Now I've done it...green poops
About 2-3 weeks ago (although it seems like an eternity), now 6-week-old Anja started wheezing and choking and sputtering during feedings. I called 2 lactation consultants at the hospital where I delivered her; one told me to try some different positions which didn't really help because of the carpal tunnel I'm still dealing with from pregnancy. The other suggested I pump 3-5 minutes at the start of each feeding to get rid of the initial spray of milk. A friend of mine did this with success too. So I was doing this and it appeared to be working, also pumping out an extra feeding to use later for bottles. A few days ago I noticed that I would experience let down 2-3 times during feedings; when she got the milk she would be choking and sputtering again. Problem clearly not solved.
I read the FAQ on oversupply, and decreased the pumping time to 1-2 minutes. But now I have green poops. A little yellow, but mostly green. The consistency seems OK. She's been eating on one side and I'll use that side again within 2 hours if she is hungry again. She seems OK, but is hungry more frequently the past day or so (usually eating every 21/2-3 hrs, now only 2), I suspect because she isn't getting enough hind milk; she is filling up on the cheap stuff, so to speak.
Should I abandon the pumping altogether? My breast is definitely full before a feeding, but not really uncomfortable. I did try expressing by hand, but that takes too long when I'm home by myself with a crying baby.
I keep seeing references to block feeding. What is this and would it help?
Does this ever get better?? And how do I know???
Re: Now I've done it...green poops
Green poop in and of itself does not warrant concern. Green poop is normal.
From what you describe, it sounds like you've got an overactive let-down which is often accompanied by oversupply, however the two are mutually exclusive. You can have an overactive let-down and not suffer from oversupply. So, the question now is whether you suffer from oversupply. If you do, then pumping may not be the best solution. Many mom's with oversupply notice that their babies have green, frothy poop -- again, there's no concern with this as long as baby is otherwise doing well. But the green poop can be a sign of a foremilk/hindmilk imbalance also. Block feeding will help with this. Here's a link on foremilk/hindmilk to help you understand how block feeding would help -- I'm confused about foremilk and hindmilk - how does this work? (not a LLL source)
You mention that you use the same breast for a 2 hour time period. That is block feeding. You can increase those blocks of time if you don't see any noticeable differences in your milk supply. The purpose of block feeding is to decrease milk supply by stimulating each breast less. It's quite effective.
It's normal for your milk to let down multiple times in a feeding.
The good news is that most babies will eventually learn how to deal with the fast let-down. You can try just taking your baby off the breast while your milk is letting down and letting it spray into a towel. You can also try using gravity to your advantage by lying on your back and placing baby on top of you when you nurse.
Oversupply issues tend to resolve themself by about the 12-week mark. My best suggestion is to not worry too much about it and just work through it day by day. Block feeding can help but it typically takes several weeks of block feeding to see results (our milk supply increases quickly but decreases rather slowly).
Let me know if you have any more questions :)
Re: Now I've done it...green poops
Thanks, Carol, for your encouraging words. I'm not entirely sure I have a supply problem. She's never had what I would describe as frothy poops; watery and mucousy sometimes, but not frothy. I'll keep my eye on it. I'll try monitoring the spray a bit more, and spraying it into a towel for her might help. Anja is quite the trooper; would probably nurse during a hurricane and it wouldn't bother her. She was 9 lb 11 oz at birth, now 12.8 lb per my own unofficial weigh-in on my digital scale...I'm probably making a big deal out of something minor. Thanks again.