Breastfeeding with food sensitivities

WP_20150225_15_44_21_ProI always assumed I would breastfeed my kids, and I have. But I never anticipated the struggle I would have when one of them developed severe food sensitivities.

My son had been experiencing a variety of symptoms pretty much since birth, but I hadn’t put them together to realize they were all symptoms of a bigger problem. It wasn’t until we were still struggling to get his reflux under control and he stopped putting weight on did the pediatrician suggest we consider the possibility of food sensitivities.

Editor’s note: Breastfeeding research shows that infants do not typically develop food sensitivities until at least 3 weeks of age, and common types of food sensitivities depend on what geographic region you reside. Moreover, there are many possible causes with the same signs and symptoms as food sensitivities. If you are encountering a challenge with feeding your infant, contact your local IBCLC (International Board Certified Lactation Consultant), La Leche League Leader, WIC Breastfeeding Counselor or another accredited breastfeeding specialist.

I felt strongly that, if possible, breastmilk was the best option for our son and am fortunate to have a pediatrician that agrees with me. Even when our son was having issues putting weight on, she never wavered on her support of breastfeeding exclusively. Since it was not a supply issue on my end, supplementing with formula wouldn’t fix the problem, she said. My son has been exclusively breastfed, so it was determined that the culprit was something he was ingesting through my milk.

It took some trial and error, but we finally figured out that our son has a severe sensitivity to milk and soy protein. It’s called Milk-Soy Protein Intolerance (MSPI). To manage it, I have removed any trace of milk and soy products from my diet. Once eliminated, it still takes up to 4 weeks for all traces to be out of my system. However, within a week, we saw such an incredible change in our son.

Almost all his symptoms have disappeared completely: no more congestion, the eczema on his face is gone, the reflux is under control, he gained weight, and he’s eating and sleeping better!

I don’t want to say it’s been difficult, but managing the food sensitivity has been a lot of work. I am constantly scanning labels to look for hidden dairy and soy and have started making almost everything we eat at home. Some days, I make multiple meals since my husband and daughter have no restrictions on their diet. Eating out has also become virtually impossible, and when we go somewhere, I always bring food for me and him to eat. You should have seen me sitting down to Easter dinner and taking out my own loaf of bread!

Regardless of the amount of planning, extra work or restrictions, it has absolutely been worth it. He is still experiencing the nutritional benefits and emotional connection that breastfeeding provides. Our son is thriving.

I’d be happy to share more information we have learned about this food sensitivity or share some allergy-friendly recipes we’ve discovered if you are having similar issues. Just write it in the Comments; I’d love to chat!