Discover the Signs and Symptoms of Lactose Intolerance in Children


Could your child be lactose intolerant? Learn the signs and symptoms as early as you can to ensure your child’s wellbeing.

Dear mummies,

Do your children complain of stomach discomfort every time they drink milk or eat ice cream? While stomach discomfort is common among children and may be dismissed as regular stomach pain, it could also be a symptom of 1 lactose intolerance.This is a digestive disorder where the body has difficulty breaking down lactose, a sugar found in milk and dairy products.

Children with milk lactose intolerance may experience discomfort every time they consume dairy milk. Therefore, it is crucial for parents to recognize the symptoms and signs early on to help their children manage their condition. By doing so, you can help your children avoid foods that may trigger their symptoms and maintain a healthy diet.

What is lactose intolerance?

To help your child’s condition better, it’s crucial for you to have an understanding of what lactose intolerance is. Lactose is a type of sugar present in milk and milk-derived products. The body generates an enzyme known as lactase to digest lactose. When there is an insufficient amount of this enzyme, children can develop lactose intolerance.

When lactose is not digested, it remains in the gut and is eventually broken down by bacteria, leading to 2stomach cramps, diarrhea, bloating, and gas in children. Lactose intolerance is not a serious health problem. Both children and even adults can experience lactose intolerance. However, the experience can be unpleasant depending on the symptoms faced by individuals which can range from mild discomfort to severe ones. 

Signs that your kids have lactose intolerance

It is worth noting that some individuals may have erroneously attributed symptoms of 3milk allergy to lactose intolerance. That is why it is important for parents to familiarize themselves with the 4common symptoms that children with lactose intolerance may display.


By identifying these indicators, you can work together with your child to devise effective strategies for coping with this condition. These symptoms typically manifest within 30 minutes to two hours of the child consuming dairy products such as milk. According to, these common symptoms include:

  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Stomach cramps
  • Bloating
  • Gas
  • Abdominal pain
  • Loose stools

How can parents assist their child in managing lactose intolerance?

Despite the challenges of managing lactose intolerance in a child, parents have a significant role to play in alleviating their child’s symptoms and ensuring a nutritious and well-rounded diet.

While lactose intolerance may be mistaken as a common issue, it can cause discomfort and interfere with a child’s overall health if left unaddressed. As a parent, there are several ways you can support your child in managing their lactose intolerance.

Here are some helpful tips to consider:

#1. Start slow and small

When a child shows symptoms of lactose intolerance, it is not uncommon for parents to restrict or eliminate dairy products from their child’s diet. However, with the help of a healthcare provider and a registered dietitian, parents can create a personalized plan that incorporates appropriate amounts of dairy or alternative sources of calcium and vitamin D.

If you plan to reintroduce dairy products into your child’s diet, it is advised to 6start slowly and increase the amount gradually to determine their tolerance level.

#2. Identify food with lactose

While lactose is primarily present in milk and dairy products, there are several foods that may contain hidden sources of lactose. Identifying these foods early on can help parents prevent their child from consuming them, especially if they experience severe symptoms.

Baked goods such as cookies, cakes, and breads, among others, may contain milk or dairy products. Additionally, processed foods like frozen meals or soups may contain lactose as a flavor enhancer. You can also help educate your child about foods that they need to avoid so that they can make an informed decision before consuming any foods.

#3. Check the food label before purchasing

As a parent, you can learn more about the sources of lactose in food products and read the labels carefully before purchasing any item. This can help you to identify and avoid products that contain lactose or other dairy ingredients.

#4. Introduce lactose free alternatives

If you completely eliminate all sources of dairy from your child’s diet, they may not be getting the proper amount of calcium that their body needs for optimal health. While it’s important to manage symptoms of lactose intolerance or dairy allergy, it’s also important to ensure that your child is receiving enough calcium, which is essential for strong bones and teeth, muscle function, and overall health.

Always choose lactose-free or low-lactose alternatives as a part of your child’s balanced and healthy diet. By making informed choices, parents can help their child maintain a healthy and balanced diet while managing their lactose intolerance effectively.

#5. Introduce easy to digest milk formula to combat milk intolerance

If your child experiences indigestion or has milk intolerance, consider introducing  Similac Total Comfort into their diet which is formulated to support sensitive tummies and cognition. This formula consists of pre-digested whey protein and is 98% lactose-free to reduce tummy sensitivity and aid easier digestion.

Additionally, it contains 2’-FL, which supports the body’s defense system and reduces allergy risk7. With your child protected from tummy troubles, it’s time to nourish their brain development. Similac Total Comfort contains an Eye Q Nutrition System which has nutrients such as DHA, Lutein and Natural Vitamin E for fast learning.

Notably, Similac Total Comfort is scientifically proven to give your chikd fast and  sustained gut relief8. By choosing Similac Total Comfort, you can help ensure that your child’s nutritional needs are being met while also providing a solution that is easy to digest and supports their overall growth and development.

Do consult with your pediatrician if you have any concerns before making changes to your child’s diet.

Give your child the nutrition they deserve with Similac Total Comfort and get a free sample NOW!

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1Mayo Clinic (March 05, 2022). Lactose Intolerance. (Reviewed 2021). Stomach ache.

3Cleveland Clinic. Milk allergy.

4DoctorNDTV (2018). Is Your Child Lactose Intolerant? Watch Out For These Signs And Symptoms

5Stanford medicine children’s health. Lactose Intolerance in Children.

6University of Rochester Medical Center Rochester. Lactose Intolerance in Children.

7Bode L Glycobiology. 2012.

8Reverri E.J. et al, 2018. Nutrients, 10,1346.

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