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Thread: Trying to find the cause of all this gas

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Louisville, KY

    Question Trying to find the cause of all this gas

    Hi all, I'm new here! I've been pouring over the many threads and links learning lots of great info. However, I still have some questions that I'm hoping some of you can help with. I'll try to give all the pertinent details. Sorry for such a long post.

    DS is 5 weeks old and was born a little early at 35w 6d weighing 5lb 10oz. The LC in the hospital recommended a nipple shield when he wouldn't stay latched for long. The shield did help, and he seems to nurse well with it (although I've come to hate it). I think his real issue was very high billiruben causing him to be lethargic (resulting in a 4 day NICU stay under the lights).

    He surpassed his birth weight within the first week and has been gaining steadily since (7lb 3oz at last dr apt 2 few weeks ago). He receives only breastmilk. The NICU docs insisted I supplement, so he received some bottles of my milk after nursing in those days, but no bottles since. The only time I ever pumped was in the NICU.

    For the last few weeks DS has been very gassy and fussy at all times of day. The only time he isn't upset is when he is nursing or when he falls asleep after nursing. The gas just seems to keep coming out of him non-stop, and he gets visibly frustrated trying to pass it at times. His best times are at night when he nurses beside me and falls asleep from there undisturbed. During the day, I burp him after he nurses, which in turn gets him wide awake and ready to fuss.

    My first inclination was to eliminate various foods. I started slow, and eventually come to the full Sears elimination diet for the past 2 days, with the exception of chicken instead of turkey. No real change yet in his behavior. I know its only been two days, but I was hoping for something.

    As DH and I have both continued researching possible issues, we have considered oversupply, OALD, or foremilk/hindmilk imbalance. My right breast does have a significantly higher supply that the left. I think I may have created the issue by inadvertently nursing lots more from the right at night due to the side of me that DS normally sleeps on away from DH. Left breast also has some significant cysts (always has), and has been aspirated twice in the past. I've wondered if either the presence of the cysts or the past aspiration procedures could have any effect.

    DS has lots of wet and dirty diapers, and poop is yellow and seedy. There has been no green mucousy poops, which further confuses me. Everything I've read on fore/hind imbalance refers to green poop. On my full right breast, I've never observed the milk spraying out unless I am manually expressing. When it leaks on its own, it just drips. DS doesn't seem to choke or sputter, so, I don't think that I have OALD.

    I've tried to block feed on the left side to increase supply on the left and let the right just be for a while, and to make sure he's completely emptying at least the left side and getting all the hindmilk. The right will get really full and firm, but not to the point of discomfort, so I am okay there. If DS hasn't been on the left side in a while, I can keep him on that side for a while, but when I try to do subsequent feedings on that side, DS quickly gets fussy on the left side. I assume it is because not much is coming out at that point, or not at a fast enough rate to appease him. I can still get some out when I squeeze. I compress like crazy on the left while he's nursing to try and help him out. I'm not sure if he just prefers the faster flow of the right and therefore is getting frustrated with the left more quickly, or what. If I move him to the right side, he goes to town eating.

    I've also tried latching him w/out the nipple shield, and while I can get him on for a while on both sides without it, I know the latch isn't great and still needs a lot of work. The left side hurts much more than the right, and I seem to get what I think are milk blisters when he nurses the left side w/out the shield for any amount of time.

    So, to summarize, poops seem normal and he is gaining weight, no green poops..... and I don't seem to have OALD, but I do have OS in the right side.... although the OS isn't a problem for me comfort wise (yet), but could it be causing him not to be able to get to the hindmilk when I use that full side? (visually, breasts are very disproportional, which I can deal with). Elimination diet has not shown any visible results in the short term.

    Any suggestions? Am I missing something here? I have questioned whether he might be sucking in a lot of air due to the nipple shield.... could that be part of the issue?

    My local LLL meetings aren't for a few weeks (just missed them this month), but I will probably call a leader next week or see a LC soon, both to help with weaning from the shield, and to try to get to the root cause of all the gas and fussing.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Trying to find the cause of all this

    You are a very resourcesful and dedicated mother. You are right about the oversupply problem, and blockfeeding is indeed the best way to correct. Try to not use the shield. It is a band-aid and not a solution. Because they slow down milk flow, your child is artificially nursing for longer than he needs to, which is in turn exacerbating your existing oversupply issue. Take him off the shield immediately and continue to block feed.

    With my child, it took a week or so for the block feeding to begin to work, but it was about 3 weeks into block feeding that my oversupply finally decreased to only a mild oversupply.

    Good luck, and check out the references below.



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2011

    Default Re: Trying to find the cause of all this

    Welcome to the forum and congratulations on your baby!

    I'll first say that I don't have much experience with early babies, and you might be dealing with issues partially related to that. Having a look at the Breastfeeding Your Premature Baby area - or even cross posting - might be helpful.

    As far as the elimination diet goes, 2 days is typically going to be too short a time span to see results. It's not unheard of for mothers to detect relief in their babies after an offending food is removed in such a short amount of time, but the usual recommendation is at least 7-10 days to even think about seeing results - and it can often be longer than that. Here's an example: my daughter had multiple food allergies in her early infancy. I undertook an elimination diet of the top 8 food allergens to try and pinpoint what bothered her, and it took a full 6 weeks for the blood in her stools to finally subside. That doesn't mean that everyone is going to have the same experience, but it's worthwhile to bear in mind as an example of how long it can sometimes take.

    The nipple shield probably isn't your friend in the long term, but it certainly isn't the devil. There are situations where it's useful and beneficial, and it can provide a bridge when you're dealing with a baby who is too tiny or not strong enough to have a good latch yet. Bridge is the key word here - you might want to schedule another consultation with the LC in a week or two to check on progress.

    Gassy baby. To be honest, it sounds like you're on top of things. The unwelcome truth is that sometimes babies are just gassy when they're teeny tiny. Their digestive systems are trying to cope with a lot, if you think about it. If your son is having normal bowel movements, and it sounds like he is, then it might be that the best course of action is simply to help him release the gas. Thorough burping is always helpful, even if it wakes him up. When my daughter was little and gassy, I found that keeping her on her stomach and or left side was helpful in releasing some of the trapped air. She hated tummy time in any way, shape, or form, so I tended to try and carry her around in the gas/colic/tummy hold as much as I could. You basically lay the baby face down(ish) over your forearm with its head toward your elbow and cup its outward facing leg/groin for support. Jiggling and back patting at the same time add a little oomph

    If you're really worried about OS, there's a forum here where you might find a little more insight/support. That said, at 5.5 weeks your supply is still figuring its own self out. Lots of women (most? I can't remember) start out with a pretty abundant supply which regulates down, naturally, as your body and your baby get synchronized with each other.

    Lastly, calling a leader is a great idea. Feeling like you're out in the wilderness with lots of questions can be overwhelming.

    Good luck, mama, and best wishes on your journey!!
    Elizabeth, mama to Lillian - 10/03/10

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2011

    Default Re: Trying to find the cause of all this

    Not an expert by no means, and I am working on my own issues with breastfeeding, but here goes. I agree with all the above. The only thing I would add is that your son may prefer one breast over the other. This is not uncommon. My daughters hated my left side for awhile, and then I finally discovered part of the issue was latching incorrectly. Also, your breasts don't match exactly. The way you hold him on each side will not be identical either. He may just prefer the other due to this. Also, my older daughter preferred my right side because she didn't like having to work for the milk which was NOT an issue with my right side (I had OALD/OS on that side.) The way I think about it is this. When I sleep at night, I prefer sleeping on my right side because it's more comfortable. Perhaps, the side he favors is more comfortable for him, and provides a better latch? Anyway, you definitely seem on top of things and sounds like he is doing extremely well! In my experience, the gassiness does get better when their systems mature, so hopefully, you'll begin seeing some changes soon! Lots of luck!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2009

    Default Re: Trying to find the cause of all this

    Wow, it sounds like you've really done a lot of work trying to find the causes and eliminate them, way to go Mama!

    With both of my DD's, they got super gassy right around that age and it stayed with them until about 3 months or so. If it's not something in your diet, it could just be gassy baby stuff. It's pretty common for babies to be gassy as thier little tummies and insides grow and develop fully. If it is just baby gas you can try to eliminate any air he's getting while feeding but mostly you'll just need to treat the sypmtoms.
    To eliminate air, you might want to try eliminating the nipple shield. I don't have any expirence with them, but I wonder if it wouldn't add some air to what your LO's getting? Also, some mothers find that if they have OALD, the baby will have to 'chug' to keep up and can be getting air in their tummy then.
    We just had to treat the symptoms. For us we would burp often (part way through feedings at least once), do 'baby bends' (sit LO up, then bend them from the waist (like doing a toe touch) and back up) & use gas drops. A warm rice bag on the tummy and swaddling in a blanket helped. Also, we would hold her over our forearms with her tummy on our arms, head on our hand. That would help sometimes!
    Hang in there, this will likely pass with time!

  6. #6

    Default Re: Trying to find the cause of all this

    try this massage for gas, it works wonders for my son!

    SAHM of Baby Dominic, we

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