Re: I thought BF babies couldn't be constipated?
Colic is defined as episodes of crying that last for 3 or more hours per day, for 3 or more days per week, in an infant who is 3 or more weeks old, in an otherwise healthy child. If that sounds nebulous to you, it's because it is a poorly understood condition. We don't really know what it is- more what it isn't. It's not gas or constipation- imagery done on colicky babies reveals no more gas than in non-colicky ones. It's not mom's diet- the moms of colicky babies aren't eating anything different from the moms of non-colicky ones.
We do know that there is a developmental aspect to colic; colic typically peaks between 3 weeks and 3-4 months, and babies who are born prematurely experience colic in the same age range, adjusted for their prematurity (i.e. a baby born 3 weeks early will experience colic onset at around 6 weeks rather than at 3 weeks). This suggests that colic in a neurodevelopmental phenomenon rather than a physical one. There's an interesting correlation with migraine- a recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that colicky babies are something like 7x more likely to suffer from migraines later in life than non-colicky babies.
We also know that colic is EXTREMELY distressing to parents. Parents of colicky babies are more likely to suffer from anxiety and depression, to have relationship stress, and to become exhausted. Breastfeeding is more likely to fail- usually due to parents being willing to try ANYTHING to stop the crying, and formula qualifies as "anything". Colicky babies are more likely than non-colicky ones to experience abuse at the hands of their caregivers.
Basically, what I am saying is that it doesn't matter if you want to believe in colic. It's real and it's nasty.
If your baby is colicky, or even if he's not but is merely fussy, here are some things you can do:
- Nurse as much as possible. Baby can't cry if there's a breast in his mouth.
- Calm house. Lights, TV, and stereo turned down or off.
- White noise. Dryer sounds, radio static, noise from a fan, etc.
- Motion. Rock, stroll, swing, bounce, etc.
- Warm water. Give baby a soap-free bath in the sink or take him in the tub or shower with you. Extra points if you nurse in the water. Warm water is also really good for anything related to baby having gas or needing to poop- it's relaxing and often helps the baby get things moving.
- Trip outside.
Basically, the tips above are all about changing the baby's incoming sensory stimuli. Nothing is likely to work for long, so you have to keep changing it up!
That all being said, 1 thing does jump out at me from your post and that is the poop smell. Breastfed baby poop is tropically pretty inoffensive. So when it really stinks, I start thinking about 2 things: allergies/intolerances, and lactose overload. If you don't feel that you have signs of high supply (e.g. frequent feelings of fullness or engorgement, strong letdowns, tons of leaking, baby coughing, gagging, spluttering, or making a click noise while nursing), then I personally would try reducing the amount of cow's milk in your diet (including foods where dairy is an ingredient) and see if that makes a difference. If you do have signs of high supply, let us know and we'll talk you through some strategies to manage it.
ETA: What you describe isn't constipation. Constipation is stool that is dry, hard, and pellet-like, and produced infrequently. Breastfed babies who are >6 weeks old will often poop as little as 1x per week or even less frequently, but this is not constipation because the poop is soft when it emerges.
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