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Breast-feeding May Protect Against Celiac Disease

Arch Dis Child 2006;91:39-43.

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Celiac.com 12/08/2005 – Researchers in the United Kingdom conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of 15 studies published between 1966 and 2004 that evaluated the association between breast-feeding and celiac disease. Their review covered more than 4,000 children and found that breast-feeding may offer protection against the development of celiac disease, especially if it is prolonged and covers the period when gluten is introduced. It was unclear, however, whether breast-feeding merely delays the onset of symptoms, or actually offers permanent protection against the disease, and more long-term prospective cohort studies will be necessary to make such a determination.

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4 Responses:

 
Belinda
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said this on
13 Nov 2007 5:32:33 AM PDT
I have some belief in this statement due to the fact that I breast-fed all 3 of my boys , my oldest the longest, my second not very long and my 3rd very short. Well my youngest had celiac sprue and my middle shows a lot of signs but never been determined. My husband and I both have symptoms and dermatitis herpetaformis. We are both gluten-free along with the youngest. So I recommend that everyone breast feed as long as possible! A breast-pump will be a big help.

 
Kirsten
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said this on
08 Apr 2008 9:48:06 PM PDT
I definitely believe it delays the onset, which is very valuable, but in our family it hasn't delayed it forever. I was breastfed for 4 years, my sister for 2. We both have celiac. I have breastfed my children for 6, 4 & 4 years and I am still breastfeeding my last two (19 months). Definitely breastfeed as long as possible, delay the introduction of complementary foods (solids) for AT LEAST 6 months (as recommended by the WHO), breastfeed while introducing gluten gradually and get breastfeeding information and support ideally prior to birth if you can from La Leche League. But don't count on it eliminating celiac completely.

 
Leanna
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said this on
28 Dec 2011 2:34:59 PM PDT
I was undiagnosed in my first pregnancy and only able to produce about 3 ounces per feeding. My son has some signs but has not been tested yet. I was diagnosed recently, at 15 weeks in my second pregnancy, and I'm hoping I will heal enough to be able to produce enough this time.

 
Dawn
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said this on
07 Mar 2016 6:03:08 AM PDT
I have 4 children and all were breastfed, 2 out of 4 have celiac disease, I even went completely gluten free while nursing my last one in hopes that would somehow help. It did not, he still has celiac sprue. And unfortunately both my boys were diagnosed under the age of 2. For me it did not help the onset or protect them against getting it even though I was hopeful it would.




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Wish I could give you a hug. Unfortunately I know how that feels with Neurologists, Internists, Endocrinologists, Rheumatologists, GIs..... I got so tired of crying my drive home after refusing yet another script for Prozac. I do hope your GI can give you some answers even if it is just to rule out other possible issues. Keep on the gluten and we are here for you.

It is too bad that so often a full panel isn't done. Glad your appointment got moved up and hopefully you will get a clearer answer from the GI. Do keep eating gluten until the celiac testing is done. Once the testing is done do give the diet a good strict try. Hang in there.

That makes sense...I cried with relief when I got my diagnosis just because there was finally an answer. Please know that you are not weak or crazy. Keep pushing for testing. It could still be celiac, it could be Crohns. Push your Dr's to figure this out. Best wishes.

Thank you all very much. I actually cried when I got the answer. I wanted an explanation that I could "fix." Now I'm back to thinking I'm just weak and possibly crazy. I know I'm not crazy, but you know.

From what I have read online there is about a 1-3% chance of getting a false positive for celiac disease from a blood test. Was it a blood test that you got done? It may be worth your while to get a biopsy or more testing just to confirm it. I know being gluten free is a pain but it is better than getting cancer or other auto immune disorders.