If you read my last post, you saw that we were going forward with the GAPS diet/protocol to heal Sweet P’s FPIES and immature gut. Because she never had a vomit-to-shock reaction to any foods, we don’t know if she 100% has FPIES or if we are just dealing with an immature gut. Either way, the GAPS diet addresses both of these issues. I will preface the rest of the post by saying that neither Dave nor I are medical professionals, but do want to share what we are doing with others, in the chance that it helps someone.
GAPS came highly recommended from a friend of ours that had a daughter with severe FPIES, and so wanted to give it a try. GAPS stands for Gut and Psychology Syndrome, so actually much of the research and protocols for the diet come from the understanding that our gut health directly affects our brain’s functioning. So, even though the focus of the GAPS diet is to work on gut health to help create a positive and healthy gut flora, many people to GAPS to help with issues like ADHD, Autism, and other health concerns that are related to the brain. Other than having heard about this diet, we were total newbies, so our first step was to buy the GAPS book by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride. I love how she started the book off with the research that shows how, as a society, our gut health has deteriorated, and what the effects have been. I highly recommend the book for anyone interested in the gut/brain connection.
From the research and reading we have done, when adults or children who have already been eating solid food get started on GAPS, it is recommended that they start with the Intro version of the diet (there is the Intro and then 3 stages). The Intro means starting with homemade bone broth and only meat products and a few select vegetables. But to be quite honest, we haven’t done much research in terms of how to do GAPS for grown ups or older kids, because we are obviously starting from scratch with our Sweet P. I felt overwhelmed and wasn’t sure how to start. So, Dave and I decided we would hire a GAPS practitioner. This is someone who has been trained specifically in the GAPS protocol by Dr. Campbell-McBride. We felt that even though it would be more expensive this way, that it would be worth it.
She loves getting her broth from a spoon!
After some research and networking, we found a practitioner who has worked with multiple babies and children with FPIES and been able to get these kids on full, healthy diets by following the GAPS protocol. Knowing we have this woman as a resource to go to whenever we have a question or a possible issue puts my mind so much more at ease than if I felt like I had to do all the research on my own.
The practitioner we chose has been awesome and a wealth of information for us so far. I was afraid we were going to have to take Sweet P off of her Alimentum formula because it’s full of non-GAPS-approved foods, but she had enough experience to let us know that was not a good idea. What she recommended, and what we have done, is start with 1 tsp of homemade chicken broth (from a pasture raised/organic chicken) twice a day, and to slowly increase it until we eventually are able to replace the Alimentum with the broth while keeping 15-20oz of breastmilk in her diet. And by that point, she would hopefully be tolerating several solid foods as well.
We are about to start Week 4 and Sweet P is doing pretty well! The big key has been to go slowly. After 3 weeks she continues with the same amount of breastmilk and formula, but she now has 5 servings of 3-3.5 tsp of broth each time! I know it’s still such a small amount, but it’s progress! She did have one incidence of diarrhea-ish poo a couple of times along the way, so we have had to back up and then build back up again. This week I will add pureed chicken meat and fat to the broth (I previously skimmed that out), and if she does well on that for a week or so, we will start giving her tiny pieces of chicken to start practicing how to eat finger foods.
I know this will be a long and slow journey for us, but we are continuing to hope and pray that going the GAPS route will be so beneficial to her and her gut health in the long run.
This picture actually has nothing to do with GAPS, but everything to do with how cute and hilarious this photo is from my birthday dinner at a Mexican restaurant. She couldn’t eat anything while we were out, but she got to watch us eat, so that counts as related to this post, right? (Also, I know her car seat straps are a little low; rest assured that we raise them to armpit level for the actual car ride.)