Is a Gluten Free Nipple Balm Important?

Is a Gluten Free Nipple Balm Important?

There are a zillion things new mom’s ask themselves. Everything is so new and concern about not choosing the best for your baby can be stressful. For every piece of advice on the internet, there is another website recommending the opposite.

Many Mom’s find that during pregnancy their nipples start changing. This can lead to cracking, dryness, soreness and itching among other symptoms. When they start breastfeeding these symptoms can become much worse affecting not only Mom, but baby too. Nipples that are painful, dry and cracked can negatively affect what should be a beautiful experience between mother and child.  Nipples that are dry and cracked can allow bacteria and fungus to enter causing issues that may lead to infection.

A nipple product can help avoid these issues. It is important to consider all the ingredients used in nipple balm before deciding on which one to try. How the Mom’s skin will react to the ingredients is important, but what the baby will be ingesting when breastfeeding is equally important.

Some nipple products instruct users to completely remove the product before breastfeeding; however, as mom’s will attest to, when the baby is crying and hungry remembering that your nipple cream has to be completely removed before satisfying your child’s needs is not foremost in your mind.  It is for this reason it is recommended to use a nipple product that is safe for your baby to ingest.

What is Gluten and Why Does it Matter?

Gluten has received much media attention over the last few years. It is a protein that is naturally found in some grains. Gluten is also added to foods where it is not naturally occurring to enhance the texture, thickness, flavor and to help preservation. 

Celiac disease, gluten intolerance and gluten sensitivity are all on the rise. In the US between 1975 and 2000 there was a 5-fold increase in celiac disease. It is thought that gluten-related disorders now affect nearly 10% of the US population. It has been determined that gluten can cause damage in doses as low as 20 parts per million (1 bread crumb). Because a baby will be ingesting the nipple product thousands of times while breastfeeding, the ingredients of the nipple balm should be considered.

According to the Celiac Foundation, Celiac disease is a serious autoimmune disease that occurs in genetically predisposed people where the ingestion of gluten leads to damage in the small intestine. It is estimated to affect 1 in 100 people worldwide. The Cleveland Clinic reports 6% of the US population are gluten intolerant. 

A double blind study demonstrated that delaying the baby’s introduction of gluten to 12 months of age significantly reduces their chances of developing celiac disease or at least delaying the onset of the disease. With celiac disease, gluten allergy and gluten sensitivity all on the rise, the importance of gluten-free nipple products is undeniable. Whether the goal is to prevent or delay the onset of gluten issues in the future; or prevent a current negative reaction to gluten, it is wise to choose nipple care products that are completely gluten free.

Learn more about gluten-free nipple care products here. 

Gluten FAQs

Problems with gluten can start whenever the child is introduced to gluten. In babies, celiac disease, gluten allergy and gluten sensitivity can be very difficult to recognize because the symptoms are subtle. Often, the only definite symptom will be “failure to thrive”. Other symptoms that the child may consistently have are:
• A Swollen Stomach
• Diarrhea
• Constipation
• Irritability
• Fatigue

There are many theories of why gluten intolerance is increasing. Some of them are:
1. Gluten containing grains have been changed by growers over the years and the human digestive system has not yet caught up to the changes.
2. Gluten is added as an ingredient to foods it would not normally be in.
3. Because of our diets our gut flora has negatively changed and it is unable to process gluten as well as previously.
4. The amount of gluten products that an individual consumes is much higher than previously. Per the US Department of Agriculture the US has tripled its wheat gluten consumption over the last 40 years.
5. The increased number and type of pharmaceuticals that are consumed are affecting the human digestive system and immune system which is contributing to gluten intolerance.
6. The increased stress in our daily lives is contributing to a diminished immune system and digestive system which is contributing to gluten intolerance issues.

Currently isolating specific reasons for gluten intolerances for the population has been difficult. It may be that the situation is caused by several factors that have an additive effect with each other.

Symptoms of gluten intolerance (Cleveland Clinic)
• Abdominal pain
• Anemia
• Anxiety
• Bloating & Gas
• Brain Fog or trouble concentrating
• Depression
• Diarrhea or Constipation
• Fatigue
• Headache
• Joint pain
• Nausea and Vomiting
• Skin Rash

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