MSPI: Milk Soy Protein Intolerant

What is MSPI? The simple answer: Babies with intolerances to dairy react to the proteins in the milk.

If they are allergic, the body recognizes the protein as a foreign substance and when it’s ingested it triggers an immune system response (allergic reaction).


Excess gassiness and bloating
Excess fussiness (long crying spells at all times of the day, irritability, lack of sleeping appropriately)
Severe reflux and/or vomiting
Constant congestion and/or wheezing
Constant runny stools often with mucous present, if severe, blood may also be observed
Eczema and/or unexplained skin rashes
Failure to gain weight well
If the allergy is very severe, a baby can have an anaphylactic reaction
Intolerance versus allergy

If the baby is dairy intolerant, his/her body doesn’t have an immune system response, but the baby is unable to digest the proteins. Therefore most of the symptoms for an intolerance are the same as with a true allergy. The major difference is that usually with an intolerance, the baby won’t have the eczema or skin rashes and may not have the congestion/wheezing, but will likely have most if not all of the other symptoms.


Lactose intolerance in babies is an extremely rare condition that requires immediate medical attention usually before a newborn ever leaves the hospital as the baby would be extremely sick and gain no weight at all. These babies have to be immediately put on a completely broken down formula with all lactose removed or they will not thrive. They are often diagnosed with failure to thrive (FTT) within days of being born. Almost all babies who are dairy intolerant are reacting to the proteins in the milk, not the lactose.


Blood, water or mucous in stools (occult or not)
Weight loss
Chronic congestion
Spitting up/vomiting or rumination (reflux)
Eczema and/or skin rashes
Refusing to eat or comfort eating
Chronic irritability (colicky behavior)