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Thread: Excessive burping and gas - help!

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Posts
    12

    Default Excessive burping and gas - help!

    Hello!

    I am a first time mom of a beautiful baby boy who is now almost two months old. He is gaining weight and breastfeeding like a champ (he gained 12 ounces last week!), and is very healthy. He has healthy poops (mustardy), but his problem is gas. He farts an enormous amount, and his farts seem to bother him - they often wake him from sleep, and he gets so worked up that he can't drift back off without lots of comforting from my husband and I, meaning VERY exhausting nights for all three of us. Especially at night, he is an extremely enthusiastic nurser, nearly to a fault. He really goes at it, but often nurses so enthusiastically that he forgets to breathe and has to pull off the breast coughing, then take a break until he can pull himself together. I take him off the breast every time he starts to cough, but it gets him so worked up that he starts to cry as soon as I take him off. He also swallows huge amounts of air at nearly every feeding, but especially at night. He sometimes builds up air bubbles big enough to cause him to pull off the breast screaming, and that in just a few minutes of nursing. I can hear him swallowing the air as he nurses - the gulping sound is VERY different when he swallows air and when he doesn't - but I don't know how to get him to slow down and to stop swallowing so much air. I wonder if all that air he's swalllowing, despite often burping three or four times during each feeding and then burping several times again after he's finished, is aggravating his fart problem. He is also, just as of a few days ago, very fussy between feedings.

    I wondered about oversupply, but I don't think I have it. My right breast often gets very full, but only if I switch to the left every other feeding, so I've taken to feeding him more often on the right than on the left. The left breast poses no problem at all, and is always soft but still has milk. I also wonder about a forceful letdown, but I can't feel the letdown so I don't know at what moment to take my baby off the breast to handle it. When I take him ff when he coughs, my breast often drips but there is no forceful squirt of milk. Whatever the problem, it is always more aggravated on my right breast, and always more aggravated at night, and the whole family looses lots of sleep over it.

    Any ideas? How can I get my baby to have more calm, peaceful feedings and to stop swallowing so much air? I really, really appreciate any advice!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Minnesota
    Posts
    240

    Default Re: Excessive burping and gas - help!

    First a word of caution, feeding more on the right than on the left will aggravate the problem in the long run because that breast will get the message that it needs to make even more milk, thus increasing the supply and making the let down heavier. This does sound like a heavy letdown problem to me, my LO and I have the same issue. I would suggest doing the opposite - feed twice on the left for every once on the right just for a couple days to slow down the supply on the right. You can hand express a little from the right just to keep from getting engorged.

    Have you tried laid-back nursing positions? Basically leaning back or lying on your back so that gravity is helping slow the flow of milk. You could also try hand expressing until the letdown occurs and then latch him on once the milk slows down, especially if you are starting to feel engorged.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
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    12

    Default Re: Excessive burping and gas - help!

    Thanks so much for the advice! I wouldn't have thought of feeding more on the left, but you are absolutely right. My line of thinking was "have to empty the right," which of course has the opposite effect.

    I've tried side lay nursing, but my baby spits up A LOT when I do...he responds best in terms of spitup when he's in a semi sitting position to nurse. I haven't, though, tried having him on my belly and leaning back...I'll try that tonight!

    How, though, can I tell when the letdown occurs, even when hand expressing? What will happen? The only sensation I feel in my breasts other than obviously the pull of my baby's suck is that when I feed from one breast, I feel a tingling/pulling sensation in the other breast after a few seconds...

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    5,602

    Default Re: Excessive burping and gas - help!

    The tingling you feel is the letdown sensation. Typically we letdown in both breasts at the same time. It is not unusual to not feel let down at all or to only feel it in one breast at a time.
    I agree with the previous poster that this sounds like forceful letdown. Have you tried nursing in a reclined position with baby on top? ( EDIT oh I missed that you were going to try that tonight.) Laid back position may help. You can find information on the back on this site by going to the tearsheet toolkit. You can also search online the term biological nurturing or laid-back breast-feeding. Note that you do not need to be leaning very far back basically you can be of any amount of reclined that is comfortable for you and that you are well supported in. And baby can be in any position.
    the other thing that really really really helps is nursing very frequently.
    Your baby is gaining very rapidly if that 12 ounces per week is typical. This is not a problem healthwise, but it would add evidence to the idea that you have overproduction. That does not mean you need to do anything about it besides figuring out how to handle the forceful letdown. Over time if you keep letting baby nurse as often as baby wishes and if you let baby nurse one side at a time usually, your milk production should level off.
    Lots of Gas and spit up can certainly be unpleasant for both mom and baby But they are not health issues.
    If you think your baby is coping air, you might want to consider if baby's latch is off. Now this could be related to the force for letdown or not. Baby's with tongue tie for example swallow a lot of air. Again assuming nursing is comfortable for you and since baby is gaining so very well, this may not be an issue at all. However it may give you an explanation.
    If you go to the tearsheet toolkit on our site there are many tips for soothing fussy baby. Of course the first thing to try to see if baby wants to nurse again. If that doesn't help holding baby in a more or less upright position snuggled on mom or dad's chest most of the time seems to help a lot with gastrointestinal issues. There's also something called the magic baby hold. If you read the tips for fussy baby and also the one called what about partners you will find information on that plus many other ideas.
    I think if baby starts to cough or choke and you take baby off and the milk is dribbling that is close enough to catching the letdown. Milk need not to be spraying for the letdown to feel forceful To baby. So let that milk dribble into a towel and then put baby back on after some of it has come out.
    Last edited by @llli*lllmeg; February 24th, 2014 at 02:36 AM.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Posts
    12

    Default Re: Excessive burping and gas - help!

    Thank you so much! I've been trying the more reclined positions, including side laying, and he already seems to be swallowing less air, although it does lead to more spitup. Before he nursed in a semi-sitting position, and often turned his head to nurse, which I think was messing up his latch. In any case he is clearly getting enough - I feed him on demand, and he weighs 13 pounds at under 2 months - so I'm not too worried about his spitup.

    Thanks so much for this advice - I will certainly check out the toolkit!

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