Dairy free, soy free – our CMPI story

I have lots of conversations with girlfriends about whether or not we’re ‘finished’ having babies. While most of my friends have two kids, a few have three, and one very dear friend who went for number three, ended up with three and four. You know who you are my love 😉

I always thought I’d like to have three kids – I was one of three girls, Mr McD is one of three boys, and it just seemed like my number. That was my thinking PC (pre-children), and even after my daughter was born I still liked the idea of having a brood of three. She was a text book baby you see; sleeping 12 hours a night by 12 weeks, no health issues and a lovely calm and placid nature.

Perfect, I thought, we were obviously awesome at this parenting gig, look how ‘good’ our baby was! I must admit, I did have a few smug moments in the early days with Little Miss, thinking that all my research and preparations had lead us to this point of parental bliss.

Little Miss aka “perfect baby”

But that was all before the Stuntman came along, with his hourly wake ups, screaming episodes, projectile vomiting, foul, mucousy nappies and poor immune system. Woah. WTF? How could it all go so wrong? Even after getting his Upper Lip and Tongue Ties corrected at 2 weeks old, he was a screaming, writhing, exploding hot mess of a baby.

I did everything the same as with Little Miss, but whereas she thrived on a routine, he practically laughed in my face. Or threw up in it more likely. Little Miss had never thrown up in her life, not once, and here was this screaming little creature who actually projectile vomited colostrum while we were still in the hospital.

“Just a bit of reflux,” said the maternity nurse.

Oh shit. The dreaded ‘R’ word.

The Stuntman – catching some very rare zzzzzz’s

I’d had lots of friends with refluxy babies, and had always been very fearful of it. They told me about back arching, sleepless nights and hours-long screaming episodes. Oh joy, was this what we were in for? Apparently yes. Our GP confirmed reflux at 5 weeks old, and we started on a regimen of medication, timed feeds, and keeping him upright for as many hours of the day and night as humanly possible.

But, ever the desktop research warrior, I wasn’t convinced it actually was reflux. I started to look into dairy intolerance, as his symptoms seemed to fit that more closely. I’m lactose intolerant, and Mr McD and I are both allergic type people, so it wasn’t a stretch to imagine that he’d be sensitive too.

As I wasn’t eating much dairy anyway, I decided to cut it all out completely (including hidden dairy in processed foods) and see if that helped. After just a week there was a marked improvement, so I congratulated myself on my cleverness, and threw the reflux meds in the bin. Well done me. Except his symptoms started to creep back in, even though I was still avoiding all dairy. What else could it be?

A happier little boy without dairy… but still not quite right!

I kept a food diary like a woman possessed, recording every single thing that passed my lips (including listing all the ingredients in every meal), and kept a record of his reactions, even going so far as to take photos of his dirty nappies. Now that’s a gallery you don’t want to accidentally share with your friends.

Then I read somewhere that a big percentage of babies with cow’s milk intolerance are also intolerant to soy protein. Light-bulb moment. I’d been having a couple of soy coffees a day, and had replaced any dairy I’d been having with soy.

By this point the Stuntman was now about 5 months old. He’d been projectile vomiting multiple times a day, and not sleeping more than 2 hours at a time since birth. While he was still putting on weight, we were both very unhappy and exhausted. I was ready to try anything, even if it meant not being able to have a cup of coffee, and cutting out all processed foods from my diet. So I eliminated soy in all of its variations from my diet, to see if that helped.

Now, cutting out dairy was one thing, but cutting out soy was an entirely different matter. Soy is in nearly every processed food, most commercial breads, the majority of sauces, mustards, even some vegetable oil. A soy-free diet is very limiting, especially when you try to eat out. I spent three weeks eating just vegetables, rice and protein, with no sauce or seasoning besides salt, pepper and herbs. It was miserable, but I did lose about 4kgs. And I noticed a big improvement in the Stuntman. No more projectile vomits, normal nappies, sleeping better. Finally, we’d cracked it. Not just CMPI (Cow’s Milk Protein Intolerance), but MSPI (Milk and Soy Protein Intolerance).

MUCH happier off dairy AND soy 🙂

Click here for some hints and tips about going dairy free while breastfeeding.

Does your little one have CMPI or MSPI? How did you find out?
How have you adjusted to life without dairy and soy?

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