Dairy Free is the Way to Be...

...if your baby is "milk protein intolerant" and you are breastfeeding, which is a situation I found myself in during the first week of Will's life.
A dairy-free and smiley Will at three weeks old.
After scouring our pantry, fridge, and the Internet, I discovered milk or whey was in most of the meals our wonderful friends and family had brought over as well as in a lot of processed food, so I survived on Oreos, oatmeal, fruit, and juice for the first few days when I became dairy free. Later, I added Teddy Grahams, a chicken teriyaki meal my husband would make twice a week, and hummus with veggies to my limited dairy-free repertoire. When I saw this article from the Huffington post, I realized that I could have been eating Doritos and pie too!

Also, our experience with Milk/Soy Protein Intolerance (MSPI) after the jump.

One of the reasons the first few weeks of motherhood were so hard for me was because Will was so miserable. By the time Will was two months, we had found out that he had both a milk and soy protein intolerance (MSPI), severe acid reflux, and that I had a low milk supply. I'm just going to cover the MSPI in this post, because trust me, it was a long two months where we tried everything from gas drops to gripe water (neither of which really helped) to the miracle blanket (which worked wonders for sleeping through the night AFTER we fixed everything else) as well as all the recommendations from our pediatrician.

Our first big clue that something was off was that Will's stools never changed to the seedy yellow color that most breastfed newborn stools turn.  His were a greenish brown, which can be normal, but there were other signs too.  He was extremely fussy.  At the time, my mom tried to comfort me by telling me that both my brother and I cried a lot as babies, but after everything was better, she confided that Will's crying terrified her because there was nothing that she could do to console him. If we did get him to calm down or fall asleep, the moment we set him down, he would start crying again. I can't tell you how many times I walked around my dining room singing "Jesus loves Will, this I know..." while both of us were crying.

At our first check-up, our pediatrician suggested I cut out nuts, caffeine, and dairy--one at a time--to see if one of them was the problem.  I cut all three at one time because I couldn't wait. After four days, there was a noticeable difference in Will's behavior.  I had been wanting to read him a book since we brought him home and would try every morning, but sitting still was not an option for us unless he was nursing.  Then, on the fourth morning after I had cut out the offensive foods, Will sat quietly while I read him a book.  Our prayers had been answered! Later in the day, he let me set him down in his play gym while I pumped. I felt like these were HUGE accomplishments, and cutting out the dairy seemed to be what helped the most.

Later, I also found out I had a low milk supply (a story for another post), so we started supplementing after three weeks, when Will still hadn't gained back his birth weight. Per our pediatrician, I used soy formula because of the milk protein intolerance, and Will started spitting up a lot and was fussier again.  His forehead also broke out into a rash with small red bumps.  At first, I thought the rash was baby acne, but then I remembered that some of the moms I had confided in about Will's problems had mentioned that their little ones with dairy issues also had a soy protein intolerance and that 50 % of babies with a milk protein intolerance also had the soy protein intolerance. When I did some research, I found that his rash, spitting up, and increased fussiness were all signs of soy protein intolerance.  I discussed it with my pediatrician, and we decided to switch Will to a hypoallergenic formula that, from what I understand, is milk-based but has the proteins already broken down. After starting Will on that formula, his rash cleared up within one day and his fussiness improved again. He became a smiley, squeaky baby who loves to kick and jump, a baby who I now sing to all the time without either of us crying...despite my singing voice.

At six months, we will test him to see if he has grown out of the intolerance, and I'll post an update then. 

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