I may have figured out what Sam’s problem is. Yesterday morning I did some poking around on the web, trying to figure out what else I could do to soothe a colicky baby. One thing about Sam’s late night crying that’s been bothering me is the green, mucous-like poop she has. She only gets it at night, never during the day. On Friday, when we went to the pediatrician’s office, I asked about this but the nurse practitioner who saw us said there was no connection between the nighttime green poop and the all night crying jags.
Well she was wrong!
At least I think she’s wrong. I finally searched Web MD for “colic” and “green bowel movement” and I came up with one hit, an article that lists everything you didn’t want to know about breastfeeding and ailments in infants. Turns out there’s something called infant lactose overload, which is something that happens when a baby gets too much foremilk and not enough hindmilk.
Some folks may be scratching their heads at this point and asking, “What the hell is foremilk and hindmilk?” Well, breast milk comes in two flavors, and I’m not talking chocolate and vanilla here. When a baby first starts to nurse, the milk that comes out is full of protein and a sugar called lactose. That’s the foremilk. After a while, the milk changes so that it’s got more fat in it and less protein and sugar. That’s the hindmilk. Apparently, if the baby gets too much foremilk, the bacteria in her intestines will latch onto it and cause a lot of gas (which is painful for the baby) and will also cause watery green poop.
How does the baby get too much foremilk? Well, in my case, it’s probably a problem of overproduction. Yes, my D-cups runneth over. Sam gets filled up with the excess milk I make, getting more foremilk before she can get to the hindmilk. Since she nurses more frequently during the day, all that sugar in the foremilk spends all day long fermenting in her little bowels, thus the nightly deposits of green poop in her diapers. The solution to the problem is for me to pump off some excess milk before nursing her. This means that I am suddenly very happy that all my friends donated their breast pumps to me when they were done breastfeeding. I have four Medela pumps and one Advent and it looks like I’m going to be rotating through all of them to bleed off at least two ounces of milk before each feeding to ensure Sam gets to that hindmilk.
The good news is we figured this out yesterday morning so I was able to pump before each daytime feeding. Sam was still wide awake and fussy last night at 10 PM, but she wasn’t squalling like normal. I was able to put her in her basinet and after half an hour or so, she fussed herself to sleep. It was amazing. She didn’t wake up until 2 AM.
She did have some trouble at 4 AM, and I was still dog tired this morning, but holy crap, I actually got almost four straight hours of sleep last night. Do you know how amazing that is?
You do if you’re a mom.
By the way, if anybody is interested in reading more info on infant lactose overload, check Web MD at this link. There’s also a good article on it at Babycareadvice.com and a blog article at Mandajuice who’s motto is ‘Because you can never know too much about boobs.’ You’re right about that, Manda.