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Thread: Gas, colic, inbalance??

  1. #1

    Default Gas, colic, inbalance??

    I have a four-week-old who is doing well (exclusively) BF. He had gained two pounds by his two week check up! He's been dealing with gas and fussiness...at times unconsolable crying for 30+ minute sessions. I suspected a foremilk/hindmilk imbalance and an oversupply issue so I started block nursing (2 hrs on left breast then 2 hrs on right) and express until letdown before latching him on.

    This was helping the gas but not the fussiness and I got lazy about pumping until letdown. DS is still so fussy- if he's not asleep or nursing, he's crying. And now I see his stools are greenish yellow.

    Help!! What should I do? I'm hesitant to use gripe water. I started a probiotic a few days ago and did one chiropractic session. Should I stick to the block nursing? I'm also tandem nursing a toddler which puts a spin on things.

    And if he is getting too much foremilk, why the big weight gain?
    Last edited by @llli*elhaugh; July 23rd, 2012 at 08:53 AM. Reason: NAK - Editing typos

  2. #2

    Question Re: Gas, colic, inbalance??

    Oops, sorry for the typos! I guess my question is two fold...

    1. Is his gassiness/fussiness/colic due to a foremilk hibdmilk imbalance?

    2. What can I do to help him? Should I stick to block nursing and start pumping up until letdown again?

    3. How does tandem nursing my toddler fit into this?
    Last edited by @llli*elhaugh; July 23rd, 2012 at 08:55 AM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2009

    Default Re: Gas, colic, inbalance??

    I don't know much about block nursing or tandem nursing, or imbalances, and mine had crazy slow weight gain (still does), so this may not help-
    BUT my first one had reflux and was a screamer - we used to say she had a "happy expiration" of 5 minutes. Aside from prevacid for the reflux, it helped me to stop eating dairy for about 2 months. Like, none at all.
    When my new one gets fussy, sometimes the best thing for her is for me to turn her over on my arm, so her head is at my elbow facing the floor and my hand is between her legs, and I pat her butt or back (pretty hard). This seems to help tummy issues a lot and before long she is perfectly calm.
    Had Bradley wanderbaby #1 on 5/9/09, bf 10 months before let-down problems drove us both crazy and we had to stop. Wanderbaby #2 born 6/9/12 (in a wheelchair - we made it to the hospital with 4 minutes to spare!).
    Currently due 5/13 and at work, waiting for supply problems to force us to formula. Need lots of
    Doing one parent/one language with our bilingual bebitas.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Shakedown St.

    Default Re: Gas, colic, inbalance??

    Do you have any other indications of oversupply other than fussiness and greenish poops? Both fussiness and greenish poops can be totally normal. It is fairly rare for oversupply to be severe enough to cause a foremilk/hindmilk imbalance (which is somewhat of a misnomer as all breastmilk has fat and fat soluble elements as well as lactose and water soluble elements, there is simply a gradual change in the relative proportions of these different molecules throughout the feed. This is also why oversupply babies tend to pack on weight very quickly even if they get mostly "foremilk" - they tend to get lots of it).

    When oversupply is severe enough to cause this imbalance, symptoms usually include: painful engorgement, excessive leaking and/or spraying, a tendency for plugs, and producing copious amounts of milk when you pump (I could get 8-10 ounces easy after nursing). Are you experiencing any of these things? If so, you might want to maintain the block feeding, keeping the 2 hour blocks. You can extend the blocks if needed, but block feeding does reduce supply (very effectively at times) so you want to give the smaller blocks some time to work before you get too aggressive. If you are not experiencing these symptoms, then I would not go beyond offering one breast per feeding and switching breasts for the next feeding.

    It's generally bad to pump before feeding. This signals the body to produce more milk (which will negate the block feeding) and can lead to or exacerbate overactive letdown. If you have a fast letdown (baby chokes, coughs, sputters, clicks, and/or even screams/arches at the breast during letdown), then there are some things you can do to help your baby cope with the flow that do not endanger your supply. Nursing in a reclined position is what helped me the most. I would lay back on a few pillows, put my baby on my stomach or chest, and let him latch. It can take a lot of tweaking to find something that works for you, so you may need to change up the positioning as you go. You can also try nursing in a side lying position or even in a more upright position, which can help with reflux. Some mamas have a lot of luck unlatching the baby at letdown, letting the milk spray into a towel, then relatching. My baby had no patience for that, but it works great for babies who do.

    If you can avoid pumping entirely, it will help oversupply and overactive letdown issues resolve much more quickly.

    Finally, very frequent feedings help a lot with both oversupply and overactive letdown. I had pretty significant oversupply and a letdown that literally sprayed across the room, but my son only occasionally had foamy green poops. I'm pretty sure that was because he nursed every 1-2 hours.

    I needed to work on my baby's gas periodically throughout the day. I would give a tummy massage and bicycle his legs between every single feeding. Then he got a warm bath followed by more bicycling every evening (sometimes 2-3x a day when gas was really bad). That helped prevent gas from building up too much.

    Wearing my baby in a sling or in our Ergo helped a lot with the fussiness too.

    I seriously doubt that tandem nursing has anything to do with it, but even if it does your supply will eventually match the needs of both your children if you simply nurse on demand, avoid the pump, and give it time.
    Last edited by @llli*phi; July 22nd, 2012 at 04:16 PM.
    K. Sophia - Mama to my little lactivore, the amazing Mr. X (11/10).

  5. #5

    Default Re: Gas, colic, inbalance??

    Yes, I have a lot of the oversupply sympoms - excessive leaking, engorgement, etc. I know I had an oversupply at his birth but it had lessened since I started block feeding and starting putting limits on ODS.. Thoughts knowing that?
    Last edited by @llli*elhaugh; July 23rd, 2012 at 08:56 AM.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Gas, colic, inbalance??

    And I nurse on demand all day and night. I pumped until I got past my letdown then put baby on. How does this tell my body to produce more as baby would he getting it otherwise?

    Thanks for the tips!! Will this reduce fussiness do yo think?
    Last edited by @llli*elhaugh; July 23rd, 2012 at 08:57 AM.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Shakedown St.

    Default Re: Gas, colic, inbalance??

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*elhaugh View Post
    And I nurse onbdemand all day and night. I pumped until.I got past.mybletdown thrn put baby on. How does this tell my body to produce more as baby would he getting it otherwise?
    Because the pump is added nipple stimulation beyond what you would get from only nursing (which by itself can tell your body to make more milk), and any milk removed by the pump through letdown is more than what your baby gets from nursing alone. Both of these things lead to increased milk production. Pumping can exacerbate a fast letdown too, even without an oversupply. My letdown was always worse when I needed to pump for work versus when I was off, even after my oversupply was under control. Pumping early on generally creates more problems than it solves. Letting your baby nurse to get a letdown, then letting the milk spray into a towel, then relatching works similarly without triggering oversupply and overactive letdown.

    It is still really early to be block feeding, so it's pretty risky to do more than 2 hour blocks. Try one breast per feeding (I would really start there until you get past that 6 month growth spurt) or the two hour blocks without pumping at all either way for a few days and see if you see any improvement with the oversupply.

    Definitely try the reclined positioning and working on the gas throughout the day. Those are the things that really helped my son the most with my oversupply and overactive letdown. That plus the frequent nursing seemed to help both me and my son even more than block feeding (although that did help me some with the terrible engorgement in the long run, but my son benefitted more from positioning). He still went through fussy spells, but it did reduce a good deal of the discomfort due to gas (although he was still a gassy baby). I really do think they will help you with the fussiness too if the fussiness is in fact due to oversupply.

    Baby wearing helped me a lot with fussiness too. Keeping the baby in a more upright position in a sling or carrier helps with reflux, in case that might be causing some discomfort. My baby liked to nurse in such a position in the sling when he was really little. It let me get around very easily and do things while I nursed him or just kept him happy being close to me.

    Reclined nursing, having your letdown spray into a towel, and baby wearing will in no way harm your milk supply or nursing relationship, so they are at least worth a try. They work very well for lots of mamas, so there is reason to think they might help with your baby's fussiness too.
    K. Sophia - Mama to my little lactivore, the amazing Mr. X (11/10).

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2006

    Default Re: Gas, colic, inbalance??

    Phi has given excellent advice and suggestions. I would avoid the pump like the plague, and not block feed just yet. I am not sure how all of this works when there's an older child in the mix- your big kid could be helping to keep your supply on the high side, and I don't know how you'd fix that.

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