Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Jennifer Hartline

6/5/2014 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (

What is FPIES? It stands for Food Protein Induced Enterocolitis Syndrome. It's a rare infant disease I'd never heard of until suddenly it threw my family into the world of serious food allergies.

I sat down and Googled, "my baby throws up every time I feed her solid food". The very first search result left me speechless. As soon as I began reading the information on this website, I absolutely knew this was what was wrong with my baby.


By Jennifer Hartline

Catholic Online (

6/5/2014 (1 year ago)

Published in Health

Keywords: FPIES, food allergies, rice, oats, infant vomiting, Jennifer Hartline

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Catholic Online) - Darling Daughter #4 was about six months old, and since I was an old pro at this stuff, I did the same things I'd done with the first three girls. I got some Gerber Rice cereal, and some Oatmeal cereal, and some pureed apples and pears. She'd been showing a real interest in the foods I was eating, and she seemed hungry, so I decided it was time to introduce some solid foods.

I fixed a small bowl of rice cereal like I'd done a hundred times before in years past, and mixed in a little apples. My daughter gobbled it all up gladly. Success! I expected nothing else, of course, since I was an old pro at this. (ahem)

2 hours later... she suddenly became very agitated and crying, and then began vomiting. Then she became limp and lethargic. Then more vomiting. She threw up every fifteen minutes for about 2 hours. She was like a wet dishrag, and she was pale and weak. I thought she'd come down with a nasty stomach bug.

Then after a few hours, the vomiting had stopped and she perked up. Her color came back, she seemed more energetic, more like her normal self. And she wanted to nurse. I was hesitant, but I knew she needed the hydration and if anything was likely to agree with her stomach again, it was breast milk. So I nursed her. She drank herself into a nice, long nap, and that was that. She was right as rain again. When she awoke, no more vomiting, no more crying.

She seemed fine the next several days except for some persistent diarrhea. I still figured she had a little stomach bug or something, so to be on the safe side, I didn't feed her any more solid foods for about a week. Then I tried it again. Oatmeal cereal and pears this time. Once again, she gobbled it all up.

And once again, two hours later, she vomited it all up. Just like the first time, she became rather lethargic and limp and pale. She vomited every 15 -20 minutes for about two hours again. Then, just like before, she seemed to perk up and wanted to nurse. I nursed her, and she was right as rain once again.

Now I'm thinking this is not just a stomach bug! So I took her to the pediatrician, who discovered she had an ear infection. She'd had a stuffy nose and a little cold, so the doctor said the vomiting was probably because of the ear infection. Antibiotics in hand, we went home and I decided to wait til the infection was all clear before feeding her any more solid foods.

We got the all-clear from the doctor about her ears, so I tried some more cereal with apples. She ate it all up gladly.

Then two hours later, she gave it all back to me and then some. Exactly the same scenario as the first two times. Now I knew something strange was going on and it had nothing to do with her ears. (All this time, she continued to have diarrhea which resulted in a terrible rash.)

Back to the pediatrician I went, and even the doctor was stumped. She agreed it was very strange, and referred us to a pediatric gastroenterologist at Children's Mercy Hospital. While we waited for that appointment, we did not give our baby any solid foods. We continued breastfeeding only. Thank God for nursing!

The night before our appointment with the specialist, I said to my husband, "Let's just try it one more time, just to make sure. Maybe it was a weird fluke or something and we don't really need a specialist." He agreed, and so I fed her one single spoonful of rice cereal. One little baby spoonful.

Guess what happened?

So, later that night after my sweet daughter had finished throwing up and was feeling better again, I finally went looking for some answers. (Why I waited so long is a mystery even to me.) I sat down and Googled, "my baby throws up every time I feed her solid food".

The very first search result left me speechless. As soon as I began reading the information on this website, I absolutely knew this was what was wrong with my baby. I began printing the information to take with me to our appointment the next morning.

I also typed up a thorough history of exactly what had been happening to my daughter, with as much specific detail as I could, and I presented it to the specialist. She walked in our room, having already read the history I'd written, and I said, "I'm not trying to do your job for you, but I did some reading last night, and I think my daughter has FPIES," as I handed her all the information I'd printed off.

She just smiled real big at me, reached into her file, and handed me the exact same information. She and I had come to the same conclusion: my baby has FPIES.

So, what the heck is FPIES? I'd never heard of it before, and chances are you haven't either. It's even quite possible that your pediatrician hasn't heard of it, or seen a child with FPIES.

It stands for Food Protein Induced Enterocolitis Syndrome. (And it's pronounced just like you think, F-PIES.)

It is a reaction to food proteins, like an allergy, yet unlike other food allergies. There is no single, definitive test for FPIES because it's not an IgE-related allergic reaction like other allergies, so standard allergy testing is not diagnostic.

The most common FPIES trigger food, believe it or not, is rice.

Other common trigger foods are oats, barley, milk, soy, eggs, chicken, and turkey. Any food can be a trigger food, but these are often the biggest culprits. Strangely enough, wheat does NOT seem to be a problem for kids with FPIES.

My daughter has Rice/Oats FPIES, which means no rice or oats for her at all. Which is exactly what I'd fed her with that very first spoonful of baby food. That's what all the doctors recommend. It's the standard advice everyone gives. "Feed your baby rice cereal." After all, rice is supposed to be the most agreeable, well-tolerated food on the planet. It's a staple ingredient in every country, in every diet around the world!

Not in our household, not anymore. No oats or barley, either. Since there were many months when the only food my daughter could eat was breast milk, I had to make some dietary changes myself. I eliminated rice, oats, milk, and soy from my own diet to make sure no trace of those foods made it into my milk. Better safe than sorry.

We are now walking the slow process of discovering which foods are safe for her to eat, and which foods will trigger a vomiting reaction in her and are therefore on the "Cannot Eat" list. The only way to find this out is to feed her one food at a time and see what happens.

She will not be allowed to eat grains of any kind for a few years, so this baking momma is going to have to get creative and learn some new tricks. (I have to say it was awful not to be able to make her a cake for her 1st birthday!)

In the meantime, in order to increase her caloric and protein intake, we have to supplement her limited diet with a specialized formula called Elecare, which is neither very tasty nor very affordable. Many parents of children with food allergies know this all too well. We're in good company.

The good news is that most children with FPIES will outgrow it by the time they're about 6 years old, and thereafter be able to eat a pretty normal diet without allergy concerns (based on what is known now).

We were actually pretty fortunate. Our daughter's reaction, while alarming to us, was not life-threatening. Some kids with FPIES have severe reactions that require emergency medical attention.

If our story sounds familiar to you, go to the FPIES Foundation website and read more. Print this article and take it to your pediatrician. Spread the information far and wide and help educate those doctors who haven't yet learned about this unusual infant disease.

Perhaps it's time to encourage our pediatricians to rethink the standard advice about feeding our babies solid foods at six months, and feeding them rice cereal.


Jennifer Hartline is a grateful Catholic, a proud Army wife and homeschooling mother of four children. She is a contributing writer for Catholic Online. Visit her online at Wake Up,Deborah!


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'

Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for October 2015
That human trafficking, the modern form of slavery, may be eradicated.
Evangelization: That with a missionary spirit the Christian communities of Asia may announce the Gospel to those who are still awaiting it.


More Health

Opium, heroin or cocaine: What drug is YOUR country known for? Watch

Image of


An interactive map has been released by and includes the most recent drug-related data from the United Nations Office on Drugs and crime (UNODC). LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The map has three options to choose from: People treated for drug ... continue reading

Buying your way to immortality? British super-rich engaging in experimental schemes Watch

Image of Omniya clinic in Knightsbridge offers lots of costly items that prolong youth - and in some cases, life itself.


Money, they say, cannot buy happiness - but many of England's super rich are investing in cellular rejuvenation to buy themselves some extra years on their mortality clock. Omniya clinic in Knightsbridge offers lots of costly items that prolong youth - and in ... continue reading

3 things you need to know NOW about the 'last resort' drug Watch

Image of


The number of drug-resistant infections has been increasing over the past decade, to the point where hospitals must now turn to what is called a "last resort" drug. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Everyone knows that it is important to take antibiotics according to ... continue reading

Editas Medicine to create the first genetically modified HUMANS in 2017 Watch

Image of Editing genes can cure disease, but it also raises new ethical questions.

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

The first genetically modified humans could exist within just two years, according to an American biotech firm that plans to begin trials on humans. The groundbreaking treatments could cure a number of major ailments, but could also be used for more sinister purposes ... continue reading

Groundbreaking blood test predicts kidney disease FIVE YEARS BEFORE symptoms appear Watch

Image of A simple blood test can predict kidney disease five years before kidney damage begins.


Kidney disease affects 3.9 million adults across America, resulting in the deaths of 47,112 people. While current blood tests are able to detect renal disease at the onset of symptoms, a new blood test can predict a patient's risk of developing chronic kidney disease ... continue reading

TERMINAL TAPEWORM: Colombian man found to have tapeworm that contributed cancer cells Watch

Image of Intestinal parasites that latch into human hosts, tapeworms are easily treated with medication and usually don't pose any overt health threats.


Intestinal parasites that latch into human hosts, tapeworms are easily treated with medication and usually don't pose any overt health threats. However, a HIV-positive Colombian man was found upon biopsy to have had a tapeworm that carried a host of cancerous ... continue reading

Drugs deadlier than guns, firearms: Where is the War on Drugs really fought? The answer will CREEP you out Watch

Image of Prescription drug overdose is a major killer in the United States.


Drug overdoses are the leading cause of injury death in the United States, according to the Drug Enforcement Agency, with 46,471 people dying in 2013, the latest year for which data is available.  But there is one thing that nobody realizes about the War on Drugs, ... continue reading

Toddler's aggressive cancer unbelievably cured with experimental treatment never-before-used on humans Watch

Image of Layla Richards survived an aggressive form of leukaemia after being treated with genetically engineered immune cells (GOSH/PA).


The first person in the world to be treated with a cure for cancer was a British baby named Layla Richards. Richards had an aggressive case of leukemia and no other treatments worked so the family turned to the experimental genetically engineered immune cells that had ... continue reading

'They can't scream': Terrifying new revelation from mother and daughter who PERFORM genital mutilations on little girls Watch

Image of Over one-million girls and women in the US and Europe alone have been affected by FGM.


Female genital mutilation has been outlawed in most countries, but in Nairobi, Kenya the practice remains ongoing. The gruesome "surgery" is done by "cutters," who work on African natives as well as young British girls who undergo the horrific procedure during their ... continue reading

101 shocking things that cause cancer - You won't believe #19! Watch

Image of The World Health Organization provided a list of 116 chemicals and activities that show signs they could cause cancer.


The World Health Organization, also known as WHO, has compiled a list of 101 things that can cause cancer -and the list may surprise you. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - WHO officials claim 50 grams of processed meat each day, which amounts to less than a single ... continue reading

All Health News


Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

the FEED
by Catholic Online

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Isaiah 11:1-10
1 A shoot will spring from the stock of Jesse, a new shoot will grow from ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 72:1, 7-8, 12-13, 17
1 [Of Solomon] God, endow the king with your own fair judgement, the son ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 10:21-24
21 Just at this time, filled with joy by the Holy Spirit, he said, 'I ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for December 1st, 2015 Image

St. Eligius
December 1: Eligius (also known as Eloi) was born around 590 ... Read More