If your baby is not growing up or gaining weight as other infants born roughly the same time, she/he may be suffering from a condition, which is popularly called “failure to thrive”. This failure to thrive may be due to several causes some of which are known to be quite serious, such as that of major organ defects or chromosome defects. Report the first signs of lack of weight gain or growth in your baby to a doctor so he/she can determine if the cause is gluten intolerance.
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Gluten intolerance in infants is not a relatively old concept. About 1 per cent of Europeans and Americans suffer from celiac disease in which the body fails to tolerate the gluten protein that is found in barley, wheat, rye and some specialty grains, such as kamut. Gluten intolerance occurs in all the age groups i.e. from infancy to adulthood. People, who suffer from celiac diseases, may experience damage to their small intestines whenever they consume gluten. Therefore, if your child is suffering from celiac disease, you will have to avoid all sources of gluten.
Although, the symptoms of celiac disease may vary from child to child, infants often show signs of low weight gain and a failure to with common ailments, such as reflux and diarrhoea. Physicians and parents must take celiac disease as a possible cause of for the symptoms that appear soon after the infant’s diet is introduced with grain products. Some other symptoms of celiac disease in infants include developmental delays, though most infants have low weight as the only symptom of gluten intolerance.
To diagnose celiac disease, the paediatrician may order blood tests to look for antibodies to gluten in the body. If the tests are positive, your infant may be referred to a gynaecologist, who will perform an endoscopy, a surgical procedure, to look into the baby’s upper intestines to see if they show any characteristics typical of celiac disease. If there is any intestinal damage, your infant probably has celiac disease.
If your baby has celiac disease, you will have to make sure that he/she does not have any diet rich in gluten. The best part is that you can easily buy gluten-free substitutes of frozen waffles, fish-shaped crackers and cookies.
Most babies catch up in growth soon after a gluten-free diet is introduced to them. You may, however, want to ask your paediatrician for a referral to a dietician to ensure that your infant gets all the nutrition it needs.
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