Always trust your “Mama Intuition”

Always follow your "Mama Intuition" via

Always trust your "Mama Intuition" via

One morning, just after Leila turned one, I went to check on her.  She had always been a good sleeper, but this particular morning she was snoozing way past her regular wake-up time.  I picked her up and gently tried to nudge her awake.  Her skin felt cool and clammy.  Her hair soaked in sweat.  Her breath strong and fruity.  She woke up, rolled her eyes back into her head and fell asleep.  I tried sitting her up, and she just couldn’t keep her eyes open.  I took her temperature and it was the opposite of a fever, it was low.  Worried, I called the doctor.  As I waited for a call back, I did the only thing I could think of, and gave her tiny bites of banana as she went in and out of sleep.  The more banana I could get into her, the more lucid she became.  At one point she actually sat up and started ravenously taking bites.

When I finally got her into the doctor, I asked if this could possibly be ketotic hypoglycemia.  The doctor scoffed and told me Leila had simply had a night terror.  A what?!  How in the world was this a night terror?  I knew friends whose kids had night terrors, and this definitely wasn’t it.  She was limp, a rag doll, only awakened by sugar.  Her breath was strong and fruity, not usual morning breath.  I told all of this to the doctor and she just stared at me.

Nothing I said was going to convince her, and in the end it didn’t matter.

There’s nothing you can do about ketotic hypoglycemia except to be vigilant about it, especially when your child is sick.  I learned everything I could about how to minimize risk, and how to react when it happens.  In the end, it’s up to me to keep Leila safe. 

My intuition has proven correct.  When Leila catches a virus, I make sure she gets extra snacks before bed.  Sometimes if she hasn’t eaten enough during the day, I’ll wake her up in the middle of the night to eat a banana.  Sometimes no matter what I do, she wakes up in a hypoglycemic episode anyways.  That’s what happened this morning.  She has been sick since Saturday, and this morning she stumbled out of bed with that glassy look in her eyes.  Sure enough she had a cold sweat, fruity breath, and her eyes looked like she could pass out at any moment.  I quickly gave her a cookie and a banana, got her in the bath, and gave her water and juice.  A few minutes after eating the banana, her eyes brightened and opened fully.

My point in sharing this is to encourage you to be an advocate for your health and the health of your family.  If you feel like something is wrong, push for an answer. If the doctor doesn’t believe you, find a new doctor and educate yourself.  You know your child better than anyone else.

If I hadn’t gone with my gut, Leila could have gotten into a dangerous situation.  Now even though it’s scary, I’m prepared.  The medical literature says most kids grow out of this condition by the time they turn 10.  Until then, I’ll keep buying bananas.

Always follow your "Mama Intuition" via

Have you ever had to stick with your “Mama intuition” even when the doctor didn’t agree?


  • claire @ live and love to eat April 16, 2013 at 11:28 am

    Good for you for catching the signs – did you learn them becoming an RD, or research them later? You sound like a great Mom. 🙂

    • inspiredrd April 16, 2013 at 1:40 pm

      Sorry, I should have clarified how I came about my conclusion. I knew what ketone breath was like because of my RD background, so I searched online for ketosis and low blood sugar in children.

  • Lauren April 16, 2013 at 11:45 am

    First, she’s so cute. Second, I agree with you. While I can be casual about a lot of things with the boys once that instinct or “mama intuition” kicks in watch out. I have seen emotions I never knew I had when the boys needed it. I’ve also never heard of ketotic hypoglycemia, had you before Leila had it?

    • inspiredrd April 16, 2013 at 1:41 pm

      I had never heard of it! I actually googled ketosis and hypoglycemia in children and she matched the description perfectly.

  • April Ockerman April 16, 2013 at 12:06 pm

    Wow, I have never even heard of something like that, but good for you for sticking with your guns and your gut feeling. Momma knows best!

  • Heather || Heather's Dish April 16, 2013 at 1:25 pm

    SO good to hear this story, and emphasizing that we all need to be advocates for our health and the health of these little ones in our care!

    • inspiredrd April 16, 2013 at 1:41 pm

      Thanks Heather! It’s so important to advocate for our kids.

  • Carrie April 16, 2013 at 10:10 pm

    What a scary story! Glad you found an answer and can take care of your daughter! Yes, I’ve been in that kind of situation. Mommy intuition is NOT to be taken lightly. My sons have all sorts of issues; IgE allergies, FPIES, fructose malabsorption…and while I know lots of people think I’m making it up or exaggerating I have to fight for them because I’m the only voice they have. Thanks for the reminder! I’m so glad she’s doing well now.

  • Jennifer April 18, 2013 at 9:53 am

    I can not agree with this post more. A little background, my middle daughter had week/loose elbows when she was little and they would become dislocated. Our pediatrician showed me how to roll her dislocated elbow back in place because she said the faster it is put back the less damage that is done. So one day my son was spinning her on a chair and she fell off. It was obvious she had hurt her arm but she was not carrying/holding it they way I had seen her do it many times from being dislocated. I didn’t like what I was seeing so I took her to the ER. Having the dislocated elbow condition on her record he assumes that is what happened again and he went through the process of rolling it back in. She bawled. I knew something was not right because she would have had relief the minute it was back in place. He tried to convince me that it was just still sore from being out of joint. I’d lived through it too many times, I wasn’t buying it. After much discussion he finally asked, “Mom would you be more comfortable if we took an xray?” Of course I jumped on that, “Yes Sir!” When he brought the xrays back to the room we were waiting in he started with, “I owe you an apology.” Her arm was broken just like I thought. You have to trust your gut when it comes to your kids. You know when their behavior isn’t normal for them. Kuddos to you for being your daughter’s best advocate.

  • Angie December 20, 2013 at 5:26 pm

    Hi Alysa, Thanks so much for posting this about your daughter. I totally agree we should follow our mama intuition about our kids. Sometimes I find my intuition can walk a fine line between intuition and possibly fear. I’m assuming you’ve done a lot of studying on your daughter’s symptoms? I’m wondering if you might have any insight or resources you could recommend to me?

    Right around my daughter’s 2nd b-day, she seemed to enter into a phase of not eating as well and not staying as hydrated as before. This seems to be pretty typical toddler/2yr old behavior. She also occasionally has that fruity breath — that I’ve always associated with my kids getting sick or being dehydrated. Usually it shows up right before or after an illness for them. (I have 2 older kids that I’ve smelled it on from time-to-time) Well, she’s been ‘fruity’ about 1-2x a week, usually after a day that wasn’t so great for eating or drinking for the past 6 weeks now. It usually only lasts for the morning and is gone after lunch and is usually very faint.

    Her pediatrician honestly thinks I’m crazy for being concerned. They did a quick blood glucose test (upon my request) and it came back at 109, roughly 2 hours after eating breakfast. From what I can tell, that’s a ‘normal’ number for her age group.

    Again, I’m just trying to glean from your research and experience. She has NO other symptoms that would lead me to believe it’s a serious metabolic disorder/disease. It’s just sometimes tough to get her to eat or drink — she’s entered that defiant stage 🙂

    Any advice?

    • Angie December 20, 2013 at 5:32 pm

      Also, I’ve been experimenting to see what helps her recover faster. It seems to be a combo of protein and healthy fats. Also, hydration is a factor, as well. It doesn’t appear to be ‘sugars’ that she need as much as the protein/fat combo. Her body type is taller and leaner than my other 2 tall/stocky kids. She’s about 90th percentile for height and 80th percentile for weight for her age (26 months). Hope that helps! 🙂