Gluten Free and Almost Three
How did you know Harper was allergic to gluten? What were the signs? Did you have her tested? Are you sure it’s gluten and not something else?
These are questions I have yielded from more people than I can count. While most of the time people are just curious, oftentimes it’s someone who thinks they know more than you do, about something you are required to know almost everything about. I am by no means an expert, but I educated myself, because when it’s your childs health, you don’t fuck around.
However, these questions are easily answered.
First, I should say that I needed to be gluten-free before I was pregnant with Harper. It is possible I am actually allergic to it as well, I haven’t been tested for the same reason Harper hasn’t, the elimination diet worked for us.
If the engine is running great, you don’t take it for a tune up.
Lets talk about her symptoms.
If you have an infant or young child with celiac disease, he/she is likely to have digestive problems. Common symptoms found in infants and children include:
• Growth problems
• Weight loss
• Chronic diarrhea, which can be bloody
• Abdominal bloating and pain
• Failure to thrive
Harper was just about 8 months old when she started showing symptoms of a gluten allergy, and 13 months old when we first actually made the connection between her symptoms and gluten.
She would have occasional bouts of diarrhea and constipation, with blood in her stools. (Which is absolutely horrifying, at first, we thought could be a dairy allergy.) Massive amounts of bloating, to the point her stomach was so hard, it wouldn’t suck in if we tickled her. I’m talking Santa Clause round. And it took days for the bloating to subside.
She was all kinds of irritable. All. The. Time.
She was unsteady on her feet, struggled to pay attention, and had a bit of fog brain.
It is difficult to know if she was in any pain or discomfort, or had any headaches; as she was so young when her symptoms started, that we couldn’t exactly ask her. (Now she’ll tell you she’s fine even if she’s profusely bleeding.)
The number one worst symptom for her was the rash and hives. They were awful and almost instantaneous from her consuming gluten. The pictures below were from a trip to a restaurant that had a designated gluten-free menu. By the time we got home, this was how she looked, the bloating came later.
Being a typical “millennial mom” I googled her symptoms, and sure enough, all signs pointed to gluten. Immediately we put her on an elimination diet, and the changes were remarkable.
So we discussed all of this with her pediatrician, and she agreed that so long as the elimination diet worked, testing would be a bit unnecessary, unless she started developing more/worsened symptoms.
So that’s it. Just a simple connect the dots kind of puzzle.
It took months before we were confident we made the right choice, but seeing just how big a change it made on Harper has been worth all the efforts we make to keep her completely gluten-free.
It can be costly, and emotionally taxing when family members just “don’t believe” in gluten allergies or sensitivity.
Gluten allergies are as real as the fields wheat is grown in.
All I know is, H is still a typical almost three-year old little girl.
She loves sandwiches, donuts, meatballs, pasta, and chicken nuggets just as much as the next kid. It’s just that hers happen to be twice the price, but importantly lacking all the stuff that makes her sick.
Her meals need to be planned out in advance and she can’t always (mostly never) have things when we go to parties. Yes, I have to pack snacks and meals when we leave the house, in the very real chance she will be hungry or we will be gone during a meal time.
Being an allergy mom means always being prepared. Whether your child is allergic to eggs, corn, peanuts, dairy, soy, or gluten. We do what we have to do to keep our kids safe; just like every other parent.