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Lactose Overload


Lactose Overload is another branch of Digestive Overload that can be healed naturally. It’s caused by feeding practices that bring about an imbalance of lactose in the child’s digestive system compared to what they can naturally cope with. Lactose is the carbohydrate – sugar – found in all milk and other foods. The lactase enzyme, found in the small intestines, helps to break down the lactose. Lactose is vital for a newborn's brain development, nerve tissues and is a major source of energy which is essential for growth and cell development. Therefore lactose is a must in a newborn's diet.

Unfortunately though, the widely taught practices of feeding from both breasts in one sitting, in quick succession, or cluster feeding creates lactose overload for our newborns, as does overfeeding, and too much sugar in the breastfeeding diet. Not only because the amount of lactose the child receives is too much, but also because these feeding practices push the milk through the digestive tract too quickly, which doesn’t allow enough time for the lactose to be broken down appropriately in the small intestines by the lactase enzyme.

Behaviours indicating overload can happen at any time, with frequency generally lessening when solids are introduced. Because lactose is found in dairy products, Lactose Overload is often wrongly labelled as Dairy Overload, but these are two different things. Dairy Overload happens from a digestive imbalance of casein, whey and/or fat and you can read more about that here.

Lactose Intolerance (aka Congenital or developmental lactose intolerance) 

In very rare instances, some newborns are born with the serious but rare condition of Lactose Intolerance. , This is genetic condition, or can be experienced when born prematurely, with this passing soon after birth.  Lactose intolerance occurs when your baby naturally produces minimal to no lactase and therefore cannot break down the lactose. This, unlike Lactose Overload, sees a newborn failing to gain weight. A screening of the stool or a hydrogen breath test through your GP is needed to diagnose this.


The Lactose Overload symptoms below can be naturally healed for our newborns by learning how to feed them in accordance with their digestive system.
  • Irritability, grizzling, inconsolable crying, screaming.
  • Bloating, cramps, excessive gas.
  • Frequent watery, frothy and/or explosive bowel motions. Sometimes green in colour with an offensive odour, seed like deposits and/or of a stringy texture.
  • Wakefulness from discomfort with episodes of longer periods of sleep, but this is often from exhaustion through crying and lack of sleep rather than because they feel comfortable.
  • Frequent searching for something to suck - exhibiting the ‘root reflex’.
  • Weight gains that are consistently at the upper regions or beyond recommended levels, or, as described by Morris Wessel, your baby will ‘look to otherwise be thriving’.
  • Arching backwards or sideways, writhing, wriggling.
  • Pedalling legs.
  • Gulping their food, seeming very hungry while being restless – sometimes refusing to feed, pulling off the nipple, or when bottle-fed, having flailing arms and legs with much turning of the head because of digestive discomfort.


By learning how to nurture your baby and infant within their natural digestive capacities and capabilities while understanding and responding knowingly to their full array of cues, you can provide the care needed to prevent and remedy lactose overload.

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BabyCues self-help book

A parenting book that delivers original, proven findings and practical know-how to help parents achieve natural digestive balance for their newborn throughout their first six months of life. This book is perfect if you want to learn how to nurture alongside your child’s natural digestive biology, while confidently understanding and being able to respond to their full array of cues. It will also help you to reduce, if not eliminate the abnormal behaviours of colic, reflux, lactose overload, dairy overload and inconsolable crying as it relays the natural causes of these behaviours, and steps you through the solutions.

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