Gluten free baby food is just one option among the many choices of baby food products available on the market today. It is an especially important option for mothers who might decide to introduce foods other than breast milk to their infants before they are six months old. Babies demand a lot of attention and care particularly when it comes to their diet. Extra diligence must be taken to not cause any damage to their tender and immature digestive system. It is for this reason that exclusive breast feeding is recommended for the first six months of life.
Breast feeding has been shown to be the best source of nutrition for newborns and infants and it contains immunologic properties that protect against infections. There is a large amount of scientific evidence which supports breast feeding for a variety of reasons but, unfortunately, it is not always possible or feasible to do. For mothers who either choose not to breast feed or are unable to breast feed, gluten free baby food or formula might be a good alternative. You will find most formulas are already gluten free but when it comes time to introduce first foods, gluten free options are more limited.
Introducing new food to babies in general requires that it is done gradually, and more importantly these new food products should not contain gluten – a protein found in wheat, rye, barley and, possibly, oats. Feeding an infant a diet in the first six months which contains gluten could increase the chance of the development of celiac disease. This is a condition where the baby’s immature digestive system is unable to digest gluten resulting in damage to their small intestines. Because of this risk, it is strongly recommended that gluten-containing foods or formulas be avoided as choices for weaning foods, especially in families with a history of allergy or celiac disease.
The choice of a gluten free baby food diet in the first few months of life is one of the safest choices to make. As the name suggests, gluten free products should not contain the protein gluten at all but unfortunately, the Food and Drug Administration has not adequately regulated the definition “gluten free.” This has resulted in a wide variety of products that claim to not have gluten in them but, in fact, actually have varying amounts. To ensure a completely gluten free diet, you should also consider making all of your baby food at home yourself.
If you are planning to buy baby foods from a grocery store or health food store, you can search for those which are specifically labeled “gluten free” to start with and then read the labels. Exclude foods made from or with wheat, barley, rye or oats. Examples of such ingredients may include durum wheat, wheat germ, bran, rusk, spelt, kamut, cereal binder, cereal protein, farina, flour, wheat starch and semolina.
Infants will need their gluten free baby food blended until smooth or liquefied to make it easy for ingestion during the early stages of the food introduction process. Food containing gluten can then be given to the baby well after six months when the digestive system is a little more developed. The choice of what to feed your baby to decrease food sensitive responses as they get a taste of their first solid food is an important one. Gluten free baby foods are good options to consider in the early months of the food weaning process.