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dcrobinett

Celiac Mom With A 7-month-old

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I have DH and was diagnosed just over a year ago (while pregnant with my daughter) so I am still learning about eating gluten-free and still accidentally glutenating myself every now and then, especially since giving birth. I breastfeed my baby and I've read that gluten is passed through breastmilk. As far as I can tell, DD hasn't reacted. I've seen some tiny suspicious bumps behind her ears with a couple of big red bumps on her legs (could've been bug bites). They don't look anything like my DH bumps (blisters, scabbing, etc) but I am not sure if they would manifest differently on a baby. She doesn't seem to have any tummy issues. She isn't fussy, passes gas happily, and her bowel movements look pretty normal with an occasional hard stool which seems related to when I forget to give her water with her solids and when I don't give her enough green veggies. One other thing that I could point to as a possible sign is that at her 6 months check-up, her growth seems to have slowed down a bit by dropping down in the percentiles even though the pediatrician wasn't concerned.

Anyway, my question is this: If gluten is passed through breastmilk and DD hasn't reacted, should I try giving her gluten (oatmeal cereal or Cheerios) to see if she reacts? I think I read an article somewhere about babies being introduced to gluten at 6 months and not developing celiac and at 8 months old which led to celiac - or something like that. My pediatrician wants me to give DD gluten now, before 8 months, and I disagreed but now...I'm wondering if I should.

My original plan was to keep her gluten free until she could talk and tell me if she has tummy troubles or itchy skin (I don't want to try and figure out what's happening when she's unable to communicate right now!) but if I give her gluten now and find that she is reacting to it, then I would just be back to my original plan to keep her gluten-free anyway.

Sorry this is so long. I appreciate any input.

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This is ultimately your decision, but since you asked I will give my input. If you are eating gluten free anyway, then there really is no point in giving your daughter gluten. I have yet to find any research proving that early exposure protects against later development of celiac, otherwise I would not hold this opinion.

My opinion is similar to your original thoughts on waiting AT LEAST until the child is old enough to communicate. As the mother of one diagnosed celiac child and possibly 2-3 gluten sensitive kids, this is the route I have chosen to take: the baby will not get gluten as we are now a gluten free home. The study you're referring to was later said to have been poorly conducted and to not have much merit.

I would recommend the book "Healthier Without Wheat" by Steven Wangen, it has a few sections which may be of interest to you on the subject of non-celiac gluten sensitivity/intolerance and gluten and children. Also on how most doctors, probably including your ped, do not yet understand all there is to know about gluten. The problem I have with the "give gluten and see if she reacts" approach is that not all those with gluten intolerance 'react' with abdominal symptoms or even with any other obvious outwardly observable signs, so you may not be able to observe "symptoms" in an infant or toddler-age child who is unable to communicate. That doesn't mean gluten isn't doing damage inside her body. Just because you have DH, your dd may exhibit other types of reactions. Even then, an older child may not know that what they're experiencing or feeling is anything abnormal. I know my daughter's main symptom was irritability, she never once complained of a tummy ache. Of course we hadn't yet figured it out. You have the advantage of knowing the disease. But like I said, this is only "input". Stick to your gut instincts, highly recommend that book though.

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