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Reflux, green poo, formula... oh my!

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

Our DD is 5 weeks old and we have had BF issues from the start. She is our 4th child, and I have BF'd the other 3 with little to no issues. This is just blowing my mind! I would appreciate any suggestions/insight you all could offer.

From minute 1 we have been BF'ing (or attempting to) this little one. She wasnt gaining weight, even after my milk had come in. And she doesnt have very good bowl movements. Even from the start she has only gone once a week and it is very watery and army green color - though she does have plenty of wet diapers. I have a very good nurse at the pedi office that is very pro BFing, thankfully. She helped me make sure our DD's latch was good and we would weigh her after feedings to make sure she was getting milk. She and I were both completely stumped on why my Dd was not gaining. I would make sure she stayed on the breast as long as she wanted, then burping her and putting her back on the same breast. I even started pumping after the feeding, giving her whatever I got, and then putting her back on the breast again. Still no weight gain. Finally after about 3 weeks of stress and worry I started giving her a few ounces of formula each day, she started gaining weight. In the end she had lost well over 12% of her birth weight. She went from a 9lb3oz baby to 7lb 15oz, now she is back to almost 9lbs.

I want to eventually get her off of the formula completely. However, recently I have noticed that when she goes with periods of only drinking breast milk she has awful reflux. Spitting up through the nose, choking! She just screams! When I give her an ounce or two of formula, her tummy settles and she is happy. I have been trying to evaluate my diet to see what the cause may be. If she is settled by formula, it couldnt be dairy causing the problem, could it? I'm just using regular formula: newborn enfamil. The only thing I'm seeing super consistent in my diet is actually Fenugreek supplements. I take those daily 6-9 capsules. Has anyone had any issues with their baby having reflux while taking Fenugreek?

My final question is about the green poo. I'm stumped. She's eating, she's growing, but she's not really pooing except for this once a week, green Mississippi mud (what it looks like- eww, sorry TMI). Does anyone have any experience with their baby doing this?

I truly appreciate any help. Thank you!

post #2 of 7

Have you considered a hindmilk/foremilk imbalance?  It is possible you are actually making too much milk (especially with the fenugreek supplements).  If you are making too much milk, proportionally more of the milk will be the watery, low-fat foremilk and your babe might be filling up before getting the thick, creamy, nutritious hindmilk.  This can cause spit-up because the baby is constantly eating because the foremilk isn't keeping baby full for very long (no fat = fast gastric emptying).  And since the baby is eating large volumes, the baby is getting too much lactose for little one to digest and can cause gas and explosive green poop.  My guess is with the formula the baby is finally getting some fat and is filling up and staying full.  How much are you getting in one pumping session?  Does it look thick and creamy or thin and watery?   I would probably quit the fenugreek supplements if I were you.  Try googling "milk oversupply".  See if any of that sounds familiar?  The kellymom website has some pretty good information too, I would definitely check that out.  I, too, had an oversuppy with my guy, and it was a fairly easy fix. Don't give up, I am sure that this can be resolved.  Good luck!

post #3 of 7

I agree with the PP that looking into oversupply/over active let down may help. Check out these links - lots of interesting info:







Edited by PatioGardener - 3/11/12 at 6:25pm
post #4 of 7
Thread Starter 

You know, I never considered the possibility of over supply. I had been assuming just the opposite, that I didnt have enough milk, because she had never been satisfied. What you're saying is making a lot of sense though.


If I pump before she feeds then I can get as much as 3 ounces from one side, if it's after she feeds, then usually only an ounce or so. I've noticed though, that the milk content doesnt seem too fatty and have been perplexed. With my other children, if I pumped and stored it in the frig, the milk would separate and I would have a nice fat layer on top. This time, not so much. I barely see any fat at all. Ive tried to look up how to increase the fat in my milk but havent found much information. But maybe fixing a possible oversupply problem is the solution here as well.


Thank you for the advice and encouragement!


Thankyou for the links PatioGardener! I will go check those out now.

post #5 of 7

Good luck, and hang in there!

post #6 of 7

I absolutely agree with the foremilk/hindmilk balance and overactive let down - I went through that with my little guy, supplemented with formula, and thought the same as you (not enough milk) until I stumbled upon that La Leche link!  All of a sudden, I had an "aha!" moment reading that checklist and rushed to show my husband.


ETA: The link above is a good one, but here is the one that actually turned on the lightbulb for me - may be validating for you, too!  http://www.llli.org/faq/oversupply.html


They put my lil babe on nasty acid reflux meds, told me to elevate him when he slept, etc.  He would also scream and arch his back when feeding, or refuse to nurse and only take a bottle.  He had more frequent stools, but they were all watery and green (unless on formula - then slightly better) and had tons of gas, poor lil guy.  I was going over and over my diet worried about allergies and I was so upset!  But then we figured it out - yaaaay! biggrinbounce.gif


I would definitely talk to a lactation consultant.  I didn't, and I should have.  I ended up needing to do block feedings for a while [offering only one breast for multiple hours in a row, in an attempt to drain it and get to the good (hindmilk) stuff - also will help bring your supply down some], but you really should only do that under the guidance of a lactation consultant.


I discovered that while I *thought* I was getting to the end of a boob before switching him, I really wasn't.  The time guidelines they generally give you were waaaay off for me - 15-20 min. per side was just loading him up on the sugary foremilk.  I decided to keep pumping longer after he was done and discovered that I wouldn't even hit the creamy milk until almost an hour after I started!


As a light at the end of the tunnel, I have to tell you, through block feeding (very carefully noting my supply) and time, it regulated and got so much better (at around 3 months).  Then it has been smooth sailing for the most part, all the way to 11 months! (if his stools became green again once in a while, it was my cue to pay better attention...but even that disappeared by 6 months)


I would DEFINITELY stop the fenugreek, though!!!  Just compounding your problem. smile.gif


Hang in there, mama!  It will get better.  And isn't it funny how we had the exact opposite problem we thought??? nut.gif

post #7 of 7

OP- how is it going for you, any changes?

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