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Breastfeeding And Elimination Diet... How Strict/How Long?

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Hi Everyone!

I am new to this forum, have browsed many posts, and learned some new things, but haven't quite found the answer to my question.

As far as I know, nobody in my family has Celiac Disease. In fact, no one that I know of has food allergies of any kind, at least none that are diagnosed.

When kiddo (now 3 1/2 years) was a baby, he spit up all the time. I don't remember there being large volumes, it was just frequent, even after starting "solid" (ie, baby) foods. He turned my parent's carpet rainbow colored with all the sweet potatoes, bananas, prunes, and everything else he spit up. He was a colicky baby. At about a month old, he was diagnosed with reflux, and put on zantac. He was on it for about a month, and dramatically improved his mood. After about a month, we decided to take him off it and see how he did. He seemed to do fine, not as fussy, etc, just still spitting up all the time. Since some babies just spit up, didn't really get concerned about it. He was always on the smaller side of "normal" but was never too small. He's pretty much always been 50% percentile or higher for height, always been less than 50% for weight (the smallest was 10% at 4 months, has been hovering around 25% ever since. ped said as long as he is staying along one curve, not dropping percentiles, he was growing just fine). He was breastfed exclusively for 3 months, then we began introducing formula when I was away (he was a high needs baby, never really gave me time to pump, finally gave up pumping after 3 months). When I was with him, though, he was breastfed. Tried a small amount of rice cereal at 4 months, he stopped pooping, so we stopped the cereal. Started solids at 6 months, some cereal (not a whole lot, though), typical others, sweet potatoes, bananas, applesauce, etc. The only thing he ever showed a sensitivity to was avocado, the one time I gave it to him, he had a very rough night, like he had bad heartburn. Otherwise, no sensitivities I have identified. Just the spitting up. He's now 3 1/2 and normal, healthy, doesn't seem to have any food related issues (other than being picky).

Baby girl is now 6 months old. Similar to big brother, exclusively breast fed in the beginning. I had much better luck with pumping this time around, so she never had anything other than breast milk until she was 5 months old. At that point, I was tired of pumping, and wasn't getting as much while pumping, so we introduced formula for her to have while I was away (she gets 2-3 bottles a week, plus formula used to make any cereal she eats). She also has always had problems spitting up. At about 2 months, we decided to try the zantac with her as well. It definitely helped with the fussiness, and she seemed to spit up less often. After about a month or so, I tried reducing her dosage to wean her off the zantac. At first, she seemed to do fine. When I stopped giving it to her altogether, she started spitting up more, and was fussy again. So I started it back up, at the level I had been giving it to her (1 dose/day). Fussiness faded, spitting up continued. At 5 months she was desperately trying to get her hands on any food we were eating, so I started giving her small amounts of rice cereal, particularly at dinner when we were eating. She seemed to do ok, but I was worried about constipation. A friend recommended oatmeal, since it has fiber in it, might reduce the risk of constipation. I would guess that she started the oatmeal at maybe 5 months, 1 week... A few days after starting the oatmeal, she started REALLY spitting up. We thought she had some sort of flu bug or something. Since she turned 6 months, we have tried sweet potatoes, bananas, applesauce, peaches, and prunes (not by choice). Bananas gave her severe constipation (hence the prunes). Sweet potatoes seem to make her spit up more, but it might be just that it is a brighter color, therefore easier to see. I have noticed her spitting up much more after nursing too. Yesterday I nursed her after getting home from work, and when I burped her, she let out a big burp, then proceeded to repeatedly spit up. she ended up soaking through her bib, the blanket I was using as a spit up rag, and her clothes. Other than the constipation from the bananas, she has never had any "poop" issues. Her only symptoms have been fussiness (she used to get really gassy) and spitting up. As she has gotten older the fussiness is generally better, but the spitting up has (I think) gotten worse.

So, after all that background info, my question is this: I think gluten may be a culprit in her spitting up. Particularly since she seemed to get worse after starting with the oatmeal. I am concerned because she is starting to spit up after every feeding (breastfeeding, bottle, food), and it seems to be getting worse. If I put both of us on a gluten free diet to see if there is improvement, how long and how strict to I have to be? If gluten is the problem, if I eliminate gluten from her diet, but only reduce (not eliminate) it in mine, will I see an improvement? Or do I have to completely eliminate it? (my preference would be to eliminate from her diet, reduce in mine, then if there is improvement, eliminate from mine and see if she continues to improve.) Either way, how long would it take to see an improvement?

Also, I realize caffeine and milk in my diet could be a cause of issues for her, but really her symptoms got worse after she had oatmeal (ie, gluten directly in her diet, not just through breastmilk), so I'm thinking that is a more likely culprit. Also, the formula she uses is milk based, and when she started on it, the spitting up was no worse then normal. However, she only had about a week on the formula before we introduced the oatmeal.

Any thoughts/advice? I'm sorry for the long post, and all the background info, but thought some of the history might help. since kiddo was a "spitter," it's not unreasonable that baby girl is one too. or maybe they both have a gluten intolerance, but he's not showing his? or maybe it's something else altogether...

anyway, I would really appreciate any thoughts/advice you might have. I would like to try a change at home and see if there is any improvement before I bring it up to the ped.

Thanks in advance for your help!

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