When I first had my baby last year, I just assumed that he could eat anything and everything that other babies were eating. Sure, I breastfed for awhile and when he started solids, I chose to offer him organic, but I realized quickly that it wasn’t going to be that simple for us. At some point, I couldn’t keep up with his appetite, so I began supplementing with formula. I was also instructed to give him cereal in the morning to help fill up his tiny belly. After about a week, I discovered what many moms nowadays are: Their child can’t tolerate gluten. Here are the four main signs I saw in my own child that can help you decide if your baby needs to go gluten-free.
This was the first red flag we noticed (and noticed instantly) after my baby’s first interaction with gluten. The biggest problem was with the cereal. Not knowing that my child had a gluten sensitivity, I thought the problem was the laundry detergent we were using or even his body wash. After switching both, a couple of times, and not seeing any improvement, I followed the doctor’s advice and removed the cereal from his diet. A few days later, his skin started to improve.
This is a hard one to associate with gluten since all babies have loose stools every once in awhile. There’s one difference between normal diarrhea and diarrhea that’s food related and it’s called the “butterfly rash.” Since we’ve already discussed eczema then it makes sense to bring this up next. With a butterfly rash, not only will your baby’s bottom be red from diarrhea, but the skin folds where his thighs connect to his hips AND the skin behind the knees will be pink or red, depending on the level of gluten in his system. Try eliminating all gluten products from his diet to see if it dries up.
3. Constant Fatigue
It’s normal for babies to sleep a lot. That’s their job! But my little guy was always laying his head down on the rug and sucking his thumb, even after he’d been awake from a solid nap for awhile. This isn’t always a sign of a gluten sensitivity, but if the other signs are there and your baby doesn’t seem to have a lot of energy, gluten could be a problem.
At my baby’s one-year checkup, I was surprised to learn that the little drop of blood they took from his foot came back from the lab showing he was slightly anemic. Sure, I was told that this was common in formula-fed babies (which by now he was completely), but after doing some research on my own, I learned that gluten can have a hand in this as well. Gluten can destroy the cells in the stomach that help absorb iron. Staying gluten-free and starting an iron supplement was the solution for my baby and it could be for yours as well.