Lactaid not for ear infection

My 13 month old daughter has had chronic ear infections for three months and is currently not responding well to antibiotics. Someone has suggested that she may have a milk allergy and suggested we try lactaid drops in her milk and other dairy foods. Her pediatrician says that lactaid does not affect mucus buildup which is what would relate to her ear infections. The only other option would be to put her on either soy or rice milk. Soy milk has more fat grams, but rice milk has added calcium. Which would be better for her? And, can you comment on the Lactaid issue?

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Sue Gilbert

Sue Gilbert works as a consulting nutritionist. For many years she worked with Earth's Best Organic Baby Food, integrating nutrition and... Read more

Dear Elaine,

Lactaid drops are used to break down the milk sugar, lactose, in milk. It is used for people who have a deficiency of the enzyme, lactase, in their gut that is needed to digest the milk sugar. This is NOT an allergy to milk. It is an intolerance to the lactose in the milk. The symptoms of lactose intolerance are confined to GI upset, such as gas, bloating, and diarrhea. Milk allergies are caused by an immune system response to the protein in milk.

If your daughter's ear infections are being caused by a milk allergy, lactaid drops will be of no use. The only treatment for a true milk allergy is complete elimination of the milk. There are soy milks with fat that are fortified with calcium. Because they have a higher quality protein than the rice milk, I suggest you use them as a substitute for milk. One brand that I use is Westsoy Plus. It comes in a couple of flavors and is vitamin and calcium fortified. You can easily get fat into your baby's diet in other places, but it is not as easy to get calcium into her diet, so go for the beverage with the calcium first, the fat second.

Thank you for writing.

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