What your child eats or is able to eat can depend greatly on whether their Pedi IBD is in remission and they are experiencing few symptoms or active and causing increased inflammation of the digestive tract
When your child’s disease is in remission or not active, the goal is to maintain a well balanced diet of a wide variety of foods including:
- protein — meats, fish, poultry, dairy products, beans, legumes
- carbohydrates — cereals, breads, vegetables, fruit
- fats — oils, butter, margarine
A well balanced diet can help to make sure that your child gets enough:
to help them grow and develop at a healthy rate.
When your child’s Pedi IBD is active and they are experiencing more symptoms, your healthcare provider may suggest special nutritional recommendations that may be helpful during this time.
SPECIAL NUTRITIONAL RECOMMENDATIONS IN PEDI IBD
When your child’s disease is active or they are experiencing symptoms, the goal is to make sure your child is taking in enough calories and nutrients.
To help with this, your child’s healthcare provider may recommend a modified or special diet.
Modified diets are developed especially for your child usually with input of a dietician or nutritionist and can depend on:
- age of your child
- area of the intestine affected by the disease
Modified diets can include:
- low fiber, low residue diet
- lactose-free diet
- high calorie diet
Low fiber, low residue diet
When your child has active Pedi IBD, the ability of their intestine to digest and absorb or take in foods is not as good as it should be.
Fiber is a part food that is not digested in the human intestine and is usually eliminated from the body in a bowel movement.
Eating foods high in fiber when your child’s disease is active can:
- increase diarrhea
- increase pain and discomfort with bowel movements
- increase bleeding
Avoiding foods with high fiber content such as:
- fresh vegetables and fruit
- whole grains, cereals, nuts and popcorn
can help to decrease stools and help to ‘rest’ the intestines.
When Pedi IBD is active, changes to your child’s diet are recommended mainly to help with any discomfort or unpleasant symptoms your child may have.
A low fiber low residue diet may also be recommended in children who have a narrowing or a stricture in the intestine from Crohn’s disease, or when surgery is performed to remove part of the intestine due to complications from Pedi IBD.
If your child’s doctor does recommend a low fiber low residue diet, they may also recommend a multivitamin or vitamin supplements in order to add nutrients normally found in fruits and vegetables. Remember to always check with your child’s healthcare provider before beginning a new diet.
Lactose free diet
Lactose is the carbohydrate portion of milk. It can be difficult to tell the difference between lactose intolerance and a milk allergy. A lactose breath test can be performed to diagnose lactose intolerance, and your child’s healthcare provider may order this test before making any changes to your child’s diet.
Children with lactose intolerance, especially with disease in the small intestine, sometimes benefit from a lactose-free diet.
Symptoms of lactose intolerance include:
- increased burping
- increased gas
- stomach pain
These symptoms can decrease or go away completely when milk and dairy products including cheese, ice cream and yogurt are removed from the diet.
Because milk and dairy products are very important sources of nutrition for a growing child, your healthcare provider may suggest switching to lactose-free milk
or recommend your child take a lactase supplement when eating milk products.
Before taking dairy products out of your child’s diet, talk with your healthcare provider about ways to do this a little at a time.
A dietician or nutritionist can also make suggestions that will help to lessen symptoms and keep up the amount of calcium and vitamin D in your child’s diet.
In children who are allergic to milk proteins or have
milk allergies fortified soy milk or fortified rice milk can be used instead of regular milk.