Here comes the Gluten

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As you already know we have a little one at home now, she started eating solids at around 5 months and now that she's over 7 months old we are introducing all sorts of new foods. I asked the pediatrician if I should be avoiding giving her gluten given my dietary issues and I was told that there's varied research out there suggesting both sides when it comes to allergies and introducing foods to babies/infants. He further told me that he felt that I should introduce everything, including gluten, right away and watch closely for reactions (just like any child trying new foods). His opinion was that we will monitor her weight and growth even more closely and see if there's any reason to do the blood test for Celiac after age 1. I cannot remember his reasoning for the age 1 distinction.

So we have been introducing all foods to her and following the 3-4 day rule. Basically this rule is that you introduce a new food and do not introduce another new food until 3-4 days have passed without any reactions to the food that was introduced. Thus far it has been working well for us/her.

Now, parenting is enough of a challenge and learning curve each and every day but then you add into it the fear of causing harm to your child and it leads to potential freaking out! I am very thankful that Abisaac is so logical and understanding about my concerns (both the rational and irrational ones alike). 

Prior to our daughter's birth our home was entirely gluten free. Then overtime I insisted that Abisaac eat gluten more than simply when we go out. I requested that he eat regular (not gluten free) cereal, take regular not gluten free granola bars to work in his lunch and eat regular not gluten free oatmeal. Occasionally he will also eat regular not gluten free bread, but he will always use the Toasta Bags and will never double dip his knife into any spread, especially when putting it on regular not gluten free bread. We have both worked towards not double dipping our knifes since my Celiac diagnosis. This was our way of managing gluten free safely in our home for a long time. Now with the addition of our little girl, we have to figure out how we want to manage and maintain safe gluten free cooking and eating areas while still introducing foods that contain gluten to our daughter. 

Thus far she has eaten a variety of the baby cereals that are on the market, including wheat and oat cereal. We haven't yet given her the mixed grain cereal (which contains everything that is not gluten free all in one cereal), though it is on the counter waiting to be tried. We have given her regular Cherrios as well. Thankfully no reactions have occurred so far. 

As a way to ensure safe gluten free cooking we have switched from hand washing our dishes to using our dishwasher, which is both more and less convenient sometimes. However, it does help us to ensure a stronger sanitization of our dishes.  Thus far, this has worked for us. 

I do have a bunch of concerns. I am concerned about how I will manage when she's a bit older and wants to "share" her food with me and I cannot safely eat it. I am concerned about how we will manage when she goes into day home care and they bake and she brings something home for us to eat and I cannot safely eat it. I know that as she gets older I will be able to explain to her why I cannot eat everything she can eat, but until that time I am uncertain how everything will pan out. 

Thankfully, I am not overly concerned about how we will manage dinners together and what we will cook, as she seems to be a good little eater and is willing to try everything we give her. As well, we tend to cook from scratch more than we ever did pre-celiac diagnosis which is helpful, less expensive and healthier since we can control everything that goes into our meals. It does take away from some of the convenience which I expect may be a concern when I do return to work and have less time to cook dinner, but thankfully we are pro-slow cooker in our house so I expect our slow cooker will get a work out fairly regularly.

Gluten Free Edmonton - A Celiac guide and resource for gluten free information in Edmonton, Alberta

4 comments :

  1. In England all baby food is gluten free. You are advised not to give your child gluten until he or she is at least a year old. I wish we has known that before our nightmare

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  2. Babies do not develop the enzyme amylase, which is required to sufficiently digest starches, until they are a year old. Doctors conveniently ignore this fact to push unnecessary grain cereals on our kids because they are fortified with vitamins. Gluten is not good for the majority of the population, causing leaky gut and digestive issues even for those without Celia disease, you could not pay me to feed it to my child. To read more behind the science you could try practical paleo by Dianne Sanfilipo, or the paleo solution by Robb Wolf. Just some things I am glad were brought to my attention when I was pregnant with my son.

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  3. Sounds like you're doing the same things I did with my son. He is 4-1/2 years old now and luckily has not shown any intolerance to gluten so far. We did tests to make sure he was absorbing iron and other nutrients every 6 months until he was about 3 years old. Since everything seemed fine the doctor said we didn't have to do the tests anymore, but when we go for his 5 year checkup we will likely do the blood test for Celiac. He's old enough now to understand that mommy can't eat foods that aren't gluten free (even if he doesnt know what has gluten and what doesnt).

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  4. Thanks for all the feedback and information. It's really a tricky one, isn't it? You just never know what is best as I have learned with almost everything child related.

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