Now that I am back at work he eats expressed breast milk during the day and nurses in the evenings. I have heard that block feeding can help if it is a foremilk hind milk problem but I can't do that during the day because I am pumping at work!
Aside from these green poops he seems perfectly healthy and happy.
Any suggestions about correcting this? Could the cause be something I am not thinking of?
I hope this helps.
Now, I'm not sure if you'd get the normal amount of milk if you usually pump both sides at once, or switch back and forth at each pumping--but I'm thinking it could work after trying it for a few days. Just an idea!
I had the green poop problem a few weeks ago with my newborn/preemie. It was definitely a foremilk/hindmilk issue for us, and making sure ds was nursing for a longer time at every nursing session fixed the problem within a day or two. Ds had to go back into the hospital at day 5 for jaundice treatment (after my milk came in, meconium was all out, and he was having the normal yellow poops). The treatments at the hospital messed up our normal bfing schedule and his cues, and I wound up actually feeding him more frequenly... BUT because I had to wake him up to eat and he would just go back to sleep instead of eating more (and the bili-lights made him sleepier), he was feeding for shorter periods of time (5-8 minutes) and only getting foremilk. After leaving the hospital, ds's bilirubin levels went back up and he hadn't gained any weight... I talked with a lactation consultant through my pediatrician. She said for me to do everything I could to keep ds awake and sucking for 20 minutes at each feeding and that got us back to yellow poop. The lactation consultant said that the hindmilk is what flushes the body of bilirubin and gets rid of the jaundice... would have been nice if they had told me that at the hospital instead of messing up our breastfeeding. Also, the LC said that if the baby is only getting hindmilk they aren't getting any of the fats which are required for growth, only foremilk which is more watery and only satisfies thirst... this could have been a real problem for my preemie and led to weight loss, "failure to thrive", or more serious jaundice treatment. Hope this helps! Good luck!
We had some green poop issues early on because of oversupply, but they evened out with some block feeding and some time. However, even for months after she would have the occasional day or two where it was green for no discernible reason. It could be nothing, and if he's gaining well and seems fine otherwise, I would not stress about it too much. I would be worried about green poop in a newborn, particularly a jaundiced one, for the reasons treehugz mentions, but not as much in your situation.
However, you mention he is 16 weeks old, and 12 weeks is a common return-to-work date, so that makes me wonder if there is a connection there. How long have you been back at work? How long do you pump for at each session, and how far apart are the sessions? I wonder if you are pumping enough of the hindmilk for him.
Just remembered one more thing... the Lactation Consultant also suggested that I could try pumping some of the foremilk out before latching ds on so he wouldn't have to wait for let-down and could get to the hindmilk quicker. I'm terrible with pumps and hand-expressing, but fortunately my 4yo dd remembered how to breastfeed and was eager to try, so she would breastfeed for a minute or so before I put ds to the same breast.
He has had a few yellow poops (yay!) but still has at least 1-2 green ones per day.
Erigeron, yes, I have been back at work for a month now. I am only able to pump 2x at work (9am & 12:45pm) and when I do I pump for about 15 minutes. It isn't ideal but it is all I can do with my work schedule being what it is. When I get home if he isn't hungry I pump again then as well (4:30pm).
I'm a little worried that if I pump out the foremilk before nursing there won't be enough milk or him when he nurses? How much/ how long should I pump before nursing?
Since he has had a few yellow poops and still seems happy and healthy I am trying not to worry about it too much .
Yay, return of the yellow poops! I'm wondering what time of day he's having the green poops vs. the yellow poops. I'm thinking the green ones are coming from when he's drinking the pumped milk that has more foremilk? So then pumping foremilk before you nurse him at home wouldn't really help. How long does he breastfeed when you're home and how often do you breastfeed him when you're home? Does he night-nurse a lot? Could you try pumping more at home for longer than 15 minutes, getting in more hindmilk, so he could drink that when you're gone? Might take a little time to get you're supply to adjust to extra pumping in the evenings. I'm not an LC though... just brainstorming!
Green poop is pretty common, far more common than foremilk/hindmilk issues so without other indications I would assume it was fluxuations in your diet. Do you take an iron supplement? Iron supplements cause greep poop.