Today’s post is about MSPI and A Gutsy Mother’s story. 

Come in close, listen to the story.

MSPI and A Gutsy Mother’s Story

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When I became a mother just over 2 years ago, I learned a great deal about being “gutsy.”

My daughter was diagnosed with MSPI (Milk Soy Protein Intolerance) at 4 weeks of age. Her beautiful little body was unable to digest the cow’s milk and soy proteins being passed through my breast milk. She was miserable…all the time. She would scream and cry most hours of the day, have terrible gas, and pass green stools often streaked with mucous and blood. We were scared, exhausted, and in need of a solution. Her pediatrician gave us a choice. She said we could continue to breastfeed as long as I was willing to eliminate all dairy and soy from my diet, or we could put her on a hypoallergenic infant formula.

It had always been my goal to breastfeed my children, so I was not willing to give up so easily. I had to try the diet. Besides, do you know how expensive those special formulas are? Even more motivation for me!

Through my sleepless and hormonal haze, I started to read labels. I eliminated every product from my diet with any milk or soy ingredient listed. It was beyond hard for me, especially in the beginning. I always felt deprived and hungry. I was jealous of my husband and family who could go out to eat and order anything off the menu without reservation. I was terrified to eat anything that I didn’t know the ingredients of or that I thought would give her any sort of reaction. I wanted to give up many, many times. But…she slowly got better, which kept me motivated. She was growing, was happier, and we were all finally sleeping a little more. She outgrew her intolerance and is now a healthy 2 year old who can eat dairy without a problem.

MSPI and A Gutsy Mother

As I said, that was 2 years ago. Fast forward to March 2012 when baby #2 arrived. We knew it was possible for our son to have the same intolerance as our daughter, so my husband and I were on the lookout from day one. Low and behold, not even 2 weeks old, along came the green stools filled with mucous and blood. He was miserable as well; terribly gassy. He would only have a bowel movement every 3 days or so and had reflux as well. I knew what to do and immediately eliminated all dairy, soy…and later, egg.

In addition, I started a food journal, writing down everything I ate and his reaction and behavior (which is why I’ve also cut out egg). I became obsessed with finding information to help him heal. I picked my dear friend Sarah Kay Hoffman’s brain multiple times. J

To make a long story short, I began to see a correlation between his symptoms and behaviors and how “clean” I ate. I have added probiotics and digestive enzymes to my diet, which have also helped both of our guts immensely. I am happy to report that my son is now a daily pooper (some days twice!) and all other symptoms are starting to resolve. He is a thriving and happy 8-month-old boy!

MSPI and A Gutsy Mother Kristi Miller

I’ll have to remember to thank both of my kids someday. It is because of their intolerance I was forced to be cautious about what I put into my mouth. Through breastfeeding intolerant babies, I have learned a great deal about my own gut health and clean eating. I feel great…and “gutsy!”

SKH Note: The gutsy story today was told by Kristi Miller. Kristi is one of my oldest childhood friends. Kristi and I grew up together. Our friendship began in Catholic school, evolved throughout junior high and we were the best of friends throughout our glory days playing ice hockey together! We lived together for a year in college, were in each other’s weddings and we share so many “inside” special bonds that I’ll treasure forever. When Kristi reached out to me to see if she could tell her story, I was thrilled. Not only did I get to peek inside being “gutsy” from a breastfeeding perspective, but I knew that her story would help so many others as well.

Added resource: MSPI Cookbook.

THANK YOU, Kristi! You are one awesome mama 🙂


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  1. I’m never surprised by the things moms will do to keep their children healthy. Amazed, but not surprised. Kristi sounds like a great mom – kids’ needs come first. Kudos to her for being so willing to make such big changes. I loved this story of love.

    1. Thanks, Alexandra! I loved her story, too. And I think this is an area I might expand my business…working with mother’s who want to help themselves for their children 🙂

      1. I am so proud of Kristi! It takes a lot of hard work and courage to put your children first and to not take “no” for an answer. I commend this new generation of women. I too (back in the day) had a child with colic. I also was breast feeding. However, I was told she would grow out of it and we would just have to live with it for six months. I have learned a lot from Kristi and this process as well. Thank you for sharing!

  2. Kristi was born to be a mother. I had the loveliest time visiting her the other day, after not seeing her for a long time and having only met the children for an hour a few months ago. Seeing the incredibly close bond she has with her children and really feeling the wonderful sense of family in her home, I found myself with a very content smile on my face on the journey home. Kristi and the family she has cultivated is a true inspiration to me. Without children myself, I have always worried if I was too selfish with my time to give a child the attention he/she deserves and thought the biggest challenge to motherhood would be adapting my lifestyle to put my own needs behind my child’s every minute of every day. Kristi has tackled this common challenge head-on and should be very proud of herself for the results….two healthy, happy children who are left in no doubt of how much their parents love them. xx

    1. Karen – I LOVE this! I have often thought many of the same things, and I love how you wrote them. Hope you are doing great!

  3. Kristi, thank you so much for sharing your story. My 8 month old daughter also has MSPI and often people around me question me for nursing. I’m especially motivated to continue because there are no *organic* hypoallergenic infant formula options. The pediatrician said they are less nutritious than regular formulas because they have to be broken down so much so baby can tolerate them, and half of the ingredients are corn (genetically modified, which is a whole other issue) and sugar! Not how I want to feed my baby.

    Still, every time I accidentally ingest dairy or soy it is so frustrating. Once I ate bread for a week that was incorrectly labeled and was going crazy trying to pinpoint the source while my little girl reacted. I also feel a little deflated every time someone asks “Why don’t you just switch her to formula?” or “How much longer are you going to breastfeed?” The answer is that because of the MSPI I might nurse her longer than I nursed my first child because I won’t have the option to give her cow or soy milk at one year. And I want to add that I’m working really, really hard to nurse so it would be nice to hear a little encouragement rather than second guessing my choice.

    Now that I’ve gotten over the learning curve with label reading and have my repertoire of MSPI-safe recipes, the biggest challenge is eating out. Weddings, travel, birthday dinners are inevitable. Almost all restaurants cook with soybean oil, for instance. And it is rare that the waitstaff or even managers are knowledgeable about what is in the food. They are quick to say there’s no dairy or soy, but when pressed it turns out the meat is marinated in butter, etc. Or they say something that has absolutely nothing to do with dairy or soy. My favorite is “No problem, we have gluten-free options”. I try to speak to the chef when possible or default to one of the few restaurants that has an allergen menu, such as Panera.

    It makes me hopeful that your daughter has outgrown her intolerance, and perhaps by this time your son has, too. At what age did that happen for her?

  4. Hi Jess! First and foremost, I commend you for continuing to breastfeed your daughter through these intolerances, as I know how difficult and frustrating it can be at times. Don’t give up, you’re doing awesome! She’s so lucky to have such a dedicated mama 🙂 I agree with you and also believe breast milk is still the best thing for her. I had the same issues as you when eating out. I quickly realized that many people were unaware of milk ingredients on the label, other than the obvious milk, cheese, cream, etc. (Soy was a whole other battle), so I would often pack my own food to bring places. Not ideal, but for the peace of mind it gave me, it was worth it!

    As far as when my kids outgrew their intolerances, I believe my daughter was about 12 or 13 months. My son was about the same age. I know for some kids, it takes a lot longer. I added soy lecithin first as it is primarily a fat and not a protein. Because of this, some kids are able to tolerate it ok. Luckily, mine did… but beware as some do not.

    There is a facebook group called ‘MSPI Mama’ that I found extremely helpful when I was going through all of this. Check it out if you haven’t already…and be reassured that there are lots of other mamas going through the same thing.

    Stay positive and hang in there! This, too, shall pass 🙂

    1. Kristi, thanks again for sharing your experience, encouragement and lessons learned. They are all incredibly helpful. I just liked MSPI Mama. Best to you!

  5. This is awesome, and I have just came across this because my son has finally been diagnosed with this condition. The problem is due to very very poorly concerned pediatrians he is nine months old. I stopped breastfeeding because of the screaming, the crying, the constant pain he was in, and the puking (that part still hasn’t stopped).
    So, I am scouring for advice, what did you give your babies as finger foods to help them learn to eat and enjoy it? Up until now my sons been on everything a non-intolerant baby has been on, now his poor diets been slashed in half and he’s not very happy about it.
    Any advice would be helpful!

    1. Hi Amy! Glad you’re finally on the right track. Sounds like you’ve had a long, hard time. Some finger foods my little one loved:
      Plum Organics Rice Milk Melts (dairy-free)
      little pasta
      ground turkey
      steamed veggies (especially carrots or zucchini)
      Amy’s dairy and soy free Mac & Cheese:
      Amy’s dairy and soy free pizza:
      Whole Foods has dairy and soy free tortillas
      Target has Vanilla Arrowroot Cookies made by HealthyTimes that are dairy and soy free
      Look for cereals that are dairy and soy free (Kashi makes a few)

      The health food stores (Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, etc.) are going to be your friend. They cater to specialized diets.

      Hopefully this will get you going. The good news is that you and your son are probably most of the way through this. My daughter is almost one and I posted on this blog three months ago… and now she’s pretty much through it. She’s doing great, and it seems surreal the whole thing even happened. Hopefully you’ll look back in three months and say the same.

      1. ps. everyone…ironic that my BFF guest posted this on my blog this year. We now have A Gutsy Baby! I can’t wait to develop this place to the site… Thoughts? Recommendations? What would you all like to see with A Gutsy Baby?!

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