Transient Lactase Deficiency
If baby is showing signs of digestive discomfort, becoming red in the face whilst crying, has clenched fists, knees drawn up to the tummy or an arched back, these colicky symptoms might be due to transient lactase deficiency.
What is Transient Lactase Deficiency
All babies cry, but excessive, frequent crying in a baby who appears to be otherwise healthy, can be a sign of infant colic – something that affects up to 20% of babies in the first few months of life. In the UK, nearly 140,000 babies a year are likely to suffer from colic.1
The causes of colic are unknown although a number of theories have been suggested including indigestion, trapped wind and temporary gut sensitivity to lactose – a complex sugar found in both breast and formula milk.
Transient Lactase Deficiency
Young babies have digestive systems that are still developing and, in some cases, they are not capable of breaking lactose down into the simple sugars that their bodies can absorb. This is because they have problems producing lactase, the enzyme used to break down lactose in the stomach – causing discomfort as the milk is digested.
Healthcare professional sources like NICE and NHS Choices identify Transient Lactase Deficiency as being a possible cause of digestive discomfort in small babies.
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence guidelines state that:
‘Transient lactase deficiency is a suggested underlying cause of infantile colic. The available evidence states that lactase drops may help ease the symptoms of colic for some babies.’
The NHS Choices website advises:
‘Lactase is an enzyme that helps break down a sugar called lactose, which is found in breast and formula milk. Your baby may have a temporary problem digesting the lactose in breast milk or infant formula, which could contribute to their colicky symptoms.’
How Care Co-Lactase can help
Care Co-Lactase Infant Drops can be used from birth, are sugar, preservative and flavour-free and can be used for both breast-fed and infant formula-fed babies.
The lactase enzyme breaks down the lactose in milk into more easily digestible sugars that help to reduce the symptoms of Transient Lactase Deficiency.
Importantly, Care Co-Lactase Infant Drops is unlike other preparations in that it does not interfere with the feeding process. Other types of infant drops must be allowed to stand for 30 minutes after mixing before continuing with the feed, delaying the feeding of a hungry baby.
- Express a few tablespoons of breast milk into a sterilized container
- Add 4 drops of Care Co-Lactase
- Give to baby with a sterilised plastic spoon or syringe
- Feed as normal
- Add 4 drops to warm, made up formula
- Feed as normal
Expressed breast milk
- Defrost the milk if necessary & warm to feeding temperature
- Add 4 drops of Care Co-Lactase to the milk when warm. Please note: do not add Care Co-Lactase to the milk if it is hot
- Shake the milk and feed as normal
- Discard any unused milk
What mums have said about Care Co-Lactase
Penny’s tips for Transient Lactase Deficiency
Penny Lazell is a qualified midwife and neonatal nurse who has worked in the NHS since 1984. She writes regularly for Mother & Baby Magazine and has compiled these ten top tips for helping soothe the uncomfortable symptoms and side effects of Transient Lactase Deficiency.
Try not to worry – this is a temporary condition that usually occurs in the first few months of life, when babies may not have produced enough lactase enzyme to break down lactose in milk.
Giving smaller, frequent feeds can reduce the amount of lactose a baby takes each time.
Babies with transient lactase deficiency can be hard work. Call on friends and relatives to help give you a break.
Try feeding your baby in different positions – the rugby ball hold for breastfed babies or sitting more upright if formula-fed, for example. This can help slow down the feed.
Once you’ve finished feeding, try holding your baby in an upright position as this can help reduce discomfort.
Where stomach cramps are causing distress, introduce gentle massage techniques to relieve pain and discomfort.
Try skin-to-skin contact as this can have a calming effect on you and baby.
Warm baths may also help relieve discomfort.
Carrying your baby in a sling or sitting them in an upright position after feeds may help digestion.
Use lactase drops to help with the breakdown of milk lactose. If you’re concerned, seek advice from a healthcare professional.
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