Heads up, this blog post contains pictures of technicolor baby poop, proceed at your own risk!
One thing you might not know is one of my most popular posts here at HH that isn’t food-related is my post about breastfeeding a baby with MSPI. KJ and I had a rough start to life together. He had several weight gain issues and food sensitivities, which took us a while to figure out. When we finally figured it out, I posted about our experience to help other Moms who may be going through the same thing.
Since then, I’ve received hundreds of emails, messages, DMs, and new clients thanking me for writing the post and asking for help or advice. It continues to be one of my top posts here at HH that isn’t food-related. However, since I receive so many messages on the subject, I thought it might be helpful for those who are interested if I shared what it was like breastfeeding my second child, who also has MSPI and is the reason I’m currently dairy-free.
KK was born in mid-May 2021, and at first, I struggled with what to do with my diet once he was born. Should I start dairy and egg-free then slowly introduce back in? My first son, KJ, was so sensitive that I ended up having to throw away over 50 ounces of milk I pumped in the first six weeks of his life.
He still couldn’t tolerate dairy at 15 months but was not nursing or drinking formula anymore, so I had to chuck it. It was as depressing as it sounds. My main concern was that it would happen again with this baby. Especially because this time, I was pumping round the clock to increase my supply proactively. (With my first, I suspected low supply, so this time, I proactively pumped after every feed 9-12 times a day for six weeks. I used the Evlies during the day and the motif luna at night.) I didn’t want to have to throw anything away.
But, I’d known enough people who had kids with MSPI and kids who never had MSPI in a family to realize having one child doesn’t automatically mean the other will have it. Also, I was worried that I’d never know the severity if I didn’t fully have dairy in my diet during that time. So, the first couple of weeks of life, I ate whatever I wanted (hey, I just gave birth), and then after that, I moderately ate dairy. I had half and half in my coffee every morning, but I was conscious of how much dairy I had every day and tried to pull back a bit.)
Right at six weeks on the dot, blood appeared in KK’s very mucousy stool.
A side-by-side comparison of KJs poop at six weeks and KK’s stool at six weeks was almost identical.
However, without the issue of weight gain (he was still gaining slower than I’d like, but he was a bigger baby to start with and gaining more than KJ did), reflux-like symptoms (like massive amounts of spitting up), or anything else KJ had the pediatrician far less concerned. I also think it’s relevant to point out that KJ typically took VERY short naps until he was over five months old. Before that, it was 20-40 minutes MAX. And sleeping at night was nonexistent unless he co-slept with me, then we could get an hour or two. On the flip side, little KK was sleeping at least one six to eight-hour block by six weeks, and naps were often 40minutes -2 hours. I often couldn’t believe it. While KJ was never a full-blown colicky baby, he was easily irritable.
On the other hand, KK seemed very happy to do life. He was rarely upset except when he was hungry or tired. So, my analysis of the situation was that KK did have the MSPI issue, but it was not bothering him to the extent it did KJ.
So, I pulled dairy and eggs out of my diet. It took a solid two weeks for his poop to start looking normal. Which, by the way, I’d never seen normal exclusively breastfed baby poop because, by the time I took everything out of my diet, we had to supplement my first baby. Normal exclusively breastfed baby poop looks like silky smooth runny yellow mustard. I didn’t take a picture because I didn’t think I’d post again about this experience, but it seemed very similar to the normal Maryea describes in this post. But, what blew my mind was that within 48 hours, his baby acne which had covered his face and body head to toe DISAPPEARED. The pediatrician had said the baby’s acne/rash was because newborn babies get rashy in the summer. I believed him until it disappeared immediately after going dairy-free.
That acne on his face basically covered his whole body. I had to wash his face every night to get the whiteheads off. This photo was after I was dairy-free for a couple of days, you can see it’s clearing up a bit.
And at the two-week mark…
While the four-month sleep regression hit us hard, KK never seemed bothered by anything I ate other than dairy. We only saw mucus once after going dairy-free, and we couldn’t attribute it to anything in particular. I was able to put eggs back in my diet around four months. At first, I only ate them once a week, but now I eat them whenever, and there is no problem. So that’s HUGE because dairy and egg-free is A LOT, the freedom to have eggs in my diet and not just baked eggs, but like eggs for breakfast makes dairy-free more tolerable.
From months 2-5, if I accidentally had any dairy, even just a little bit of butter something was cooked in, we noticed KK would have a break out on his face within 24 hours. But, other than the breakout, no other symptoms occurred. We’re now in month seven, and I haven’t noticed any breakouts with a little bit of dairy since he was five months old. A little bit meaning I had a bite or two of Mr. Hungry’s sandwich with cheese, or a dessert or whatever. Additionally, for a variety of reasons, I have started giving him a little bit of a supplement and he is able to tolerate Similac alimentum, a formula that made KJ have insane diarrhea and incredibly uncomfortable. So, his tolerance level of dairy is obviously much higher than KJ’s was because KJ could only have an elemental formula.
I’m starting to think that he will grow out of his dairy issue much sooner than his brother did. We began with solids at 5.5 months, and he is now seven months eating twice a day. Like his brother, he eats well and tolerates food well. But, whereas KJ was almost 2.5 years old before he could tolerate regular cow’s milk, KK seems like he will tolerate it faster. KJ was nearly three before he ate eggs, but that was mostly because he hadn’t been served them as a baby so that he wouldn’t try them.
So that’s it! I haven’t talked about it that much because it just hasn’t been that big of a deal. It hasn’t been that big of a deal because of a combination of it being a less severe issue for KK and because of the experience I had going through it the first time. I wanted to share because if you read my post on KJ’s MSPI, you can almost feel the desperation in my voice. We had a rocky start from birth to six months. It was a moment-by-moment situation. I felt as if I was in survival mode, and when Mr. Hungry’s Grandma passed around that time, I could barely feel anything because I was trying to survive moment to moment. The food issue was so overwhelming I didn’t even consider making homemade baby food. I couldn’t do one more thing. With KJ, I’ve immensely enjoyed making his homemade baby food just as much as you would expect a Dietitian Food Blogger to enjoy it, which is a whole lot! Haha, Looking back, I also think the entire experience triggered a bit of what I now recognize to be PPD.
Because our experience with MSPI, this time, has not been such a big deal, I wanted to share it. It’s a different perspective and a different story of MSPI. It’s still as valid as KJ’s was, but it’s different, so I think it’s good to share both. I constantly have Moms writing to me asking me about MSPI, so I’m hoping that by sharing my second experience with it, they will see how even two babies in the same family can have very different manifestations of MSPI. Of course, their unique bodies and personalities will also play into that.
As always, let me know if you have questions, and if you aren’t already, make sure you jump on my email list because I have a FREE MSPI recipe guidebook that might be helpful!
MEAL PLAN: I created a five-week downloadable meal plan with grocery lists for breastfeeding moms who suspect they have a baby with food allergies or intolerances, learn more here!