Many parents are concerned about introducing their children to potential allergens such as peanuts or gluten. They avoid giving their children gluten until they are over a year old. However, recent research indicates that this may not be necessary.
According to research carried out in January 2016, the ideal time for introducing infants to gluten may be between 4 and six months old.
Feeding Gluten to Infants
Not everyone who has the genes for celiac disease will end up suffering from it. It has been suggested that people need both the genes, and some environmental factors to trigger the disease.
Currently, it is recommended that infants are fed food containing gluten when they are older than 4 months.
Research Into Gluten Introduction to Infants
The article studied several groups of infants to see if feeding them gluten led to them contracting celiac disease. The infants were introduced to gluten at:
- less than 4 months old
- between 4 and 6 months old
- at more than 7 moths old.
It was assumed that all infants continued breastfeeding, or were weaned, as normal.
Outcome of Research
The result from the research was that there was no significant increase in children developing celiac disease no matter how young they were. However, infants and young children who were at risk of developing celiac disease (family members with celiac disease, or with the celiac disease genes) should have only small amounts of gluten.
This would mean keeping food containing wheat or barley to a minimum in young children, but allowing them small amounts until it is proved whether or not they had celiac disease.
If you have celiac disease, it is quite safe to feed your child gluten from around 4 months old. But don’t give them too much. If they develop signs of celiac disease get them tested as soon as possible before taking them off wheat to make sure they are diagnosed properly.
And stand on your digs! Many doctors are still not across celiac disease and tend to assume parents are just being over anxious. But you know your child – if they’re not well, then insist on getting them tested.