Surviving Baby Fussiness, Reflux, and Milk Soy Protein Intolerance (MSPI) in your Baby

Dealing with reflux, colic and MSPI (Milk Soy Protein Intolerance) is an experience that can break – or nearly break – parents. We have been there three times with our three kids. We thought we were thrown a softball most recently with our third, but when the classic gasping and writhing started after feedings we knew what we were in for.

MSPI, or Milk Soy Protein Intolerance, is a stomach condition that interferes with infant’s ability to digest certain elements in the mother’s milk until it is outgrown around one year of age. The resulting inflammation can cause blood in the stool, respiratory symptoms, bloating, pain and gas. As a parent you might observe that your baby’s head looks like it’s going to pop off from the pressure of all of the screaming, gasping, rattling, twisting, writhing and inconsolable distress.

The good news is they grown out of it. Solid food helped my kids tremendously. Even by six months many babies start to improve.

The challenge is how to keep yourself, your baby, and your marriage in tact while you live through MSPI or colic. I have gone the formula route with the first two kids (EleCare hydrolized formula) and the elminination diet with the third (cutting out Dairy & Soy and in our case also Wheat, Nuts and Sesame). Both were extremely stressful.

Here are a few tips that I learned through trial and error that helped us after a lot of trial and error:

1. These are the people you need on your team: Lactation Consultant, Pediatrician, Gastroenterologist, Nutritionist, Babysitter, Support Group, and Counselor

2. Respite babysitting is necessary 3x or more a week for at least 3 hours so you can have guaranteed sleep

3. Pediatricians should know about Reflux and infant food intolerances and if they don’t seek guidance from a Gastroenterologist

4. Monitoring baby weight is the best way to track if your interventions are working

5. Join a weekly baby group and talk about the color of your baby’s poop, why they cry, how to feed them to reduce reflux, etc etc

6. Go to Google and type in “MSPI” to find online support, chatrooms, recipes, and stories

7. Find a gym that has childcare and workout or sit and read/work during the workweek

8. Expect eye rolling when you tell people with “normal” “sleeping” babies that your baby has something wrong with their tummy. They may think you are exaggerating. You are not exaggerating. You are not crazy.

9. Take shifts with your partner. Use earplugs for the hours you are “off duty”. Make sure you can’t hear the baby crying when it’s your time to rest.

10. Infant probiotics can aid with infant MSPI so worth a conversation with your Pediatrician

11. Well, maybe you are a little crazy. It’s because colic and complicated infant feeding, and failed attempts at “fixing” your baby’s pain are crazy making. You try and follow the signs and they are always changing. Nothing works more than two days at a time.  Days and months of this can just wear you down.

12. Eliminating foods from your diet means you will need to be hawkish about getting your nutrients. You need Omega-3 Fatty Acids (Fish oil, Fish, Veggies, etc). You need fat and calories. You need MSPI friendly snacks in your car and in your bag. Apples, Bananas, Sunflower Seeds, Rice Cakes, Dates, Prunes, Popcorn with coconut oil. In the fridge stock a pot of rice and a pot of oatmeal to scoop out and microwave. Keep pre-cooked chicken sausages and BoarsHead deli meat (they are soy and dairy free) in the fridge for fast meals when you bonk. Cheerios with honey are sweet and Rice Milk from Trader Joes tastes almost like milk (well…) in your coffee. Look online for MSPI recipes!

13. If you feel like your going crazy it’s ok, you probably are a little bit. Being screamed at for endless hours a day tends to crazify people. Depression can set in when your baby screams all the time. If you don’t feel like yourself you should go for individual counseling immediately. Bring the baby if you need to. Couples counseling too. Load up!

If any of this has been helpful then I’m glad. Going through Colic, Reflux, MSPI with our three kids has been harrowing. But now I can help others navigate through it. If you are my area of Oak Park, IL (outside of Chicago) then don’t be shy about reaching out. If you are interested in individual or couples counseling to help you through this journey then I’m here to help. If you are looking for local resources then great I know some.

My kids now are happy and healthy. They can eat everything. They don’t appear traumatized by all the pain in their first months of life. It’s much, much better these days. Good Luck!!

Baby Fussiness, Colic, Milk Soy Protein Intolerance, MSPI, Acid Reflux, Elimination Diet, Motherhood, Isolation, Postpartum Depression, Perinatal Depression

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