Milk and constipation

My daughter is 1 year old, and she seems to get constipated if she has dairy products. Now my doctor says that dairy is a very important part of their growth, but since I switched her from formula to milk 3 months ago she has a really hard time going poop and it is whitish color. What can I do? Is their some kind of supplement or is their a way to get her used to milk?

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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 Michelle,

Milk and cheese can be very constipating for some people. You doctor is correct though, milk and dairy make important contributions to children's diets because it is such a great source of easily digestible calcium and high quality protein. However, plenty of children grow up fine without dairy because they must avoid it due to allergies or lactose intolerance. What is important is to find suitable replacements. It may not be that your daughter needs to avoid dairy entirely. It will depend on how much dairy causes her constipation. Try allowing her dairy products in small amounts.

Also, be sure to include plenty of other fluids in her diet as well as serving only whole grain breads and cereals and serving lots of fruits and vegetables. Supplement her reduced dairy intake with other foods that offer calcium such as a fortified soy milk, tofu, deep green leafy vegetables, and fortified orange juice. Make sure that she gets two to three good servings of protein each day, such as an egg and 2 to 3 ounces of meat or alternative, like legumes, tofu or peanut butter.

If you find over time that she can tolerate milk, gradually increase its inclusion in her diet. Particularly for girls, the habit of getting plenty of calcium rich foods will insure that osteoporosis will not affect her in her later years. It is amazing how good nutrition in early life can have lasting effects!

Thank you for writing.

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