I know this is from last year, but I wanted to alert you about some very bad advice given to you by one of the moms who responded. That note read:
Hi J. F,
My husband is also allergic to milk products. When she gets older you will be able to try a product called Lactaid whenever she wants something with dairy, like pizza, cheesecake, ice cream etc.
Please do not follow this advice again -- it's completely wrong and could have disasterous consequences. There is a big difference between lactose intolerance, which can be remediated by products like lactaid, and allergy, which cannot.
Lactose intolerance is the inability to digest milk sugar (lactose) because the person does not make the enzyme (lactase) necessary for breaking it down. It can cause bloating, cramps and diarrhea. Lactaid replaces that enzyme for a very short amount of time, which is why you need to take it when you eat dairy products. Lactose intolerance can be very unpleasant but rarely, if ever, life threatening.
Allergy (of any kind) is very different. Allergens are proteins that are incorrectly recognized by the immune system as coming from an invading source. In the case of most food allergies, the primary symptoms are very similar to those of lactose intolerance -- gas, cramps and diarrhea--but they are generated differently, specifically through the action of histamine, which is made by cells in the stomach as well as other places, such as in the skin, gut, and respiratory tract (this is why allergies also cause hives and stuffy nose, etc). Giving lactaid for a true milk allergy will not prevent or alleviate symptoms and could be very dangerous for someone who is highly sensitive to the allergen -- especially if they develop angioedema of the throat (swelling to the point of disrupting breathing) or anaphylaxis. Such exposure could actually be fatal.
BTW, we are now learning that antibodies to certain allergens actually recognize some sugars on allergens, which is why you can get cross-reactive allergic and diagnostic responses to related foods in some cases. Lactose, however, is not one of the sugars that is recognized (xylose, galactose, and fucose are the main components). Foods that tend to have cross-reactive carbohydrate determinants, as we call them in the field, are mostly fruits and grasses.
Anyway, you can see the problem here -- you can get the same symptoms from two (or more) very different diseases, and the treatment and prognosis for each can be very different. It is possible that this person's husband had a true milk allergy. It is entirely possible that he out grew it (this is not uncommon), but he is also lactose intolerant, which is why he can now enjoy dairy products with the use of Lactaid. Or, it is possible that his "allergy" was misdiagnosed and that he has, in fact, only been lactose-intolerant all this time, and is now able to get relief with the engineering of new products.
R. Levy, MS
Medical Writer and Scientific Publications Specialist