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Thread: Brief/frequent nursing w/ pacification & random green stools

  1. #1

    Default Brief/frequent nursing w/ pacification & random green stools

    This is long and probably disorganized so I apologize in advance.

    Background...Baby was full term but small (5.8 lbs., discharged at 4.14lbs) He had low blood sugar and jaundice which resulted in him being taken away frequently and put under phototherapy (which I believe led to our early issues). BF was difficult as first because he was in a cycle of being too tired to nurse so he wouldn't nurse so he was tired etc. We resolved this within a week by giving him small amounts of expressed breast milk in a bottle to wake him up and then giving him the breast. He gained weight like a champ during the first 2 weeks getting up to 5.15lbs.

    Now he is almost 7 weeks old and I have been EBF. Over the past 1.5-2 weeks he has started to seemingly pacify at the breast (refuses pacifiers as well). With this pacification he nurses vigorously for a few minutes (I feel the sensation of milk coming down and then he is CHUGGING) and then falls asleep suckling. During his suckling nap I will get the sensation maybe 2-3 more times on both breasts and he will repeat his fast nursing and go back to sleep. In addition, he now usually has one green stool a day and the rest will be the normal seedy yellow.

    Also, before he started nursing like this we would have a 3-4 hour stretch at last once in a 24 hr period but now we are feeding every 1.5-2 hours again. He would break the latch once he was done with a breast before too. The change also seems to coincide with us nursing side-lying at night (before that I was too paranoid to sleep in bed and slept with him in a recliner).

    I'm worried that something is wrong now and causing the change in eating patterns. Admittedly, I am hyper-paranoid due to our issues early on.

    I just don't know what to do/think, any words are appreciated.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2009

    Default Re: Brief/frequent nursing w/ pacification & random green st

    Hi renars. Welcome to the forum.

    It is so great you got through those difficult early days and are exclusively nursing and baby is gaining well.

    I honestly think you can take a wait and see attitude with this change in nursing pattern. Babies change up nursing patterns all the time for various reasons. Many people expect that nursing frequency will get progressively less and less, and sleep stretches progressively longer and longer, but in fact this is not how it works at all in many cases, especially in the first 6 months or so.

    Babies also usually love to nurse for both comfort and food, and both happen simultaneously. So baby "pacifying" at the breast and getting milk at the same time is entirely normal and healthy. It is entirely normal for a baby to nurse to sleep and then keep nursing while asleep.

    Basically there are two breastfeeding problems that require intervention. 1) baby is not gaining normally and 2) it hurts mom to nurse. If baby is gaining normally while exclusively breastfed and breastfeeding does not hurt, there is probably no breastfeeding problem. Everything else is fine tuning.

    At this age, a baby will typically nurse at least about 10 times each 24 hours, but sessions will typically be at irregular intervals and be of varying lengths. Especially in these early months, most of the time, letting baby nurse as long as baby wishes as often as baby wishes works best (as long as baby nurses frequently enough.) This does not mean you must jump out of the shower with shampoo in your hair to nurse, or that you have to nurse a sleeping baby forever. It just means, generally follow baby's lead. If the nursing session has been going on for a while and you would like to get up or end it for any reason, it is also fine for you to try gently easing baby off the breast once he is asleep, if you want to. It is not necessary for any baby related reason, but many moms find they do like or need to be proactive about ending the nursing session at least some of the time for their own comfort and to take care of their own needs. (Baby may or may not go for it.) It can take some practice to learn the optimal time and technique for easing a sleeping baby off the breast.

    Green is a normal variation in stool color.
    Are you pumping at all? If baby is nursing well & often enough to get enough milk and exclusively breastfed (no bottles) then pumping is probably not needed and MAY lead to issues of overproduction. Just something to know.
    Last edited by @llli*lllmeg; August 9th, 2014 at 06:36 PM.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Brief/frequent nursing w/ pacification & random green st

    Thank you so much for the reply lllmeg.

    I've been combing the internet looking for answers and finally needed to just find out about my specific situation.

    I was so concerned about the green stools because I kept hearing about that being potentially caused by getting too much foremilk which made sense to me with his quick sessions. So, thank you for clearing that up for me!

    I have been pumping to ensure I have a store built up when I return to work in 2 weeks. I have been careful to ensure that I don't pump until empty, and I primarily pump from my under-achiever breast since he prefers the other breast and I don't want production to drop further in that side.

    Again, thank you so much!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2009

    Default Re: Brief/frequent nursing w/ pacification & random green st

    You are very welcome! It sounds like you are pumping sensibly and carefully, and I would only suggest being careful about how often you pump as well IF you have any concerns about creating too much milk production. If your concern is too little milk production, then pumping can be helpful. Also, If you visit the work and pump forum you will find many good ideas from experienced moms for providing milk for your baby & pumping once you are back at work.

    I also suggest the book The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding (8th edition) it has excellent information about pumping and handling separations as well as evidenced based information on all aspects of breastfeeding. It is inexpensive and it should be in every public library!

    I have seen many posts lately about the foremilk hindmilk concern, so I hope you do not mind me using your thread for a little mini lecture/soapbox speech about this "issue."

    This whole foremilk hind milk thing is getting me down. So many moms are made to worry about this totally unnecessarily!
    Milk changes subtly as baby nurses. During a feeding, it gradually changes from a higher lactose/ less fat content milk to a lower lactose/higher fat content milk during a feeding. This normal and very gradual change is what this idea of "foremilk/hindmilk"is based on. All mama's milk is good, and babies usually do just fine even if they are getting lots of foremilk and not much hindmilk.

    Well this idea has led to all kinds of conclusions that are not supported by the evidence. Moms worry that baby is not nursing long enough to get to the "hindmilk" or they worry they are somehow making their babies sick with "too much" foremilk! But those ideas are totally incorrect!

    What CAN happen, it appears, in SOME cases, is that a mom might be making way more milk than her baby can handle, and so mom gets engorged or worse. And/or the milk comes from the breasts so fast, baby has trouble handling the flow. These issues have many names but are typically called overproduction and forceful letdown respectively.
    And SOMETIMES, when a mom has overproduction and/or forceful letdown, baby is dramatically and unusually gassy and fussy, and may (or may not) have copious green and/or copious very watery, explosive stools. And the theory is that this fussiness and type of stooling is caused by baby getting lots of the higher lactose milk.
    WHEN this is happening and it is bothering baby, (many babies are not bothered by this at all, and poop green for months quite happily) but IF it is bothering baby, mom can try some of the ideas for helping baby handle the flow better, and in some cases, may need to take proactive steps to reduce her milk production, mostly to avoid her own issues with engorgement, plugs etc.

    But more typically, these issue go away on their own as milk production regulates. Milk production, which starts low right after birth and then rapidly increases before leveling off, tends to "peak" sometime between 2 and 8 weeks, and during this time is when you will see the issues of overproduction and/or forceful letdown most commonly. But once mom's body figures out it is making more than enough milk, the issues subsides. (Milk production does not keep increasing as baby grows, once it levels off, it stays pretty much around the same amount. The reason a growing baby does not need more and more milk is because growth rate begins to slow.)

    This is why I mentioned pumping. Pumping on top of normal nursing frequency (rather than pumping as a replacement for a nursing session as might happen when mom is back at work) may cause overproduction. And in some cases, that overproduction MAY cause some of the issues I described above.
    Last edited by @llli*lllmeg; August 9th, 2014 at 11:23 PM.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2014

    Default Re: Brief/frequent nursing w/ pacification & random green st

    helpful reply

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