Breast-feeding and coeliac disease

Babylune has a post about how breast milk helps protect infants from bacteria and viruses.

Not only that, but research studies have found that breastfeeding may help prevent the development of coeliac disease. They admit that it doesn’t indicate whether breastfeeding delays the onset of symptoms or provides a permanent protection against the disease – and from my own experience, I can confirm that it isn’t a guarantee that your child won’t develop coeliac disease. My daughter was breastfed on demand for nine months, during the introduction of gluten containing foods, and yet still developed coeliac disease aged 1.

Not that this should put anybody off breastfeeding – whether or not it is a preventative measure for coeliac disease, it is better for baby and often better for the mother too. No preparation needed, no sterilising, lots of lovely immunity to disease, possibly weight-loss for the mother (not in my experience!) and its very cuddly too …

OK, so sometimes it hurts, the let-down reflex can be inconvenient and soggy, and its tricky dealing with a toddler while pinned to the chair by the baby, but those middle-of-the-night feeds when it’s just you and the baby snuggled up together are – from this safe distance – a wonderful memory, and you can always read a book over the baby’s head if you get bored (my first – the coeliac – was a really slow feeder).

Lots more memory-jolting posts at Babylune

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Lucy is the mother of a coeliac, and has been managing a gluten free diet for her daughter for 20 years - though, to be fair, she does do most of it herself now...

One thought on “Breast-feeding and coeliac disease”

  1. To many women this is the most obvious thing to do and they wouldn’t consider any alternative. Others may be undecided, particularly if they are expecting their first child. This article is a summary of the known advantages of breast feeding, and has been written to offer women clear, factual information to enable them to make an informed choice as to whether to breast feed their baby or not.

    How to Deal with Breast Feeding Sore Nipples

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