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Lactose Intolerance & Nursing

August 28, 2014

When it comes to our health and wellness, we’re all searching for answers. Sometimes that can be a complicated process as misinformation is everywhere. That’s where we want to help. Stay tuned over the next few weeks to read our “Lactose Intolerance Answers” series on Dairy Good.

Today, Dr. Robert Murray, who has practiced clinical Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition for more than 20 years, answers our last question that many new mothers may have. Don’t forget to check out the previous posts in this series, which are listed below.

If I’m nursing, should I give up milk, cheese and yogurt to help prevent my baby from becoming lactose intolerant?

Dr. Robert Murray: No. Drinking milk or eating cheese or yogurt will not make your baby lactose intolerant. Lactose intolerance is a genetic issue; it isn’t affected by what you or the baby consumes.

In fact, milk serves the mother and the baby well during the breastfeeding period. Dairy contains a rich supply of protein, vitamins and minerals. Breast milk contains lactose, just like cow’s milk. So, the lactase enzyme helps digest the sugar for the baby. It is very rare for a baby to lose the lactase enzyme in the newborn period.

A child with symptoms of diarrhea and cramping pain may have something else going on, such as a milk allergy or other food sensitivity, or even an infection. The baby’s doctor can help sort things out.

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