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Baby's health

15th May 2024

‘I’m a coeliac, how can I tell if my baby has the same allergy?’

Sophie Collins

Parent's Leave

This week is Coeliac Awareness Week, which is all about creating new opportunities for earlier diagnosis of coeliac disease in children

If you have coeliac disease and are expecting a baby, or have recently given birth, then you may be wondering if you have passed the autoimmune disease on to your little one.

Although genetics does have a role to play, it doesn’t mean that your child will automatically be born with the same allergy.

According to the HSE, if you have a family history of it, there’s around a 10% risk you will develop it. 

If you have an identical twin with this allergy, there’s a 75% chance you will develop it too. 

Coeliac disease is linked to genetic changes to a group of genes that help your immune system develop.

They may get passed down through a family.

But this genetic change is common in lots of people, which suggests that something else must trigger coeliac disease in certain people.

It’s easy to assume that the quicker you find out the better, but for babies it’s a bit more complicated.

The Coeliac Society of Ireland explains that children won’t begin to show signs of being a coeliac until they have started to have it.

“Babies with coeliac disease will not show symptoms of the disease until they have started eating gluten – usually around six months of age. 

“If a baby does have coeliac disease they may have diarrhoea or loose, pale stools; vomiting, anaemia, be very cranky and difficult to soothe; have a bloated belly and lethargy/low energy. Babies and young children may also have wasted buttocks.”

If they begin to develop these symptoms as they start to eat gluten, you should contact your GP for further investigations.