Temporary Milk Intolerance in a Toddler

Updated on September 01, 2009
M.I. asks from Denver, CO
8 answers

My 15 month old son, who has been drinking whole cow milk for 4 months without problems has suddenly developed an issue with milk...or I think that's the problem.

He has been teething for the past couple weeks with massive amounts of drooling and chewing on everything he can get his hands on. About the same time he developed mild diarrhea which I attributed to the teething. This has been going on for over 2 weeks and I started to get worried that the diarrhea was something more serious.

I took him to the pediatrician last week and she checked him out and she said he was fine. No fever, clear lungs, etc. She said it was probably related to the teething and to make sure he didn't get dehydrated. On a side note, she said it could also be related to a milk allergy or intolerance.

So, we took him off of drinking straight milk last Thursday and he didn't have one loose stool all weekend until we decided to let him have a small cup at nap time today. Sure enough, his next diaper was a blow out. So I'm confused if it is an allergy how come it took so long to show up? If it's a temporary thing, how long do we have to wait before we can go back to regular milk? I'm hoping there are some Moms out there who have some insight for me...

What can I do next?

  • Add yourAnswer own comment
  • Ask your own question Add Question
  • Join the Mamapedia community Mamapedia
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

So What Happened?

Thanks for the advice everyone, it makes it a little easier knowing other Moms have been through this too. I switched my son to lactose free milk and he's been doing great since then. I was already giving him probiotics, but not regularly, so I started those up again too. Hopefully I'll be able to try regular milk products again in a couple months, but until then, I'm ok with our game plan. He seems much happier now. Happy baby = happy Mommy. :o)

Featured Answers


answers from Denver on

I am extremely lactose intolerant, I don't just get a sick stomach, my muscles will actually ache and I get tired.

And I used to be able to drink big glasses of milk and eat ice cream.
I only in the last 6 years started having problems, I have been told that it can be something that you develop.

It does sound like he has a sensitivity or an allergy to me.
I would try some soy or rice milk, maybe vanilla flavored and see how he does.

Good luck!

More Answers



answers from Denver on

Yeah, food allergies/intolerances are unpredictable! They can crop up at ANY time. It does sound like an intolerance of some kind, though I wouldn't necessarily rule out allergy either. When I was trying to determine my baby's intolerances I pulled each food for about 3 weeks and then tried reintroducing to see if it was definitely that food. You might try keeping milk out a bit longer and then re-trial it.

If it is an allergy, his sensitivity could be affected by things like environmental allergens, being tired, ingesting other foods he might be sensitive to, etc. I'm not sure if those things also affect intolerances but it seems like they could. (I just assume that my littlest guy is *always* intolerant and try to avoid those foods entirely.)

For the record, I do think that teethers sometimes get loose stools from all the saliva, not that teething directly causes loose stools.

If you need to continue to avoid dairy for him, be sure that you're avoiding all forms of it until you can test his sensitivity. There are some great resources at www.foodallergy.org and www.godairyfree.org.

Best of luck!



answers from Billings on

I gave my 12 month old daughter lactaid for a few months, then tried again and she was fine. The poo was greenish and had a yogurty smell, and like you said, cleared up when I went on formula and started up again when I switched back to milk. She's 7 now, and still loves milk. Good luck.



answers from Denver on

Allergies can manifest themselves in many ways. I knew something was wrong when my kids were having ear infections every month...everyone kept telling me to put tubes in their ears and I felt that might not solve the problem if it was just a symptom. I was right after seeing a specialist I took both my kids off of cows milk (though they still eat cheese and yogurt, as the quantity they are allowed is so minimal) put them on rice milk as soy did not work. They haven't had ear infections since except for when allergy season comes and I have to make sure they take their allergy meds. So maybe there were other symptoms during the first few months that you didn't relate to the milk and then the body could just no longer process it. Chances are for my kids after drinking rice milk for years they might never go back to cows milk which is fine by me...it is better for them anyway. Best of luck and you are blessed to have such a great child and if allergies are your biggest concern's be thankful, I know that I am.



answers from Salt Lake City on

another thought I will add is that in my family (siblings) most of us have gone through periods where we don't tolerate milk. for me my episodes are triggered with stress and eating yogurt to get the probiotics or taking acidophiles helps. but I have to go off of milk itself. I can do cheese still and like I said yogurt but not milk or ice cream, esp. the fat content in it, I don't digest the protein in milk well. so when I am stressed and it comes on I go back to soy milk or rice milk, I also enjoy almond milk once in a while. this past month my 3 yr old daughter started having the worst poops she wouldn't eat yogurt daily like she did as a small toddler but she will take the acidophiles she calls it her good poops pill. She is on Soy milk right now and loves it. she says I need the other milk, not the real milk so my poops can be good.
she was so excited when her poops were normals again. we had ice cream and she had runny poops again- there was a stomach bug going around this past month and I had a lot of people tell me she probably just had that, which maybe she did with this but I kept having a feeling to take her off milk. I'm glad I finally did. I think we get inspired as moms trust your instinct and it doesn't mean your child will never have milk--sometimes it is something that comes and goes (I'm proof of that as well as several of my siblings) so I wouldn't stress about that and yeah it can show up at any time. allergies can do that. I found out about 2.5 years ago that I am deadly allergic to walnuts, which I ate as a kid--I thought it was bizzare and was told that allergies can develop at any age and we can outgrow them at any age too, it just depends on the person.
Good luck, my dd loves putting chocolate and strawberry in her soy milk too. we don't do the vanilla milk except for in our smoothies it's the only sweetener we add--otherwise it is just soy milk and she loves it but now and then she wants chocolate or pink milk. the chocolate soy milk is atrociously priced here so we add it ourselves.
Good luck. I hate the messy poops...(I mean the REALLY messy ones lol)



answers from Denver on

Hi M. - lactose intolerance is something that can just appear. It might be related to the diarrhea - it often flushes out the digestive enzymes and the natural flora in the gut. I guess the proof is if it continues.

It's always necessary to replace the bowel flora after a bout of diarrhea with yogurt, etc. I know Lactaid is safe for children - perhaps ask your doctor about it.

Soy milk is an alternative but consider this carefully because the estrogen in the soy can have detrimental affects on growing boys. Rice milk is all sugar and no protein or fat so it is not a good substitute for whole milk.

btw - it's an old wives tale that teething causes fever and diarrhea. They get sick because they are chewing on anything they can find and they pick up a bug somewhere along the line. I know it sounds like a chicken/egg argument, but it's more about knowing there is an illness present and responding to it rather than just thinking it's a reaction to teething.



answers from Missoula on

My daughter had a similar problem. She was almost three and for a month we dealt with horrible diapers and vomiting every other day. The doctor told me it was toddler diarrhea and the vomiting was a bug. I took her off all dairy and it all stopped. Every once in a while she would get into something (she found some chocolate candy once and vomited). Sometimes my relatives would accidentally give her something and every time she would have a reaction. She is now four and is able to tolerate Lactaid (we went to soymilk). Her reactions now are not as severe so it appears she is growing out of it. Our pediatrician recommends trying different things out to see if the tolerance changes at all. Fortunately for us it has improved.



answers from Denver on

My son has similar symptoms. The Pediatrician said to take him off of milk, and reintroduce every 6 mos... It has gotten better each 6 mos. He can now eat milk products in small amounts... i.e. cheese, ice cream, but when he drinks reg milk for a few days the poops (and very RED diaper rash around his anus) begin. I have found great luck with rice milk (non flavored) - cheapest at Walmart and good probitoics. It does seem to be getting better and I'm told he may outgrow it. Also, I belive there is a difference between a milk protein intolerance (which my son has) and lactose intolerance. One is difficulty digesting the protien in milk and the other is the sugar. A blood test by an allergist can tell you for sure. I know it can be frustrating, but hang in there : )



answers from Denver on

It sounds like lactose intolerance not allergies to me. They are two different things. Our little girl has issues with lactose. Cheese is okay, as is goat's milk. She's getting better with time, but she's always had it. We try regular milk every few weeks. She's 14 months. Allergies usually show up as eczema or other typical allergy issues. Our first son had that. He also has outgrown his issues. Since it just developed it might be worth checking into more and seeing if you can get some better answers so you know what you're dealing with. GL!

For Updates and Special Promotions
Follow Us

Related Questions

Related Searches