Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Night waking update

So a few weeks ago I wrote about our issues with night waking (you can read the original post here).  A few days later I took Nicolette to the pediatrician because I really felt that the gas was what has been waking her up this whole time.  He suggested that I start her on a probiotic called Bio Gaia and that I eliminate dairy and soy from my diet.  Many babies have a milk and/or soy protein intolerance (MSPI) which can cause painful gas and night waking.  The doctor said that it would take 2-3 weeks to eliminate my body and hers of the accumulated milk and soy proteins so not to expect immediate results.

I started the elimination diet and probiotic 2+ weeks ago and literally 1 week and 6 days after starting the new regimen I saw a change in Nicolette's gas and night time sleep pattern.  Previously Nicolette would fall asleep easily and then awaken approximately 30 minutes after being put down.  I'd rock and/or nurse her back to sleep and she would reawaken every 30-45 minutes over and over and over again until I gave in around 11 or midnight and brought her to bed with us.  Well, 1 week and 6 days after starting she slept for nearly an hour and a half and even woke up a little and put herself back to sleep (I was watching like a hawk on the video monitor).  When she woke up after an hour and a half I rocked/nursed her back to sleep and she slept for nearly 2 hours.  Same thing happened last night.  a 1 1/2 hour stretch, then a 2 hour stretch, then a 4 hour stretch.  At 2am when she woke up crying The Italian asked if he could please go get her and bring her to bed with us :) ... he's an even bigger softie than I am!!!!  As I type this she's in the midst of an hour long stretch (still going strong...fingers crossed!).

I know it may seem silly to celebrate 1 hour or 2 hour stretches of sleep but this really is a huge accomplishment for us!  Since she turned 4-4.5 months old I've had to spend 3, 4 sometimes 5-6 hours on a bedtime struggle routine before giving in and bringing her to bed with us.  While I feel guilty for not realizing that the gas was bothering her so much I'm grateful that we seemed to have identified the sleep disruptor and are on a path towards more peaceful nights for her.  Now I can tell that she's feeling better and starting to be able to sleep for longer stretches of time on her own.  I'm not expecting full night sleeping on her own any time soon but am so thankful that her tummy seems to be soothed enough to sleep for longer than 30-45 minutes at a time!  Honestly in a perfect world the Italian and I would be so happy for her just to sleep on her own from the time we put her to bed (6:30/7:00 until 11 or so when we go to bed and then she can come to bed and snuggle with us all she wants).

For those interested here is more information on MSPI from MSPI Mama's website (which you can view HERE)

Milk Soy Protein Intolerance

You may be asking yourself: What is MSPI? Well, it stands for Milk Soy Protein Intolerance.

Basically, it's when a person (usually an infant or small child) can't tolerate eating ANYTHING that has a milk or soy protein-derived ingredient. 

Reactions vary on a personal basis, however, common symptoms include: reflux; upset stomach; gas; runny, painful bowel movements; blood in the stool; congestion; a rough skin rash on the face, head and chest; colicky behavior; abnormal sleep patterns; refusal to eat or sometimes constantly eating and purging. Yes, it's a lot of fun!
*The only symptoms Nicolette ever displayed were abnormal sleep patterns and gas.  We just thought she was a gassy little girl and even jokingly called her "Tootie" 

Unlike a food allergy, there really isn't any medical test that can be given to determine whether someone has a food intolerance. It's mainly diagnosed through the symptoms. Unfortunately, not all physicians are aware of MSPI, and the intolerance goes misdiagnosed leading to failure to thrive and even unnecessary medical intervention.

If your baby has reflux, medication can sometimes help relieve some of the symptoms, but ultimately, you must remove all dairy and soy protein from the baby's food in order to see true improvement. If your baby is bottle-fed, usually switching to a dairy and soy-free formula will take care of the problem. But if your baby is breast-fed, the mother must remove all dairy and soy protein from her diet ... thus the reason for this website! Please seek the guidance of a knowledgeable physician if you experience any complications.

Unfortunately, there is currently no cure for MSPI. Just time. Most children will grow out of the intolerance. Some as early as 1 year old or much later. (My son grew out of his MSPI when he was 3½ years old.) A few unlucky ones may never grow out of it. I can tell you from experience that maintaining the MSPI diet isn't exactly easy or fun, but it's definitely doable! It's worth a shot. Give it a try!

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