K.W. asks from Acworth, GA on May 28, 2008
Green Poop & Blood in Poop of Breastfed Baby
Hi All- I have a 4 1/2 month old who has had issues with green, mucous poops. Once, he had visible blood in his diaper also. The pediatrician said that the most common cause for this was an intolerance to the dairy in my diet. She tested his poo for occult blood, & it was positive. It's been 16 days, and I have eliminated all dairy products from my diet. He seems a little better - sometimes the poo is yellowish, but there are still lots of green episodes. I was wondering if anyone else has had this happen, & what they had to do to continue breastfeeding. We go back to the dr. tomorrow to have his poo re-tested, but my gut feeling is telling me that there's still something wrong. He is perfect in every other way - happy, developing normally, in the high percentiles for weight, etc. He does have a lot of issues w/gas & fussiness - I cannot eat tons of veggies or salads without having gas drops in hand for him.
My husband is starting to think formula; however, I would rather keep trying to nurse. He has a co-worker who went through a similar issue, & she had to eliminate dairy, soy, wheat, eggs, and nuts from her diet. Her milk dried up at 7 months.
That brings me to two concerns: 1: keeping my supply up, and 2. staying healthy modifying my diet. I am still taking prenatal vitamins & calcium supplements. I don't drink alcohol or smoke,etc. If I have one bad vice, it's one can of barq's root beer. Otherwise, I have no caffeine or other carbonated beverages - it's water after that; at least 2 liters/day.....
So What Happened?™
Thank you, thank you, thank you, everyone for all of your advice & encouragement!!! I am really dedicated to continue nursing - giving up & switching was really not an option for me - I felt that by re-arranging my diet, we could better take care of little man & his tummy issues. Thankfully today went very well at the doctor visit. First, no blood in the poo!! We're still going to send some just to check & make sure there's nothing else going on. My pediatrician is also not for stopping nursing at all, & having that support helps as well. I think DH was mentioning formula just b/c he didn't want things to be too difficult for me. I actually think it would be tougher on me to not nurse - I really want that for DS.
The websites & articles you all sent were great - this led to me taking a little more note of how long he was nursing - during the day, it's very brief - I think it may be some overstimulation from the rambunctious 2yr old big brother, & I am going to try settling the environment a little more to aim at getting more hindmilk into him (I also usually only nurse one side at a feeding as well). I am starting to think that the hindmilk/foremilk imbalance may be the issue. At night, he nurses longer (after big bro is in bed, etc.), & the morning poo is almost normal. During the day - the "express feeds" I think are leading to the problem. I am going to keep the dairy out of my diet, & alter foods one thing at a time to try to make him happier. I am an RN, & thankfully, I have access to a lactation consultant at the hospital - I have an email in to her as well!
The dr. said he was definitely gassy - I am really trying to go easy on those foods as well, but she's not too concerned b/c he has no other symptoms - happy, giggly chunky baby, gaining & developing great. This is a really good learning experience for me - I think this may be the allergy baby in the family - I have food allergies: banannas, avocado, all melon, walnuts, pecans, and peanuts, as well as latex. Not just hives either; my throat swells, so this has put me on alert early for him. Big brother has no food issues, but I waited a LONG time to introduce the foods I am allergic to - I can't even get a kiss from him after he eats watermelon, which he loves!!!
Thanks again for all of your input - I will keep reading if anyone has any other tidbits!! Sorry this is so long, but it was my first post, & you were all so helpful!!
Have a great week everyone!
D.W. answers from Charleston on May 28, 2008
With green poop, sometimes it's that the baby is getting more foremilk (mostly water) and not enough hind milk (cream). You could try nursing him longer on each side or on just one side. Also nurse ON DEMAND, as a previous poster said, it's a supply is equal to demand. So no schedules. Also, in keeping up supply try Mother's Milk Tea, fenugreek, or get a hand pump and pump and freeze some milk for times when you can't be with him.
From Kelly Mom re Blood in stool:
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K.R. answers from Spartanburg on May 29, 2008
Sorry to say I don't have much advice (I pumped exclusively for about 10 months because of latching problems, and thankfully my supply kept up and we had no allergy issues) but I just wanted to tell you it sounds like you are doing a great job. Breastfeeding is such a hot issue with people -- you have to remember to do what's best for you and your family, whether that's sticking with a restricted diet and doing what you can to make it work, OR switching to a formula that works, OR a combination of the two. Whatever way you go, you have to remember you are doing what is best for you and your family!
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D.S. answers from Albany on May 29, 2008
K., I know it's challenging to breastfeed a child who may be allergic to things you eat, but formula is much, much more allergy causing. So, be encouraged - you're doing the best for your son.
I did have this happen. Eliminating one type of food at a time and giving it enough time to get it out of my system and then going on to another food, helped. When she was better, I slowly tried adding one food type at a time back in to see if I'd eliminated any she could handle.
But, what if it's only that you're not getting good letdowns? You may want to see if you can do some feeding at quiet times and get some really let downs, which will bring down some of the cream stuck to the walls of your milk ducts.
You'll continue to make breastmilk, just like women in famine conditions can, as long as you feed her responsively, and drink enough, (but don't over drink.)
Even if you have to eliminate cow's milk from your diet, I found that my children could handle me drinking goat milk and eating goat cheese.
Hope this helps,
D. S, mom of 5
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T.O. answers from Charleston on May 29, 2008
Generally speaking, green poops mean that the milk is passing through the baby's digestive system really fast. This could occur for a number of reasons. If your Dr rules out digestive issues, you may want to see a lactation consultant. They are usually associated with a hospital. It could be that the baby is not getting enough of the rich hindmilk and is only getting foremilk. This happened with me but is was accompanied by other symptoms. It is easily treatable and the consultant can help with that (ironically, babies who are doing this gain weight very well). I was also off of dairy and that did help as well, but I had to take EVERY trace of dairy out of my diet - reading labels for hidden milk was not easy, but worth it. Good luck with this.
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M.C. answers from Savannah on May 29, 2008
I actually did deal with this with my little one when she was small. For her, it resolved on it's own with nothing done. They did test her and couldn't find any known reason. In her case, she also went very infrequently which concerned us as well, but her stools were soft so it was alright.
Some suggestions though - is the baby taking any vitamin drops? Sometimes stopping these temporarily will help. It can sometimes be a reaction to moms diet. Sometimes the bleeding can come from the nipples of mom as well. There are many possible reasons, but in general it's harmless to baby unless baby seems sick in other ways.
As for formula feeding, I wouldn't make the switch as it tend to be harder for babies to digest than breastmilk. If his stomach is already sensitive, switching to formula could send you on a wild goose chase for a formula that doesn't make him sick. That's much harder than taking an ingredient out of your diet and the babies tend to get more sickly as well.
As for milk supply, plenty of fluids (WATER AND MORE WATER), lots of nursing as it's supply and demand. There are some herbs that can help, such as fenugreek, and a Mother's milk tea you can buy online from the midwifeshop.com. There's also something called domperidone that is used widely in other countries to cause relactation. It's been very helpful with the Chinese quakes and all of the orphaned babies. Women are opting to relactate and feed these orphans.
More than anything trust your gut. If your child doesn't seem ill, this is probably one of those things that will pass as it usually does. Sick children get worse without treatment. If he doesn't appear uncomfortable, feverish, or in otherwise poor spirits, just be patient. Babies digestive systems are young and often times just need a little time to operate in a manner in which we are accustomed.
I did find a concise overview of the many reasons this can happen. Here is the link to the article. Also, anytime a decision like stopping breastfeeding is on the line, I'd suggest a second opinion. That decision is a hard one for mom to make without knowing it really is for the best. It never hurts to go to a second doc. Heres the link: http://www.kellymom.com/babyconcerns/bloodystool.html
Good luck and I hope some of this helps! :-)
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