Navigating life with a child who has lactose intolerance doesn’t have to be as daunting as you may think. When mismanaged, lactose intolerance may evoke discomfort, but it is not dangerous. There are many myths associated with lactose intolerance, therefore in this article we’re highlighting what you really need to know. Be careful not to get too caught up with the mistruths on the internet.
Firstly, you should know that lactose intolerance also does not mean that your child should cut out all dairy products. Often with lactose intolerance, the child may still be able to tolerate a small amount of lactose. Research suggests most people with lactose intolerance can tolerate the equivalent of up to 1 cup of milk. Milk may be better tolerated if it is consumed alongside food rather than on its own. Dairy foods that are low in lactose e.g. butter, some cheese and low lactose yoghurt are also often well tolerated. Exact tolerance levels will vary between children so keep an eye out as to how much lactose your child can manage. Alternatively, you may wish to track your child’s tolerance levels via a food and symptom diary as this can help you to manage exactly how much lactose can be well tolerated.
Dairy is a great source of many micronutrients which are required for children’s growth and development. It’s a brilliant source of calcium which is essential for supporting healthy bones and teeth, iodine which plays a key role in a child’s cognitive development, Vitamin B12 is pivotal for energy production and Vitamin D which is crucial for the immune function and bone health. Dairy foods such as yoghurt and kefir (a fermented milk drink) are also rich in live cultures which help to support a healthy gut microbiome. As a result, including dairy in your child’s diet is a fantastic way to support their health.
If you are concerned that your child will be reducing their daily intake of dairy, do ensure they are consuming a variety of foods to support their nutrient needs. Oily fish, eggs and mushrooms provide a small amount of Vitamin D, white fish, prunes and beans contain iodine and nuts, seeds, green leafy vegetables and calcium-set tofu are sources of calcium too. Meat, fish and eggs can also provide vitamin B12 to help maintain energy function.
It’s important that a child with lactose intolerance is never left feeling isolated or insecure about their dietary requirements. Milkaid® Junior Tablets ensure that a child with lactose intolerance can still enjoy their favourite dairy foods. Milkaid® Junior provides the lactase enzyme which is missing in children with lactose intolerance. Lactase is required to break down the lactose (the sugar found in milk). Milkaid® Junior Tablets are a really convenient solution for children aged 3+, as a chewable strawberry flavoured tablet, they can be consumed just before enjoying food or drink containing dairy and will minimise any symptoms. So if you are concerned about your child attending an event, such as a birthday party, where they will be consuming dairy, it’s best to ensure they’re well equipped with Milkaid® Junior and instruct them to consume two tablets before eating foods containing lactose.
Do be aware that lactose can be used as a filler in some supplements and medications, whilst the amount is unlikely to cause symptoms, if they are already consuming lactose-containing foods they may require a Milkaid® Junior to ensure they’re breaking down the lactose effectively.
If you are following the advice, consuming low lactose foods or supporting higher lactose foods with Milkaid® Junior and your child is still experiencing symptoms, it’s vital to return to the GP for further testing to assess whether any additional gastrointestinal issues are present. Finally, the most important thing to remember is that children living with lactose intolerance can still live a very normal life and consume many of their favourite dishes.