1. home
  2. baby care
  3. Expert Panel
  4. What is the difference between a reflux baby and one who is lactose intolerant?
Avatar Member
What is the difference between a reflux baby and one who is lactose intolerant?

What is the difference between a reflux baby and one who is lactose intolerant. because my grandaughter is supposed to be lactose intolerant but she vomits for ages after feeding and oftens 2 hrs after a feed and she projectile vomits she often is unsettled and very windy after feeds. Im sure the doctor has just guesssed and not properly dianosed her.Ithink she needs to see a new doctor.

Answer: Hi, Thanks for your email about your granddaughter, while we can`t help you with the question of whether she is just lactose intolerant as well as a reflux baby, we do believe it is very important that reflux is diagnosed by a doctor, as there may be something else causing the symptoms e.g. an infection can cause such vomiting. You don’t mention, but has the doctor recommended a change to your granddaughter’s diet? If bottle fed, is she now on a lactose-free formula? If so and there has been no improvement in her condition, then the doctor may need to review her once again. Are the baby’s parents concerned about the diagnosis? As a grandparent, if you are not the primary carer, this can be very difficult. In that situation all you can do is to provide the parents with the information and allow them to make the decision about her care. If you are the primary carer then I believe it is very important you follow your instincts, and talk to the doctor about your concerns. Children with reflux can also be lactose intolerant; or be sensitive to cow`s milk protein. Lactose intolerance and cow’s milk sensitivity are two entirely different conditions and cows’ milk protein intolerance or allergy is far more common in babies in Australia. The lactose intolerance is due to a partial enzyme deficiency ("lactase"), so lactose-containing dairy products are poorly tolerated, and the reaction is to milk sugar, not the milk protein. Lactose-free milk causes no problems, and cheese and yoghurt are usually better tolerated than milk. There is an excellent article on lactose intolerance at www.cyh.com that you may like to read (it is titled “Lactose Intolerance in Babies”). We also have an artcile on Lactose Intolerance here on the Huggies site, written by Leanne Cooper, the nutritionist on our panel. If necessary, the GP can refer your granddaughter to a specialist doctor to gain more information about her situation. They can take a look at all of the symptoms, your grand daughter`s behaviours and overall health of the child to give you a clearer idea of what the issues are. If it helps, you/parents can ask for a referral. The article I mentioned above states that lactose intolerance does not cause vomiting and so that may be an important point that can be discussed with the doctor. Additionally, there is a list of ways that reflux can present at www.reflux.org.au and this may also help. It is great that you are involved in your granddaughter’s life and I hope she feels more comfortable soon. I hope that you and or her parents are able to continue looking for answers and if you require further information, or need further assistance, please contact us again. Kind regards, Brenda (c/~o RISA)
Answered: 29 Oct 2008