Gluten Free. If this is the worst of my problems, I am lucky. However, I am overwhelmed. As a mother (like all mothers), I want my child to be happy, healthy, safe, humble, compassionate, smart and strong. Recently, my son presented with gluten intolerance symptoms. I am now on a mission to provide my infant with a Gluten Free (GF) diet full of nutrient dense foods.
For nutrient dense recipes scroll to the bottom of the post.
My son was breastfeed for 9 months as he weaned on his own and to my disappointment. Around 6 months of age, I started him on solids which I made myself with wonderful nutrient dense purees. Around 9 months of age, he began to eat foods from my plate which naturally has gluten. It was about that time my son started to have hard foul-smelling stools and/or diarrhea in the same day. His skin became a play ground for painful eczema and we had countless sleepless nights. One night his belly pain from gas was so bad, I thought we were going to the ER.
Of course at this time there were many suspects that could account for his symptoms: teething; weaning from breast milk to goat milk; new laundry detergent; new foods; etc. I bathed him in oatmeal flour and washed his clothes in vinegar. We gave him infant Advil for teething and had countless discussions with various doctors (friends and family). Nothing was making sense to me as a Dietitian. To me eczema is a sign of something internal. Please keep in mind, his iron level at the age of 9 months was outstanding (13) and he was growing normally. He had all indications he is and was not having a malabsorption issue. However, I also made his own baby food and he did not consume any commercial foods which means he did not consume gluten until about 9 months of age.
After much thought and two months later (11 months old), I suspected gluten as the culprit. I took him off gluten and within days his rash disappeared and within weeks he was sleeping and his bowels were normal. I waited a month and we reintroduced gluten. Sure enough, the eczema was back and my cranky boy reappeared with upset bowels. At this point, I had convinced my husband. We removed gluten and my boy is now happy.
After two elimination diets, I contacted the Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University to make an appointment for my son. They informed me my son has to be on a regular gluten diet for at least 2 months before they will test him. I understand as a Dietitian gluten needs to be in the body for a positive test. However, morally and ethically I cannot justify feeding gluten to my son at such a young age for a positive test. He is growing and needs his nutrients and sleep to grow strong. 2 months of digestive issues is too long for an infant, in my opinion. I made a personal decision with my husband to maintain a GF diet for at least 6 months to a year. We will then revisit his diet in the future but for now- GF here we come!
Certainly, if you have suspicion of a gluten intolerance or celiac disease, please consult with your doctor.
GF Nutrient Dense Recipes:
My goal now is to concentrate on foods my son can have and maintain a positive attitude in this learning experience. The problem with GF diet is it lacks B vitamins, fiber, calcium and vitamin D according to The Celiac Diet, Series #1. The recipes I plan to post here will be nutrient dense, GF, and infant/child friendly.
Chocolate Peanut Butter and Banana Bites (frozen treat!)
Granola Bar - High in Iron, Fiber and Healthy Fats
Oatmeal – Increases Calcium Absorption and Fiber