Having a newborn is such an exciting, exhilarating, and exhausting phase of life. While their squishy cheeks and soft skin are irresistible to snuggle, the lack of consistent sleep and adjusting to a new routine are quite tiring. On top of that, throw in a newborn who has colicky behaviors, is spitting up, has unusually mucous-y diapers, and is inconsolable no matter what you do.
This was our story with our second born. For weeks I tried to shake the feeling that something was wrong, and I prayed she was just going through a phase. When I had finally gotten to my breaking point, I made an appointment with our pediatrician where I brought up my concern that she may have MSPI (milk soy protein intolerance). I really wanted to continue providing her breast-milk, so he encouraged me to take the bull by the horns and see if the diet helped improve our daughter’s disposition.
I was overwhelmed with the task at hand as I realized I was going to have to go through EVERYTHING to make sure I didn’t eat ANY dairy or soy. No ice cream, no butter, no chocolate…ugh! At least coffee and wine were still okay – because I was going to need those! Thankfully, I had a few friends who had traveled down this path and their advice and guidance made a world of a difference.
The first few weeks can be brutal; be patient with yourself … it can take anywhere from two to four weeks for your system to totally clear. As you start navigating an entirely different diet filled with an insane amount of label reading, you might become paranoid and petrified about eating anything. The most important thing you can do is be diligent about reading labels. Double check the current ingredients you use for things like broths, vitamins, or any medications. It’s also possible for food to get cross contaminated, so become familiar with symbols used on foods (ex: DE or D listed next to the symbol means there’s dairy in the item, or that it was processed on equipment that also processes dairy which could cause cross-contamination).
Soybean oil and soy lecithin are common ingredients and are typically safe because they don’t contain the soy protein. If you’re really concerned, you can always eliminate these two ingredients to start and slowly add them back in to see how your baby responds.
When I first started the diet, all I really wanted were some safe items I knew I could eat while I was trying to restock my kitchen and learn to tweak recipes. Here are some quick tips to get you started!
Chocolate Chips: Enjoy Life Brand
Butter: Smart Balance Soy-Free (red tub)
Snacks: Graham Crackers, Peanut Butter (Skippy Natural), fruits, homemade hummus, Lenders FROZEN bagels, Cape Cod Chips (plain, BBQ, salt & vinegar), Fritos, most Lays Potato Chips, Stacy’s Pita Chips, Fig Bars
Sweet Treats: So Delicious Coconut or Almond Ice Cream, Oreos, Puppy Chow (no butter or butter substitute)
*Manufacturers can change ingredients at any time, so make sure you read the labels just in case!
One of the biggest frustrations with MSPI is going out to eat. When you’re at home baking, it’s easier to control what ingredients are put into the food. But, when you go out to eat, it’s a whole different ball game. You can always call the restaurant in advance and ask for a menu or see if they have one listed online that includes ingredients. But, as you’re getting started and getting familiar with what you can and cannot eat, the restaurants below were life-savers for me!
Culver’s – chicken tenders and fries
Runza – fries
Chipotle – pretty much their entire menu is MSPI safe, click here to view their menu.
Panera Bread– click here to check their nutrition guide
Scooters or Starbucks – request almond milk in your latte or mocha
The following website was my absolute favorite and a saving grace in helping me survive the first few weeks on the MSPI diet. MSPI Mama (started by a mom who lived in Omaha!) is full of information and recipes. It’s a definite “must have” in your arsenal.
Getting started with the MSPI diet can be incredibly overwhelming and daunting, but once you get rolling with it, you’ll realize how much yummy food you can actually still eat! Over time you’ll grow more confident in knowing what you can and can not eat, your baby’s tummy will be happier, and you can regain your sanity!
Do you have any favorite MSPI friendly snacks, recipes, or restaurants? Please share in the comments.