and your son. Formula being number one to go...since it is full of this triggers for your son.
    Breastmilk will be the BEST food for your baby right now. The more breastmilk you can get into him the better. Also high fatty foods can help him gain weight, coconut oil is a great additive to increase fatty substance as well as avocado.

    Do let us know how he is doing.


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