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A mum has hit back at online trolls who targeted her four-month-old baby for his excessive body hair.
Baby Mateo Hernandez was diagnosed with Congenital Hyperinsulinism at one-month-old. The condition means that his pancreas creates excessively high levels of insulin and leaves him with dangerously low blood sugar levels.
Parents Bri Shelby, 24, and Jared Hernandez, 22, had to put their baby on medication to control his rare condition, which affects only one in 50,000 babies.
Two weeks after starting the life-saving medication, Mateo's health improved but the unusual side effect left him covered in long, dark body hair.
"After a couple of weeks of being on the medication his body started changing - he got really big and started growing lots of hair on his head and body," said Bri.
"It started with his head and forehead, then his legs, arms and back until it had spread to everywhere except his stomach.
"He was bald when he came out but after a few weeks of being on the medication he's turned into a little gorilla."
Bri, from Texas City, USA, was told by doctors that hair growth was a possible side effect but she didn't think it would be so extreme.
"I asked them if I could shave him but they advised against it and said it would fall off on its own eventually," explained Bri.
"We decided to shave his face but it looks like it's growing back already."
The parents now take time out every day to groom their baby. They bathe, dry and moisturise him and brush all his body hair daily to keep it neat.
But Mateo's unusual hair does also gain some unwanted attention from strangers on the street and cruel trolls online.
"When we go out in public people say how cute he is but say 'that's a lot of hair, I've never seen that before' and we have to explain it's because of his condition," said Bri.
"Get some negative comments saying 'throw the whole baby away' or telling me to wax him but I don't care - all that matters is my baby is healthy."
Bri noticed something was wrong with Mateo a month after bringing him home, when he kept visibly shaking and overeating.
After returning to hospital and being diagnosed with the rare condition he was admitted to the neonatal unit where he remained for two and a half months.
"He was having dangerously low blood sugar - his levels were in the 30s when a healthy range is between 70 and 100, so he was at risk of having seizures or even dying," explained Bri.
"He was admitted to the NICU in Texas Children's Hospital and doctors put him on medication to control his insulin and blood sugar levels.
"He started off on a low dose but it didn't do much so doctors ended up putting him on the max dose."
Doctors expect Mateo to outgrow his condition eventually and be able to come off the medication, after which the excess hair should fall out.
But since the condition is so rare they are unsure how long this will take.
Bri, however, is determined to not let the trolls bring them down.
"The medication saved his life and I'd rather him be hairy and healthy than sick," said Bri.
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