Q. We had our second child, Andrew, on Nov 28th. He was due on Dec 31st, so was almost 5 weeks early. I realized, while in the hospital, that he is a preemie and has a little more growing to do before he’s where Alicyn was when she was born at 38 weeks. So I’m trying to adjust my expectations from the start so that I don’t get concerned when it’s not necessary. What are the differences that I should expect developmentally between either Alicyn and Andrew or Andrew and monthly milestones. Also, at what point should being a preemie not particularly have an impact?
Tiffany asks a very important questions about breast fed babies’ stools. The following answers are from friends on her mom’s group. Important points to consider are highlighted for special consideration. See the last entry for a summary.-Diane, Editor
- It sounds miserable! I have breast fed my two kids and never saw what you are describing. Diapers leaked, but did not blow regularly. Sure, there stools were soft and liquid, but not watery–there is a difference. Sometimes I think doctors dismiss mother’s concerns too quickly…I am very conservative concerning health, and if I were you I would seek more input from a doctor, whether in your office, or a specialist. Wish I knew more!! Good luck, and let us know what happens! -Ruth
- S. only had “curds” in hers occasionally, the rest of the time it’s been a mustardy liquid. They always tell you there should be x number of wet diapers a day, but I could never tell with mine ’cause the poop was always so wet. M. was not always explosive, but now that she’s down to once a day it is (just changed all her clothes in the car about an hour ago). But for some breast-fed babies, explosive is the norm. The big thing is that as long as they’re urinating, they are not dehydrated. Hope this helps. Good luck! -Marianne
- K. only pooped every 4-5 days in the early weeks/months and when she did, it exploded ALL OVER. We were in Lowes for the worst one. I was carrying her in the baby seat and pulled her out b/c she was crying. The liquid poop had gone all down her legs and totally up to her neck. I took her out to the car and peeled her clothes off crying! She wasn’t pooping 5 times a day, but the consistency and non-absorbency was similar. -Bridget
- I remember thinking I wouldn’t be able to tell if they have diarrhea or not; but it does have some seedy texture and color. I also noticed what I ate somewhat affected the explosiveness. They get very explosive when I ate broccoli, beans, and cabbage. Your baby could be sensitive to a particular food. If so, observing your diet and trying different things may help. -YennI honestly don’t remember anything but ridiculous explosions, usually at the worst times which often required numerous loads of laundry in one day but…how often do you get to read emails describing poop!!!??That’s why I love all of you, someone “has been there & done that” and are totally willing to help. Even if it means describing what’s in their diapers!!! One day, these little people will thank us!!! -Natalie
- S. had the same thing – runny, never seedy and massive explosions – it didn’t let up until she started eating solids (and then went the opposite way!). She only pooped every 3 days, but when she did they were exactly as you describe – sometimes right up to her neck! I found the only diapers that worked to contain the explosion were Costco Kirkland diapers. The others – Pampers, Huggies etc were useless. And I spent my life soaking her clothes in Oxyclean!Both my kids have milk and soy protein allergies. I cut out all milk products and although that helped somewhat with gas and rashes and eczema – but the runny stuff never went away. As long as he is happy, not fussy, no rashes, eczema or wheezing, no blood or mucus in his stool it’s probably not a milk protein problem, just a little boy who likes to POOP! Once his digestive system is fully matured (around 9 months I think?) he should have it all sorted out. S. is 9 months now and is doing great. -Anna
- I know exactly what you mean with explosive and watery stools! M. had them too. I was told the same thing over and over about it being normal. Eventually her issues got so bad I had to take her to the ER b/c she was also projectile vomiting and couldn’t keep anything down. While there, the ER doc tested her& stools for blood as they suspected, in addition to her reflux, she also had allergies/intolerance’s to something. The usual suspect was dairy and gluten. She did test positive for blood in the stool (which wasn’t noticeable in the diaper). Once that was established I removed both from my diet (which was VERY difficult) and then eventually just went to the special formula (Allimentum) that is dairy free and gluten free. This solved the problem within 3-5 days of starting a dairy and gluten free diet. She was like a new baby!!My suggestion would be to keep a dirty diaper and call the pediatrician to see if you can bring it in to have it tested. They just put a little stick in and it comes back right away. If she does test positive or shows a trace of blood, it could be something she is unable to digest or is allergic too. I hope this helps! Good luck. -Jaime
- Both girls were breastfed and had completely runny poops. S.’s was very explosive, to the point where I kept switching diaper brands because I was so frustrated with the leaks. She was 2 weeks old wearing size 4 diapers that came up to her neck! Her poop reminded me of grey poupon mustard. I know, now you’ll never eat it again. I know I don’t. It got better after I cut out dairy and soy. However, if you feel concerned, I would follow that instinct and put a diaper in a plastic bag and take it to them. -Michelle
Thank you everyone who replied!!! You ladies ROCK!I feel so much better about my concerns after reading everyone’s experiences. We have tried 3 brands of diapers and two sizes, but I think next on our list (short of becoming part owner in oxi clean) is to find the plastic over pants for cloth diapers and give that a shot. And we will be bringing a diaper with us to the 4 week appt next week, so I can “share” my concerns with the doc. At my lactation consult today it was recommended to me to also cut out diary as much as I can. As well as try adding in extra pro & pre biotics to my diet and if I can find some directly to him. Hopefully the combo of tricks will help… and if not I’ll ask for more advice!!!
I do have a lingering suspicion that he will also turn out to have reflux like K. did which was aggravated by diary formula. No one ever suggested with any of our infants, all of which had to be on special formula, each different for different reasons, but no one ever said anything about doing a test for blood in their stools. That seems so simple. So if needed, I will definitely ask for this instead of playing the guessing game till we find something that works. -Tiffany
Summary: Breast fed babies usually have softer, more watery stools than bottle fed babies. Watery, explosive stools were fairly common among breast fed babies. Tiffany’s main concern was how she could tell if there was something wrong with her baby. She was especially concerned about dehydration.
There is a great variety of normal frequency, from 5 times a day to once in 4-5 days. And there is a variety in the consistency and color as well.
If you are concerned, here are some things to consider:
- Does your baby seem well otherwise? Is he eating and sleeping normally? Does he seem happy when awake? Is he still gaining weight?
- If your baby’s stools are particularly explosive, have you considered the food you are eating?
- Perhaps try cutting down on gassy foods like cabbage and beans or on very spicy foods.
- If there are allergies in your family to dairy, gluten, or soy, you may consider cutting out these foods while you are breast feeding.
- Call the doctor or take him to a clinic if you also notice: vomiting, fever, irritability, dry mouth, or sunken soft spot. If you are concerned about possible food allergies or intolerance, take a poopy diaper with you and ask that it be tested for blood.
- Generally, your pediatrician has seen enough babies that he/she knows what falls into the normal range. But if you are still concerned and don’t feel your pediatrician is taking your concern seriously, the next step would be to take your baby to a pediatric GI(gastro-intestinal)doctor.
“I have mixed emotions about it. The biggest thing is that breastfeeding is going so well now I don’t want to confuse him. It’s almost been the 40 days that the lactation consultant suggested waiting to introduce the bottle, but I’m still a little apprehensive. In your experience does adding a bottle to the breastfeeding cause any trouble? Also, I’m not really sure when I should pump. I thought I would just pump one bottle each day, but I’m not sure what time would be best. It would be nice for daddy to give our baby a bottle at night, but I don’t want to get out of bed at night to pump. I would rather do it during the day/evening sometime. The last thing is probably silly…. It makes me a little sad to share the feeding. I enjoy being able to meet that need for him every time. I know realistically I need to give bottles occasionally, but it does make me a little emotional.”
Let’s start with the last trouble first. It is a good sign that this mom is well-bonded to her baby and that she is successfully breast feeding. A lot of good chemicals are pouring into her brain every time she breast feeds and is helping her to be really attached to her baby. However, knowing the great importance of the baby and daddy bonding, should help her to “share” the joy, as well as the responsibility to feed the baby. The sooner and better the bond between a father and his baby, the better able he will be to carry the responsibility of fatherhood. He will always treat baby differently from mom, but that’s one of the reasons we best raise a family when both parents are involved. Share the joy! It will pay rich dividends later in childrearing.
When to introduce a bottle
She has lots of good questions. It is always best to get breastfeeding well established before trying to use a bottle for some feedings. The lactation consultant’s suggestion of 40 days is a good one. About the time of your 6 week check-up is a good time to introduce a bottle. If you are going back to work and your baby will need to take a bottle for some feedings, you may want to start pumping and feeding by bottle for a little while before returning to work. It will be good for both you and your baby to be used to this pattern.
Most of the time introducing a bottle for an occasional feeding doesn’t cause problems with breastfeeding. You may have to experiment with different nipples to find one that your baby can use well. Before starting to feed breast milk in a bottle, you may want to give your baby some water in a bottle. Adding a little bit of honey or sugar may keep him from rejecting the nipple.
How to begin pumping and still breast feed
Your breasts produce as much milk as in required. That means if you only breast feed your baby, your breasts produce enough for your baby. If you pump your breasts, they will produce enough to breast feed your baby and for you to store some for times when you want him bottle fed. Drinking lots of water and being relaxed also help to increase your milk supply.
Reasons to breast pump
There are lots of reasons moms have to pump their breasts either short term or long term. Many moms who work outside their homes still want to breast feed. They want their baby getting all the benefits of breast milk, but cannot be there physically. Breast pumping and having their child care provider feed their baby breast milk is a great solution.
Breast pumping also allows daddy to feed baby sometimes. It is so healthy for dads to bond with their baby and feeding time is a great opportunity for dad and baby to get attached to each other. A night feeding is especially nice so mom can have an uninterrupted night’s sleep occasionally.
Using a breast pump will stimulate more milk production. Premature babies sometimes cannot suck well enough to breast feed successfully at first. Mom can pump her breasts her baby will get all the great benefits of breast feeding during those early formative days. Once he is ready to breastfeed, she no longer needs to pump all the time.
Occasionally when mom needs to take a medication that might affect her baby, she will be told to pump her breasts and discard the milk until it is safe for baby again. During this time she will need to use a formula, but should be able to resume breast feeding soon.
Got a question…. We’ve been extremely blessed to have a baby that only cries when dirty or hungry. But, the last two days have been a little more interesting. A few times while I’ve been feeding him, he latches and eats well for a minute. But, then it’s like he starts drinking and gulping faster than he can handle and starts screaming. I just try different positions or give him a break and try again. Do you have any ideas what’s going on when he does this? He’s been crying a whole lot. Yesterday he skipped a nap or two and I think he just got overstimulated. To my surprise though he slept for a 4 hour stretch last night and has been napping a lot today. I really have sympathy for mom’s that have babies that cry all the time. It’s very disheartening not to know what’s wrong or how to fix it. Rachel D.
I really don’t know what is going on. It sounds like you are doing all the right things- giving him a break and changing positions. I don’t know what the screaming is about. Perhaps he just gulped enough to have made a big bubble that he needs to burp? Whatever the cause of his crying, this may be when he is going to start drinking enough at some feedings so that he can sleep longer stretches.
As long as he seems content most of the time, sleeps well for at least 14 hours out of 24, and continues to gain weight, don’t worry about occasional days where he is really disrupted. Whatever he is doing is probably just temporary and will correct itself pretty soon.
Call the pediatrician if he is vomiting a lot, has repeated diarrhea, a fever, is crying incessantly, is not sleeping at all, or is only sleeping. If you get worried, call your doctor, that’s what you have a pediatrician for. Diane
Well, I think I figured it out last night. I started having a weird pain on one breast – hard to explain. So, I called the lactation hotline at the hospital where we delivered. She thought maybe it was the beginning of a clogged duct. It all kind of makes sense if that was the problem. He was probably sucking as hard as he could and not getting what he’s used to, then comes the scream. So, we’ve doctored with heat and ice and most of the pain is gone and he’s eating well from that breast now too. Thanks for your input. Rachel D.