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sarah041604

Trying gluten-free Diet For 6 Year Old

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My son is 6 years old & has had unexplained symptoms all his life. Colic, spitting up, gas, chronic abdominal pain, eczema, underweight, frequent loose stools, heartburn, etc. We finally took him to a pedGI, who mentioned celiac. All his tests came back negative, but after much research, we have decided to try the gluten-free diet for gluten intolerance, if not celiac. The problem I have, (other than gluten being EVERYWHERE!) is that we are on a budget & we have 2 other children, who don't show any symptoms. What can I do to keep my son from feeling abnormal? I bake alot, but gluten-free flour is too expensive to replace regular flour. I try to make family meals that are gluten-free so we can all eat together, but this weekend we are going to a baseball game, mcdonalds, he has a class pizza party coming up. . . We are only on day 4 of the diet, but I have already seen an improvement. He tells me on a scale of 1-10 how his tummy feels. Last week, before the diet, he would have daily pains before his bowel movements & other times. This week, almost every time I ask him, its #0. Thankfully, he is homeschooled, so what eats @ school is not an issue. How do you deal with a child on a gluten-free diet?

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You have asked really big questions. I'd suggest you try a book. Like raising our celiac kids by Dana korn or there are many others. You can get excerpts from most websites and pick one you like or maybe request a couple from the library. you can order flour online in bulk and it's not so bad. gluten-free gets easier with practice.

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You just plan ahead and send your child prepared with his own food. Call ahead for parties and see what the menu is so you can match it as close as possible. Pack a favorite candy bar or snack, eating utensils, explain about washing hands frequently and avoiding cross-contamination.

Gluten fre doesn't mean bland or tastless food. Kids are kids, and some kids are going to want what gluten free food he is having.

Gluten free for one in a household means you will freeze special baked goods in single size servings.

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I don't think it's about being "abnormal". I think it is about creating a NEW normal. DS has to take his food with him everywhere (we deal with way more than just gluten!) It is just the way it is for him. He's young and so far it isn't a issue. I hear it becomes more of a problem as kids get older (middle school) when they try to test things more.

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I really didn't explain myself well. Having your gluten free safe food gives you CONTROL. That is what makes me feel "normal". Looking around (people eating everywhere) and having your stomach growl when you don't have anything to eat is miserable.

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My son is almost 11 and has been struggling with this more and more. (btw, we're homeschoolers, too, but now do use camps and classes as well)

At home we eat the same which helps. However, sometimes he has felt bad that we can't eat other stuff because of him. So you can see how no matter what you do it can be hard! We put that fear to rest by all improving our health and really committing to it and reassuring him that our lives are BETTER because of this.

If you continue making him special food that's ok, just start out by making it a bit more special than yours (and be really super careful - his own pan, cutting board, serrated knives, toaster, counter space and cabinet, etc). He gets *better* treats than the rest of you!

When our son goes places we always send food from home and he is great about advocating for himself, but he's really sensitive to feeling different. He has a hard enough time with well-meaning people, but bullies especially make him feel bad.

Here's the thing though... of course it's good to be a supportive parent, read the books, do the support group thing, make friends with the same diets yadda yadda, but you can't protect your kid from feeling different.

If your kid is going to feel different, that's just going to happen. No matter how much of a positive spin you put on it or what kind of a gluten-free bubble you surround yourself with, our culture is full of people who eat gluten, and your kid will notice.

Sometimes it's going to feel bad to be different. That's a part of life, and it's not the end of the world.

I was different as a kid... poor, missionary kid, transferred into schools not speaking the language, and gay. As much as it sometimes sucked, I think dealing with these differences dramatically improved my character.

Knowing what it's like to be different can make people more compassionate. It has potential to give them a reference point to be able to relate to people who are experiencing inequity of any sort. Maintaining their differences in the face of criticism gives them practice with acting courageous. Being different can open your eyes to the unique value offered by each human being.

All these things are things I want for my children. Of course you are going to hurt for your child, I know I do on a regular basis. Of course you are going to try and make it as easy as possible for him, too. But don't try to make the difference go away. Instead, embrace it and all the positive things it can bring to your child's life, and share that with your child!

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What can I do to keep my son from feeling abnormal?... How do you deal with a child on a gluten-free diet?

My thoughts on the matter are that we cannot make our kids feel like they are the same as everyone else. We can't, because they aren't. But it's not a big deal, really. Some people have glasses, some have inhalers, some have pale skin that needs more sunscreen, and some have to eat special foods. And yeah, people are going to make fun of that sometimes, just like they make fun of people with glasses and inhalers and so on.

What feels important to me is to help the kids realize that THEIR normal does not have to be anyone else's normal. As long as it works for them - like making them feel good and with no pain - then that's what matters. Both my kids are gluten free now, and we had lots of talks about it, especially because my oldest already has friends trying to get her to cheat on her diet, and essentially calling her a wuss, because she wasn't willing to put up with a little pain so she could have something 'great' like a piece of cake.

My daughter's response was: what's so great about it if it makes me sick? Sounds like I'd be stupid if I DID eat it.

It's things like that which make me think that it's really, really important at a young age to help our kids accept that 'different' is not automatically bad, you know? And that what's good for others is not always a good thing for us. Some examples I've seen that worked for smaller kids looked at toddlers and older kids, and how fun things for older kids might be dangerous for toddlers (like going down a slide alone), and it would be dangerous to treat all kids the same, no matter how old, wouldn't it? And it's just the same with our bodies: it's dangerous to treat all bodies the same, when some bodies need different things.

But we wouldn't laugh at toddlers or think they're stupid or weird, just because they can't go down a slide like the big kids do. It's just how they are. Not bad or good, it just is.

Just...when they start to hit teen years, there's often a lot of pressure to conform and TRY to be like everyone else, and if our kids aren't completely grounded in their own self-image, even if it's considered abnormal by everyone else, it can be a real problem. I have friends and relatives whose teens stopped taking their insulin, or their epilepsy meds, or went completely off their diet, because they felt that their differences were somehow bad. And the kids around them were pushing hard to reinforce that idea. <_<

on dealing with a child on a gluten-free diet - we just took the whole house gluten free. It was easier by far, it made the little ones feel like they are not completely alone, and...it turned out that our other child - who wasn't celiac - has symptoms go away on the gluten free diet. We hadn't even known these WERE symptoms until they disappeared.

I don't buy any special flours or expensive specialty foods. I just cook a LOT more now, from really basic stuff. Lots more veggie dishes. Rice and corn masa are pretty good and relatively cheap replacements, and some of the other whole grains can be found cheaper if you check on-line and buy in bulk. I make my own sauces right now, and I started an herb garden to use, too. It's been hard, but definitely do-able.

Oh, and if you DO decide to go for corn? seriously, try the corn masa. Corn masa is treated in such a way that the nutrients are more bio-available (they're broken down a little). Cornmeal and corn flour aren't treated this way, and you'll get much fewer nutrients out of them.

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My LO has been gluten free since 7. Now she's 8. But even before that she was a vego child from birth and because I'm a single working mother she's been in childcare from the time she was 1 and attends mainstream school as well as after school care. The gluten free wasn't her main issue. It's not even that she wants to be like everyone else it that she had trouble unerstandin why other people want to eat animals. It was hard on her at first but now she realises everyones different and that's ok too.

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