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Thread: Growth spurt, reflux, overactive letdown, or a just fussy baby?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Posts
    27

    Default Growth spurt, reflux, overactive letdown, or a just fussy baby?

    Hello all,

    Thanks so much for reading my post. I am at a loss as to what to do to help my three-week-old son. He might have reflux and/or be going through a growth spurt, and I may be contributing with a bit of overactive letdown, but in any case I am not getting much sleep and he doesn't seem too happy either. I am hoping someone can help me narrow down the problems!

    For the past week he has been very congested while feeding and for awhile afterwards. He fusses a considerable amount when laid down on his back, and even if he doesn't fuss, he still makes a lot of sniffly and throat-clearing sounds. Oddly, if I rock his bassinet, these will temporarily cease, only to come back the moment I stop rocking. We've elevated the head of his bassinet with large textbooks, but he still sounds very congested. He sleeps okay in his car seat, but I am reluctant to let him sleep there all night if it's not strictly necessary.

    He's often had a little bit of a whistling/whining noise upon exhaling after eating, even before the congestion. He doesn't spit "out" that often, just a little bit after some of his feedings, but he occasionally makes gagging faces/noises that the doctor said is him spitting up without spitting out.

    Since Sunday, he has been eating much more often than normal -- every hour at some points during the day, and every two hours at night. Since I am trying to keep him upright for at least 20-30 minutes after each feeding, this is how my sleep is disappearing. I know this can be a sign of a growth spurt but also a symptom of reflux.

    His weight gain has been incredible so far -- over a pound a week. He poops at least 10 times a day (well, that's how many times I change a poopy diaper -- usually his poop comes out in several gassy bursts over a few minutes, and I've learned not to change him immediately after the first one). He has even more wet diapers. He lets out at least one loud burp almost every time I burp him, which is every five minutes or so during feedings.

    I do believe I have an overactive letdown -- when the milk lets down, he would often choke or cough while pulling himself off. I have learned to keep a washcloth handy and when I feel the milk let down, I take him off my breast and catch the spray (often it's spraying in two or three directions) in the cloth, then put him back on when it's just a normal flow.

    Ack, so I wrote a lot of stuff but am not sure my point came across. I am primarily concerned about my son's difficulty sleeping during the night, and I am wondering:
    - Is he feeding so often because of a growth spurt or because of reflux?
    - Is the congestion because of reflex or my overactive letdown (or something else)?
    - How can I make it easier for him to breathe at night? We are doing saline, cool mist vaporizer, sitting in the bathroom while someone showers, and feeding upright.

    Argh, this is so long! Thank you for reading and for your advice. I really appreciate it.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Sunny England
    Posts
    175

    Default Re: Growth spurt, reflux, overactive letdown, or a just fussy baby?

    I can't really help all that much, but I did want to ask one thing.

    Is anyone in your family lacose/dairy intollerant? Dairy is one of the most common causes for congestion in infants, and even if they are not allergic, they can still be intollerant to it for the fist few months. If this was the case, you would have to cut out all dairy products while nursing him because they will go straight through your milk to him. It may be worth testing the theory out for two weeks, but if you see no changes, pick it up again as there is also a lot of goodness in dairy that my kiddies will never get (they are both highly allergic, as am I!) Of course, if you are worried it is a good idea to talk to your doctor about it before you try anything.

    Reflux is a pain! It does get better though. He won't be sicking up all his dinner when he is 16.

    I hope someone else comes along with a bit more helpful info for you. I know what sleepless nights are all about. My son nursed every 45 minutes, and during growth spurts he was on my breast for 40 minutes a time, with 30 minute breaks inbetween. My daughter is almost the same, only she gives me about an hour between feedings.

    Good luck!

    Jarred - 12/June/2007 - BF for 3 months - stopped due to medical reasons
    Lilly - 4/May/2010 BF for 8 months - On strike between 1/1/2011 - 29/3/2011 - That's 12 Weeks and 3 days!! It is FINALLY over!
    Together we battle with Cows milk, nuts and soya allergies, but we're making it!
    We , , and too, but we're having problems..
    EPING for 3 months and counting!!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Posts
    39

    Default Re: Growth spurt, reflux, overactive letdown, or a just fussy baby?

    I hope someone comes along with some good information for you because I am having some very similar problems. My three week old daughter often sounds congested although she doesn't seem quite as badly congested as your baby is. She is also very fussy all day, and constantly on the breast, but she will generally fuss at one breast or even the other sometimes now and pull herself off then scream. She acts hungry, but when given the breast she just gets upset. Also when she finishes actively sucking she will just stay on the breast and make little sucks kind of like she is pacifying herself to sleep, but when she does this she unlatches first which makes the little sucks very painful but if I pull her off she just gets soooo angry, so sometimes I just let her do her painful little sucks, which gives me sore nipples AND a fussy baby!! I have been wondering if there is something in my diet bothering her...although her poop color gives no indication of this, or I have been wondering if she is going through a growth spurt because this has only been going on for two days now. I hope someone has some info on this. I also kind of worrying if she is getting enough because I put her to the breast and she sucks a bit and then cries, plus she is like constantly there. Her weight gain has been good thus far, her poops are good, and her pees are good...but I still worry.
    Last edited by @llli*erlove87; November 25th, 2010 at 09:16 PM. Reason: Needed to add something

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Maryland
    Posts
    2,552

    Default Re: Growth spurt, reflux, overactive letdown, or a just fussy baby?

    All those things can be related, reflux, OALD, and congestion. I would work on resolving the OALD first, maybe try block feeding? I had the same issues with DS2 when he was new, and I resolved the OS/OALD problem first, and then when he still had issues He went on Zantac because he was miserable. It helped a lot though. Sometimes reflux is associated with poor weight gain, but I swear it caused him to nurse more because he was seeking comfort from the pain. He also gained more than a lb a week in the beginning. Here is some info about oversupply:

    http://www.llli.org/FAQ/oversupply.html
    Beth

    Exclusively pumped for Lance Oct 07
    Nursed until just before he turned 3 Levi Oct 09

    Do you have extra milk? Consider donating!
    http://www.hmbana.org/:

    "So I was welcomed by the consolations of human milk; but it was not my mother or my nurses who made any decision to fill their breasts, but you who through them gave me infant food, in accordance with your ordinance and the riches which are distributed deep in the natural order." -St Augustine

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Posts
    27

    Default Re: Growth spurt, reflux, overactive letdown, or a just fussy baby?

    Awesome advice, thank you so much!!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Brussels, Belgium
    Posts
    1,302

    Default Re: Growth spurt, reflux, overactive letdown, or a just fussy baby?

    Hey mama--it's the textbook stage in life to grizzle.
    http://www.kellymom.com/babyconcerns/fussybaby.html
    'The standard infant fussiness usually starts at about 2 to 3 weeks, peaks at 6 weeks and is gone by 3 to 4 months.' The link has more help and ideas on what to do. Also here:
    http://www.askdrsears.com/html/5/T051200.asp

    There's a poll thread active in this forum now, and Durhamgrrl put up a link to a DIY no-sew baby sling. They are wonderful for helping with babies who are feeling uncomfortable in this great big wide open world, dealing with light, hunger, stimulation, noise, etc etc--who can blame them? It's a lot all at once.

    I have, at this moment, a 10-month old on my back in a baby carrier, who just finished ten or fifteen minutes of resistance (crying, fussing) and has settled peacefully into a nap.
    Last edited by @llli*bxlgirl; November 29th, 2010 at 12:50 PM. Reason: babywearing
    Katharine
    Be the change you want to see in the world--Mahatma Gandhi
    mid-August DD (2010) & DS (2011 VBAC)
    Ouch! Is it thrush or Raynaud's phenomenon?

  7. #7

    Default Re: Growth spurt, reflux, overactive letdown, or a just fussy baby?

    Based on my experience, I would like to suggest the possibility that ALL of the things you suspect, as well as the suggestion of dairy intolerance, may be at play. That may sound like bad news, but it is so much easier to manage things if you are not forever trying to pin down the ONE thing causing issues, instead seeing the interrelationship of all of them.

    Congestion, comfort nursing and Milk/Soy Protein Intolerance (MSPI) are common among babies with reflux, with the congestion and comfort nursing being especially common among babies with silent reflux. Growth spurts can exacerbate reflux, and MSPI and OALD can trigger reflux episodes.

    As for the sleep, addressing all of the potential issues may help, but I would also like to forward the possibility that a baby who sleeps poorly and has difficulty breathing due to reflux and/or congestion, may be doing the best thing she can do to keep herself alive. The ability to remain in a light state of sleep and wake when breathing is interfered with is an extremely valuable gift...

    Since it is frowned upon by physicians, I will not recommend it, but I will say that some babies with congestion and reflux issues do best sleeping on their stomachs, which allows fluids to drain more readily.

    I encourage you to explore the Kelly Mom site regarding all of the issues you are concerned about. For more information about reflux, you may want to visit www.reflux.org where there is a Reading Room, as well as a forum for questions and advice, and volunteers who can help as well.
    Mama to Lorenzo, born 4/25/2007. NICU graduate, Gastro-Esohapgeal Reflux, Obstructive Sleep Apnea, Sensory Processing Disorder...alive and thriving thanks to breastfeeding and co-sleeping.

    Those who say it can't be done should not interrupt the person doing it.
    Chinese Proverb

  8. #8

    Default Re: Growth spurt, reflux, overactive letdown, or a just fussy baby?

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*veddersbetter00 View Post
    Hello all,

    Thanks so much for reading my post. I am at a loss as to what to do to help my three-week-old son. He might have reflux and/or be going through a growth spurt, and I may be contributing with a bit of overactive letdown, but in any case I am not getting much sleep and he doesn't seem too happy either. I am hoping someone can help me narrow down the problems!

    For the past week he has been very congested while feeding and for awhile afterwards. He fusses a considerable amount when laid down on his back, and even if he doesn't fuss, he still makes a lot of sniffly and throat-clearing sounds. Oddly, if I rock his bassinet, these will temporarily cease, only to come back the moment I stop rocking. We've elevated the head of his bassinet with large textbooks, but he still sounds very congested. He sleeps okay in his car seat, but I am reluctant to let him sleep there all night if it's not strictly necessary.

    He's often had a little bit of a whistling/whining noise upon exhaling after eating, even before the congestion. He doesn't spit "out" that often, just a little bit after some of his feedings, but he occasionally makes gagging faces/noises that the doctor said is him spitting up without spitting out.

    Since Sunday, he has been eating much more often than normal -- every hour at some points during the day, and every two hours at night. Since I am trying to keep him upright for at least 20-30 minutes after each feeding, this is how my sleep is disappearing. I know this can be a sign of a growth spurt but also a symptom of reflux.

    His weight gain has been incredible so far -- over a pound a week. He poops at least 10 times a day (well, that's how many times I change a poopy diaper -- usually his poop comes out in several gassy bursts over a few minutes, and I've learned not to change him immediately after the first one). He has even more wet diapers. He lets out at least one loud burp almost every time I burp him, which is every five minutes or so during feedings.

    I do believe I have an overactive letdown -- when the milk lets down, he would often choke or cough while pulling himself off. I have learned to keep a washcloth handy and when I feel the milk let down, I take him off my breast and catch the spray (often it's spraying in two or three directions) in the cloth, then put him back on when it's just a normal flow.

    Ack, so I wrote a lot of stuff but am not sure my point came across. I am primarily concerned about my son's difficulty sleeping during the night, and I am wondering:
    - Is he feeding so often because of a growth spurt or because of reflux?
    - Is the congestion because of reflex or my overactive letdown (or something else)?
    - How can I make it easier for him to breathe at night? We are doing saline, cool mist vaporizer, sitting in the bathroom while someone showers, and feeding upright.

    Argh, this is so long! Thank you for reading and for your advice. I really appreciate it.
    Amen! I could have written your post, and right now I'm starting with the oald theory, since I can control of it. Good luck!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Posts
    39

    Default Re: Growth spurt, reflux, overactive letdown, or a just fussy baby?

    Be very careful experimenting with the OALD theory because I spoke to my LLL Leader (who is also an IBCLC) the other evening about my issues and she said I don't have an OALD because my milk doesn't spray when my daughter pulls off my breast crying. I would hate for you ladies to decrease your supplies for no reason.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Growth spurt, reflux, overactive letdown, or a just fussy baby?

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*olimaddiemom View Post
    Amen! I could have written your post, and right now I'm starting with the oald theory, since I can control of it. Good luck!
    Same here, and my little guy is also 3 weeks old! Except mine has just started with the spitting "out" kind of spitting up the last few days, when before he was spitting up in his mouth most of the time and swallowing it back down. His spit up is very mucousy and he has very sour breath most of the time too. Yuck!

    I do know that I have OALD, as I spray quite a bit when he pulls off choking. I just stick my breast pad back on and burp him while I wait for it to subside. I'm wondering if I should catch it in a towel instead - maybe the breast pad is putting too much pressure on it?

    My older son had Milk/soy protein intolerance AND reflux AND I had OALD, so it's interesting to hear that those often go hand-in-hand. I had no idea. I'm hoping this one is just a case of OALD. Hoping hoping hoping. Don't want to go through all of that again. But it is a little comforting to know that most babies grow out of both by one year of age.

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