cow's milk intolerance lactose intolerance
Cow milk intolerance vs lactose intolerence

There are many who suffer from intolerance responses after drinking cows' milk. An intolerance to cows' milk can occur at any age, but is most commonly found in babies and in very young children. 

Cows' milk intolerance vs lactose intolerance

  • Cows' milk protein intolerance is often confused with lactose intolerance.
  • An intolerance to lactose is the result of being unable to break down the milk sugar lactose and is quite different to cows' milk protein intolerance.
  • Lactose intolerance is actually quite rare in babies and young children, and tends to develop in older children and adults.


Cows' milk allergy is a serious condition and should not be confused with cows' milk intolerance. If your child is known to suffer from a cows' milk allergy, you should consult your doctor or paediatrician before consuming any milk variety.

What causes cows' milk intolerance?

Cows' milk contains two major protein groups, casein and whey. Beta-casein is the main casein protein, and the most common forms of this are A1 and A2. Most dairy cows in New Zealand are A1, so-called because they produce milk with A1 protein. However, there has been a push in recent years to phase out A1 and produce more milk containing just the A2 protein. Many sufferers of cows' milk intolerance find that they can tolerate cows' milk that contains the A2 protein only.

As most fresh milk brands contain both A1 and A2 proteins, it is important to identify A2 milk in the supermarket if you are aiming to try milk containing the A2 protein only.

All milk containing the A2 protein only is DNA tested and certified to ensure that buyers only receive A2 Milk.

Find more information and related articles

This article was written by Ella Walsh for Kidspot, New Zealand's parenting resource for newborns and baby. Sources include SA Government's Parenting and Child Health and Karitane.

Last revised: Thursday, 11 August 2016

This article contains general information only and is not intended to replace advice from a qualified health professional.

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