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Thread: 12 week old baby has green poos and fusses at breast

  1. #1
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    Default 12 week old baby has green poos and fusses at breast

    Hi everyone, I hope someone here will be able to help!
    My 12 week old daughter is nursing very frequently (probably every hour or so) and she's quite fussy at the breast, often pulling away and crying. Sometimes burping her helps, but on a lot of occasions I had to switch sides as this is the only thing that calms her down.
    The main problem is that she consistently has green poos - not frothy and I see bits of curdled undigested milk there, but the poos are not mustardy yellow as they apparently should be in a breastfed baby.
    She is gaining weight well, she went from 3.6 kgs (8 lbs) to 6.1 kgs (13 lbs) in 12 weeks. She's getting about 150 ml of expressed breastmilk as her last feed of the day (this is something me and my husband introduced when I started expressing milk, basically we wanted to replace the evening formula. I had a lot of problems with breastfeeding initially and because my milk took a long time to come in we were initially doing mixed feeding with 1 bottle of formula in the evening; this is now replaced by a bottle of my milk). The little one sleeps through the night after that last feed (usually 7-9 hours). While my husband feeds our daughter in the evening I pump some milk for the next day.
    My breasts are quite engorged in the morning so I usually feed her from one and express from the other, getting enough for the evening (combined with milk from the evening before). I find that she feeds well for about 10 minutes, then comes off and starts fussing a bit. I usually change her then and put her on the same breast, but after a while she pulls away and doesn't want to latch on again, so I put her on the other breast. I basically feel that she never gets to the hindmilk because she's never on one breast long enough. How can I change this? It's like she has problems staying on one breast and is 'lazy' and doesn't want to make an effort to suckle properly. She either pulls away and won't latch back on, screaming (this might be tummy ache, gas etc) or she falls asleep on the breast and wakes up after 10 minutes still hungry.
    I tried breast compressions, keeping her awake by tickling her feet, chin etc,block feeding - nothing seems to make a difference and the poos are green and very rarely yellow.
    Everyone I talked to is telling me that my baby is not getting enough hindmilk, yet they offer no advice on what to do to make sure she is feeding effectively. I have read so many forums, websites etc to try and find an answer. Now I'm thinking it might be fenugreek I've been taking since my daughter was 2.5 weeks old. I decided to stop it for now and see whether it changes anything.
    I'm sorry this is a long and slightly incoherent essay - I really really want to keep breastfeeding, but I need help! I hate seeing my baby suffer from a sore tummy. I also need to mention that she doesn't really sleep much during the day and I keep thinking this is because she's never really full and satisfied after a feed...
    I need to add that she is otherwise a happy and smiley baby.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: 12 week old baby has green poos and fusses at breast

    Well, you could do nothing. Your baby is gaining fine, and that indicates your baby nurses just fine. I have no idea what making your baby nurse "more effectively" is supposed to do. Babies who do not nurse effectively do not gain weight or lose weight, it is a serious issue.

    However, it sounds as if baby is fussy and unhappy enough a the breast that you are worried, even though she is happy otherwise? THAT can be normal; or it can be a sign of a problem. Certainly there are simple, non-invasive things to try that may help wiht that.

    The green poops AND the fussiness are some indicators of baby getting "too much" foremilk. This does not mean not enough hindmilk. It means too much foremilk. There is a difference. The first can actually cause these problems and the second is virtually never a problem. ALL milk contains fat and ALL milk contains lactose. Fat is higher in hindmilk and lactose is higher in foremilk, but your breast is not like a faucet that runs foremilk part of the time and then hindmilk. The change from one to the other is imperceptible to anyone, except baby. baby will nurse as long as she needs to get what she needs, and she needs both fat and lactose.

    Left to her own devices, A baby nurses for as long as a baby needs to get as much of both kinds of milk as baby needs at that moment. This is why switch nursing, scheduled feedings, meal or sleep scheduling, pacifiers, swaddling, bottles, mom sleeping in a separate room from baby, and probably many things I am forgetting, have the potential to mess up breastfeeding to some degree. Because, if left to her own devices, baby will nurse when she wishes, on one or both sides as she wishes, nurse to sleep, comfort nurse, and sleep with mom so the breast is always available when she needs it. And when it comes to breastfeeding, baby knows best.

    I think it is possible that, due to your concerted efforts when you had (or thought you had) low milk production, you may now have enough milk or even MORE than enough milk for your baby. Which is great! But this may now be causing a ‘too much foremilk” issue.

    So here is what I would suggest you do to solve any issues there may be from too much foremilk:

    Stop pumping-pumping increases milk production. If you are actually separated from your baby, such as, for work, and need to pump due to that, then of course pump for that reason.

    Stop bottle feeding or at least, do not make it a nightly routine. (If you have enough milk your baby does not need any supplements. A bottle of your breastmilk, assuming you are present to nurse your baby, is a supplement.)

    Stop or gradually cut down on the fenugreek -again, this increases milk production. It also causes tummy issues for some mothers and maybe (?) some babies as well

    Stop worrying that your baby is somehow nursing too frequently. Nursing frequently is normal and HELPS when there is a "too much foremilk" situation

    Nurse your baby day and night. There is no such thing as a "last feeding" for a 12 week old. Babies this age normally will and should nurse overnight. We know baby may not be nursing enough overnight because you are engorged or overfull in the morning. This over fullness not only means your baby will get too much foremilk at that first feeding, it also causes you to feel the need to pump, which continues the cycle that is perhaps leading to overproduction and possibly a too much foremilk issue.

    Don’t block nurse. That is an intervention meant to reduce milk production and is needed in situations where a mother has natural overproduction that does not respond to less invasive measures. It is NOT typically appropriate when a mother has (possibly) created an overproduction problem with pumping and fenugreek, as that can presumably be solved by not pumping or taking fenugreek anymore.

    Hope that made sense!
    Last edited by @llli*lllmeg; October 27th, 2013 at 06:54 PM.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: 12 week old baby has green poos and fusses at breast

    I should add that if you do decide to stop pumping, you may need to wean yourself gradually off the pumping so you do not get more overly full and exacerbate the issues at first. But this will be less of an issue if baby is nursing with normal frequency day and night.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: 12 week old baby has green poos and fusses at breast

    Dr. Jack Newman just wrote about this on his facebook page, so I thought I'd post it here:

    Dr.Jack Newman
    13 hours ago
    I was just asked by email to post about green bowel movements (stools, poops). My usual response to mothers is along following the following lines:

    "Is the baby usually content? Is the baby drinking well from the breast (see the videos at our website that show babies drinking well from the breast or not)? Is the baby gaining weight well? If the answer to all these questions is "yes" then don't worry about the colour of the poops, don't go on any special diets, don't feed the baby on just one breast at a feeding. Feed the baby normally, that is "Finish one side and offer the second side". If the baby doesn't want the second breast, fine. But offer it. Do not do "block feeding"."

    Note that keeping the baby on just one breast is not the answer. If the baby is not actually drinking at the breast, he is not getting hindmilk. I wish we had never heard of hindmilk. True, milk increases in fat as the baby continues to get milk from the breast (but not if he's sucking without drinking). Usually the notion of hindmilk causes confusion and results in mothers getting advice that doesn't make sense.

    I am often tempted to say also, "put on sunglasses, so you don't see the colour of the bowel movements", but I don't.

    If the baby is not usually content, if the baby is not drinking well, if the baby is not gaining weight well, then the problem is not the colour of the bowel movements.

    What causes the bowel movements to be green? Rapid transit through the baby's gut. That's all!
    Mommy to our DD1 early bird (34 weeks, 2 days, 7lbs, 14oz)! Oct. 2nd, 2008 Emergency C-Section, Frank Breech, HEALTHY Girl!
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    Loving being a Mom of 3, 40 months apart!!
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  5. #5
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    Default Re: 12 week old baby has green poos and fusses at breast

    with the PPs. In a happy, healthy, growing baby, green is just part of the normal spectrum of poop colors. We'd only worry of the baby wasn't gaining weight and/or seemed sick or miserable.

    Don't worry about the baby's sleep. Some babies get into a pattern of having a few long naps every day. Others are cat-nappers, getting their sleep in little 5-20 minute bursts throughout the day. Do you have a sling or swing? A lot of babies hate being put down- they know instinctively that they are safest and warmest in mom's arms. As far as a baby knows, we're still living in cave times and being put down means a better chance of ending up as sabretooth tiger food. Carrying baby in a sling or popping her in a swing can reassure her, and prevent her from waking as soon as she is put down. Also, being upright is great of there's any reflux component to the short naps, since gravity helps keep tummy contents down where they belong.
    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!"

  6. #6
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    Default Re: 12 week old baby has green poos and fusses at breast

    Hello, thank you so much for taking the time to respond and your advice!
    I decided to stop pumping and I already stopped taking fenugreek. I have a few questions regarding weaning my baby off that evening bottle and weaning myself off pumping - I thought I'd do it gradually, only pumping in the morning (from both breasts, before I feed, to take away some of the foremilk) and giving less and less milk in the evening bottle and topping up with the breast (nursing to sleep) until I finally breastfeed exclusively. Does that sound like a good idea?
    I have to say I'm quite scared of stopping the bottle as I remember the early days when my LO was 3 weeks old and I was nursing her all evening, until 1-2 am when she'd finally fall asleep on my breast and I was able to put her in her cot (sometimes I had to repeat this multiple times as she was waking up crying). when she woke up during the night I would try to feed her in a dark room, keeping distractions to a minimum but she'd always wake up fully and I usually had to change her nappy as well which would make her fully awake. these night feedings would sometimes take 2-2.5 hours (that's from start of feeding to LO falling asleep) and she would then wake up after 2 hours hungry again. It was mentally and physically exhausting and I'm worried it will be the same now... I realise it might not be so bad as LO is older now, but I'm still scared.
    She's still fussy on the breast even in the morning. Today I pumped some of the foremilk from both breasts ans she's been feeding nicely from left side for a few minutes and then started pulling away, crying, latching back on, sucking for a few seconds then pulling away again. I checked and milk was still coming out of that breast but for some reason she just would not want to latch, so I switched her to the right side where after about 10 minutes the situation would repeat. I changed her, burped her and gave her a break in the bouncy chair, where she was happy for 40 minutes before crying again. I'm am really at a loss here... am I doing something wrong? I really feel like I'm spending most of the day on the couch nursing and desperately trying to do all the other stuff (eating breakfast, lunch, doing some household stuff, taking a shower) in the tiny windows when my LO is happily resting in a bouncy chair. Of course I realise that this is probably quite normal, but I still feel these feeding sessions take forever!
    Once again thanks for your advice, this is the first time someone actually took time to explain what might be going on, rather than just saying: make sure the baby finishes one breast first. Any more tips very welcome!

  7. #7
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    Default Re: 12 week old baby has green poos and fusses at breast

    If you want to take the gradual approach to ditching the bottle, go right ahead. If you'd rather just shelve the bottles and pump right now, go ahead with that. It's really up to you, and there's no telling which approach is right because every mom and every baby is different.

    I can totally understand why you're scared of nighttime nursing marathons. Being on-call for hours on end is very difficult, especially if you've never done it before. I think we all go into motherhood with this idea that we will continue to have some "me time", and then we're shocked at just how all-encompassing the needs of the newborn are, and how debilitating the sleep deprivation/sleep disruption can be. But as you said, your baby is older now and you probably won't end up nursing her until 2 am. If you do... Well, then maybe you want to reassess how you're structuring things. You could go back to using a nightly bottle. Or you could try co-sleeping with her- often babies wake out of loneliness as much as hunger.

    Fussiness at the breast is totally normal for such a young baby. Breastfeeding is a rather tricky art for a baby to master. We think a baby latches on, sucks, and it's all good, right? Well, not so much! The baby has to master a lot of skills, and one of the most frustrating is how to get the breast to deliver the right milk flow at the right moment. Baby has to learn how to slow down the milk flow when it's too rapid for her taste, and also how to get a slow-flowing breast to deliver. The best thing a mom can do when baby is trying to get the breast to deliver a flow that is just right is to be really, really patient. Frustration is part of learning.

    It's not at all unusual that your baby is not happy in a bouncy seat. What is unusual is that she is happy in the seat for such a long time- and yes, 40 minutes is a REALLY long time for a 3 month old baby! My kids were never happy in a bouncy seat or swing for that long. First of all, most babies need to eat frequently. I know there are people out there who insist that babies "should eat meals, not snacks", meaning that babies should go several hours between feedings. I always wonder what those people have been smoking. Because very few adults will go several hours without at least having a drink, but they want tiny babies, who have tiny tummies and eat a substance which digests really fast, to go hours without eating?! A normal interval between feedings for a young baby is about 90 minutes- and that's from the START of the first feeding to the beginning of the second. So, yes, it's entirely normal to feel like your baby eats all the time.

    Second, babies crave physical contact with their moms. Mom is warm. She smells good. She has food. She interacts, she makes nice sounds. She moves around, so that baby gets to see the world from her arms. What does a bouncy seat have that could possibly compete with all of that? This is why a sling may really help you escape from the couch and do the household stuff you want to do. If baby is crying from her bouncy seat because she's hungry, well, you're going to need to nurse her. But if the calls from the bouncy are only because she's tired of being stuck all alone in one boring place, and wants to be up and around, the sling can allow you to hold her and attend to your various tasks- eating, cleaning, shopping, even using the bathroom!- without feeling like you have to be stuck on the sofa.
    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!"

  8. #8
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    Default Re: 12 week old baby has green poos and fusses at breast

    She's still fussy on the breast even in the morning.
    How long a stretch of time are we talking between night bottle and the morning nursing? And how long is it from the last nursing session at night to the morning session?

    I was thinking that the bottle at night and your baby consequently not nursing overnight is perhpas causing you to be a little (or a lot) overfull in the morning. (Or exacerbating that issue.) If you are very full in the morning, then that might make nursing more challenging for baby as the milkflow is stronger.

    Stretching out time between nursing sessions causes too much foremilk and fast flow. So it makes sense if baby is fussy in the morning. I think you are assuming that fussing at the breast means the flow is too slow or there is not enough milk-that is certainly not the only thing that causes fussiness at the breast. Too much milk all at once causes it as well. And also:

    What happens if, when baby starts fussing, you simply stop nursing, and do something else? (don’t put baby down, simply, take baby and do something else? You can always nurse again when baby prefers, be it 5, 10, 30 minutes later, or 3 hours later.

    Here is my thinking- As babies get a little older, say, anytime over about 2 months to 4 months of age depending on the baby, they typically get 'better' at nursing and often take a shorter time at the breast each time. A baby who once nursed for 60 minutes without a break may now start nursing for 6 minutes or even less. This is normal. It is also still normal for THE SAME baby to want to hang out for a long time at the breast for some feedings. Both short nursing sessions and long nursing sessions are normal and both happen in the same day with the same baby and it is normal. Trying to make baby nurse longer than baby wishes at the moment so they "get more" is not needed nor helpful in the normal course of things.

    Also if you keep getting really full at night, your milk production will decrease. And if it is due to an artificially long stretch of time between nursing session (due to the bottle or whatever) that may well mean your milk production eventually decreases too much. This is why it is normal and important for a baby to nurse day and night.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: 12 week old baby has green poos and fusses at breast

    Hi Mommal, thanks for replying so quickly!
    I guess my main problem is reading too many books/articles etc and expecting that my little one will be a 'textbook' baby. Most of the books I read say that the baby will go longer and longer between the feeds; they also advocate introducing some sort of sleep training where you put the baby in the cot awake but sleepy and they fall asleep on their own. I think I need to stop reading these things as they just make me go 'yeah, right'.
    Your explanation does make a lot of sense. I think I will just go with the flow and focus on feeding the little one however often she wants.
    I think the fussing might have something to do with too much foremilk but then when she fusses and won't relatch onto the same breast although there's still lots of milk there I sort of give up and switch her to the other breast where she settles; I think this might be exacerbating the problem though?
    With the bouncy chair I may have exaggerated (I barely ever look at the clock!) - she's happy to be in it for a short period of time, grabbing her toys etc, which usually gives me just enough time to make a sandwich or have a shower (I take the bouncy chair with me so that she can see me - it works a treat).
    I think it's possible she's going through a growth spurt because she is on my boob a lot. But, saying that, a lot of that time is also spent napping (5-10 minute naps).
    Ok, this is getting very chaotic now I will try to wean her off the evening bottle gradually and see how I go. I really really hope it gets easier over time!

  10. #10
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    Default Re: 12 week old baby has green poos and fusses at breast

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*lllmeg View Post
    How long a stretch of time are we talking between night bottle and the morning nursing? And how long is it from the last nursing session at night to the morning session?

    I was thinking that the bottle at night and your baby consequently not nursing overnight is perhpas causing you to be a little (or a lot) overfull in the morning. (Or exacerbating that issue.) If you are very full in the morning, then that might make nursing more challenging for baby as the milkflow is stronger.

    Stretching out time between nursing sessions causes too much foremilk and fast flow. So it makes sense if baby is fussy in the morning. I think you are assuming that fussing at the breast means the flow is too slow or there is not enough milk-that is certainly not the only thing that causes fussiness at the breast. Too much milk all at once causes it as well. And also:

    What happens if, when baby starts fussing, you simply stop nursing, and do something else? (don’t put baby down, simply, take baby and do something else? You can always nurse again when baby prefers, be it 5, 10, 30 minutes later, or 3 hours later.

    Here is my thinking- As babies get a little older, say, anytime over about 2 months to 4 months of age depending on the baby, they typically get 'better' at nursing and often take a shorter time at the breast each time. A baby who once nursed for 60 minutes without a break may now start nursing for 6 minutes or even less. This is normal. It is also still normal for THE SAME baby to want to hang out for a long time at the breast for some feedings. Both short nursing sessions and long nursing sessions are normal and both happen in the same day with the same baby and it is normal. Trying to make baby nurse longer than baby wishes at the moment so they "get more" is not needed nor helpful in the normal course of things.

    Also if you keep getting really full at night, your milk production will decrease. And if it is due to an artificially long stretch of time between nursing session (due to the bottle or whatever) that may well mean your milk production eventually decreases too much. This is why it is normal and important for a baby to nurse day and night.
    Hi, llmeg, I just noticed your reply. We typically give her the night bottle at 10 pm and she usually falls asleep around 11pm and sleeps until 7.30-8 am.
    My breasts are VERY full in the morning, so I guess there is a lot of foremilk there! Do you think pumping some of it away before I feed her could help?

    When she starts fussing and de-latches I usually put her on my shoulder to see whether she needs a burp. Sometimes she does and it helps, sometimes it doesn't and she keeps crying until I put her on the other breast. Sometimes I just rock her in my arms or change her (I try different things and then put her back on).

    I have to say I didn't realise that my milk production may decrease if I get full at night...! I hope there is a way to go back to 'normal'? I mentioned in the above post that I will try to gradually wean the LO off the bottle and wean myself off the pumping. So tonight we only gave her 150mls and tomorrow we'll have 120 mls. I guess around 80mls I'll just stop pumping and rely on the breast. Is it likely that my milk production goes back to normal once I stop pumping and go back to night feedings?

    I forgot to add that the last nursing session is usually just before we give the bottle.
    Last edited by @llli*marushka82; October 29th, 2013 at 04:42 PM.

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