Q&A: What calcium supplement can I take for my lactose intolerant baby?
My one-month-old has been diagnosed as lactose intolerant. Since I'm breastfeeding, I've put myself on a lactose-free diet too. After going off lactose, my baby has improved. His vomiting, gas, and irritability have gone down over the last week, so it looks like this will continue for the next year.
My concern is my calcium levels. I was wondering if you know of a calcium supplement that I could take that does not contain milk. Can I just take Tums?
Also, I'm concerned about my son. Will this be a life-long problem, or will he eventually grow out of it? If so, at what stage can I start reintroducing milk into our diets?
Lactose intolerance is an inability by the body to digest the sugar component in milk. Are you sure you son is lactose intolerant? He may have a milk protein allergy instead. While only one in 100 babies have a milk protein allergy, this is still more common than true lactose-intolerance at this age.
If your son is truly allergic, then a dairy-free diet is appropriate, which means for you as well while you are his source of nutrition.
Yet the outlook is optimistic: by the age of one, half of all such children have outgrown their allergies, and that number rises to 85 percent by three to four years of age. In about six months, you can discuss when to add a small amount of dairy to your baby’s diet with his pediatrician.
As for your own health, the calcium is a very important issue. You need at least 1200 mg. each day, and a dietary supplement like Tums is a good way to get some of that. Other, non-dairy sources are dark greens, sardines (with the bones), almonds, tofu and broccoli. Consider taking a daily multivitamin with 100 percent or the RDA of Vitamin D as well, as this vitamin helps your body use calcium more efficiently.