As new parents we’re always wondering what we can do to ensure our kids grow up with the best shot of being healthy. For parents of children with celiac diseae, the question becomes even more prominent, “What can I do to protect my next child from getting celiac disease?” There’s new research out this week that may help parents make that decision.
The British Medical Journal is reporting in its January 13th, 2011 issue that infants who exclusively are given breast milk for the first six months could face an “increased risk of iron-deficiency anemia, higher incidence of food allergies, and increased risk of celiac disease” as reported by ModernMedicine.com. The research says not only might there be increased risk for celiac, but that it might be accompanied by long-term complications.
The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends 6 months of exclusive breast feeding for infants. And researchers acknowledge that there has been a decrease in deadly infections (which have been most prominent in poorer countries) as a result of the WHO recommendations.
But in this case, the research appears to be challenging the WHO recommendations and saying introducing some solids could help lower risk of a person getting celiac disease. One thing I noticed was that the research did not mention at what age this was a benefit; was it over a lifetime, during childhood or just during infancy.
This research is similar to a study in 2008 that said combining gluten introduction with breast milk from 4-6 months helped decrease incidents of celiac and diabetes.
*Note, according to ModernMedicine.com many researchers in the above study revealed financial ties to baby formula and baby food companies.
*Additional Note, If you would like to know more about the benefits of breast feeding and solids introduction, check out this article from 2004 by the Celiac Sprue Association.