I don’t think I’ve specifically talked about the effects gluten has on kiddo. It’s hard to do so extensively, as kiddo isn’t talking and so we can’t really know about a lot of it. I don’t think this is the effect gluten has on every kid, by any stretch, but if you’re having these problems- the problem might just be dietary.
Here’s what we do know:
Mealtimes with gluten as an option are mealtimes that kiddo basically only eats gluten. Maybe a few bites of fruit/vegetables/meat will pass those lips, if we’re lucky, but often it only will when it’s covered in gluten. Chicken nuggets were big. Sandwiches and burgers were for awhile… until kiddo figured out how to only go for the bread. If something with gluten in it is on the table, kiddo will eat nothing else until it’s off. In the recent accident, kiddo refused to eat anything but the breadcrumb-containing meatballs, even refused soup that he otherwise would demand and finish half a bowl of.
This happens with no other food, no other starch, no non-gluten grain. (so far at least) But it always happens with gluten, even after weeks off of it when he got his hands on something with gluten in it- everything else was forgotten. This alone would be reason enough to keep kiddo gluten free, at least for now. Because I can’t have gluten, this wasn’t always a problem because a lot of our meals were gluten free- it was a bigger problem at restaurants or times when we’d have separate meals so my partner had something with gluten in it.
While this might sound extreme or like an exaggeration to most, this honestly doesn’t surprise me because I experience it the same way. Gluten is practically addictive for me, which is part of why it took me so long to realize I needed to cut it out. For most of my life, pretty much every single meal contained gluten. Every snack. I’d go through periods of basically only wanting to eat bread. It was so hard to give it up, I still have cravings but the awareness that it will cause me immense pain makes it a lot easier to say “no thanks”. It really annoys me that I can crave a food that causes me so much damage- but here we are.
So, it is no surprise to me that kiddo craves gluten even though it so clearly causes problems. It’s actually not uncommon for people to crave the very food they can’t tolerate. I’ve read a lot of advice about recognizing food intolerances recently, and one thing I’ve seen is to watch out for foods that are craved- they’re probably part of the problem.
I’ve talked before about our baby’s difficulties with sleep. We took away gluten and, wouldn’t you know it, they got a lot better. For the first time, the child who used to refuse to go to sleep until midnight was going to bed at 9 pm. 9 pm. That is the earliest this kid has gone to bed in their LIFE!
The gluten fiasco happened yesterday. They barely went to bed before midnight last night. It is now 11:45 pm and they’re still awake. Yeah.
They fight sleep during the day as well, spending hours too exhausted to properly stand and abjectly refusing to take a nap. Off gluten, this gets cut down a lot shorter. One time, they even brought me into the bedroom, crawled into bed, and looked at me expectantly to let me know they were ready for a nap!
Fussy, clingy, upset. Temperament isn’t quite as obvious because they’ll still have times of being happy and playful, so it’s easier to discount as being caused by something else. The overall trend is for a baby that’s hard to deal with, though. A chunk of this is due to the refusal to sleep thing- they don’t get enough sleep at night, they don’t get enough sleep during the day, they spend a lot more of their time tired and cranky. We can’t know how much of this is due to pain or other factors until kiddo either starts talking or signing.