Lactose-Free Diet for Breastfeeding Moms

Lactose-Free Diet for Breastfeeding Moms

As a breastfeeding mom, you can’t tell if your baby has a milk allergy or not.  And there is no way to know when your baby starts showing symptoms of lactose intolerance.

What is Lactose Intolerance?

According to the Oxford dictionary, this is a partial or total inability to digest lactose, which may result in abdominal pain, bloating, and diarrhea after consuming milk and other dairy products and is caused by a deficiency of the enzyme lactase.

This lactose intolerance in babies usually gives them lots of sleepless nights; as a mother, you wouldn’t want to experience this with your baby. Hence, it is always advisable to check if your baby can digest your milk or not.

In most cases, when a baby is lactose intolerant — it is usually not from the breast milk but from lactose-based food that you consume, such as vitamins, protein, and nutrients from other dairy products. Lactose intolerance tablets will prove very useful in resolving this issue.

If you notice your baby having indigestion after breastfeeding, you should reconsider what you eat while breastfeeding — breast milk comes from what you eat.

Always opt for a dairy-free diet since they are healthy as the diets prescribed by doctors.

Breastfeeding mom

What Is a Dairy-Free Diet?

These are diets that are not milk-based. Meaning they do not have milk in them. Although dairy-related proteins are present in almost every food – the mother’s milk is usually dairy-free.

What is Lactose-free Diet?

These are foods that have no lactose. Lactose is known as sugar, which is part of milk products. Some people are not able to break down this lactose properly because they may lack the lactase enzyme — enzymes that break down lactose in the body. In contrast, some people have lactase that may not function properly, resulting in lactose intolerance.

As a breastfeeding mom, you must follow a lactose-free diet to prevent lactose intolerance in your baby. You can meet your dietitian or caregiver to help you decide if you need to be on a lactose-free or low-lactose diet.

If a nursing mother consumes dairy foods/lactose foods, then the tendency of those dairy nutrients to pass to the baby through breast milk is high.

List of Lactose-Free Diet

If you are a breastfeeding mom, below is the list of foods that are good choices because they contain no lactose.

NB: Ensure you read labels on foods to see if they have milk products before buying. Foods such as shortenings, non-dairy creamers, baked goods, margarine, and salad dressings contain lactose. I listed some of those foods in this post.

DAIRY – Lactose-Free

These are lactose-free dairy foods or drinks you can take at any time.

  • Nutrition canned drinks made with soy instead of milk.
  • Lactose-free milk
  • Non-dairy creamers (ensure you read labels)
  • Soymilks
  • Rice milk drinks

Contains Lactose

The following dairy foods contain lactose – do not eat these foods

  • Cheese – although some aged cheese contains less lactose. However, soft and processed cheese may contain higher levels of lactose
  • Ice cream
  • Buttermilk
  • Cream
  • Milk like ( Evaporated & condensed milk, Kefir cultured milk drink, Malted milk, Reduced lactose milk)
  • Hot chocolate mixes
  • Sweet acidophilus or lactobacillus milk
  • Sherbet
  • Sour cream
  • Whey
  • Yogurt with or without live cultures

FATS – Lactose-Free

These are lactose-free fats you can eat or drink anytime.

  • Oils
  • Non-dairy creamers (Always check labels to be sure)
  • Shortenings
  • Margarine (Always check labels to be sure
  • Salad dressings (Always check labels to be sure)

Contains Lactose

The following Fats contain lactose – you may not want to eat these foods during breastfeeding

  • Butter
  • Cream cheese
  • Margarine with butter or milk
  • Party dips


These are lactose-free fats you can eat or drink anytime.

  • All fresh fruits & vegetables
  • Cooked fruits or baked fruits & vegetables without milk products
  • Fruit & vegetable juices

Contains Lactose

The following fruits and vegetables contain lactose – try to avoid them when breastfeeding

  • Creamed vegetables
  • Fruit smoothies made with yogurt
  • Fruits or vegetables processed with lactose
  • Batter coated vegetables


These are lactose-free meats and substitutes you can eat anytime.

  • All fresh cooked, plain meats, fish, & poultry
  • Cooked dried peas & beans
  • Eggs (do not add milk
  • Peanut butter, nuts, & seeds
  • Soy cheeses
  • Soybean and  tofu products

Contains Lactose

The following meats and substitutes contain lactose – try to avoid them when breastfeeding

  • Breaded or batter-dipped meat, fish, or poultry
  • Main dishes with cheese such as pizza, burritos, tacos, or casseroles
  • Meats in cream sauces
  • Omelets or souffles with milk
  • Processed meats with milk or lactose (hot dogs, cold cuts, deli meats)

When Is a Dairy-free Diet Needed During Nursing?

For a breastfeeding mom, when you notice a change in your baby’s behavior during nursing, it is time to reconsider your diet. — some of these changes may include gas problems, pooing, etc., and a major course of these problems is cow’s milk.

You should also consider changing your diet if you notice your baby having sleepless nights and always crying. And if your baby has rashes, itchy eyes, constipation, hives, eczema, or diarrhea, your baby might be lactose intolerant.

This means your baby may be having issues digesting dairy products. Hence you should consider switching to a dairy-free diet.

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