Re: Green watery (foul) stool and on demand feeding
Terrible advice from the pediatrician, who should know better. First of all, breastfed babies don't overeat. They are good self-regulators, and when they are no longer hungry they stop nursing. Second, while oversupply can cause green, smelly poop, "overeating" does not. So the poop problem is not going to be solved by limiting or scheduling feedings. Nor is it going to be solved by offering a 3 month old baby rice cereal- it's only going to add an unhealthy, inappropriate food to your baby's diet. Cereal may firm up your baby's poops, but that will only mask the problem, not solve it.
The good news is that green poop is not in and of itself a health problem, particularly in a baby who is generally happy, healthy, and gaining weight well. A baby can go for months and months with green poops and not suffer ill effects- I am looking at my little green-pooper right now. She's building a Lego tower, and she's tall, strong, and healthy! And she doesn't have green poop anymore. You only want to worry about green stools if the baby is not gaining weight well, or if the stools contain a lot of blood. Small streaks or specks- and yes, my kid had those, too!- are not a big deal.
So green poops aren't a health problem, but what's causing them? Best bet is the oversupply. When you have oversupply, your baby is going to take in a lot of lactose-rich milk- that's the so-called "foremilk", right? Now, babies are designed to digest lactose, a.k.a. milk sugar. They produce a lot of an enzyme called lactase, which breaks down lactose. In fact, babies produce more lactase than children or adults! But sometimes when mom has a very high production of milk, the baby gets so much lactose that the lactase gets overwhelmed. When the baby gets more lactose than the lactase can handle, she gets gassy, and has very wet, very explosive, smelly green poops. This is not lactose intolerance, because the baby is producing a normal amount of lactase. It's lactose overload.
So what do you do about this? First, you stop worrying about baby's health. Again, green poops: not a health problem. Second, you feed frequently. Babies who struggle with oversupply usually do BETTER when they are fed small amounts more often, rather than large amounts infrequently. They're less likely to spit up when they eat small, frequent meals, and they're more likely to prevent plugged ducts or engorgement or mastitis in mom. Second, you deal with the oversupply. That's what's causing the green poops. You probably need to do some block feeding, because you're still dealing with oversupply at 3 months. Does your baby only want one breast at a time? Or does she always feed from both?
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