Understanding Newborn & Infant Baby Digestion Problems

New born and infant baby digestion

Parents are worried and also face challenge in maintaining infant digestion. If you take every infant who is healthy may at some point have trouble in digesting the milk. This is the only source of nutrition for first six month of baby as recommended by WHO and UNICEF. The milk as feed given to baby via mother breast milk or formula milk also refer as top feed.

infant baby crying of digestion problems

Lactose in the milk, may causes problem

This is refer as Temporary Lactose Intolerance (TLI), this may be causing trouble to the infant and refer as colic associated uneasiness or pain. This may also lead to the baby crying.

Lactose intolerance is poorly understood in the community or in our society that is Indo-Pakistan Region or SARRC Region. There are lots of myths and misconception associated with it, especially when it is refers in term of babies, this is contrary to what we may hear and observe.

The term Lactose Tolerance Intolerance (LTI) is of temporary phase in infant in most of the cases. Which is refer as baby temporary inability to break down lactose into simpler form of sugar in present in the milk. This is needed the lactose (complex form of sugar/carbohydrate) to be broken down into simpler form of sugar with the aid of lactase enzyme. This will help in absorbing and digesting the milk by this procedure.

The lactose in the milk which is not digested by the baby digestive system produces lactic acid and gases. This lactic acid which is produced leads to discomfort in baby, such as bloating and formation of gas, which is release by infant.

  • Lactose is carbohydrate (complex sugar) which is present in all mammalian milk.
  • Lactose is produced in the breast of all mammals which includes human being also.

Quantity of lactose present in mother milk is not at all dependent on what mother has consumed in diet to feed her baby. This also has been observed the amount of lactose present in first day / week of mother milk and at later stages after months remain the same.

baby digestion problems of lactose baby feeding

Why Lactose causes digestive problems

For the digestion of lactose present in milk baby needs lactase enzyme to break down in simpler form, which leads and result in digestion of food. When lactase enzyme is not produce in sufficient or require quantity than the stomach is unable to digest lactose present in milk.

If lactose is not broken down, this will not absorb by small intestine, this may move towards large bowel in undigested form, due to this condition it may lead to produce acid and gases.

Due to this condition when baby has taken feed, this may lead to colic related crying in baby. This condition of bloating, and gases as well as crying is temporary phase in infants, which may last sometime for days or weeks. Parents are helpless and worry some, they look forward how to sooth and calm the infant.  With the passage of time and as infant grows these symptom and problem goes away.

This condition of LTI is refer as condition in which ingestion of lactose occur either in milk or food containing lactose. Baby may have one or few of the symptoms such as:

  • Flatulence (gassiness) or bloating means ballooning or inflating stomach.
  • Pain in abdomen
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea

It has been observed the amount of lactose eaten/ingested and digested, may also leads to the symptoms mentioned above. This may varies from individual to individual. It is dependent on the amount of lactose taken and the amount lactase enzyme available to metabolize the food. It is also linked with the food taken and ingested by the individual.

In case of Temporary Lactose Tolerance (LTI) observe in the infants, / baby, they should have efficient and develop digestive system. Infant is capable of producing require quantity of lactase enzyme for proper digestion in their first 12 to 16 weeks.


Article written by Mahmood Hussain for Baby First

About Mahmood Hussain

Professional Experience More than 36 years work experience in Healthcare & Pharmaceutical sectorDirector & General Manager Baby First (Pvt.) Ltd Pakistan March 2011 – till to date I have been associated with Baby First (Pvt) Ltd for more than 5 years. It is advisory, community and social interaction medium for parents 16-38 years and babies 0-6 years.General Manager Aga Khan Health Service Pakistasn December 2005 – December 2007 (2 years 1 month)Based at Karachi Pakistan Worked as General Manager managing Karachi & Baluchistan Health care services of AKHSP which includes primary and secondary health care centers and diagnostic centers on all areas nearly 102 centers which include three leading hospitals in Karachi.General Manager Janssen Cilag (Johnson & Johnson) February 1998 – January 2005 (7 years)Education MBA, Marketing 1995 – 1996, Preston University MSc, Biochemistry 1970 – 1974, Karachi University

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