Our little Odin. He’ll be three in less than two weeks. It’s taken me much of his nearly three years to get him de-bugged. To get his nervous system from being haywire, to get the child to sleep at night. To get the child to sleep at all, really. A common question during these three years: Have you eliminated this food group?
Let me tell you his story.
From the get go, this child wouldn’t sleep unless he was nursing. Or unless I was moving around with him. Or unless I was bouncing with him on a ball. Or unless he was being worn on my body. By the time he was three months old I knew something was off with him because of how he didn’t sleep.
It wasn’t that he didn’t sleep, it was HOW he didn’t sleep that was curious.
Having cared for and slept many, many children, I get the ins and outs of different littles. Different positions-different needs-different sleep times-different sleep ways. What I had never experienced was a wee itty bitty flopping around like a fish out of water in his sleep. Every. Single. Night.
He would only stay in one cozy sleep position if I nursed him. And as he grew, that just wasn’t possible. Try as he might, that child would nurse all night long if given the chance, and did he ever come close. So many times I would wake from not sleeping next to him with him on my body-still, like he had started the night before.
The irony of his mornings was that he always looked like he’d had a bit too much to drink the night before, lol.
Because I was doing Nutrition Response Testing, of course I was testing him, but it wasn’t making the difference. For a while there were no foods testing for him as an intolerance, so I continued the clean lifestyle diet I was on of little to no cow dairy, little to no grains, and no refined sugars. After a while eggs became a problem, so I kept them in only minimally as I was committed to breastfeeding and thought if that was my biggest problem, I’ve got this under control.
We discovered the hard way that this child can’t handle quinoa, or millet, or oats. He couldn’t handle cow dairy. Unlike my girls who broke out in rashes and fevers when confronted with a food intolerance, this guy has had beautiful soft skin. He’s had some fevers, though was popping in and out of illness way more often than he should have. One week he would throw up. Two weeks later he’d have a fever with no lethargy. And then a funny diaper or two. And then vomiting again. Maybe a fever a few weeks later. Inside of this none of that ever seemed to bother him, he was such a happy kid.
As he got older we noticed he would kind of whimper at night, and my husband and older daughter had to start taking sleeping shifts with him, so I could get a 2-3 hour stretch of sleep because he’d keep me awake nursing. Only when he was nursing was he quiet and content. As soon as he could talk he would say “Odin have tummy ache” during the night as he laid his hand on his belly.
He even found a position on his own that he could sleep in for a couple hours at a time by leaning against me as if he’s in a recliner as I lay on my side. He’ll physically move me into that position, that’s how well he knows it.
Meanwhile I have tested him in every way I could imagine to re-enact the night time sleep space he should be in. Now, I am a huge advocate of co-sleeping as needed, and understand that most toddlers aren’t sleeping through the night, so sleeping through the night wasn’t necessarily my goal–sleeping with comfort was.
Handling Hidden Liver and Food Phenolics
With the last 6 months of Advanced Clinical Training in my back pocket I began to learn about something called Hidden Liver … and figured if I knew how to find Hidden Thyroid, I could find this liver thing. I utilized the technology on Odin, and lo and behold if that liver didn’t test. At first it was the scar tissue on his belly button, so I handled that. Then it was dairy, so I handled that. Then, as if the gates of heaven had just opened, the food phenolics vial tested and along with it came a relief I didn’t know I could experience as his mama. That vial is a can of worms, so to speak, in what it opens up, but it’s a can of worms I have a ton of experience handling, which is where the relief comes from.
The bottom line to what food phenolics are — there are seven groups of foods, a lot of which are very similar foods or the same foods occur in several of these categories. The actual problem isn’t the food itself, but a molecule in the food that the body doesn’t recognize as food. I tell people it’s as if you just ate a box of rocks — your body doesn’t know what to do or how to respond.
Still we had tummy ache complaints every day. No constipation and no diarrhea — just a funny diaper, somewhat loose or somewhat large, every now and again. But I knew just where to start with this food phenolics group. Bananas were the first food I checked him on from this list. I had suspected them, and indeed they checked as a problem.
The trick with this group is that it’s all real food, and the hard part for people in our practice to grasp is that we’ve taken them off convenient junk food and put them on real food. Then if this tests as a problem for them, they have further evidence that “healthy” food doesn’t have to be consumed.
Here’s the deal — you can grow out of this concern, I see it happen all the time. But you have to do the work. You have to want to feel better. You have to want your body to perform better. You have to put in the time.
The second list of foods he checked against:
The third list of foods he checked against:
- packaged almond milk
- red lentils
- bell peppers
- brown rice
- chia seeds
Once we got these foods out of his diet, NO KIDDING, within TWO WEEKS there were NO MORE TUMMY ACHES.
These foods are just a fraction of the foods I had to test him on in order to learn these few foods were a problem.
That was three months ago. Sleeping with him no longer requires nursing all night, though he does prefer to sleep with someone and is the world’s best snuggler. He might wake up once, and makes his way out of his room and into ours. I’ll either welcome him up for a quick nurse, then off to sleep we go, or he and I steal back into his room to cuddle up until morning.
I have slept through the night more in the last month than I have in over three years.
Chicken, avocado, and watermelon appear to be no longer a problem for him, so we are making progress already.
I share this long story with you to inspire hope and to pat you on the back when as mamas we leave no stone unturned to support our children in getting well.
If you have questions about the health of your children, reach out to schedule a Discovery Call.
And look at my little weasel now, I’ve trained him well!