Nappy ever after… will baby number two be coeliac?

Poop. If there’s one thing tricky eaters and new parents have in common, it’s their obsession with poop. Whereas others shy away from the subject, it’s a steaming hot topic.

I now have a foot in both camps. I’m coeliac AND I have a daughter who is six months old. Which means I’m in weaning territory. And it’s scary.

Elin has turned into a different baby since starting on solids. Breastfeeding was hell and involved 90 minute wake-up calls, turning me into a dribbling, gibbering, hormonal idiot. Even adding formula didn’t help and I was due to speak to a dietitian about possible allergies – if there were any suspect foods being passed through my milk that made her so unsettled.

As I have already cut out gluten, my health visitor said it would have been a bit much to expect me to cut out dairy too. But when the hormones are in charge, you’ll do anything.

But then I cracked out the baby porridge and sweet potato and, voila, one chilled-out babe. Well, much better, anyhow.

So, happy days – better nights. But now there’s the big fat gluteny elephant in the room. Is my daughter coeliac?

There’s a one in ten chance, and it looks like I lucked out with my son (so far), who is six and eats everything without any toilet trouble. So has my luck run out with baby number two?

Like all new parents, nappy contents are studied and pondered over. Runny bum? Poo nugget? Pan blocker? Brown? Green? Orange? As a coeliac mum, I feel I’m on my guard for changes even more. Brown alert, as it were.

Safer Eating boss Karen, who is coeliac and has two young daughters who are as well, says the problems started as soon as she introduced gluten into their diets (see Karen’s blog here). Bad nights, bad nappies, pain, squirminess. So after turning a corner so recently with Elin, I’m in no rush to return to horror nights and a cross tiny person.

A lady at my SureStart centre shrank away in horror when I said I was giving her baby porridge for breakfast. “Oh no,” she said, “that’s ’orrible stuff, full of rubbish. Give her some Ready Brek instead.” But as I pointed out, Ready Brek is not gluten free. My baby porridge is. And it’s going down well with a bit of mashed banana and dash of cinnamon, thank you very much.

Another friend has two sons who suffer with allergies. Her youngest is allergic to food groups I haven’t even heard of. The slightest whiff of egg in the air is enough to bring him out in itchy hives, poor little dude. She has a baby daughter, too, and is equally wary of starting the whole weaning thing. What horror awaits?

I’m thinking of giving it until Elin is one until I try her with gluten. Or maybe the month before I go back to work so I can give it my full attention? Either way, I’ll have my fingers crossed and my nose in a nappy.

I’d be interested to hear how other parents have found the weaning thing, too. Any advice for me or my allergy mum chum?

By Kay Harrison – coeliac mama of two non-coeliacs (for the moment anyway)

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