Celiac Mama's Blog

Raising a toddler with Celiac Disease

Tips for leaving your celiac child August 23, 2011

Filed under: Tips — celiacmama @ 12:33 pm
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This summer, my husband and I took our first extended trip away from Little Boo (our 2 yo with Celiac Disease).  She and her sisters stayed with our in-laws while my husband and I celebrated our 10th anniversary in Turkey and Greece.  (It was amazing!)  In order to get ready for our trip, we not only had to pack, but also had to figure out the best way to make sure Little Boo didn’t get any gluten.  The trip ended up great!  My mother-in-law and sister-in-law were very attentive to what foods she could eat and it was a great trip.  Having one successful trip makes me feel more positive about future trips!  And, as Little Boo gets older, she will start to understand what is okay and what will give her an ouchy stomach.  In the mean time, if she gets gluten you will definitely know a bit later.  Poor girl does not do well with gluten!  So, here are some tips for traveling away from your child with Celiac Disease:

* This tip works for me because Little Boo has two older sisters.  Lulu is 8 and Peanut is 6.  Whenever we go grocery shopping, I do the “gluten or not” game.  I hold up items and ask the girls if Little Boo can have it or not.  They are getting really good!  We also play the gluten or not game in the car.  We all take turns saying different food items and then saying whether or not they have gluten in them.  And, we do fun ones too!  Little Boo can have monkey, snake, and shark corn tacos, if she so desired.   She can’t have beer or boxes of sprinkles.

* Labeling EVERYTHING.  Our house is mainly gluten-free, but when we stay at other houses, Little Boo needs her own stuff.  I bring her own toaster (if we are staying for more than a few days – she really likes her waffles!), her own cream cheese/peanut butter/anything spreadable.

* Make lists.  I give lists of gluten-free friendly restaurants, Little Boo’s favorite foods, and foods that are off limits.  I also made a list of brands that are a-okay and brands that are not good.  For example, Heinz ketchup okay, Hunt’s ketchup not okay.

* I include some basic books about Celiac Disease and the gluten free lifestyle.  Our babysitter now has Celiac Disease for Dummies and The GF Kid: A Celiac Disease Survival Guide.

Do you have other ideas?  I would love to hear your tips!


Symptoms of Celiac Disease in a Toddler April 4, 2011

Filed under: symptoms — celiacmama @ 11:55 pm
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My daughter was diagnosed with Celiac Disease about 13 months ago, when she was almost one year old.  Looking back, I don’t know how our first pediatrician didn’t pick up on the signs.  She was clearly very, very sick.  Thankfully the mama bear in me came out and we switched pediatricians in order to figure out what was wrong with my baby girl!  The symptoms definitely attributed to Celiac Disease are/were the following:

  • Big drop on the growth percentiles chart – My little girl stopped growing.  She went from the 70th percentile for weight down to the 10th percentile for weight.  She lost all her chubbiness and started looking quite gaunt.
  • Anemia
  • Elevated alkaline phosphatase levels
  • Constipation – Before learning more about celiac disease, I thought all sufferers had diarrhea.  Now I know that constipation can be a sign as well!
  • Fatigue – My poor baby girl slept all the time.  I brought it up at an appointment with her pediatrician and he said I should just consider myself lucky.  Take note – children are not supposed to sleep for 20 hours a day when they are nearing one year old!
  • Edema – my little girl had swelling around her lungs.  This caused her to have asthma-like symptoms, which included a chronic cough and wheezing.   Thankfully she doesn’t have asthma (she did great this past winter), but we had to use a nebulizer quite a bit right before and after she was diagnosed.

She also had other symptoms, that I can’t definitely say Celiac Disease is the cause of.  These symptoms are:

  • Delayed speech and gross motor skills.  Her new pediatrician hypothesizes that this is due to her focusing on trying to survive rather than learning how to talk and crawl/walk.
  • Fractures – she has fractured her legs twice now.  She is only two and has only been walking since about 20 months!
  • Delay in getting teeth, growing hair – this is just speculation, but my baby girl didn’t get teeth forever!  And, she had very little hair until after getting on a gluten free diet.

So, those are what I can think of at this point!  I’ll add more as I find out more or think of them.  What symptoms have your children had?


Favorite Snacks for Celiac Toddler March 30, 2011

Filed under: Snacks — celiacmama @ 8:09 am
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One thing that people tend to ask me about is what do I give Little Boo for snacks? She actually is a really healthy eater – here are her favorite gluten free snacks:

  • cheese sticks (really any cheese)
  • yogurt
  • apples (she likes to gnaw on them or dip them in peanut butter)
  • Annie’s Gluten Free Bunny Cookies
  • bananas (also sometimes dipped in peanut butter)
  • rice cakes with cream cheese or peanut butter
  • cantaloupe
  • Pirate Booty
  • edamame (either hot or cold – she isn’t picky!)
  • strawberries
  • Chex cereal

Little Boo thinks most of these items are also wonderful dipped in ketchup (Heinz or Annie’s!).


    Back to blogging!

    Filed under: Health Concerns,Introduction — celiacmama @ 7:53 am
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    I have been on a break from blogging and tweeting, but have decided to get back on the ball. Somehow in the past year, we have learned a ton about Celiac disease, gluten free diets, and everything associated with them. I also am back to tweeting! If you would like to follow, go here: CeliacMama. I remember when my little girl was first diagnosed with Celiac disease at almost 12 months, it seemed so daunting. Now, figuring out what she can eat is second nature! And, she has gained over 9 lbs in this one year of gluten free living. She was at the 70th percentile for weight at 6 months and dropped to less than the 10th percentile from about one year to 15 months and now at 2 years old is back up to the 50th percentile! It is so rewarding to see that eating gluten free really does work for my Toddler Celiac. And, who can resist chubby cheeks??

    Unfortunately, she has some other health issues going on as well. I mentioned in a previous post about leg fractures (she has now had two), but she also has a pretty significant speech delay and gross motor delay. And, she has a referral to a neurologist for tremors/shakes. I feel like the poor girl can’t get a break.

    Well, I look forward to connecting with other people with a gluten intolerance or Celiac disease. I am by no means an expert, but I can give some tips on gluten free toddlers!


    Fractures/breaking bones and Celiac Disease

    Filed under: Health Concerns,Research — celiacmama @ 7:44 am
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    My toddler celiac has fractured her leg for the second time, so I have started doing investigation on the correlation between fractures and celiac disease. (Have I mentioned that I am a scientist myself? Sure, I study the weather, but the need to research is in my blood.) Unfortunately, it looks like there is a correlation.  In the 2007 article, Celiac Disease and Risk of Associated Bone Fractures, it says that children (and adults) with Celiac disease are significantly more likely to fracture bones for up to 20 years after diagnosis. It looks like these results were again confirmed in 2011. I am not entirely sure how to treat this since she is already getting a liquid multivitamin and gets plenty of calcium. Any tips?