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Thread: HELP - is this oversupply or what?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
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    Default HELP - is this oversupply or what?

    I'm having some issues with my DS and feedings over the last week. I suspect oversupply, but I'm not sure. Here's what's going on:

    DS is 9 weeks old, exclusively breastfeeding with nipple shield (he won't nurse without it)

    For the past week his poops have been consistently green. They were dark green - looking exactly like pesto sauce for several days (grass green), and they seem to be lighter green for the last day or so. I can't say if they are "frothy" or not because I have no idea what that would look like in a diaper. They also seem more grainy and less "curdy" than his normal yellow poops were.

    Beginning right at 6 weeks, he had started pooping less frequently (maybe 1 big BM per day with some little ones), which I know is normal for many babies in that time frame. But when the green poops started last week, he also started having BMs way more frequently again... several big BMs a day plus a streak in almost every diaper.

    We have had some green poops from him in the past, but never lasting more than a day at a time. It has now been a solid week of green poops.

    His bottom is red. This was a problem we have had since the beginning, but it had started to get better a few weeks ago but now seems to be getting worse again.

    During daytime nursing sessions, he moves around a lot... swinging his arms in a wide arc, grabbing/scratching at my breasts, popping on and off, throwing his head around. He doesn't really complain vocally, he is just SUPER active while nursing, especially towards the middle to end of a session. At night he is more efficient and doesn't really do the dancing around thing.

    He has been vomiting frequently this week. Projectile vomit 5 times in the last week. Sometimes it happens shortly after a feeding, but the last 2 times have been at least an hour after he last ate.

    Nothing has changed in my diet recently. Which is why I haven't attempted to cut out dairy or anything like that, because I have always consumed plenty of cheese/milk and he was fine for the first 7-8 weeks, so wouldn't that rule out dairy intolerance?

    I know a lot of this sounds like overactive letdown and/or oversupply, but I want to know if there's anything else it could be... like could he be sick? Or is this reflux? He behaves normally otherwise...seems happy, sleeping well at night.

    Also, I can't tell if my milk is spraying when he pops off - I never feel my letdown happen, and as I mentioned I'm using nipple shields so I don't know if that would prevent the milk from spraying (visibly) or not.

    I've tried feeding him off of only one side per session for the past couple of days... how long can I expect before that helps, if it is oversupply? I also cut out pumping completely. I had been pumping once a day in the morning up until a few days ago.

    Sorry for the long post. Any suggestions on how to proceed? Should I call the pedi at this point?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
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    Northern Cal.
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    Default Re: HELP - is this oversupply or what?

    Oh, gosh! It's hard to say! But given that he "seems happy, sleeps well, etc." I probably wouldn't jump any hard conclusions just yet. While green stools can be a symptom of several things, they can also just happen sometimes, especially if you have a plentiful supply, which it sounds like you do. Nursing on one side at a time may be all you need to make sure he gets plenty of hindmilk, given that I didn't see you complaining about engorgement (which to me - I'm no expert - probably rules out severe oversupply). Once a day pumping really shouldn't be a problem, and you should be able to reintroduce that in a bit. Projectile vomiting is more worrying than regular spit up, but some babies really do spit up more than others, quite happily. If reflux is not associated with pain and fussiness, I would generally just try to work around it. (Most babies have some degree of reflux due to the development of their baby esophagus, hence the spitting up. But most babies are "happy spitters." They present a "laundry problem" not a medical problem.)

    Basically, he sounds like he's doing well, and it doesn't sound like anything's really wrong. In themselves, I don't think the green stools are a cause for major concern, but I would tinker with block feeding just a bit, as you are, to see if that improves matters. I would imagine that if you had severe overactive letdown, you'd see evidence of that (nipple shield filling up with milk when your baby gets off the breast).

    This is an age where a lot of babies are really crazy active at the breast, as they figure out their limbs. In most cases, it doesn't mean that the baby is hating nursing, just that they don't really get that if they pinch the boob and push on it, they will pop off the nipple. There's a lot of exploration at this age! I often swaddled Joe to nurse him around this age just to temper his crazy activity. After a while, they figure stuff out and learn to stay ON the boob. But wiggling around isn't a sign that things are going wrong.


    You can call me JoMo!

    Mom to baby boy Joe, born 5/4/09 and breastfed for more than two and a half years, and baby girl Maggie, born 7/9/12.

  3. #3
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    Oct 2011
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    Default Re: HELP - is this oversupply or what?

    Actually I did forget to mention engorgement. DS has been sleeping 6-7 hours at night for a couple of weeks... and during the rest of the day he nurses every 2 hours on average. During that long stretch at night I always wake up with at least one breast very engorged and sore. I'm wondering will my body get used to the long nighttime stretch and the engorgement will go away?

    During the day, if I feed on one side at a time, but switch to the opposite side for the next feeding, my breasts feel full but not uncomfortably so. But if I try to block feed and do more than one feeding in a row on the same breast, then the other one does get engorged/uncomfortable.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: HELP - is this oversupply or what?

    The engorgement at night is normal. If your baby keeps sleeping those long stretches (don't bet the family farm on it ) you will get used to it and not wake up as full.

    Sounds like you do have some oversupply. Over a week or two, the block feeding should help with the engorgement, but it's hard at first, because you do have to feel some fullness in order for your body to get the message to make less milk.

    Hopefully that will address the green poops too. O/S can be stubborn and hard to fix, so don't be surprised if you see improvement and then it comes back. It can take a few months to get it completely under control. But in the meantime, you should see improvement. If not, consider bringing your baby back to the same breast twice before switching, etc.


    You can call me JoMo!

    Mom to baby boy Joe, born 5/4/09 and breastfed for more than two and a half years, and baby girl Maggie, born 7/9/12.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
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    29

    Default Re: HELP - is this oversupply or what?

    Thanks so much! I feel better already. Some questions on the block feeding:

    1. Do you suggest I just switch sides at each feeding? I.e. right side at one feeding, then left side at the next? Or should I instead do 2 feedings in a row on the same side?

    2. If/when I do finally see an improvement after block feeding, am I supposed to continue with that routine permanently? Or at some point is it safe to go back to feeding from both sides?

    I was feeding from both sides initially because DS was popping off of one side after a while and seeming frustrated when I would try to put him back on that same side, but when I would switch him over he would continue feeding on the other side... so in my mind, that meant he wasn't getting enough from just the one side.

    By the way, I should also mention that for the first 5.5 weeks I was exclusively pumping because DS refused to nurse at all, but finally I got him to nurse with the nipple shields. I wonder if the pumping I did in the beginning contributed to oversupply. Since then I have only been nursing on demand... hoping my supply would adjust to DS's needs, but I guess things are still wonky. :/

  6. #6
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    Northern Cal.
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    Default Re: HELP - is this oversupply or what?

    Block feeding doesn't have to be all or nothing. I used to do one boob at a time all day for Joe, except in the early evenings when my supply was low and he was fussy, and then we'd do both.

    It's not permanent, and you can switch back whenever it seems like the baby is finishing up one boob and is still hungry and wants more. Watch the baby, not the clock. If you're blockfeeding successfully, then your baby will be satiated on one breast. If you're not seeing that, then you can always switch breasts again.

    I'd start by giving one breast at a time for a couple of days and see how that goes. Some women have to go longer on one breast, and that's fine too, but you don't want to overdo it, because it can decrease your supply too much if you are too rigid about it.

    Pumping can DEFINITELY contribute to oversupply, but it's definitely an easier problem to address than low supply, and if you're EP'ing, you have no choice, so I think you did the best thing in the circumstances. But yeah, if you're a good milk producer, and you start out with a double electric pump, your brain basically translates this as "I have TWINS!" and goes a bit crazy, because it mimics TWO babies sucking on your boobs, you know? But that's okay, you'll get it back down again. You'll also be able to wean him off the shield - it's great that he's taking the breast with the shield, and he'll take it without. Meanwhile, since the shield can lower some women's supply (bc it provides less stimulation) you are lucky that your body tends towards oversupply.


    You can call me JoMo!

    Mom to baby boy Joe, born 5/4/09 and breastfed for more than two and a half years, and baby girl Maggie, born 7/9/12.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
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    29

    Default Re: HELP - is this oversupply or what?

    Thank you soooo much! You have been really helpful!

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