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Thread: Wheat allergy or intolerance?

  1. #1
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    Sep 2015
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    Default Wheat allergy or intolerance?

    My LO had a couple of blowouts with mucus and a few tiny specks of blood a couple weeks ago and the dr suggested it might be an allergy... and of course said dairy or soy. I had cut out dairy a couple weeks before that, so I figured it might be soy. I cut out wheat for a few days for good measure to see what happened, and we had a few happy-baby days with poop going back to pretty much normal.

    I reintroduced wheat by eating pasta with tomatoes and garlic for dinner and the next day a couple tacos on flour tortillas the next morning, and saw some mucus and one single small speck of blood return in his poop.

    So, I am suspecting wheat now, even thought my pediatrician said it was unlikely.

    Does anyone here have experience with this? I really hope it's just a sensitivity to wheat and not a gluten issue, and that he grows out of it. Have yours grown out of it?

    Also, the million dollar question: should I avoid it entirely, or have it once in a while? It's not about me, but what will help him reverse this and build a tolerance for it.

    Thank you!!!!

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Wheat allergy or intolerance?

    Oh, btw, he's 10 weeks old and weight gain hasn't been a problem. He was in the 95 percentile at his last dr visit. I just really don't want to hurt his stomach lining, and he's obviously very uncomfortable in the days after, etc.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Wheat allergy or intolerance?

    Here's a completely different hypothesis to explain the bloody poops, mucous, and fussy behaviors you mention in your other threads: oversupply. It's much, much more common than food allergies, and according to one of your other posts, your LC says you have it. In your shoes, I wouldn't bother to look farther than oversupply to explain what you are seeing, unless the baby stops gaining well or develops significant additional symptoms of allergy (and IMO the crusty eyes don't count!).

    Here's how the oversupply-gut connection works. Human milk is full of lactose (milk sugar). This is good because lactose is good for growth and essential for brain development. In order to break lactose down into simpler, easier-to-digest sugars (glucose and galactose), babies produce a lot of an enzyme called lactase. In fact, people produce more lactase during infancy than at any other time of life! But sometimes, when a mom produces a lot of milk, the baby gets so much lactose that he can't digest it all. His lactase production is overloaded by his lactose intake. Lots of lactose in the gut can result in gas and fussiness, mucousy stools, and in some cases produces enough irritation that it results in some bloody stools.

    This is not a problem.

    When a baby experiences gut irritation due to oversupply and lactose overload, it will not harm him. He may be somewhat more gassy and fussy than average. Or not! He may gain quite a bit faster than average, like your baby, who has doubled his birthweight in 2 months. He may have some weird poops, but that's not a health issue when the baby is growing and developing normally.

    So, why didn't your pediatrician mention this possibility? Probably because pediatricians don't seem to be particularly aware of it! Maybe that's because they see so many formula-fed babies. Maybe it's because very few of them are aware that oversupply is a thing, or what the potential effects of oversupply are. Maybe it's because it's extremely rare for pediatricians to know much about breastfeeding. Whatever the reasons for this lack of knowledge are, one thing is clear: if you show your pediatrician a poop diaper with some blood in it, most of them are going to ignore the oversupply angle and go directly to allergy as a cause.

    Even if you do not buy my oversupply/lactose overload hypothesis, please don't worry about your baby's stomach lining. The stomach is the cast-iron frying pan of the digestive system. It's tough!!! When a baby has an allergy issue, the irritation happens in his intestines. And they're pretty tough, too! When a baby is otherwise healthy and growing, you just don't have to worry about allergies harming his internal organs.

    Here's my personal experience: baby #2 had green, mucousy, and intermittently blood-streaked poops from around 3 weeks until around 6 months. I do not know why. I had a very large oversupply, so that could certainly explain it. It could also have been an allergy; at around 10 months she tested positive for a mild egg allergy, which passed completely by the time she was 2. I never eliminated anything from my diet. I did not use any formula with her. I did give her a daily multivitamin, on the supposition that I should be proactive about her iron levels if she was losing blood from intestinal irritation. She has been (knock wood) completely healthy and grown and developed completely normally.

    This is the best article I know of regarding food allergies, how they develop, and how breastfeeding helps a baby avoid them: http://www.americanscientist.org/iss...od-allergies/1

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Wheat allergy or intolerance?

    THANK YOU!!

    This is precisely the kind of answer I was hoping for... someone who's been through it. It's reassuring. I think adding a multivitamin makes complete sense too. I have a feeling (fingers crossed) if I DO find out he has a true allergy, that it's a mild one, because the specks were small, not streaks even. My gut is telling me that eliminating so many things will mean his not building a tolerance. I mean, in my mind that seems like common sense-- but what I've found online was all over the place.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Wheat allergy or intolerance?

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*wolfsmom View Post
    My gut is telling me that eliminating so many things will mean his not building a tolerance. I mean, in my mind that seems like common sense-- but what I've found online was all over the place.
    Dr. Google is even more schizophrenic than usual on this topic. I think it's because this is a rapidly evolving area of research. Conventional wisdom with dietary allergies in breastfed babies has been that you eliminate the allergen from your diet and the problem is solved- in the short term, anyway. But new research has shown exactly what you suspect- that when babies are exposed to small amounts of allergens during infancy, through mom's milk, the baby has a better shot at gaining lifelong tolerance. The science just isn't nailed down yet- the idea of building tolerance through exposure is still quite new and there haven't been enough studies or big enough studies that this can be considered a fact rather than a theory or a hypothesis.

    Science just doesn't understand allergy as completely as one would like, and the way the general public understands allergy- or rather, generally fails to understand it- just muddies the waters further!

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