Me: Baby, this is gluten. Gluten, this is baby.
Me (to gluten): I was hesitant to introduce the two of you at all. Hate is a strong word but it does apply here. I really don’t want you to treat my child the way you treat me but nevertheless, here we are, and here you too are meeting for the first time. Please be kind.
If you’re looking for advice on when to introduce gluten to your little one, most research will tell you that the best time to introduce gluten to babies who are at risk of developing the disease is after 6 months and whilst breastfeeding. This isn’t to say that it will prevent the child from developing celiac disease altogether but it may help delay it. I’ve heard this from various sources, including a few pediatric gastroenterologists I’ve spoken with and I’ve been given the same advice regarding other allergens too. This is what I planned to do with our little one…
…Until last week when I read an article based on a Norwegian study, which gives pretty much the complete opposite advice! This article says that introducing gluten after 6 months of age in babies at risk of developing the disease actually increases the risk. Whilst more studies are needed, the findings suggest that between 4-6 months of age may be the optimal time to introduce gluten in small amounts. It also says that breastfeeding past 12 months may actually increase the risk of developing celiac disease!!
So here we have more confusing data for new mothers looking for advice on the best time to introduce gluten to their children. Since this article suggests very different findings from advice I’ve gotten in the past, I really have no idea the best approach for introducing gluten to my little one when he or she arrives.
What are your thoughts on introducing gluten and other allergens? I’d love to hear from parents on how you dealt with this confusing matter! Please share your thoughts and experiences below..