During the first few weeks of life a baby is fed either breast milk or a substitute milk feed. Before birth all the baby's necessary nutrients were absorbed from the mother via the umbilical cord. At birth the digestive system has to develop quickly, so the new baby can exist as a separate person, no longer attached to the mother.
The baby continues to grow and develop at a rapid rate and soon it is necessary to start introducing solid foods. These will still be mushed up for a while, as the child has to grow teeth to bite and chew. The introduction of new tastes and textures of food are extremely important to the baby's development.
The rate of growth needs ever increasing amounts of nutrients if it is to be sustained. The child's digestive system has to cope with ever increasing changes in the intake of food. The system has to decide what is appropriate for the child's needs. This is the start of a lifetime of matching the needs of this new person to their intake of food for their lifetime.
If inappropriate food is fed, it is likely the child's digestive system will rebel, either through vomiting, or some unpleasant nappies to deal with. The immature digestive system has to grow and develop at the same time as functioning for the baby's current needs.
Once the young child is established on a nutritious diet suitable for their needs the parents should see a contented child growing well and developing on various fronts. New skills are learnt as the tools are developed within the child.
It is necessary for parents to be aware that there are times when the steady development and growth seems unsatisfactory. Various changes can take place such as:
An inability to concentrate
Irritability, or seeming out of sorts
Mental alertness and memory do not seem to be developing well
Some signs of moodiness
These sorts of lack of development are often difficult to understand and can be caused by many different problems. It is necessary to try to work out if there are any obvious patterns such as diarrhoea or sickness after meals containing wheat products such as bread, pasta, or pizza for example. Is the child growing and putting on weight at a reasonable weight?
A lack of sparkle and energy, which one expects from a young and fit child, needs monitoring. A normal bout of unwellness usually passes fairly quickly. If it seems to become a part of the child's day to day demeanour along with some of the signs mentioned earlier, it might be helpful to talk to the medical agencies and query whether there might be evidence of celiac disease.
As in adults, if the child has the disease, the villi in the small intestine will be damaged and the child will be unable to absorb the nutrients from their food that they need not only for their daily requirements, but also to ensure the natural development and growth of their bodies, organs etc.
This lack of absorption of the nutrients means that, whatever diet you give the child, it is being wasted. It passes through the body without being properly processed. This causes digestive problems such as diarrhoea, vomiting or constipation. The child cannot thrive without being able to use the benefits of the food that is being consumed.
If they do suffer from celiac disease, there is no cure, medically, but removing gluten from their diet totally, will enable the damaged cells in the small intestine to regenerate. So long as they remain free of gluten they will soon be growing and developing again.
It is advisable to have any concerns checked out before embarking on the dietary changes, because the tests need to be done whilst the child is still eating gluten. Once the cell damage is found, then it is time to change their diet.
I will be writing more articles on Celiac Disease in children in the future, as it often goes undiagnosed because of the difficulty in actually pinpointing the symptoms.
For more information about celiac disease, I have recently written a report you might find interesting. To download a copy for yourself, at no cost, please go to http://www.runawayeating.com where you will meet Dr-Liz.
In the report, you will also find out, why you could be lucky if your child has actually been diagnosed as suffering from Celiac Disease! You will also learn how to contact me, personally, if you have any issues you wish to discuss regarding Celiac Disease.