My two-year-old daughter vomits and has diarrhea every time I give her milk to drink. She eats cheese and splurges on ice cream. This does absolutely nothing to her. Is there a chance someone can be lactose intolerant to milk, but not milk products?
Your observation is a good one! Many children who are intolerant to lactose are able to eat some amount of dairy product. Ice cream and especially cheese have smaller amounts of lactose per serving than milk does. Some children are able to drink small amounts of milk, but if they cross a certain limit, they have symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, headache or belly pain. That limit is different for every child and will often improve over time. Sometimes, children will tolerate very slowly introducing milk one ounce at a time and increasing it every few weeks by an ounce.
The main reason children over two years of age need dairy products is to be sure they get enough calcium. If your daughter doesn’t tolerate these well enough, you might consider other calcium sources. Try calcium fortified orange juice or calcium fortified cereals and breakfast bars.
Before age two, babies’ brains are still developing and require essential fats that are found in breast milk, formula and milk. Because they cannot get these fats elsewhere in the diet, children who do not take dairy products after weaning should drink rice or soy milks that are fortified with essential fatty acids.