When Babies are Affected by Autoimmune Diseases

Immediately after Sarah Jones gave birth to her second child, a son named Carter, she knew something was wrong. “He hardly stopped crying, he struggled to eat and sleep, he was unable to relax—and I didn’t know what to do,” she said. “He would arch his little back and scream. I knew there was something wrong, but I had no idea how to help him.

“I took him to see so many different doctors and specialists that I couldn’t even guess the number,” she said. “They diagnosed reflux, colic several times, and I was told over and over that he would simply grow out of it—that he was just going through a stage.”

Meanwhile, every day Carter was suffering; he ate little, he slept in only 20-minute intervals, and he always seemed to be in pain. He developed skin rashes, eczema, and he had chronic digestive problems. He had recurring ear and sinus infections requiring antibiotics eight to 10 times a year, and he often had pain when urinating. “Several doctors told me the problem was due to my inexperience as a mother,” she retorted. “I was told to take him off dairy and wheat. We tested for allergies, but to no avail, and nothing was helping my baby boy’s agony.”

Sarah called a physician Carter had seen once before at a children’s hospital. Only after insisting upon more tests, finally, Sarah and her husband, Kevin, got what they wanted. “The specialist asked us if we really wanted to do more testing; he told me they probably wouldn’t find anything, and that it would put a lot of unnecessary stress on our 14-month-old son. But we insisted—we had to find out what was wrong so he could find relief.”

This time, Carter’s parents finally got some of the answers they were looking for. The hospital called and told them that Carter had a severe case of Celiac disease—an autoimmune disorder in which the ingestion of gluten leads to ongoing damage in the small intestine and decreases the absorption of nutrients in the body.

Armed with Carter’s diagnosis, now Sarah had to find out how to treat him. He was sent to another specialist who helped eliminate a few food items, but the progress was extremely slow, and then it stopped. Developmentally, both physically and mentally, little Carter wasn’t thriving, and now the couple had a massive medical debt to deal with.

“The specialists’ told me they really couldn’t do anything more for him, so I began to do my own research,” she said. “I met with seven different dieticians—who were all unable to guide me in helping Carter. No one knew what to do for him.”

At 14 months since Carter’s diagnosis of Celiac, Sarah and her husband hit a wall. “We were so desperate to help Carter,” she said. “We finally contacted Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland, looking for help. We couldn’t afford it, but we were about to get on a plane and fly out there when a friend recommended Dr. David Bilstrom.”

David J. Bilstrom, MD, is the Director of the International Autoimmune Institute & Bingham Memorial Center for Functional Medicine in Blackfoot, Idaho. Dr. Bilstrom is quadruple board certified in Functional and Regenerative Medicine, Integrative Medicine, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, and Medical Acupuncture.

Sarah said, “I was initially hesitant. I’d heard of functional medicine, but in my mind, it was a lot like naturopathy, and after all the physicians I’d already seen, I didn’t think that would help Carter, but I was so desperate, I decided to take a chance.

“We took Carter for our initial consultation and Dr. Bilstrom asked us so many questions,” Sarah continued. “Having looked over Carter’s medical history quite extensively, he knew what steps to take to get to the bottom of what was going on. After so many doctors telling us there was nothing they could do, this physician was advocating for our son.”

“Dr. Bilstrom told us we weren’t going to do trial and error,” Sarah said. “He wanted to do a full blood work up, which is exactly what I’d wanted other doctors to do instead of guessing at what might be wrong. When we went to our second appointment, Dr. Bilstrom had answers! We already knew he was suffering from Celiac, but he told us Carter was severely malnourished, he had ‘off the charts’ blood issues, he had already developed a second autoimmune disease called Hashimoto disease, and was on the road to developing diabetes. It was overwhelming, but I was immediately thankful that we had found someone who could help Carter.”

“Dr. Bilstrom gave us a list of things to start with—none of which was medication,” Sarah said. “He wanted to use natural processes to heal Carter’s little body, along with specific vitamins and supplements. We did everything Dr. Bilstrom told us to do, to a T. And Carter got better and better!

“Now almost two years later, our four-year-old son is no longer struggling physically and emotionally, but is now happy, thriving little boy.” Sarah said. “We are beginning to reintroduce him to different foods now that he is doing so well.”

Sarah says her family’s world flipped upside down for two and a half years with how sick Carter was, but now the family eats clean and they are doing better.

“Dr. Bilstrom changed our lives. He has helped my family eliminate and prevent many health ailments. Instead of treating and covering up symptoms, he got to the root of our health problems. If anyone needs answers, I recommend Dr. Bilstrom!”

About David J. Bilstrom, MD

Dr. Bilstrom is Director of the International Autoimmune Institute & Bingham Memorial Center for Functional Medicine, which is the first medical center in the country to treat all types of autoimmune diseases. It is also the first to use nature, and its ability to improve human health and well-being, as an integral part of a wellness program.


He is quadruple board certified in Functional and Regenerative Medicine, Integrative Medicine, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, and Medical Acupuncture. He has extensive experience in Anti-Aging & Regenerative Medicine, Acupuncture, Integrative Medicine, and Complementary and Alternative Medicines.


Dr. Bilstrom works closely with experts in a number of medical specialties to evaluate, diagnose and treat chronic and autoimmune diseases. He is always welcoming new patients at his office within the Bingham Specialty Plaza in Blackfoot. Appointments can be scheduled by calling (208) 782-2444.


Office Location
Bingham Specialty Plaza
326 Poplar Street
Blackfoot, ID
P: (208) 782-2444



Our content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.

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