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My baby is lactose intolerant. She`s had rice milk since she was around 10months old

My baby is lactose intolerant. She has been having rice milk since she was around 10months old. She is now two and she gets sick a lot. More than I feel is usual anyway.

She has recently been sick and hasn`t been able to keep anything down if she has had even a tiny bit of her milk. I thought maybe it was a good time to take her off the bottle and have her stop having milk at night time.

I know that children are still supposed to have milk while they are young but I was wondering if you could suggest something for me to do with her.

Answer: Hi Huia, it’s reasonably common that toddlers seem to get every bug going around. Their little immune systems haven’t as yet be exposed to all the common bugs and so their immune system doesn’t have a good memory bank (plus it is unfortunately flu season). Generally, though the number of illnesses begins to drop off soon. There are now some great milk alternatives. Vitasoy has now put out a range of calcium-enriched milks (rice, soy and I think oat). You can offer these after a meal or snack in a sipper cup, buy one variety one week and another the next - to ensure a good range of nutrients - and see how your toddler goes. Yes, hold off on the bottles now, it will be better for your toddler’s teeth as well as over-all nutrition. There is some support for small, but regular exposure to lactose to ensure the body keeps making lactase (the enzyme that digests lactose). If you stop exposing the body to lactose it reduces its production of enzymes to digest it and then even small amounts can cause a reaction. It would be best to do this with some guidance, so you can get the levels right. Low-lactose foods such as cheddar cheese and yoghurt can be a good starting point, just a little will offer only very small amounts of lactose. Also natural yoghurts have probiotics (healthy bacteria), which have been shown to be very helpful with immunity. You could pop into a good health food shop and ask about a probiotic for a child to get things started, they are also like to have some other immune support information. Lastly, naturopaths and nutritionists can be excellent with boosting immunity. Consider popping into see a practitioner about this. The sites below list practitioners by area if you wanted to find someone: www.nsa.asn.au www.atms.com.au I hope that’s helpful. All the best, Leanne
Answered: 08 Jul 2009