Correcting a foremilk/hindmilk imbalance? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 9 Old 01-23-2003, 08:52 PM - Thread Starter
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My baby is 3 weeks old, and I'm pretty sure he's getting too much foremilk. His stools are green and slimy (there are also brown seeds in it), and they're even more explosive than other breastfed babies I've met. DH and I say that he has projectile poop. Obviously, he also has serious gas issues. The gas doesn't seem to hurt him, but he's always passing it, and it's what makes his poop fly so far. Anyway, all of that together makes me think that he's getting too much foremilk.

He already only nurses on one side per feeding. He's refused to switch sides since he was born. (He was 5 weeks early, so he only nursed for about 5 minutes at a time for the first week or so.) That part should help, but I think he's nursing too often. I've been writing down his nursing sessions, and he always eats at least 12 times per day. Most of the nursing sessions now average about 10 minutes.

My gut feeling says that he'd be better off if he were eating less times per day for longer, but I don't know how to make him do that gently. I obviously don't want to put him on a schedule. I did start using the same breast for 2 consecutive sessions about 2 days ago, but that seems to only be helping a little bit.

FWIW, I do seem to have too much milk. I haven't needed to pump in over a week since he is feeding enough to empty my breasts often enough now, but when I did have to pump, I could get 4 oz in 5 minutes using a double pump. I think that it would also help if I had less milk, but I only know how to increase my supply, not decrease it.

Any suggestions?
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#2 of 9 Old 01-23-2003, 09:15 PM
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I used to use the same breast for several feeding over a 2-3 hour period, then switch. That cuts the oversupply issue too.
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#3 of 9 Old 01-23-2003, 09:19 PM
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Is your baby gaining poorly? How does he sleep? If he is gaining within normal limits, not keeping you up all night, not abnormally fussy or in pain, I'd say you don't have a problem.

Normal bf stools can be yellow and curdy to green and slimy. Many babies have lots of gas and are totally normal.

Many babies need to nurse extremely frequently--12 times a day is roughly every 2 hours--normal for a young baby. Even my 2-year-old dd has been known to nurse as often. Give yourself a break from watching the clock and watch your baby instead.

There really is no such thin as "too much milk." Your letdown is probably quite strong, you have an easy time pumping, and your breasts are not used to making milk yet and may become full-feeling and leak. Again, you sound fine to me. If your baby is irritated by a strong letdown, try hand-expressing a little milk before you nurse, and latch him on when the letdown slows down.

When I say. "express a little milk," I do mean "a little." The same goes for when you are feeling full. If you pump to relieve fullness, you're telling your breasts to make more milk then the baby needs. If you nurse him on demand, your body will adjust to his needs.

Some babies nurse for hours, and some nurse for minutes at a time. Your baby is probably a very efficient nurser, provided he's having many wet and poopy diapers each day. It sounds like making dirty diapers is no problem for him My dd once pooped all the way up to her hair!

Enjoy your little one--they grow up fast.
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#4 of 9 Old 01-23-2003, 09:44 PM
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Wow. Congrats on the baby!
It sounds to me like you are doing everything right.

I had the same situation with both mine. It did seem to straighten itself out after about a week of nursing only 1 side at a time. You also might avoid pumping for now, as it stimulates more production.

As long as baby is gaining well, peeing and pooping ( although I know that poop you are talking about ) then I would continue to nurse on demand and nurse on 1 side per feeding.

Milk production is not even mature for about 2-3 more weeks with you, so hang in!!

If you are really concerned and baby is not thriving, contact an IBCLC in your area. Check the ILCA site or sites. Your local LLL leader may be a great help too if you have one there.

booby blessings,
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#5 of 9 Old 01-24-2003, 02:45 PM
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Hi there.

I found that pumping off before a feed helped in this area. I just pumped off a little bit (less than an ounce I think) then put my ds on to nurse. So he got more of the hindmilk. His poops got more yellow and more seedy. I only did this for a week. Then my production kind of settled itself out.

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#6 of 9 Old 01-24-2003, 11:15 PM
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I had this problem and solved it by nursing the same side for a 3 to 4 hour period, every time dd was hungry, then switching to the other side for a 3 to 4 hour period.

Helped immediatley!

good luck
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#7 of 9 Old 01-25-2003, 12:07 AM
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Sounds like an overactive letdown reflex. My DD had those same green, explosive, slimy poops for her first six months! She would fuss, arch her back and pull off over and over aagin for a few weeks . . and I'd spray her in the face the whole time! I got a ton of advice for this problem, and tried some pretty crazy stuff (ever walk around with frozen peas in your bra??!!), but she seemed to adjust on her own after about week 7. In the meantime, what helped was using a small nipple shield for the first few minutes of nursing to "catch" the letdown (it would forcefully fill the cup and not blow her off!), then sneak it off for the rest of the feeding. Her stools remained green with stringy things in them until we started solids, but she was happy and gained weight wonderfully. I nursed alternating sides after abandonming the one-side-for-four-hours routine. It just didn't help!
Good luck!
mommy to Greta 3/14/02
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#8 of 9 Old 01-25-2003, 06:19 AM
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Here's another vote for stay on the same side longer. Just keep nursing on one side until that breast is empty--as long as it takes, be it 2 hrs or 4. (well, after 4 the other side might get a little engorged *ouchie*)
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#9 of 9 Old 01-25-2003, 08:47 AM
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I had overactive letdown, but didn't figure it out till dd was much older. I ended up having to go up to 6 hours on one side to slow down the production. My dd and I had a very rough first 5 months because of it. Good luck. (oh, and her poops were 'foamy' sometimes )

I sure wish that I'd figured it out sooner.
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