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Thread: Foul smelling gas and poop - 5 month exclusively breastfed

  1. #1

    Default Foul smelling gas and poop - 5 month exclusively breastfed

    I'm hoping and praying for some suggestions and answers for my poor 5 month old baby boy. He's my fourth child - all breastfed - and he's totally different. All the others pooped after every feeding and had no apparent digestive issues. This child poops only once every other day or so (I know this is within normal - it's just so different!) and over the past couple days his gas and bowel movements have been extremely foul smelling. Any thoughts on what can cause this?

    He has struggled with gas and sleep disruption which has become increasingly problematic over the past month.

    I have tried eliminating dairy from my diet for 2 1/2 weeks with no change. I've also tried topical essential oils as well as chiropractic and oral probiotics. I also only feed from one breast per feeding.

    Thanks, in advance, for advice and support. Elizabeth

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Foul smelling gas and poop - 5 month exclusively breastf

    There are other typical allergy foods you can try avoiding, (now that you know dairy is obviously not the culprit so you can add it back in.) soy, gluten....I suggest, if you want to check those out, eliminate ONE food or food group at a time so you can still eat semi-normally. However, I am not sure that smelly poops equals allergy.

    It may be that the fact baby poops less frequently explains both the smelly gas and the smelly poops?

    I have had three kids and my second two tended to have breastmilk only poops that were more smelly than the first, (my first made poops that were so un-smelly I often missed them entirely.) I had started taking Prevacid for GERD before I had my second, and I have always wondered if that is why. But I also have overproduction, and it was much worse with number two and three, so I also wonder if THAT is why. I wondered, but to be honest, it was never something I really worried about.

    Can you explain more about what is happening with discomfort and sleep issues?

    Also, do you feed one breast per feeding due to overproduction? It might be that baby needs to take both breasts some feedings in order to get all baby needs for thirst, hunger and comfort. It is usually fine to let baby take the lead on this. If baby prefers nursing one side at a time, that is fine too as long as baby nurses frequently overall and is gaining normally.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Foul smelling gas and poop - 5 month exclusively breastf

    Thanks for your thorough reply.It was very helpful.

    You could be right - maybe the less frequent stools are the cause for the terrible odor.

    As for the sleep disturbance: He wakes up predictably at 3am writhing, piercing scream. Often he "toots" and then settles. Sometimes it takes longer than others. Sometimes I nurse him to soothe him and nursing helps him to pass gas. But really he doesn't "need" to nurse until about 5 or 6am. He sometimes wakes up even more frequently (like midnight and every hour after). He also wakes from naps in the same manner and once comforted (burped or gas release) he will sleep for more time - often an hour more!

    The reason I switched to one-sided nursing was because I read that foremilk/hindmilk imbalance can cause frothy poop (which he had) as well as belly issues. He also spit up. A LOT. And now that I only do one side he spits up much less. When I do think he needs/wants both sides I find he spits up more. He's not bothered by the spitup but it just seems excessive.

    I may have a weight-check done because he does seem "skinny" but he's quite happy overall - especially during the day. All my other kids were also in the 25th percentile so I wasn't too worried about the weight, but others have mentioned he looks small. He also had RSV when he was 2 months old which set him back a bit.

    Thanks again. I appreciate your insight and time, Liz

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*lllmeg View Post
    There are other typical allergy foods you can try avoiding, (now that you know dairy is obviously not the culprit so you can add it back in.) soy, gluten....I suggest, if you want to check those out, eliminate ONE food or food group at a time so you can still eat semi-normally. However, I am not sure that smelly poops equals allergy.

    It may be that the fact baby poops less frequently explains both the smelly gas and the smelly poops?

    I have had three kids and my second two tended to have breastmilk only poops that were more smelly than the first, (my first made poops that were so un-smelly I often missed them entirely.) I had started taking Prevacid for GERD before I had my second, and I have always wondered if that is why. But I also have overproduction, and it was much worse with number two and three, so I also wonder if THAT is why. I wondered, but to be honest, it was never something I really worried about.

    Can you explain more about what is happening with discomfort and sleep issues?

    Also, do you feed one breast per feeding due to overproduction? It might be that baby needs to take both breasts some feedings in order to get all baby needs for thirst, hunger and comfort. It is usually fine to let baby take the lead on this. If baby prefers nursing one side at a time, that is fine too as long as baby nurses frequently overall and is gaining normally.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Foul smelling gas and poop - 5 month exclusively breastf

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*egotwa1 View Post
    Sometimes I nurse him to soothe him and nursing helps him to pass gas. But really he doesn't "need" to nurse until about 5 or 6am.
    Is there a reason why you're not nursing every time he wakes at 3 am? And how do you know he doesn't need to nurse until 5-6 am?

  5. #5

    Default Re: Foul smelling gas and poop - 5 month exclusively breastf

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*mommal View Post
    Is there a reason why you're not nursing every time he wakes at 3 am? And how do you know he doesn't need to nurse until 5-6 am?
    I guess because I know he can "make it" to 5 or 6 because he does with relative regularity. I do sometimes nurse him at 3 or 4.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Foul smelling gas and poop - 5 month exclusively breastf

    Just because he usually can doesn't mean he always can. 5 months is actually awfully young for a baby to be sleeping all the way through the night with such consistency.

    Also, if you are at all concerned about his weight, the best thing to do is to feed more often- middle of the night very much not excluded.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Foul smelling gas and poop - 5 month exclusively breastf

    one sided nursing is a mild form of block nursing, and consequently, can possibly cause baby to not get enough at each feeding and harm milk production. Delaying feeds (not nursing when baby cues, even if baby cues erratically) could do the same thing. I am not saying this IS happening, I am just saying, spit up, even lots of it, is usually benign. Better for baby to get more than enough and deal with it by spitting up, than for baby to not get quite enough.

    As far as hindmilk foremilk- this is the biggest non-issue in breastfeeding. It is usually only an issue (and often not even then) if a mom has big time overproduction, in which case, baby would be gaining like crazy.

    Every baby is really different. And even milk production and breast capacity can be different in the same mom with different babies. And these things change nursing patterns. What may have worked well with your older kids in terms of nursing frequency might not work as well for this baby.

    if baby is getting plenty of milk and not gaining well, that would possibly point to food allergy. But there are many other symptoms of allergy, like skin rash and blood in stool, so without more cause to suspect allergy I just am not sure. My tendency is to not think things are allergy related until 'proven.'

    As far as his sleep pattern, it sounds to me as if baby sleeps reasonably long stretches? You don't say how long baby has been asleep before 3 am but I assume a few hours? So while he appears to awake in pain, and I get that that is troubling, it is not as if there is a situation of baby being unable to sleep normally it sounds to me. He just may be a more gassy baby. My (now) toddler daughter also tended to wake with a gas pain during her first year (in her case she usually needed to burp) and she would wail like a banshee in her sleep and scare the dickens out of me. But a burp and a little nursing quickly put her right. Babies need to nurse for comfort as well as food, and nursing certainly can be particularly soothing for digestive issues.

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