Wednesday, September 27, 2017

A Two Year Mystery, Solved!

Please Note: This is a history of our experience. I am not a medical professional in any way!

I remember it like it was yesterday. I was sleep-deprived. Barely back to work, and I made the decision to introduce formula to the little man. I believed all the hype about formula fed babies sleeping longer and I was willing to give it a try. So, I filled a bottle up, rocked my little guy and was optimistic about the sleep we were about to get. He no sooner finished the bottle before he literally puked the entire thing up.

Since that day – almost eighteen months ago – we have had slightly more sleep but many more headaches. Weston never did take to formula well. He threw it up consistently upon its introduction even at a 3:1 ratio of breast milk to formula.

In addition, Weston has endured countless colds that seemed to always escalate to include ear infections and low oxygen levels. We have gotten tubes in ears, own a nebulizer, and even put him on a twice-a-day inhaled steroid after months of low oxygen levels. And, sporadically in between all of this he has broken out in hives.

An example of one of his hive outbreaks.
For two years we have been exhausted. Confused. And, frankly, sad for our little guy who seemed to never catch a break.

A few weeks ago, I was excited to pick the kids up from school early and head to the park. Ever the smart mom (ha), I made sure I had a snack to keep any hanger at bay. On this particular day, we’d snack on Larabar brownie bites before hitting the park. Weston barely took a bite before he started whining. Nora responded by reminding him that if he didn’t eat his “chocolate,” she would. Weston responded by puking. I quickly cancelled our park trip and changed routes to head home. Weston continued to whine as we were driving and I turned around to check on him only to notice him once again covered in hives. This was clearly an allergic reaction and luckily these bites only have six ingredients.

Post Larabar hives on his face
As I racked my brain that evening and examined the pictures from all of the other hive episodes, I finally connected the dots – coconut. I had made muffins with coconut oil, given him coconut milk during one episode and now finally these brownie bites were dusted with coconut flour. But, I still couldn’t get right with this being our answer because why in the world had he always reacted to formula as well?! I finally looked up the ingredient list of Earth’s Best Organic Infant Formula and the sixth ingredient listed was “organic coconut!” And, because we tried just about every formula under the sun, I looked up countless others’ ingredient lists and found coconut in every single one.

His reaction following coconut milk
Cue: Mom Guilt!

I write all of this down and share it today so hopefully it helps someone else. I can’t help but think “if we would have just known!!” Of course, he wasn’t sleeping because his belly hurt. And, while I nursed him for ten months, I certainly supplemented and so wish I hadn’t. Maybe if we would have known I could have just nursed, maybe he wouldn’t have had to go through so many rounds of antibiotics for ear infections or the countless other medications due to his respiratory issues.

So, we live and learn. I’m thankful we’ve now connected some dots and our little man is back to smiling. And, I’m so grateful we can proceed by eliminating coconut from his diet with very little effort. Finally, I hope this story helps some other tired mama out there!

Cheers, all!
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