Re: Coughing, choking, wheezing, major spitting up
Welcome to the forum and congratulations on the new baby and on making it through the first month of breastfeeding! If you've made it 4 weeks and your biggest concern is spit-up and coughing/gagging/spluttering, then you're doing wonderfully well!
In the absence of pain or poor weight gain, spit-up is a laundry issue, not a health issue. Spit-up is a normal part of infancy because the muscle sphincters which hold stomach contents down are weak in a new baby, just like all baby's other muscles. But in time, those sphincters are going to get stronger and better at keeping baby's meals down where they belong. Until then, you only need to be patient, to lay in some extra bibs, and to swab out baby's neck folds once a day using water and maybe a little gentle soap. Spit-up can get caught in the chub and cause skin irritation (not to mention a nasty cheesy smell!).
You definitely do NOT want to pump and bottle-feed, for so many reasons. Your DH might understand why if you handed him the pump and told him that for the next 11 months he will be hooking himself up to it for about 20 minutes every 2-4 hours, round the clock, while also caring for an increasingly active baby who will enjoy doing things like trying to unhook your pump tubes or monkeying with electrical outlets or other hazards while you're pumping. Because that's what pumping and bottle-feeding entails. It sounds simple when you suggest it. Doing it is another matter! And it's NOT your DH who is going to be doing it.
Now, on to the choking/gagging/gasping. The usual cause for that sort of behavior is a forceful letdown of milk. Imagine drinking from a firehose- you're going to have trouble keeping up! Some things moms with forceful letdown may notice:
- Mom may feel like she has a lot of milk, frequently feeling "full" or engorged
- Mom may leak a lot
- Mom may experience a strong letdown sensation
- Baby may gain weight very rapidly
- Baby may produce poops which are frequently or consistently green/greenish
- Baby may be very gassy
- Baby may pull off the breast while nursing
- Baby may choke, cough, gag, splutter, wheeze, or make a clicking/clucking noise while nursing
- Baby may "slip up" onto the nipple while nursing
- If baby pulls off the breast while nursing, mom may observe milk squirting or streaming from the breast
If you're noticing a lot of these issues, let us know. Because managing forceful letdown is definitely possible. Sometimes a mom will have to block feed (i.e. use the same breast for one or more feedings in a row) in order to control oversupply, which is often the root cause of forceful letdowns. That's not something you want to do unless you're SURE you have oversupply. But the first thing a mom can do to manage a FFLD is to adopt reclined nursing positions, which enlist the force of gravity to slow milk flow and make nursing more comfortable for baby.
Coolest thing my big girl said recently: "How can you tell the world is moving when you are standing on it?"
Coolest thing my little girl sang recently: "I love dat one-two pupples!"