We knew something wasn’t right very early on with our middle child. He pooped more frequently than most babies his age and we often saw streaks of blood in his diapers. He had trouble sleeping, seemed to have bouts of unexplainable pain, and was very clingy and emotional. We saw multiple doctors and even ended up in the emergency room a time or two.

Since nothing seemed like a medical emergency, we were simply encouraged to try different things to help our obviously uncomfortable son. I tracked every symptom and kept a diary of what I was eating since we were still breastfeeding. After cutting all dairy out of my diet, we noticed an improvement which led us to believe he was likely sensitive (or allergic) to milk products.

We tried almond and soy milk, but eventually landed on lactose-free since it tasted the same. I, myself, have a dairy sensitivity since losing my gallbladder, so it was an easy switch for us to share milk products. The lactose-free milk helped, but he was still having frequent stools and seemed abnormally exhausted. His weight gain was extremely low for a toddler but, again, because he was otherwise developing fine, doctors weren’t worried.

Then we noticed other issues. Certain fruits seemed to go right through him. The smallest amount of juice would upset his tummy. His teeth weren’t as healthy as they should be. He was tired and cranky.  He had a severe reaction to blueberries that terrified us.

All of these concerns led us to push for a referral to a pediatrician. She was wonderful! She listened to what I had to say, did a full wellness check-up on our child, and immediately ordered several tests to rule out potential underlying issues. He is now in the process of being screened for Celiac, Hypothyroidism, Anemia, and a few other potential health issues. It’s not a fun process, but at least we know he’s being thoroughly examined by someone who specializes in child related illnesses.

In the meantime, our pediatrician is fairly certain he has lactose intolerance. We continue to buy the milk without lactose and have also added chewable Lactaid tablets to our daily regime. We try to avoid giving him fruits like oranges and grapes, and we have to watch his intake of chocolate and juice. Any of these things can trigger a sore stomach and cause issues for days.

If he’s upset, we try to get to the real root of the problem. Is he in pain? Is he tired from lack of sleep? Or is he just being a typical toddler? It’s easy for others to watch his behavior and assume he’s a difficult or rebellious child. As a parent, it can be frustrating to deal with, but we have to remind ourselves that there’s an underlying issue. It’s not always his fault.

We’re still on this journey with our three year old, and probably will be for a long time! I want to encourage you, parents, to listen to your gut and push for answers if you feel something is off. Many doctors shrugged off my concerns, but I refuse to give up until we get to the root cause of what’s going on in his tiny body.

No one knows your child better than you. Remember that!

Carolyn headshotCarolyn Bechard is a wife and stay at home Mother currently residing in the Fraser Valley of Vancouver. A lover of travel and community, she hopes to inspire other parents to live their best lives through her site, momentsinmommyland.com.