What's Wrong With My Baby? Milk and Soy Protein Intolerance (MSPI)

One of the most difficult aspects of having a baby with food intolerances is the lack of awareness,  and the lack of understanding and acceptance that comes with it. Many people, even doctors, don't know that babies can even have food intolerances! I knew dairy and soy intolerances were common in babies, but I wasn't aware of the nitty gritty details until Daniel was born.

Within a few days of his birth I became uneasy. Daniel was a happy, content baby, but he spit up. A lot. As in, every single feeding he spit up afterward. I got used to keeping burp clothes (I used cloth refold diapers) on the floor in every room, because I was constantly wiping up spit up. 
He also developed a rash on his face. It flared and faded, but never went away completely. Everyone told me it was just baby acne, but I knew it wasn't.

How do I know if my baby is MSPI? 

Some other dairy and soy intolerance signs and symptoms are

  • disrupted sleep
  • gassy
  • runny, painful bowel movements
  • green, mucusy poop (green poop can also be a fore milk-hindmilk imbalance)
  • blood in poop (can be visible or not)
  • congestion
  • upset stomach
  • colicky behavior

If you notice some of these symptoms I encourage you to explore eliminating dairy and soy to see if it can bring some relief to your baby!

We moved when he was 5 weeks old, and then drove from middle Tennessee to south Texas and back for a wedding the following week. He didn't seem to be in pain, so until we got back from Texas, I didn't really dive into figuring out the cause and action plan for his reflux and face rash. 

Thanks to the Babycenter community boards I knew dairy and soy were likely the cause of his symptoms. Lots of other moms were dealing with similar issues, so I had lots of help pointing me in the direction of researching MSPI - Milk and Soy Protein Intolerance. Yep, it's a thing, and it's probably a lot more common than you think. MSPI Mama has a quick rundown of

Side note: If you're thinking (or being told) "30 years ago you never heard about babies having food intolerances! People are too paranoid these days." let me just say that, yes, this was unheard of 30 years ago. We'll talk about why that is in a future post :)

Dairy and soy proteins are very similar in structure, and about 50% of those with a dairy intolerance will also have a soy intolerance. Did you know that when you're breastfeeding your milk has some of the proteins of what you're eating? Yeah. So that means breastfeeding mamas of sensitive babies will need to eliminate all dairy and soy from their diets. 

This can be difficult at first, but I promise you that you get used to it, and it's not that bad after a few weeks! I'll share more about what I ate on the MSPI diet - recipes and food lists helped me a lot. When I focused on what I could eat, rather than what I couldn't eat, it made it easier.

It can take up to 4 weeks for the dairy and soy to be gone from mom's milk and baby's system, so a strict diet for 4 weeks is very important when you're checking to see if this is your baby's problem. That means no slip-ups. No licking the spoon. No tiny corner of cheese from your toddler's sandwich because you just want a little taste of cheese sooooo baaaaad. Nothing. I know a lot of moms who eliminate dairy for a few days or a week, don't see improvement, so they decide it wasn't the problem. Maybe it wasn't, but that just isn't  enough time to see (AND, you really need to eliminate soy, too!).

Within a couple days of me removing dairy and soy from my diet, Daniel's face rash (that baby acne?) was gone. He spit up a little bit less, but it was still a significant amount, and I felt like I was missing something, that there was still something else bothering him. It turned out there was something else in my diet he was reacting to.