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A Food Allergy: A Story of A Mama Detective

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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 bound 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.


Example of a hive outbreak

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. And, 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.

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?! Until, 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.


An outbreak caused by coconut milk

Cue: Mom Guilt!

Of course I can’t help but think; “if we would have just known!!” He wasn't sleeping because his belly hurt all the while we were giving him bottles of formula to try to get him to sleep - oh the irony. And, while I nursed him for ten months, I certainly supplemented and 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 infection or the countless other medications due to his respiratory issues (all potential symptoms of a coconut allergy).


Thankful for our happy boy

So, we live and learn. I’m thankful that we’ve now connected some dots and that our little man is back to smiling. And, I’m so grateful that we can proceed by eliminating coconut from his diet with very little effort.

Cheers, all!

Please note: a version of this story originally appeared on

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