What is milk protein intolerance?

Milk protein intolerance is a condition that affects the stomach and intestines in infants and smaller children that makes them sensitive to milk proteins. Symptoms can include loose stools, possibly bloody, and fussy after eating.

The kicker is that sometimes, the blood in the stools may not be visible, but can contribute to anemia, meaning low red blood cell counts. Milk protein intolerance is most common in kids under the age of 3. Most children past the age of 3 years have outgrown the condition and can handle dairy products without issue.

What causes milk protein intolerance?

It is still uncertain on what causes children to become milk protein intolerant, but most conclude it stems from an allergic reaction to the proteins in the stomach and intestines. There’s no evidence that milk protein intolerance is inherited and no evidence that introduction of milk affects the development of milk intolerance. There is no way to prevent the symptoms or irritation to occur. The only thing moms can do it makes sure your child gets plenty of liquids and discontinue foods with dairy products until symptoms subside and baby's doctor recommends trying dairy again.

Can baby still nurse?

Babies with milk protein intolerance are almost always able to handle breast milk without difficulty. Mom’s diet can play a part in the baby’s sensitivity. If that’s the case, avoiding dairy foods while you’re breastfeeding should solve the problem.The best way to avoid symptoms if you are breastfeeding or pumping is for mom to avoid dairy products until a few months after the symptoms have subsided.

As far as testing your child to see if they are milk protein intolerant, their doctor can check baby’s blood levels and examine their stool. Otherwise, the only way to know for sure is for a doctor to examine the baby’s medical history and a physical exam. Also, the question will be asked when/if dairy was added into their diet.

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Information provided in blogs should not be used as a substitute for medical care or consultation.