I know, I know, the witch hunt for gluten is really trendy right now! And I want to kick this off by stating that I did NOT want my baby to have a gluten sensitivity. I so badly did not want to jump on the G-free train unnecessarily. I mean, I had already given up cheese!
Symptoms of Gluten Sensitivity in Babies
So Daniel still had some weird symptoms that I knew were caused by something I was eating. Symptoms like . . . he sounded like a bear breathing. Seriously. When he breathed normally, it sounded raspy, almost like a little growl. So strange! Not all the time, but very frequently. He also still had seemingly random mucusy diapers.
The Witch Hunt
It was hard to pin down that it was caused by gluten, because I could eat my homemade sourdough bread and Daniel was fine. But if I ate store-bought bread he reacted. I looked for hidden soy. Cross-contamination. Sanitized my cutting boards in case there was trace dairy. Y'all, I was a freak about my diet.
Since I knew I did eat a fair amount of gluten, and wheat is on the top 8 list of allergens, I decided to eliminate it. Within 24 hours his breathing cleared and sounded normal. No more mucusy diapers. Huge difference! He didn't seem uncomfortable when I ate gluten, but the fact that it affected his breathing made me nervous.
Since I love mexican food it wasn't terribly hard to give up gluten. Taco bowls became a staple in my diet (dairy-free, of course!). I basically ate a ton of rice ;) I was only truly gluten-free for about 2 months, and then I added small amounts of traditional sourdough bread (with a 12-hour fermentation time). Daniel had no reaction to the long fermented sourdough breads.
Why is this happening?
One day I was reading an article about the benefits of sourdough, and it mentioned that traditional sourdough fermentation breaks down, or digests, the gluten. This makes it significantly easier to digest. This was my big "Aha!" moment.
There's a serious lack of information about how a mother's diet affects her breastmilk. Of course we know that you're not supposed to get drunk and then nurse your baby, but beyond that, the prevailing and widely accepted thinking is that you can eat whatever you want, and it won't impact your baby.
My reality was screaming that that is completely false. I could see that what went in my mouth had a major impact on my baby. I could eat certain things that made him vomit every feeding. I could eat certain things that made him breathe like a bear. I could eat certain things that made him wake every 1-2 hours all day and night, crying. Don't tell me my diet doesn't affect my baby! The real kicker? Food reactions in babies are actually pretty darn common now. Why?
Anyway, back to gluten and my "Aha!" moment. If I could eat sourdough bread, with the gluten broken down for me, and Daniel was fine, maybe gluten wasn't the problem.
Maybe dairy wasn't the problem. Maybe soy wasn't the problem. Maybe the problem was that my body wasn't digesting food well.
And that's the start of a pretty big subject that we'll dig into soon. But first, I'll have to tell you about the last food reaction I discovered in Daniel, and the key to finally, finally, getting some desperately needed sleep.