Cross-posted to Facebook!
Hello, friends! I have been sharing happy and cute photos of Jack left and right but today I want to let you guys know about something somewhat serious with regards to Jack’s health: he and I are struggling with milk/soy protein intolerance (MSPI), severe silent reflux, and laryngomalacia.
What does that all mean?
Well, laryngomalacia is basically a floppy larynx and it sounds way worse than it is. If Jack and I visit you or you visit us, do not be alarmed if he squeaks and squawks while nursing, especially if he is excited. He also occasionally chokes and coughs while nursing but again, do not be alarmed. I am CPR certified and am very aware of what’s going on with my son. He has not had a severe situation yet and hopefully he never will. Laryngomalacia can get worse before it gets better but between his first and second birthday it should fix itself. Time is the best medicine in this case!
Next up is the silent reflux. Jack has pretty severe reflux but he does not spit up very often. He also loves my boobs! Because he is a champ at breastfeeding he’s gained weight like a beast. My boy is pushing 14 pounds at two months of age and that’s awesome! But he unfortunately suffered for weeks before we managed to convince a doctor that it wasn’t colic, I am not a bad mom, and he’s not a difficult baby. Now that we have him on reflux medication, both Jack’s and my qualities of life have improved exponentially. I’ll put a tiny plug here saying that I am dealing with postpartum depression. PPD is a beast and I’m not embarrassed to say that I am fighting it tooth and nail but FINALLY being able to sleep and not constantly hearing my baby scream in pain are doing wonders for my mental health.
Lastly is the milk/soy protein intolerance, or MSPI for short. I saved this one for last because it is the one with the biggest impact.
Jack seems to have an intolerance to certain proteins that he is being exposed to through my breastmilk. The early signs of this intolerance are reflux (see above!), irritability, eczema-like rash, not normal dirty diapers, and sleep disturbances and irritability. These symptoms can progress to ulcers throughout the whole GI, failure to grow and meet milestones, and life-long problems with digestion, speech, and hearing. All not good things!
Sadly there is no test for MSPI. The only way to see if he is suffering with it is for me to remove all sources of the offending proteins from my diet then wait a month for the proteins to clear both of our systems. If Jack’s symptoms improve then he has an intolerance and I stay on the diet until he grows out of it or weans. If his symptoms don’t improve, I will have to reevaluate everything. There are other things he could have intolerances to and other conditions that could be causing his difficulties. I’m hoping against hope that it’s just MSPI for my baby’s sake.
Eliminating all sources of dairy/beef protein and soy protein from my diet is hard as hell. Read some labels and realize how much whey and soy lecithin is in EVERYTHING! It is so so so so so hard for me to meet my calorie needs for a day. As a breastfeeding mom, I need a good 500 extra calories to maintain a healthy milk supply. That means that I need 2100 to 2300 calories a day! I also need to make sure I’m getting enough protein and calcium. And that’s not even taking into account the emotional strain of no more chocolate or cheese. But, let’s be honest: I love Jack more than I love chocolate and cheese!!
This means (AND THIS IS IMPORTANT!!) that if we visit you, I have to be very, very careful with what I eat. If I consume ANY dairy, beef, or soy, it will stay in my milk for two weeks and then take another two weeks to clear out of Jack. Any mistake I make in my diet will result in a month of suffering for my son. Do not be offended if I bring my own food or seem picky about what I eat. Chances are you know me well enough to know that I friggin’ love food so you will understand that it’s hard enough to be on this diet without having to explain myself or defend my choices constantly. Just bear with me and be patient.
Thank you for reading!