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Thread: Green poop

  1. #1

    Default Green poop

    MrsV421 · you!
    Last edited 43 mins ago
    My 6 week old EBF baby has been having green poop for the last week or so. In addition to being green they are sometimes way smellier and watery than the regular poop.

    She goes three hours between feedings and longer at night and aside from getting a little fussy before she poops she's perfectly happy. Should the green poop concern me then?

    I've googled and found that many say it's caused by an imbalance of foremilk/hind milk because if oversupply and the recommendation is block feeding. I don't think I have an oversupply but I have been pumping after almost each feeding for a couple of weeks to build a stash. Maybe this increased my supply?

    My LO nurses on each side for 25+ minutes at a time. Do they have to work harder for the hind milk and she gets tired?

    If I block feed wouldn't the breast I'm not using get engorged? I'm so afraid of mastitis. I always offer both breasts before my baby seems satisfied. Would my baby have enough milk from one breast?

    Thank you for your help.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    20,603

    Default Re: Green poop

    Green poop is only a concern when the baby has additional symptoms that are of concern, like extreme discomfort, poor growth, or evidence of allergy. In a healthy, happy baby who is growing and developing normally, green poop can be considered a normal variation.

    I hate the term "foremilk-hindmilk imbalance," because it buys into a lot of misconceptions about how milk is produced. First of all, there's really no such thing as foremilk or hindmilk. You don't produce 2 different types of milk, or switch over from producing one type of milk to the other at some point during a feeding. Milk that comes out at the beginning of a feeding is relatively higher in carbohydrates and lower in fat. Milk that comes out at the end of the feeding is relatively higher in fat and lower in carbohydrates. But the switchover from high-carb, lower-fat to high-fat, lower carb is a gradual one- all foremilk contains hindmilk and all hindmilk contains foremilk. Second, the term "imbalance" makes a lot of moms fear that there's something wrong with a baby getting just the so-called foremilk. But both foremilk and hindmilk contain everything a baby needs to grow and develop. A baby will usually do quite well on so-called foremilk alone, provided he gets enough of it. He may gain weight very fast, might be a little more gassy than average, and might produce green and possibly even bloody poops, but these are not health concerns in a baby who is otherwise growing and developing normally (and yes, this is all true of babies who have streaks or specks of blood in their poop- they're scary but not a big health concern).

    If I had to choose a term for the situation where oversupply causes green poops, I think I like "lactose overload", because it doesn't suggest that there's anything wrong with your milk or that there are 2 types of milk.

    Now, pumping after every feeding for 2 weeks could definitely increase your supply to the point where the baby is consuming more lactose than average, causing green poops. If you want to do something about this, I would start by throttling back on the pumping. Instead of pumping after every feeding, limit yourself to pumping 1-2 times a day, maybe after the first morning feeding and right before you go to bed. That should be sufficient to build a decent freezer stash- remember, you don't need a huge stash, just enough to keep you a day or two ahead. If you're pumping at work, you'll be able to bring home fresh milk every day, and the stash will be more of an insurance policy than anything else.

    Now, if throttling back on the pumping is not enough to restore yellow poops, you may want to block feed. But block feeding is designed to reduce milk supply. It's something you do when you are sure you have a problematic oversupply. It's not your first choice for managing green poops.
    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!"

  3. #3

    Default Re: Green poop

    If there is any lactose overload going on, which is debatable, the fastest, easiest and no-risk way to solve it is to gently encourage baby to nurse slightly more often. Less time between nursing session = less time for milk build up in the breast = less lactose in the milk. If baby has no desire to nurse more often even when it is offered, then no need to press it.

    I agree with mommal. Based on what you have written, I see no indication block nursing is needed and would probably be unduly harmful to your milk production and consequently, to breastfeeding. It is sometimes difficult to maintain adequate milk production when back at work, so even if it were present, a 'little' overproduction at this point is not really such a bad thing. Serious overproduction is obvious, has many clear signs, and can be very detrimental to breastfeeding. This is what block nursing is the correct remedy for.

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