I wanted to share with all of you my experience with the MSPI diet. Milk Soy Protein Intolerance (MSPI) is the temporary inability to digest the proteins found in cow’s milk and soy proteins. Both of these proteins are excreted into breast milk and cause an array of symptoms in a breastfeeding infant. All 3 of my babies had MSPI and I have spent ~ 2.5 years of my life on this diet!! Needless to say, I have gained some pretty good experience hope this will help those of you out there trying to figure out what the heck you can eat (and yes it is more than veggies and meat!)!
1. Diagnosing MSPI – work closely with your child’s pediatrician. We did not know our first had it until around 10 weeks old – that was a rough 10 weeks. The hallmark features of MSPI are irritable or colic-like fussiness and abnormal or mucus filled stools. It is important to follow with your doctor to determine if these symptoms are, in fact, MSPI. Depending on the case, they may refer you to a gastroenterologist or do stool studies. Our second child had severe stools with MSPI (even when I was on the diet) and we did have to do stool studies to monitor for blood in his stools.
Know that this is a temporary intolerance with most babies out growing it by 6 months. This does not mean that your child will go on to have a milk allergy and this post is not for those with milk or soy allergies.
2. Monitoring – again, work closely with your doctor. Depending on your child, they may choose to monitor weights and ensure they are continuing to gain weight and grow normally. I was one of those crazy moms that would inspect every diaper for mucus. We also ‘monitored’ their moods. That being said, it is sometimes impossible to know why they are upset…teething, MSPI, hungry, sleepy, pretending?? Anyways, I did try to watch their mood along with their stool to monitor.
3. Formula – formula is an option. An expensive option, but one you may choose to consider. The diet is hard and there is nothing wrong with using formula in this situation. I will say that the diet has become MUCH easier than in years past. Places and labeling are so allergy friendly now – even more so than when I did the diet 5 years ago with my first. If you decide to use formula, some insurance companies will cover part of the expense – request a prescription and a medical necessity letter from your pediatrician.
4. The Beginning -After starting the diet, it takes about 2 weeks for those proteins to be completely eliminated from your breast milk. That does not mean you have to suffer through 2 full weeks. You should notice a difference after the first day on the diet. It is slowly eliminated…you can think of it as slowly tapering out. After a week on the diet, you will have far less of these proteins in your milk as you did at day 1, thus less insult to baby’s little gut.
If you are starting the diet before you give birth (see future babies below), they do recommend starting the diet ~4 weeks before your due date.
5. The Basics – okay, so you cannot have milk products or soy-protein products…clear?! Unfortunately, there is more to know. You will become a label reading pro. Good bye dairy. That is right, no dairy. We will discuss some alternatives later, but for now, no more cheese, yogurt, creamers or ice cream. There are often milk proteins in non-dairy products and you must read labels carefully.
Soy-protein is found in many vegetable based products (think veggie burgers, veggie nuggets, Asian dishes). Soy protein comes from soy beans – so edamame and soy sauce are out. I am so sorry. Soy protein can also be found in breads (may say soy flour).
Quick disclaimer – all of my babies could tolerate soy oils. There are some that think some cases of MSPI cannot tolerate soy oils (soy lecithin) – while this is somewhat disputed, work with your doctor to see if you must eliminate soy oils as well. Eliminating soy oils does restrict the diet quite a bit. The products and recommendations I discuss may contain soy lecithin.
What to avoid and watch for on labels (includes most common):
Soy: Soy protein, Vegetable protein, Soybeans, Soybean protein, Soy flour, liquid smoke (weird)
Milk: The word Milk in any context (buttermilk, milk powder, etc), Casein, Dairy product solid, Whey protein, Lactose
6. What Can I Eat?! Lots!!! Believe me, I was not hurting for food on this diet. You can eat all the vegetables, meats, fruits and nuts you want – you just have to be careful when preparing (below).
All fruits, veggies and meats are okay (plain) – be careful on what you add to them. Many seasonings may have milk ingredients. Also, many marinades have milk – read labels! By themselves, all fruits, veggies and meats are okay.
Breads – I would say bread products are 50/50. It is very easy to find bread, buns and rolls that do not contain MSP. Most Itallian breads are okay. I ate a PBJ almost daily 🙂
Pasta – Almost all pasta. I have yet to find a pasta that I cannot eat (okay, well obviously not cheese ravioli, but talking regular noodles). Sauces are more likely to contain milk (cheese) so spend some time reading the labels on these.
Pantry items – Mayonnaise, mustard, ketchup, peanut butter, jelly, graham crackers, pretzels, most unflavored potato chips, tortillas and taco shells, wheat thins, saltine crackers, plain oatmeal or steel cut oats. Most cereals are okay too! Few granola bars are okay, unfortunately – see below for my fav. Many muffin mixes are okay too.
Fridge items – eggs, bacon, deli meat (avoid smoked – has soy), salsa, pepperonis (I bought these a lot for snacking), hummus.
‘Dairy’ – I used almond milk. Rice milk and coconut milk are okay too. They make almond milk coffee creamers (thank God) as well as coconut milk ice cream (yum!). They do make fake cheese, but I never found this to taste very well.
Organic Section – I would scour the organic section of our grocery store. There are a lot of gluten free products that are MSP free as well. I found lots of baking mixes as well as prepared meals here.
7. Essential Products
Oat Mama Bars – remember how I said there are not many granola bars? Well these amazing bars are MSP free and taste AMAZING. The amazing part, they actually increase your milk supply (packed full of nutrients). Too good to be true, I know. I am a huge snacker and granola bars are one of my favorites – I was so happy to find these!
Earth Balance butter – I used both the spread and the sticks and found both to cook pretty comparable to regular butter. I also found them to taste just like regular butter. For recipes that do call for butter, I used the butter substitutes (below) and found them to work very well. Earth balance has several other MSP products.
Immaculate Cookie Dough – MSP cookies – yum! The texture can be a little gritty sometimes – because they are also gluten free – but these were a good go to when I had a sweet tooth.
OREOS – You can have any kind of Oreo. I kid you not. I was addicted to Oreos when on this diet.
8. Family meals – I found that preparing family meals got harder with each baby (duh). With number 3, I now had 4 people to make a meal for instead of 2 when it was baby 1. For meals that must have cheese (enchiladas, pizza, tacos) I would simply add cheese at the end. Some meals we began adapting to be MSP free and haven’t gone back! My family now loves zucchini lasagna better than regular. See my meal planning post for some meal ideas. When cooking, I use mostly olive oil for veggies.
9. Eating out – Eating out has become SO much easier than in years past. Most large chain restaurants and fast food companies have allergy information online. When eating at other restaurants, I would sometimes call ahead to clarify if their breads or crusts were milk free. I would always tell my server that I had a milk allergy (since MSPI was a little too much to explain).
Here is a list of chain restaurants and things I know you can order (not all inclusive! just what I usually order!)
Panera – Asian Chicken Salad, Chicken Broth Bowl Paradise – Chicken salad on paradise wheat, chili Wendy’s – any burger without cheese and PLAIN bun, grilled chicken, fries are okay. McDonalds – Premium Angus burger or grilled chicken sandwich, fries, sausage eggmcmuffin w/o cheese. Fries are okay, hash brown is NOT. Jimmy Johns – any sandwich on french bread without cheese, quac and mayo are okay. Red Robin – any burger without cheese, fries without seasoning. Dominos pizza – any thin crust pizza without cheese – actually really good! I love the veggie. Papa Murphys – delite veggie pizza w/ marinara sauce and no cheese Mexican restaurants -fajitas, any chicken or beef tacos with no cheese, rice, beans and chips n salsa **Can’t have fast food beef tacos because they use soy protein as a filler. Other restraunts: I usually will order a burger and fries (after clarifying bun is okay) or steak.
10. Resources – Me! Don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions. Pinterest is a great resource for recipes. I would often search Paleo recipes. MSPI Mama is another great resource.
11. Slip ups and testing the water – you will have slip ups and not know until you see it in your babies stool or mood. Mood is a tough one to gauge because it could obviously be one of a thousand things upsetting them, so I generally watched their stools. The good news, is that when you do have a slip up, it really only seems to affect them for a day or less. When testing to see if your baby is ready to handle milk products, I would recommend giving them a milk based product that way you do not have the proteins in your breast milk. I usually just tried giving them a little yogurt (once they were eating baby food). Most babies outgrow MSPI between 6 – 9 months.
You can do this! Having been there, I know it sounds overwhelming once you get the news. It is actually a fairly ‘easy’ diet to follow and one that I found worthwhile. Would love to hear any of your tips or must have products!!
- rainermdomingoOctober 1, 2015 at 6:18 AM
I became MSPI 4 years ago as an adult and it by all indications thus far, its permanent. Its a major inconvenience and incidental consumption continues to be an problem.
What to eat? I use rice milk with my cereal, eat coconut ice cream (see So Delicious products) and have switched to 72% dark chocolate (Godiva). Belvida breakfast bars are safe and so are cream Oreos. At some point chocolate Oreos used soybean oil, but I think it has changed in recent years. daiyas cream cheese taste good, but their other cheeses, not so much.
In the event your daughter needs to take antibiotics, there is almond yogurt she can eat for the good bacteria.
I hope your daughters MSPI goes away soon and wish her all the best.