Can I use Ready. Set. Food! if my baby has a milk intolerance?

Is it safe to use Ready. Set. Food! when my baby has a milk intolerance? Yes, you can safely use Ready. Set. Food! if your baby has a milk intolerance. Learn more in this article.

Ready. Set. Food! helps introduce peanut, egg, and milk early and often, based on clinical guidelines. But since Ready. Set. Food! contains milk, can you use it if your baby has a milk intolerance?

Yes, Ready. Set. Food! is designed for every family and can be safely used, even for families with babies who have milk sensitivities. We break down what a milk intolerance is, how it's different from a milk allergy, and how Ready, Set, Food will work for your family if your baby has a milk intolerance.

What is a milk intolerance?

A milk intolerance (also called milk sensitivity) is an adverse reaction to cow's milk that involves the digestive system. It causes digestive symptoms whenever cow's milk products are consumed.

Lactose intolerance

The most common milk intolerance is lactose intolerance.

  • If your child has lactose intolerance, they can't digest milk properly because their small intestine doesn't make enough lactase enzymes.
  • Lactase is how the body digests lactose, the sugar found in cow’s milk.
  • Without enough lactase, your child can't break down the sugar in milk, so they experience digestive symptoms.
  • Lactose intolerance is more common in adults and older children than young children.
  • However, some young children may have lactose intolerance if they were born premature or if they have a genetic defect that makes them unable to produce the lactase enzyme.

Milk protein intolerance

Other kinds of milk intolerance are cow's milk protein intolerance and MSPI (milk-soy protein intolerance).

  • Like lactose intolerance, these sensitivities cause someone to have trouble digesting milk, and lead to digestive symptoms.
  • But unlike lactose intolerance, cow's milk protein intolerance and MSPI don't involve the sugars in milk.
  • Instead, they involve the milk proteins. If your child has a cow's milk protein intolerance, their digestive system can't break down the proteins in cow's milk.
  • If your child has MSPI, their digestive system can't break down the proteins in cow's milk or soy.
  • This is why some children with milk intolerances still have digestive problems when they have lactose-free cow's milk products---not all milk intolerances involve lactose.
  • Milk protein intolerances are more common in young children than lactose intolerance.

Symptoms of milk intolerance

Symptoms of lactose intolerance can include:

  • Diarrhea or loose stools
  • Gas
  • Colic
  • Bloating
  • Stomach aches and pains
  • Constipation
  • Abdominal pain/cramps
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

Symptoms of a milk protein intolerance in babies can include the same symptoms as lactose intolerance, and can also include:

  • Bloody or mucousy stools
  • Spitting up
  • Irritability after having dairy

Symptoms of a milk intolerance tend to emerge minutes to hours after eating cow's milk products.

Is a milk intolerance different from a milk allergy?

Milk intolerances are different from milk allergies.

A milk allergy involves the immune system.

  • Our immune systems defend our bodies against harmful invaders, like viruses and bacteria.
  • But when someone has an allergy to milk, their immune system treats cow's milk proteins as harmful invaders.
  • Their immune system produces antibodies to defend against the milk proteins. These antibodies trigger a reaction each time the person consumes cow's milk.

Unlike milk allergies, milk intolerances never involve the immune system.

  • Rather, milk intolerances usually involve the digestive system only.

Milk allergies and milk intolerances can cause similar symptoms, so it can be hard to tell the difference.

  • But milk allergies can cause symptoms, like hives and swelling, that a milk intolerance doesn't.
  • Also, milk allergies can be life-threatening, while intolerances are rarely ever life-threatening.

Learn more about how to tell the difference between symptoms of a food allergic reaction and food intolerance.

Can I use Ready. Set. Food! if my baby has a milk intolerance?

Yes, you can safely use Ready. Set. Food! if your baby has a milk intolerance. Ready. Set. Food! is designed for every family, even families with babies who have milk sensitivities.

Many children with milk intolerances can have small amounts of milk without suffering from digestive symptoms. Ready. Set. Food! uses very small amounts of milk in each packet. So, even if your baby has an intolerance to milk, the system is still safe and likely won't cause discomfort. Our gentle system contains less milk than 1 teaspoon of yogurt or cow’s milk, so it's safe for babies who are sensitive to cow’s milk.

However, Ready. Set. Food! is not designed or recommended for babies with milk allergies, which often cause similar symptoms to milk intolerances.

If it is a confirmed IgE-mediated milk allergy, then your baby would not be able to use it because it contains milk, but if it is a delayed milk allergy (also called milk protein-induced proctocolitis), or if you've been told your baby has a milk "intolerance," then it may be ok to use.

Doctors typically recommend reintroducing milk to babies with a delayed allergy to milk or milk intolerance at some point. So, we'd recommend consulting with your pediatrician or allergist about when they recommend reintroducing dairy, prior to starting Ready. Set. Food!.

Once an allergy develops, there is no cure. If you are unsure if your baby has an intolerance or allergy, talk to your doctor.

You can also learn more about the difference between a food allergy and a food intolerance here.

Introduce Allergens Safely and Easily with Ready. Set. Food!

All health-related content on this website is for informational purposes only and does not create a doctor-patient relationship. Always seek the advice of your own pediatrician in connection with any questions regarding your baby’s health.

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.  If your infant has severe eczema, check with your infant’s healthcare provider before feeding foods containing ground peanuts.