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Breastfeeding-- Does Gluten Travel Through Breastmilk?
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Hi,

I'm due with baby #2 in about 6 weeks. We recently found out that our son (28 months old) has Celiac Disease. He is doing amazingly on a gluten-free diet and we are thrilled beyond belief. At the same time, the Celiac diagnosis came out-of-the-blue for us since, as far as we know at this point, no one in either of our families has been diagnosed Celiac. In any case, I've been hearing conflicting things about whether or not gluten can travel through breastmilk or not. I do plan on breastfeeding the new baby, and I do still occasionally eat gluten. Will this travel to the new baby or not? Obviously, we don't know yet if the new baby will have Celiac Disease, but at the same time, if I can avoid seeing another one of my children go through the pain of undiagnosed Celiac Disease, I would love to. What have you heard?

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Though I haven't been looking for information on the subject, there have been many threads on this board about it. A search should turn them up.

However, seems to me the consensus is that the gluten you ingest will effect the baby, not just via the milk, but right now, before birth. Again, I've not been delving into the subject, but I'd say the antibodies will travel into the fetus. And, antibodies would also get into the milk. Not sure about gluten itself, but knowing how the developing baby will gain immunity from the mother, it makes sense that this would also be true for the intolerance to gluten. So I think the issue is more about the antibodies than the actual gluten, though I'm not ruling that out.

If any of the above isn't true, I'm sure others will quickly point it out.

HTH

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If the mother ingests gluten, gluten is in the breastmilk.

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I don't know about gluten. But I know alot can pass through. I could not have any dairy the entire 1 1/2 yrs. I nursed my daughter. If I had dairy she was gassy, cranky, mucous poop and broke out in eczema. HTH

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RiceGuy: she's not gluten intolerant/celiac, her first kid is. So, no antibodies to pass to the fetus.

BrooklynFamily: yes, gluten is passed through breastmilk in such a way that a celiac baby would be adversely affected. celiac is not always "activated" at birth, so it's your choice whether or not to wait to see if the newborn has problems or not. it might be convenient, at this point, to take the whole family gluten-free (but I'm one who doesn't think it's too hard to do that ;) )

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my little boy was born 6 weeks early and was a healthy premmie. six weeks later at his due date he became very sick, constant vomiting, watery stools, trouble breathing, not sleeping, screaming for hours on end and producing a large quantity of mucus. by eight weeks he had had skin prick tests and blood tests, in which it was found he was allergic to wheat, soy and dairy. and diagnosed celiac. and since he was not even on solids it meant all his triggers where comimg through my breastmilk. after radically altering my diet, within two weeks he was gaining weight again, sleeping more, and even managed to stop screaming! It all came through my breastmilk but i managed and continued to breatfeed to 15months. If i made the slightest mistake we would know within 10 hours as he would be sick again, and then take a couple of days to clear. Fortunately we had a family history of it so we could push for testing sooner. we would have had to weight until he was one otherwise.

good luck and i hope your bubs is not going to be the same!

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Thank you very much for the replies. Sounds like, yes, the gluten will travel through my breastmilk to the new baby. It's funny because I breastfed my son until he was 15 months old-- eating gluten all the time-- and he didn't start exhibiting celiac symptoms until we stopped breastfeeding and he was only eating solids. At 15 months, he just stopped/slowed growing. At 26 months, he became sick-- lethargic, extreme weight loss, etc.-- and that was when he was diagnosed. I'll talk to our pediatric GI doc about it, too. Thanks again for the replies.

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The benefits of breastfeeding far outweigh that of formula ESP. with food allergies! It may not be easy restricting your diet *if* your new baby has an issue but it is totally doable because of the positives! I had a long list oh no-no's while nursing my son but only dairy and egg for my second. Good luck to you!

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RiceGuy: she's not gluten intolerant/celiac, her first kid is. So, no antibodies to pass to the fetus.

Yeah, I know she isn't intolerant/Celiac (as far as she knows). However, seems to me many get a negative on tests, even though some antibodies are detected. So I wouldn't feel comfortable thinking that there are absolutely zero antibodies present. Plus I never say never, when gluten intolerance is concerned. I mean, if it's in the family...

Not suggesting she is though, and hoping not of course!

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Thank you very much for the replies. Sounds like, yes, the gluten will travel through my breastmilk to the new baby. It's funny because I breastfed my son until he was 15 months old-- eating gluten all the time-- and he didn't start exhibiting celiac symptoms until we stopped breastfeeding and he was only eating solids. At 15 months, he just stopped/slowed growing. At 26 months, he became sick-- lethargic, extreme weight loss, etc.-- and that was when he was diagnosed. I'll talk to our pediatric GI doc about it, too. Thanks again for the replies.

A couple of things I want to point out here...#1 as Raven said even if child #2 is predisposed it may not be ACTIVATED. As you said your first son was fine up until certain point. Mine was the same way. Activation could be triggered by just about anything at anytime from what I understand. #2 It was recommended to me by my GI that we introduce wheat and gluten to our youngest between 7-10 months. That apparently is the "window of opportunity" to be least likely to trigger. Be sure to check with your GI doc and see what s/he says.

My Celiac son was breastfed but started sliding down the charts after 9 months when his diet turned primarily solids (he was uninterested in BF). I never questioned breastfeeding his younger brother. But I was very watchful. So far so good. My household is gluten free though and the only time I have gluten is when I eat out at work for lunch.

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