our story

When our first son was six weeks old, I changed a diaper and noticed a little speck of red.  I figured it was a piece of lint or something...
Until I changed another diaper and saw a streak of red.  Never having heard of anything like that, I called the pediatrician.  They asked us to come in and have the diaper tested for blood.

Well I just about panicked at the thought of my six week old baby possibly having blood in his diaper!   I didn't know what could cause that or how to fix it or if we could fix it.  My mind was spinning.

We took him to the pediatrician and they took a sample from his diaper and performed a hemoccult test which is where they take a tiny sample of stool and put it on a little card with some liquid called "developer" and wait to see if the card turns colors.  If there is blood in the sample, the test area turns blue where there is a presence of blood.  As soon as the developer hit our sample, the whole area turned blue.   
Even though I could only see a few streaks and specks of blood, our sons diaper was full of microscopic blood.
I was devastated.  How could my baby be bleeding from his intestines?!

The doctor explained that the most likely culprit was that  
he had an intolerance to milk (the protein in cows milk).  He suggested that I cut out dairy from my diet (both obvious sources such as milk and cheese as well as "hidden sources" such as bread and packaged foods containing dairy ingredients.) We went to a dairy-free diet and two weeks later, had a diaper tested and it was free of both visable and microscopic blood.
Hallelujah!  Success! We can do this!

At about five months old, our poopy situation came to a screeching halt.  Literally.  Our little one didn't poop without an enenma for five straight weeks.  Finally, the doctor tested another diaper to find that there was more blood in his stool.
I felt like I had been kicked in the gut.
I knew I had done everything I knew of to ensure that NO DAIRY WHATSOEVER crossed the threshold of my lips, so the fact that there was more blood was deflating, to say the least. 

The pediatrician told us that many baby's develop an intolerance to soy protein if they have a milk protein intolerance.  Many of the substitutes FOR milk are soy based, so an increase in the intake of SOY protein, which is quite similar in structure to MILK protein, can result in an issue with both.  And it did. 

The doctor told us that not many moms who try to eat both dairy and soy free are able to do it.
He said, "Soy is in everything and it's really hard to avoid.  Only 10% of moms who try to eat dairy/soy free are able to continue nursing."

I was crushed.

I knew breastfeeding was best for my baby, and that the dairy/soy free formula would cost a an arm and a leg, but I must say, there was a twinge of selfishness in my longing to continue nursing.  I felt like it was this incredible experience that God made my body to produce just what my baby needed and that in all of the years of my life, there would only be this short window of time that I would even have the opportunity to be able to experience the act of nursing a baby.   
Once it's gone, it's gone, and you can never get it back. 

I'm not pretending that nursing itself is a walk in the park.

In the beginning, especially, it can hurt.  It's time consuming.  No one can "help" you with it... There are things like mastitis and breast yeast infections that can pop up to where you feel like you're playing a game of whack-a-mole, just putting out problems left and right...
It's a blessing.  It's a gift.  It's such a joy to look into the contented face of your nursing infant and see the comfort, nourishment and bond that your milk provides.  And then it's over.  Before you blink, that precious time is gone. And your baby turns into a toddler and your toddler turns into a kid and they don't need you to nurse them any more and if you did, it might be a little awkward.  Seize this time! And any and every thing that you have to do to make it happen is worth it.

So I said to that very doomsday doctor, 
"Ten percent is Ten percent! We're going to do this!" 
And we did.

I nursed our son up until the morning of his first birthday, at which point I
savored that last nursing session and then went and had a big ole bowl of ice cream :)

It was worth it.
It saved us a ton of money (milk and soy protein free milk can run upwards of $1000 a month! So I just pretended I was getting PAID $1000 to eat dairy and soy free! :) )
I got to have the experience of nursing my baby for a year and learned so much in the process.
I've been able to offer encouragement to other moms who have experienced the same issues, and when our second son was diagnosed with Milk/Soy protein intolerance as well, I knew, because we made it to the end last time, that this was something I COULD do. 

You can do it, too!  Being a milkin' mama is a blessing that is only available for a short time in your life, if you choose to accept the blessing, hopefully this site will be an encouragement to you! 

click here to read our very different MSPI story with baby number two


Shauna said...

Thank you SO MUCH for posting this. Our 3 month old has been diagnosed with MSPI, and although I cried through the first three weeks of breastfeeding and didn't think I would make it this far, I cannot imagine stopping now.

Shauna said...

Thank you SO MUCH for posting this. Our 3 month old has been diagnosed with MSPI, and although I cried through the first three weeks of breastfeeding and didn't think I would make it this far, I cannot imagine stopping now.

Laura, Eric, James and Catherine said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Laura, Eric, James and Catherine said...

Easier to delete than try to change all the autocorrects! Definitely needed to read this as we are in the same not! Thank you!

Rachael Soun said...

Hi Jess, Thank you for your blog! My 6 month old son was diagnosed with MSPI at 4 weeks. It's been a difficult but rewarding five months to say the least. I was hoping you could post about life after that first year... have your sons grown out of the MSPI? If so, how did you go about reintroducing dairy and/or soy and what lessons did you learn in doing it. I'd love to see some light at the end of the tunnel and also learn from your experiences. We are treating with a GI doctor and following her instructions, but I'd love some real life stories. Thank you for all of your insight!

veggie mom said...

I tried goat cheese and it was totally ok. Made it much easier.

SG Mums said...

Good thing to know that your baby is fine now. Being mum is really hard, but congratulations that you have overcome your worries and your babies intolerance.

I also write mum tips and advices.

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