19 answers

Stomach Aches from Milk

My six-year-old son, who has always loved milk, is getting stomach aches these days when he drinks it -- not every time, but often, and particularly when I give him his favorite drink -- vanilla milk. He says that the stomach aches usually happen pretty soon after snack time at school, when he drinks the organic milk box that I send. He doesn't appear to have other symptoms. Could this be a sign of an allergy or lactose intolerance? I'm a bit confused because he eats other dairy products without complaint and he rarely complains about stomach aches when he has a bit of milk at home. Any ideas?

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So What Happened?™

Hi Everyone,

Thank you so much for your responses!! It sounds like the collective wisdom is that my son is probably lactose intolerant -- and not terribly so. I will take your advice and have him bring non-dairy beverages to school (especially Very Vanilla Silk, which I just went out and bought!). If we don't see improvement, I'll take him in to see if there's a milk allergy or some other GI issue. Thank you so much again for all the great advice!

Featured Answers

Have you tried sending him to school with a different kind of milk box? I'm wondering if it is something with the drink you are giving him. Even if he has had them successfully in the past, it could be something with the batch you have now if it has just been recent. Have they all been from the same case or however they come?

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my friend had the same thing happen with her daughter...she would get "sick" (tummy ache, bad gas)after drinking vanilla milk. maybe it is a particular ingredient in the vanilla milk...b/c like your son, Kayla ate other dairy items without a problem. just a thought

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Buy 'very vanilla soy milk'. He'll love it, it tastes like a vanilla milk shake!!! :)

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He is probably developing lactose intolerance.
I was intolerant, then not, then I was again for a few years after I gave birth to my children, now I'm no again. Believe it or not he can grow into and out of it. I do not understand why that is but that has been my experience. Try getting lactaid pills, or milk (I don't like the way it tastes), but the pills will enable him to be able to eat whatever he wants. Good luck K.

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Hi L., if the milk gives him a stomach ache don't give it to him. I have the same problem. I can eat ice cream, cheese and other dairy products but I can't drink milk. One of my children is the same way. You will have to find other ways for him to get his calcium intake though. I would mention it to your doctor and see what he suggests.

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It could be an allergy or a sesitivity and it doesn't have to be the lactose it could be one or all parts of the milk that he is having issue with. It could also be a sign of IBS. I have IBS and dairy is one of my trigger foods. There are some cheeses that bother me and some that do not so for me I think it is more about the whey then the lactose.

If I were you I would cut all dairy out of your sons diet for about a week and then slowy reintroduce it back in and see how he does. If he has a bad reaction then you know he has an issue with it and should most likely avoid it.

I wish you the best

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I just went threw this with my 11 year old,and I would consider
a visit with your family doctor.We found out threw many differant tests that my daughter has IBS irretal bowel syndrome.She is now on medicane for this and is her old self.Ittook us months before our diagnosis, I hope this helps,and of course plenty of Hugs and Kisses help. Along with proper diet.The mediction is called Hyoscyamine. We are down to an as needed basis,which is not to often. Good luck.
E. K.

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i would talk to his dr about it, but there is a possibility of having problems with only certain dairy products. i can drink as much milk as i want (i drink skim only though, because anything thicker then skim, including skim plus, is just too much on my stomach) i can have a ton of sour cream, or cream cheese, but god forbid i have anymore then a drop of ricotta cheese i feel like i'm dying (which means i have to avoid one of my favorite meals at all costs) and if i have too much ice cream, then i hurt...now, it's not nearly as bad as the ricotta, but it's painful. yet i can have all those other dairy products with no problems. so there is that possibility of just having to cut down on milk, maybe try changing it to skim milk (or 2%, then 1% until you see what doesn't bother him). i would try that, or maybe just talk to the dr. 1st. good luck.

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Does his tummy get really full and distended? I am lactose intolerant and that is what happens to me. My stomach literally fills with painful gas and takes a couple of hours to feel better. I would check with your pediatrician just to make sure, because it could be symptoms of something else, good luck!
L. R.

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Have you tried sending him to school with a different kind of milk box? I'm wondering if it is something with the drink you are giving him. Even if he has had them successfully in the past, it could be something with the batch you have now if it has just been recent. Have they all been from the same case or however they come?

1 mom found this helpful

Oh L.! You hit the nail on the head! Both of my children are lactose intolerant. I didn't find out until she was 1.5. The itme they consume has to have enough lactose to cause the upset stomach, IE Milk, ice cream and maybe even too much chocolate. Things like american cheese, mozzerella say on pizza and sometimes even cheddar may not have as much of an affect. Even mac and cheese won't. That is a processed cheese. Processed cheeses have less of an effect. But if he eats half a block of mozzeralla then you can be sure he will hurting. Is this stomach cramping followed by gas and a loose BM? Does he get sick with ice cream? Does it get worse with the more he consumes? Good luck and keep us posted!

PS I also use lactaid. It is much more expensive and the whole lactaid tastes gross! It is way too sweet and thick. The skim one tastes like 2% regular milk but only a little bit sweeter. Don't go the soy route though. Soy doesn't have as much nutrients as Lactaid. Lactaid is cows milk but they have removed the lactose. Other wise processed cheese and dairy products are usually ok in normal amounts. And I agree with Sharon L.

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I found that my 3 year old at times has the same problem with his favorite milk drink(horizon chocolate milk). I started paying attention when the symptoms would happen and if any other dairy products caused the same problem. Turns out it only happens if he drinks it to quickly (ecspecially if friends are over and he wants to get back to playing.) Maybe at school your son is drinking it to quickly as well since snack time is such a limited time. Hope this was helpful. T. B

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Hi L.,

I'm a mother of four, and have a 6 month-old grandson.
It sounds to me that he may be lactose intolerant. If he likes vanilla milk, I would switch him to Silk Very Vanilla soy milk. It tastes delicious, and will give his digestive system a break from the milk. If his stomach aches stop, then you know that was the problem. If they don't, then you would need a doctor to determine what the problem is. I suspect it's digestion related, since it happens after he has his snack. Another thing though is that maybe the beverage is too cold. he may be drinking it quickly, and it's like a shock to the stomach. A lot of times, after a break, you may be able to re-introduce the milk, at a later stage.

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do they refridgerate his milk at school

also how much sugar is in this particular milk?

Organic milk has " MORE" natural bacteria aswell

so altho he may have a milk allergy this would have generally been found earlier, rather than later

BUT i would suggest get some regualr red top milk, and add a little nestle quick powder into it, at home
and from now on at school JUICE,

Milk can constipate if consumed in excess
so if he is eating it in the morning from breakfast and then again at lunch, it could just be a POO

Hope this was helpful


Dear L. L,
My oldest has Lactose Intolerance. She can eat diary items and can drink milk. But if she eats more than one serving in the same day she gets sick. Example: She can have pizza for dinner, but not ice cream the same night. But either one on its own is fine. Fortunately this makes it very managable. Take notice of what else your son is eating for lunch at school. Is there dairy in it? That might be the problem, just too much. Of course your doctor would be better able to help. But this was my experience. Best of luck,
S. Lafond
Arbonne Independent Consultant

Sounds like lactose intolerance to me. Do you think the milk box has more milk than he usually drinks at home? Maybe he can tolerate some milk, but the milk box is too much. FYI, if he is lactose intolerant, he should be able to eat mozzarella and cheddar cheese. Lots of people can also eat yogurt (it has lactose-digesting bacteria in it). I use teh Lactaid milk, and to me it taste the same, just a tiny bit sweeter.

If he's not having a problem with other dairy items or milk at home then it's the ADDED ingredients in that milk. I know the organic vanilla milk you are talking about. It's not plain milk. It has a lot of added ingredients including A LOT of sugar. I'd stop giving the vanilla milk to him and switch to the regular non-organic Little Milk boxes instead.

Dear L.,
I had the same problem when I was about 40 years old, then it got worse, resulting in rushing to the bathroom. Now I do not drink milk, because it causes lactose intolerance Cheese, yogurt, ice cream, hot chocolate do not bother me, unless I do not have anything to eat before having those foods. Now I have cereal with yogurt, orange juice, or soy milk. You might try Vanilla soy milk (I like it better than lactose free milk!). This is not a scientific answer, but I understand his reaction. I used to drink lots of milk until the lactose intolerance happened, and I would dearly love to have real milk and cookies!

I'm lactose intolerant and a glass of milk would do me in - but I can eat cheese and ice cream with very little problem. You should check it out - it's barely a problem at all these days.

I have developed Lactose Intolerance in the past 5 years. Everytime I consume 1% milk in cereal only I get pains and then have to eliminate. It only happens with milk in cereal. All other dairy products are fine.

I really don't know much about organic milk other than I now drink Soy and have no problems with that.

Maybe something in the vanilla is reacting with the milk.

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