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Breast Feeding

One parent with lactose intolerance

10/30/2006

Question:

My husband has severe lactose intolerance. I do not. I am pregnant with twin boys and would really like to breastfeed. Can I still breastfeed if one or both babies are lactose intolerant? What should I watch out for?

Answer:

Lactose intolerance is extremely rare in newborn infants.

What usually happens is, if a mother is taking dairy products all through the pregnancy and beyond, the baby may be sensitized to the cow milk protein and not tolerate her breast milk. This may appear to be lactose (milk sugar) intolerance, but is really bovine protein intolerance…which can eventually lead to lactose intolerance.

The best way to prevent this is to stop all dairy products at least 6 weeks before your due date (perhaps 8 weeks in your case, since twins tend to come early).

You can get your calcium requirement from soy milk or calcium supplements.

This way your milk will be free of cow milk protein by the time you deliver, and your boys should do well on your milk.

For more information:

Go to the Breast Feeding health topic, where you can:

Response by:

Jeanne L Ballard, MD, FAAP, FABM Jeanne L Ballard, MD, FAAP, FABM
Professor Emeritus, Pediatrics, Obstetrics and Gynecology
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati