It’s been a full 10 months since I last posted on my journey breastfeeding Luke and his diagnosis of milk-soy protein intolerance (MSPI). That post has become one of my most popular and I still get comments and emails weekly from women sharing their stories and looking for answers. Since Luke was 5 months when I wrote that post, it is definitely time for an update.
My last post contained graphic photos of Luke’s stools. This post will not because I find it much more difficult to distinguish between a normal and abnormal stool at this age. How about some cute Luke pictures instead?
First, breastfeeding is still going strong. He doesn’t show any signs of slowing down or wanting to stop, so I’m hopeful we’ll make it to my goal of breastfeeding until he’s 2. Now, let me back up a bit.
Luke was diagnosed with MSPI when he was an infant and I cut out all dairy and soy from my diet. It wasn’t until I also cut out wheat, nuts, and peanuts that his stools became normal (no mucus or blood–see my other post for pictures) so he likely had multiple food protein intolerances.
His doctor was confident, however, that he would outgrow all of his intolerances. She advised me to start trying to add foods back into my diet when Luke was 8-10 months. Anxious to resume to a normal diet, I did a soy trial at 8 months.
It was an obvious fail. Luke’s first dirty diaper after me having one soy latte was explosive. He hadn’t had a blow out in months and this one was massive. Poop everywhere. The mucus returned, he had horrible smelly gas, and the worst night of sleeping of his life. It took an entire month for the mucus to stop showing up in his stools.
So I continued with my diet of no dairy, soy, wheat, nuts, or peanuts for another 3 months. At this point I was really nervous to add foods into my diet, but I knew I had to find out if he was outgrowing his intolerances.
At 10 1/2 months I tried adding nuts. With trepidation, I waited. No issues. His stools (different now since we was on solid food) stayed the same. Sleep stayed the same. I had hope! (And peanut butter back in my life–yay!)
I waited a couple weeks and Thanksgiving was upon us. The perfect time to trial wheat! I happily enjoyed my stuffing, but was still nervous. The last thing I wanted was to cause pain or discomfort to my baby. It went well! Again, his stools, sleep, and mood stayed the same.
It was time to move on to dairy. After a long 10 months without eating any cheese, I celebrated the trial with a cheese pizza. It was the best-tasting pizza of my life. I wish I didn’t like cheese so much.
So what was the result of the cheese trial? Success! At least it seemed that way. I didn’t notice any differences in Luke’s stools or behavior.
At that point I decided to wait to trial soy again. The memories of the trial at 8 months was still fresh and I wanted to enjoy the success we’d had so far.
It was time to let Luke eat some of these foods to see how he’d do eating them directly. Up to this point his solid food diet didn’t contain any wheat, nuts, dairy, or soy, just like my diet had been. When introducing the new foods to Luke, I did the same method as when I added them to my diet, trying one food and then waiting a few weeks before trying the next.
He did fine with wheat and nuts (I gave him some almond milk and a meal with peanut sauce in case you are wondering how I trialed nuts. I obviously didn’t give him whole nuts to eat) so we were off to a good start.
When I gave him some dairy, the waters started getting a little murky. There was a change in his stools, but I couldn’t tell if they were normal or not. There was not obvious mucus, but their consistency changed and they were definitely gooey. I had no idea if this was normal or if it indicated a problem.
Evaluating a baby’s behavior can be tough. Babies get fussy sometimes. I never knew if I should attribute his fussy moods to what he’d eaten or just regular baby stuff like teething or being overtired. Nothing was a clear indicator that he’d failed, yet I wasn’t sure if he was tolerating the dairy or not.
This was around 12 months. I decided to back off on the dairy for a while and try it again in a few months. Around 14 months, we tried it again. This time I gave him cheese three days in a row. His diapers were definitely gooey-er again, but it still wasn’t a clear cut fail.
Another symptom that showed up after the third day of cheese was a runny nose and red cheeks (See the picture below this paragraph). Dairy is very mucus-producing, so I knew that a runny nose could be attributed to eating dairy. I’d also read the red cheeks can be a sign of an intolerance. This was not the first time he’d had the red cheeks, but it was the first time I was sure he’d eaten something that could have caused it. Even though I was still unsure, I decided to back off of the dairy again.
A few weeks later his fifteen month well check was here. I talked with his doctor about it, and she felt confident we should continue trying to see if he tolerated dairy. She said the runny nose (that lasted about a week) could have been a cold or related to teething. She said to continue with the dairy and if there was a questionable stool, to bring his diaper in to be tested for blood.
That day I gave Luke grilled cheese for lunch. The next day, once again, I found myself staring at his dirty diaper trying to figure out if it was normal or not. Isn’t motherhood a glamorous job?
I brought it in to be tested. A few hours later, I got a call from his pediatrician’s office, and his stool tested positive for blood. Boo.
It will be a while before I give him dairy again. The blood showed up after him eating very small amounts, so I feel like his system is still fairly sensitive. His doctor assured me that I can continue eating the foods I’d been eating, and I’m of course hoping she’s right.
You would think this would be the end of the update, but there’s a little bit more. A few days after his stool tested positive for blood, I was out with Meghan and Tim was home with Luke. Tim accidentally fed Luke some bread that had soy flour in it. So we had an unplanned soy trial!
Unfortunately, Luke and soy do not get along at all. This was a clear fail. His diapers had obvious mucus and his mood and sleep were affected for a solid week. He’s just now getting back to my happy little man.
So it looks like I will be living with an MSPI toddler for a longer time. I’m still hopeful he’ll outgrow these intolerances, but only time will tell.