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Thread: Lactose overload?

  1. #1

    Default Lactose overload?

    Our baby boy is 6.5 weeks old. Since week 1, mom has been pumping exclusively (about every 3-4 hrs) and feeding him (about every 3-4 hours) the expressed milk via a bottle. For the past 5 weeks, this has worked great: good weight gain, right amount of wet and dirty diapers, he's rarely very fussy, and he sleeps great.

    Things changed about 4 days ago. He started to have bright green stools, be more fussy during and after feedings, and he seems hungry again soon after he finishes a bottle (of 3-4 oz). His bum is a bit more red, too (acidy stool?). He also takes much longer to feed (~1 hour to down 3-4 ozs.), but this is partly due to him being fussy and us stopping to burp, comfort, etc.

    All of these problems go away when we introduce formula for several feedings in a row: the stools are back to their normal color, he's satisfied after eating, etc.

    All of this sounds like lactose overload due to a foremilk/hindmilk imbalance.

    Any suggestions on what we can try doing differently? To rule out a possible problem with a blocked duct in one breast, the past two days Mom pumped only one breast, ensuring that it's empty each time, and fed him exclusively with that milk. (She pumped and dumped the other.) But the problems continue.

    Anything else she can try? Or rule out?

    Thanks for any help!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    6,564

    Default Re: Lactose overload?

    I don't know how things work with exclusive pumping, but you're right around prime time for a growth spurt. And you're right, the bright green stools sound like a foremilk/hindmilk imbalance.

    Is there any reason to exclusively bottle feed? Maybe it would be easier to regulate the milk with nursing?

    I'm sure that you've already seen the info on how to resolve an oversupply issue with nursing - which leads to the foremilk/hindmilk imbalance and then the green stools, unhappy baby etc. I imagine that it works the same with exclusive pumping - so only pump one breast each time. When you pump and dump the other side you're telling your body that you need that milk. So - block feed, or block pump in your case, by pumping on only one side for each feed. If that doesn't work, then stretch it out to pumping on one side for two feeds and then two feeds on the second.

    ETA: It may take more than one day for her supply to regulate. I would keep trying for a while and stop using the formula, but that's just me.
    Tracie

    Mommy to
    Lilah 10/08 nursed 25 months
    Beatrix 01/11 nursed 30 months

  3. #3

    Default Re: Lactose overload?

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*mommy2lilah View Post
    So - block feed, or block pump in your case, by pumping on only one side for each feed. ...
    Mom's going to try to continue pumping both breasts but for a shorter amount of time. If that doesn't improve things, then she'll probably try the block pumping.

    But isn't it a concern that block pumping (same for block feeding) would increase the risk of blocked ducts or mastitis? She's always been trying to pump both breasts until they feel empty, on the assumption this would avoid blocked ducts and ensure expression of hindmilk. Perhaps this had the opposite effect and resulted in an oversupply.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    6,564

    Default Re: Lactose overload?

    It kind of sounds like she has accidentally given herself oversupply. I guess tapering off the amount of time she pumps for may help. I am not very experienced with exclusive pumping. I did have oversupply though, and I single side nurse. I did get some clogged ducts, but never mastitis. One recommendation that I remember was to pump one ounce or less off the breast the baby didn't feed from.

    When I pump at work, I pump both sided. But I only pump 3 times in a 9 hour period and my baby would have eaten 4 to 5 times during that same time period.
    Tracie

    Mommy to
    Lilah 10/08 nursed 25 months
    Beatrix 01/11 nursed 30 months

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