sleep problems with CD

Hi, just wondered if any one could help, my little boy was diagnosed with CD in september of last yr, i started him on a gf diet straight away, lots of home cooking, fresh fruit/ veg etc, and his mood changed almost over night, he became less aggresive, and his behaviour in general changed for the better, however he still isn't sleeping well and often cries through the night holding his tummy; he goes through boughts of constipation and is obviously very uncomfortable, both his dad and i are exhausted, and as i haven't got CD myself i don't understand how he's feeling, if anyone has any knowledge of this i'd be so grateful, xx

27 Replies

  • Have you tried rice bran on his cereal for the constipation or can he eat oats. As far as the sleeping goes was he in a good sleep routine before, a regular bed-time, calming down play or story with no violent tv before bed. Being a mother of 4 & grandmother of 11, the most important thing as far as sleep goes is routine & going to bed at a sensible time. A tired child does not sleep well.

    I have no experience of my sleep getting worse with the CD but developed nocturnal epilepsy 5 years ago but that was due to stress not CD.

    Good luck, I hope you manage to get this sorted soon as you all need your sleep.

  • thanks for replying, he does have a regular sleep routine, bath, story, glass of milk.sleep, he has had bad nights since i weaned him at 6 months, he's now 3, some nights he sleeps well, but others are dreadful! i'll try the rice bran on his cereal, i'm just a bit lost as have no previous knowledge of CD, and am willing to try anything that could help, The gp said to avoid oats for the time being, it's all very stressful at the moment, xx

  • I would try cutting out the milk at bedtime as it could be an allergy to dairy or lactose intolerence, which often happens with CD. Camomile tea or dill tea would help if you could convince him to take it. Dill is very good for tummy pains, colic and indigestion, it is safe enough to give to babies.

  • ok thankyou, i drink camomile tea so i'll try that tonight, i feel so helpless, awful seeing your child in so much pain, xx

  • Several thoughts occur:

    If he is constipated, could be lack of fibre. Difficult with kids, but you could try sweetcorn. Also would suggest you keep him well hydrated; constipation can be a sign of insufficient water.

    If he still has tummy problems, could be he has a problem with another food trigger - potentially milk as this is a common problem with coeliacs. You could try avoiding milk and milk products from his diet and see how he gets on.

    Oats can sometimes contain gluten from cross-contamination and also some coeliacs are sensitive to the protein in oats - Avenin. So I would avoid for the time being.

  • he does eat plenty fruit and veg, but health visitor told me to cut back, as she said it could give him fibre overload, i will make sure he drinks more, and will cut out milk for the time being to see how he gets on, thank you for replying, xx

  • I didn't realise how much gut pain I got from dairy until after I gave up gluten. I find fennel tea helps with the colicy pain- that is the same as gripe water. Hard to imagine a kid wanting to drink fennel or camomile - maybe peppermint with some sugar?

  • tried him with fennel as a baby, he hated it, but peppermint is a good idea, thankyou, xx

  • Hello Danielle, I think that your main problem is the fact that gluten free flours do appear to be constipating. Children often respond well to old fashioned ways of making the bowels move. So - try having puddings of Bramley apples boiled with sugar to make them a little sweeter with a little custard or live yoghurt; banana cooked for a few seconds spooned over with honey; Morrison's have some really lovely soft prunes - in a buff coloured packet called Wholefoods ready to eat soft prunes ... place 4 to 6 in a saucepan with a small splash of water and add either muscavado sugar one to two heaped teaspoons or molasses sugar which is slightly more butterscotch in flavour - you will find if you snip the prunes with scissors into fine strips - then cook for 10 to 15 minutes slowly stirring so that that they don't stick to the bottom of the pan - they become a lovely sweet sticky syrup that you can serve either by themselves or with a little custard, cream or live yoghurt; sweetened and boiled rhubarb - children either love or hate but if you have never tried it before is also very good. Occasionally, if the problem is very bad then try Milk of Magnesia as this is very gentle and can be given to babies but is obviously something that cannot be used every day. Aloe Vera is a natural way to cleanse bowels and help with bowel movements - you can purchase the juice from health shops .. buy the flavoured varieties as the plain is quite peppery and you will most likely need to add them to something sweet like pineapple juice - try the freshly squeezed versions from Sainsbury's or Morrison's which are 3 full cartons for £4 .. these may also be added to a little water and drunk at breakfast time and after school as pineapple is also helpful for bowel movements. Coconut is also a good roughage but with children it is like rhubarb they either love it or hate it and it is often difficult to disguise. Try and increase the liquids that he has during the day as a half a pint of fluid per day extra can make an enormous difference in helping to achieve normal bowel function. Exercise - walking, running and jumping are also good tools for bowel function - does he have a mini trampoline, perhaps?

  • Meant to add to this >>> that sometimes lack of natural fats in the diet appear to cause constipation. A spoonful of good quality nut oil - either poured onto a salad, stirred into milk, yoghurt, cream, etc also helps and is good for the skin. Try almond oil which is very bland - walnut oil is very good as it is full of omega 3's but sometimes is a little strong flavoured and bitter for children. Hazelnut oil is also good but can appear to be bitter to the tastebuds. Sunflower oil is also a good alternative.

  • thank you so much for taking the time to reply, loads of fantastic info, i'll, def try the prunes and banana ideas, didn't know about the nut oils so he'll be having them in his yoghuts, again thanks xx

  • If these ideas don't solve the problem, do let us know as there are lots of natural things that can be included in the diet and this type of problem has been occurring for thousands of years - there are some very funny suggestions that have been made by our forebears!

    Good luck, xx

  • thanks i will indeed keep you posted, everyone has been so kind, it's lovely to be able to ask questions, and not feel silly, xx

  • There's a lot of useful information here, so I don't want to overload you, but there is one more thing you might find useful. Not all fibre is the same. Fibre is divided into soluble and insoluble groups and they can have different effects on the body. Getting the right balance between them is one way of avoiding constipation. Some people (including me) need more soluble than insoluble fibre. You certainly need to avoid fibre overload! I've tried to find a list giving both, I don't know if this will be of any use. I hope you can find a way of helping your son soon.

  • i will def take a look at the link thank you, it's all most confusing, knowing what to do for the best for your child, xx

  • Hi Danielle

    my daughter suffers from CD, as do I. We too saw a huge improvement in her mood swings and agressiveness when she went GF. She used to cry a lot too and that disappeared as did a whole host of other symptoms. She also suffered with insomnia and no matter what 'routine' we did nothing worked, Going GF really helped but she has the odd phase (for example this week) where it all goes pear-shaped and she can't sleep again and I know I've missed something (although I know it's not gluten). We were both diagnosed with Candida Albicans and so we cut out sugar and yeast and started taking probiotics and she got much much better. The last few weeks more and more sugar has crept back in and I think thats why she's back to tummy pains and insomnia this week so we're back to basics, which can be hard for a child to accept.

    It is a permenant battle and I know how distressing it can be to not know how to help your child. I have written a blog about our 'journey' so far and am still looking for answers.

    When she is having insomnia problems, I have found a homeopathic mix that really works and she usually falls asleep within about 15 minutes.In fact I've just been and bought some more this morning.

    Good luck

  • thank you, everytime i have a bad night with him, i feel dreadful, i'm really strict with his diet, fresh fruit, veg, meat and yoghurts, etc i will cut out excess sugar from his diet to see if that help, which homeopathic remedy do you use? xx

  • I know and for some reason I always feel guilty and responsible for it even thought I know its not my fault. A heavy weight to burden...

    The homeopathy is called SédatifPC by Boiron Laboratories. However I live in France and can find it easily although I'm sure you would find it on the web. The composition is: Aconitum napellus 6CH, Belladonna 6CH, Calendula officinalis 6CH, Chelidonium majus 6CH, Jequirity 6CH, Viburnum opulus 6CH. It was my lifesaver (and still is when necessary).

    I don't know what tests you've had done but we're both about to be tested for intolerances and comprehensive gut health incl parasites, yeasts and bacteria ( I've hesitated for a long time but finally going to take the plunge because I am sure thats where the problem lies. I don't know if anyone else has been tested for these kinds of things but even if I have given up on doctors, I still believe in science and think this my help point me and my daughter in the right direction. My worry is that I am like I am today but I'm 39, my daughter is only 12 - what future does she have?? Hope that helps

  • thanks for that, i do use homeopathic remedies for myself, so i'll give it a try. my son has had blood tests and allergy test, allergy tests came back negative, but blood test led to endosopy/ biopsy, he's only 3 and doesn't understand, which is difficult, but, with time am sure we'll get through it. good luck with your tests, xx

  • Please let me/us know how you get on. There are many people fighting against the same thing and I would really like to know what happens and if you find solutions etc. because they may help me/us. x

  • i will of course keep you informed, and would be more than happy to share any knowledge i have, xx

  • After I was diagnosed my specialist told me to stay off dairy for 2 years to enable the villi to grow back at a better rate. I still find I get ill if I have too much dairy. I have milk in my drinks and some chocolate but things like cheese make me unwell. Best check with your Doctor as your little boy needs the calcium but it may be worth cutting back on dairy for a while. I often wake up with horendous stomach pains and Im sure it is when I have over done the dairy. I also find peanut butter gives me stomach cramps. P.S If you do cut down the dairy then there is high calcium soya milk which I use to make smoothies by adding it to a blender with banana and strawberries. Hope your little boy feels better really soon.

  • thank you, a lot of ppl seem to be saying dairy may be the problem, am making an appointment with the gp this week to discuss it, the dietician advised me to try and get at least 3 portions of dairy daily into his diet to promote bone health, as he was failing to thrive, feel very lost and slightly confused. He is so young i feel incredibly sad for him, just want him to be happy again, xx

  • Hang on in there danielle76. Thankfully children are very resilient, and you will get his diet sorted out soon!

    Perhaps you could keep a food diary to help pin-point any problem food?

  • I have been diagnosed for 15 years with CD and have milk intolerence too so I drink goats milk, aslo the new almond milk from Alpo is lovely trying the haxelnut one next lol. Try adn keep dairy to a minimum and ask his dietician what you can use as a replacement for the calcium as he could get wysoy milk on presription, if they still make it. my daughter was milk intolerent to cows milk but could have it as cheese etc

  • Danielle - did you get any positive input from your GP?

  • gp was no help at all, he suggested i talk to my health visitor for sleep training routines, he didn't listen when i said my son went to bed with no issues, it was the screaming in pain and throwing himself around the bed that i had problems with, oh gp also suggested my son may have jealously problem caused by his 1 y/o sister, xx

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