For the last few weeks we have had some poop and gas problems with Adalyn that I promised I wouldn’t bore you with, until I realized this is a very real issue other breastfeeding mothers are also struggling with.
At just 3 weeks old Adalyn has had terrible gas that is quite stinky, she’s going poop only about once a week and she is extremely fussy, apparently uncomfortable and not sleeping well.
I entertained thoughts about Addie having a reaction to something in my diet but nothing seemed to be connected. We tried gas drops, gripe water, burping, tummy sleep, swing sleep, bicycle exercises, baby wearing, warm baths, constant holding and non-stop nursing to help and calm her.
When we called the doctor and midwife about the lack of poop we were told as long as she’s gaining weight and wetting diapers it’s not a concern (the lack of poop). They suggested we to try glycerin suppositories, Karo syrup in water or a lubed up rectal thermometer in the anus to stimulate poop (and I also found this advice in many places on the internet)… nothing seemed to work for us (well we didn’t try the suppositories) and I was still quite concerned about the lack of poop.
On occasion a mother will describe notably infrequent newborn stooling when asked. Sometimes it has been overlooked or, using the criteria for older babies, labeled normal. Sometimes, under the advice of family, friends or health workers, this has already been treated as constipation.
During the 1990s mothers have related such treatments as: changes made in the mother’s diet; various supplements for baby including glucose or corn syrup water, fruit juices, or pureed fruits; various types of anal stimulation, anal dilation and enemas of vegetable oil. In cases of infrequent newborn stooling, babies are often known to have or are later found to have poor weight gain. Source LLL Site
Adalyn first went a week between pooping, then 6 days between poops. Her gas pain and the malodorous odor seemed to worsen as the days went on without a poop but on the day she finally did poop each week the gas and fart smells were basically gone for about 24 hours. And she slept, like a peaceful, happy girl. And she also slept for good stretches of time and would go right back to sleep so easily.
These glimpses of her content and pain free time made it impossible to accept that this was just something we would have to wait for her to outgrow. There was no way this was incurable, something was causing it and that cause could somehow be remedied… if we could nail it down.
Breastfeeding is hard and can sometimes be puzzling. This fact alone is why so many are quick to supplement baby with formula.
We are blamed and told something in our diet is upsetting baby, but what? We are told a formula can help with tummy trouble and possible allergic reactions, and sometimes they do… The sticking point is that the number of babies that actually can’t tolerate mom’s milk is actually very, very small.
Additionally, breastfeeding supply issues (not enough milk, too much milk, etc) can almost always be remedied instead of just giving up and switching to formula.
In our haste and desperation we just search for any possible solution for our pained and unhappy babies…
Sadly this results in the end of nursing relationships.
My own breastfeeding struggles and frustrations give me a very real understanding of why some moms give up completely. The huge breastfeeding benefits to mom and baby make the struggles and frustrations something worth enduring, for me (and hopefully to you too).
The Solution? Who knows!
If you are a nursing mom that arrived here looking for the solution to this problem I feel your pain! Adalyn is now 5 months old and while nothing I explored has solved the issue (tongue tie, block feeding, reflux, enzymes, gas drops, karo syrup, water supplements and more doctors visits) I think I am on the right track.
Don’t let Dr. Google swamp your brain and overwhelm your instincts like I did. It is oh, so easy to search the web, or ask for advice on social media when your baby is hurting but in doing this you might be setting yourself up for further frustration.
Everyone can speculate and there are seriously an infinite number of reasons for any ailment… the kicker is that each child and situation is different. Take Addie’s pooping for example… She’s gong more often now. Not sure why or what the issue was. Maybe my supply increased to fit her needs and all I needed to do was stop fiddling with remedies and just cuddle up to nurse her on demand.
A plane trip to Arizona forced me to nurse her non-stop and amazingly her pooper started working more. Was it the Kombucha or the altitude change or the stress? Was it my diet or the dry air or the drama? No clue.
Will I stop trying to learn more about my own gut health and how that impacts my nursling? Nope. Will I refrain from googling when she has an issue? Probably not and neither will you.
My point is TRUST your instincts and the age old wisdom our bodies already have. We were made to carry, birth and nourish our growing babies. Sometimes all we need to do is slow down and get back to the basics to resolve the issues, rather than over thinking them.