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Gluten Free Baby.

There's a whole freaking list of things that we've done, as parents, to keep The Thought out of our heads.  We don't go nuts here, but we have made some decisions that are different from those of our fellow new parents.  Like the decision to breast feed.  And then the decision to integrate solid foods closer to the six month mark rather than the four month mark.  And we've also decided to go gluten free with our little bird.

What a pain in the butt this "gluten free" thing is.  I do not envy anyone who is living with celiac, or who cares for someone with celiac disease.  I've never read so many product labels in my entire life.  

But there are plenty of options for a gluten-free lifestyle, and there are even pancakes to be had.  (Thanks for the tip, Gluten-Free Goddess @danamlewis.)  And for now, BSparl is dining on Earth's Best Organic rice cereal, mushed together with their First Food jars.  She's happy.  She also gets the whole process now, and opens her mouth like a true baby bird when I bring the spoon anywhere within a five mile radius of her face.  (Keeping it mostly in her mouth and not all over said face?  That's still a challenge, but she'll get it eventually.  Either that, or she'll be a hell of a dinner date when she's older.)

Since BSparl is still a baby, her food options are limited as a result of our slow integration and her age, but as she gets older, I want her to be able to grab on those same finger foods that all growing babies manage to get their mitts on.

Which is why I was thrilled that the Happy Baby food company created a gluten-free counterpart to their fantastic puffs:

Tasty yummy awesometown!
Because I was so excited to find these online, I ordered a freaking ton of them from the website, and now a crate of Happy Baby puffle things are en route to my house.   They come in sweet potato flavor and strawberry flavor, and honestly, I'm looking forward to trying these little things out with my daughter.  (And also, Happy Babby has no idea I'm writing about their product, nor did they ask me to.  There's a little disclosure for ya.  Oh, but if they offered to send free crap?  I'd happily take it and invite them over for tea.  How's that for bonus disclosure?)

I know this diabetes community has its finger on the pulse when it comes to all-things gluten-free.  So I'm hoping you might have some suggestions as to what kind of other gluten-free baby foods are out there. I'm not afraid to order items online, so if you have a link, please share!!  I'm aiming for 12 months without gluten for the baby, but if it's going well, I may extend the lifestyle decision.  Any suggestions you have would be awesome!

Comments

we rock the gluten free and vegan thing at our house. i can't give you much tips on baby food, as my son wasn't diagnosed with celiac until he was 7 yrs old. he's been vegan all his life though!

things to keep in mind... it's easiest when you stick to the basics.. whole grains (rice, quinoa, millet, buckwheat, etc are all GF)... fresh fruit, veggies, beans; nuts and seeds as she gets older. a good cookbook will save your life! there's tons of them on the market these days.

now that we've been doing the type 1 diabetes thing for nearly 3 years, and the celiac thing for 2 years, it really does get easier.

If you need some moral support for the GF baby diet, you should read Shauna James-Ahern's blog. She writes a column for Allergic Living magazine, which I know she writes about coping (and cooking) with her GF baby girl: http://allergicliving.com/index.php/2010/07/02/gluten-free-girl-feeding-our-g-f-baby/. The site also has GF recipes and advice (under Celiac tab) for going gluten-free.

Hope that helps :).

I love brown rice pasta (gluten-free and found in the health food sections of Stop and Shop and other grocery stores). I don't notice a big difference between that and semolina pasta. No idea if it's baby-appropriate, but I've definitely been told to stop being a baby a lot... does that count?

So sorry to hear about it, Kerri. For me, it's almost worse than the diabetes.

See a list resources I've found here:

http://www.diabetesmine.com/2009/09/wayback-wednesday-greetings-diabetic-celiacs.html

I hope it's just a passing phase in your little one!

Best,
AmyT

I've never really considered the whole gluten free route for when I have kids. I'm curious about one thing. If you keep your baby gluten free for a year or so and then decide to introduce gluten, will it cause any problems? Like trouble digesting it maybe? Just wondering! If you (or anyone else) knows, I'd love to hear the answer!

Thanks!

You are right, gluten-free is hard. My little one was diagnosed T1 at 25 months old, and with celiac just this last January, right before she turned 5. I am very thankful for replacement products, as we really wanted her to not feel the impact of the change much at her age. It is important to read labels but once she gets older, eating out will be a challenge. We are thankful for restaurants that publish GF items and take care to protect from cross-contamination. Incidently, Disney is WONDERFUL for gluten-free - we were just there last week and they made her pancakes and muffins to order that were GF, had dinner rolls that were GF and would easily walk us through any menu to let us know what was safe.

Good luck on your quest. I try not to think about whether my other two children could end up with either of these diseases - one child with these two is about all I have it in me to handle

Lately I've been reading about how gluten damages the lining of one's gut. This, to many sensitive individuals eventually causes fecal matter to pass into the blood stream and cause autoimmune problems. So although I've been severely limiting gluten for my kids, I'm considering continuing the lifestyle and going all or almost all gluten free. I don't find it too difficult, mainly because we try to get unprocessed foods and cook them at home (super easy way to avoid gluten-err, except for the cooking part lol). Anyway we love those puffs! Our kids get them from time to time, and luckily we find them at Toys R US. The organic section of the grocery store typically has tons of gluten free stuff which is nice. Anyway, the hardest part is dealing with other people who are like, "what, she isn't having regular cake??" lol

Rice pasta is delicious! Try it and you'll see.

A great website for gluten free products and other allergy-free products that I use is www.allergygrocer.com. You can type in what allergens you want to search for under 'shop by allergen' and it will pull up all gluten-free products. They have lots of mixes too. Great products.

I have two daughters (7 and 5) and have never tested them. I did breastfeed both of them. I am a type 1 of 27 years. I am new to your site, but if you could tell me how I should test if they have antiboides, I would appreciate.

good luck doing gf with a baby i cant imagine ..we have to do gf for my daughter and still get those puff's at 9 years old..there yummy lol

when you get old enough for bread bread you have to try Udi's ..its the only gf bread we have found that actually has some fluff to it and they also have a ton of other yummy products (im not a rep for them i swear lol)

just watch your bg's as a t1 if you partake in bsparl's gf goodies they act faster so of course your insulin needs to be timed differently

Can I ask why you have willingly opted for this lifestyle for your child? I believe whole-heartedly in living well, organic, healthy food. However, growing up gluten-free by your choice, not hers, is going to be very difficult for her in upcoming years in life. There isn't a medical diagnosis related to why you made this decision.

Do you and your husband live completely glueten-free lives? I have seen posts about you enjoying food, and from what I recall those aren't glueten free. I am attempting to question you in a respectful way. I just feel you are contradicting your beliefs for your daughter and yourselves. "Do as a say, not as I do."

I

Hey Kerri,

Both myself and my 6 yo daughter (who is type 1) are celiac. D was diagnosed with celiac almost a year after being diagnosed T1.

I've been doing the gf thing for over a decade now and it is getting easier to do than it was back then. Fruits and vegetables are good for her. There are also gf oats available out there that we eat regularly (oh, was soooo happy when those came on the market!!). I agree with a past poster, I think the Udi's brand of breads/bagels are probably about the best out there to purchase. A lot of people make their own bread, but if you're not wanting to go down that road, I'd give that brand a try (we like it) ... although my daughter likes their bagels with pb on it and we have to ADD to her suggested insulin dose on her pump when she eats that (it really sends her sugars for a loop ... but that's just her).

There is also organic whole grain brown rice pasta which is good (for when she's a bit bigger) yhou could try. Lots of cereals that are gf that are cheerio-ish as well (for those finger foods when she is bigger and ready for that as well). There is also kinnikinnick.com (that's a mouthful) out of edmonton, AB but they ship to the U.S. as well - they have some good products (cake mixes like sponge cakes, graham crackers, etc).

Good luck!

Hi Just Wondering,

If you read the end of the post, I said that I was aiming to go gluten-free for 12 months. Not her whole life. If you read my earlier post that I linked to, it referenced a study that linked the introduction of gluten too early in a child's life to a possible type 1 diabetes connection. So yes, I am choosing for BSparl to remain gluten free for the first 12 months of her existence.

However, and I do mean this answer as respectfully as you had asked the question, if I were to decide to keep her gluten-free for the rest of her life, that is my decision. Sharing our collective lives online doesn't mean that everyone gets a say in how she's raised. I realize that different parenting styles always garner opinions, both positive and negative.

The point is, she's my daughter. I make the decisions regarding her care, particularly where diabetes may play an active role. And 'do as I say, not as I do' works in some instances. As in, "Let's avoid gluten for 12 months because I'd rather you do as I say now, than do as I do with these insulin injections and blood sugar checks later."

I hope that clears things up for you. Please let me know if you have further questions. Also, feel free to use your real name when you comment. No need to hide when your questions are respectful.

Stella - My husband and I haven't had our daughter tested for antibodies yet, but we may in the future.

Amy - Thanks for the link! And just to be clear, BSparl doesn't have celiac. We've just been advised by our team that avoiding gluten for 12 months is a good plan, after taking different research studies into account. :)

Hey Just Wondering! If kerri and Chris decide to have a beer with dinner, does that mean their kid should get to have one too? Or are some things better for more grown up immune systems? Just wondering.

To chime in on the bandwagon, aren't parents supposed to make those decisions for their children? There has been so much research about health and nutrition lately and what is wrong with using that research to give your baby the healthiest start possible? Not to mention - nothing this child will do in the next couple years will be "her" decision. That is the role of the parent. No one asks a baby what they "prefer" to eat.
Heck my parents STILL don't and I'm 31, but that's another story.

HOLLA!!! Gluten Free Goodness in DA HOUSE :)

I din't have a gluten free baby, but I DID just post a bunch of gluten free goodies on my blog. You seriously MUST try the sugar cookies since Christmas is coming. A yummy GF sugar cookie in BSparl's stocking....lucky, lucky girl!

I have to say that my favorite GF products are:

1) Udi's Bread. LOVE IT.

2) Jules Gluten Free Flour Blend. (I use it exclusively because it contains Xanthan Gum and does't require 25 different flours taking up my cupboard space.

(PS -- I JUST LOVE THEM...that's my disclaimer!)

Happy to have you in the GF Club -- even if it IS a personal choice which, of course, doesn't matter to me. It's YOUR life. Live it!

Sugar was dx with celiac in 12/08 and I was dx in 9/09.

Just started the vegan ways myself a few weeks ago and I am having a blast,Gluten is something I never thought of but then again I never thought I would be a vegan either so go figure.Maybe it is time to look into it....thanks for the info Kerri very inspiring

I agree with Amy. My son says following the gluten-free diet is harder than dealing with diabetes. I tweeted that I found a few new things at the new Trader Joe's here this weekend, but after his first bite of a new french loaf roll, he said, "It still doesn't taste like wheat." And, he knows nothing will. But, he did eat it with LOTS of peanut butter.

Kerri -
I don't know much about gluten free baby food, but I do know that http://www.amys.com/products/search_results.php
has some tasty looking gluten free options, including kids meals. If those meals are anything like their gluten free pizza, BSparl/toddler Sparl will be very happy!
I'll keep my eyes & ears open for more GF options for the B that is Sparl!
kelly k


I just want to tell you that you're an awesome mother. You make your decisions, share them, and stand by them. My daughter has Type 1 and celiac, and our family has been basically GF ever since her diagnoses. Next to Type 1, GF's no big deal once you get your favorite brands figured out. For celiac, the cure is in the grocery store, I wish it were that simple for diabetes!
Thank you for your blog. Really, you give all of us so much.

Just Wondering:

It's "gluten." Not "glueten." You can't spell, yet you give medical admonishments?

Sincerely,
A Gluten Free Kid Who Grew Up Just Fine

Hi Kerri - do you happen to have a Wegman's in your neck of the woods? They have a great selection of GF products and easily label their brand with a big "G" on the front for Gluten Free items.
www.wegmans.com/pdf/.../GlutenFreeWegmansBrandProducts.pdf

I delayed gluten and dairy for my girls until at least a year.... at that point I didn't worry if they got a little exposure at snack time at daycare but for another 2-4 months I took their lunches. What is great is that kids like the foods they are exposed to.... so neither kid loves wheat or misses dairy because they have never eaten that way. My 4 year old does like to have a croissant sometimes, but my 2 year old never eats the bread she is offered at daycare.

People have weird perceptions that when we restrict foods we are "depriving" our kids but I notice no-one says anything to the parents visiting fast food restaurants every day! You are making great choices for your daughter, and trying to take control of some of the factors you can. I always hope that by delaying and minimizing allergens in their diets, they will be able to have a little bit of everything when they are older (but will prefer healthy choices!). I myself love eating a whole foods based diet... but of course it would be nice if I could tolerate gluten when it is more convenient to eat out, etc...

If you are looking for great plant-based family food, I recommend getting "Vive le Vegan"... my kids love the banana oat bundles, roasted chickpeas, and lots of other recipes. Good luck!

I'm a bit confused as to why you are forcing the gluten-free diet on your baby. Has any of her doctors (especially those 'in the know' about Type I diabetes and autoimmune disorders) recommended this?

Hey June. :)

Honestly, I think "forcing" is a bit of a judgmental word, seeing as how BSparl is only 6 months old. That would make naps, feedings, diaper changes, car rides, burps, and clothing "forced." She's a baby. I believe it's my job to make decisions - aka "take care of her." Go easy, there.

As I've stated several times, I do have my medical team both suggesting and embracing the gluten-free diet for the first year of my daughter's life. There have been several studies that have linked gluten and a type 1 diabetes diagnosis. I have linked to them in older posts. Take a spin through if you feel the need.

But, like I said before, this is my daughter we're talking about here. And my husband and I make the decisions as to how she is raised. If you, or anyone else, takes issue with our decisions, I welcome your respectful questions or suggestions. But not critique.

Kerri - She deserves access to peer-reviewed journals so that she can make well-informed decisions on her own! I can't believe you deny her that!

:D

Seriously though, don't worry about those people. You are obviously making smart choices based on facts and research so that your loved one has the best chances of living a long and happy life. Thank goodness only a few people have their lifestyles decided by the masses voting on TV shows.

You don't give peopel trouble when they talk about your diabetes but I think you should give em hell if they try to parent for you. Your baby is your decision end of story.

Why are there people actually taking offence to this?! Who are you people?! It never ceases to amaze me how some people feel they have this whole parenthood thing in the bag and that the rest of us are doing something wrong if we aren’t doing it just like them. There are as many ways to parent as there are parents doing the parenting. Open your fricken minds people! It’s not like Kerri said she’s restricting water or limiting hugs or denying fresh air! And really, people, before you chime in with your opinions could you please read the post carefully. You seem to be missing key points. It’s annoying.

Good for you Kerri for making informed choices and looking out for your baby’s best interests.

Wow. To some of those comments. So apparently there is "suppose" to be a genetic link to celiac. Just like T1. Or, in our case, the start aligned just right and our at the time 20 month old was hit with diabetes. Weve got that under our belt (mostly) and then, again the moon's pull must have been just right b/c BAM 2.5 yrs later he was dx'd with celiac. Its been 6 months and I feel it IS worse than diabetes. With diabetes, at least you have some control-being able to correct for carbs with insulin. With celiac, its easy in the house...sort of...it means a LOT longer prep time, and a LOT more home-cookin' But eating out seems IMPOSSIBLE! We recently had an exposure when we thought we were safe. It just sucks. Maybe its still too new. But what do you GF's do for school?? And do you/your kids not have reactions to any cross-contamination? Maybe we are being too over board, but there are LOTS of things that do not contain gluten, but that the company "cannot confirm it was not exposed to any cross contamination in the facility". Frustrating.

I commend you for this choice. Hell, if its only for a year and its just baby food...that seems pretty easy to me. Bake some sweet potatoes, peas, green beans, turkey, etc and put it in the freezing cubes. (We did that anyways thinking it was healthier without all the added crap in foods).

And the correlation between T1 and celiac is 1 out of every 10 persons with T1 will also have celiac. With those odds, and you being diabetic, knowing there is a much greater risk of your baby becoming diabetic, also means an increased risk of celiac. As a mama of a T1 & celiac, if i could have avoided it, i would have.

good luck.

Udi's bread is FABULOUS.
And there are actually a lot of recipes you can modify to make GF.

p.s. and i know its a combo of a genetic predisposition WITH an environmental trigger that causes the autoimmune disorders....and not the moon/stars.

A few of the judgmental comments here just astound me. Why would delaying gluten do any harm anyway? And Kerri, i totally agree that babies do not make their own decisions! When I had my first and people were introducing solids early, they used to say "look, she wants them, you should let her decide". I thought it was funny.... she was curious, but was also curious about things like touching the glass on the fireplace or pulling heavy objects off of shelves.... I didn't let her make those decisions!

If I could travel back in time to do this for my girl and it actually did prevent her later dx of diabetes, I would in a heart beat... I would give anything to have a do over so that she did not have to live this life.

Parents* make decisions out of love and wanting the best for thier child... this is one of them.

*Most, responsible... of course there are bad apples...

Hi Kerri-

Will you share an article / link that shows some research related to the benefits of not exposuring a baby to gluten in their first year of life that you have found most helpful? Thanks.

Hi Kerri-

I may be way late in the game on this and someone may have already posted it (I scanned through the comments but didn't click all the links) but I thought I would throw it out there. Our local grocery store has diet specific lists on their website, one of them being gluten free.

Their website is: https://shop.albertsons.com/eCommerceWeb/glutenFree.do

We are west coast but maybe your stores carry the same brands or have their own gluten free list.

Bsparl is such a cutie! Good luck in your mission to keep the little pancake as healthy as possible. :)

Jessica in CA

Catching up on some of your blog and just seen this.

Your lucky you live up thre for your able to get Katz bread easily delivered. Here is the website. It is increadable and tastes even bette than reg bread. I don't care for th Udi's an when I found this it is a lif saver. Only thing is, like everything else gluten free, it's really expencive, but so worth it!

www.katzglutenfree.com

The have other bakery fresh items as well. You have ot freeze the bread and take it out one piece at a time because it has no preservatives in it at all. If the price does not matter, I'd bet that you would replace even your reg bread with it.

Good luck.

I wish you well

Robert

So awesome. I've thought that if I had another baby, I'd probably keep him/her gluten free, too. Not sure about baby foods since mine was 10 when he was diagnosed though.
Udi's bread is like a gift from God. Tinkyada brown rice pasta is freaking delish. Glutino and Pamelas make yummy snacks. There are just so many choices now.
I'm really saddened that you're getting negative posts regarding this. The first time I took my son to the pediatrician for symptoms of what I now know was celiac he was 16 months old. I had stopped nursing 2 months prior and he was only on solid foods. He had diarrhea the entire time. He was born about the 50th percentile for his weight and started dropping after his 1st birthday. By the time he was 4, he was in the 4th percentile. After reading lots of studies, I often wonder if a doctor had known what to test for if we'd be dealing with diabetes at all. I'm doubtful.
I commend you for doing what you believe to be best for your daughter. You are a fabulous mother.

I think it's a wonderful idea even if it's not 100%...it's a personal decision and regardless of the D-factor..."normal" peeps can benefit greatly from losing the gluten...

I'm trying my best to stay away from it but have my moments!... and also steering my kids who are (D-free) away from it...

There is a good magazine I came across recently and might subscribe to

http://www.livingwithout.com/

(sidebar: just went to their site and Lantus banner pops up on bottom!LMAO!)

http://www.facebook.com/Glutenista

http://www.facebook.com/GlutenFreeGoddess (Dana should go after her ;-)

http://www.facebook.com/glutenfreeville

have a bunch more...as I think I'll throw them you're way!

one I sent to my friend for her daughter...
http://surefoodsliving.com/celiac-disease/gluten-free-babies-kids/

Hi,
I was diagnosed with CD 4 years ago and live totally GF. I have a one yo daughter and have breastfed, formula fed and then kept her on a GF diet until she's old enough to be tested. With my family history of CD, I'd rather not tempt fate in these precious early developmental periods of her growth....so, you've got my vote!

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