Friday, June 13, 2014

Too much milk

As I was reading through some old blog posts, including this one mentioning Baby E's fussiness and difficulty with nursing and this one that mentions her inconsolable near-constant screaming, I was reminded of how difficult those first few months of nursing were with all three of my older kids. While they really did probably all have reflux and Ebee definitely had food intolerances too, something I've learned with Baby Nae is one thing I really wish I had learned sooner, as I think it would have helped significantly with my other babies.

I'm so thankful that--I forget whether it was through a lactation consultant or just googling symptoms--I came across the La Lache Leage International page about oversupply and overactive letdown and a few others on the topic.

All four of my babies had many of the symptoms listed. With their rapid weight gain combined with other symptoms, there was no doubt that we had this issue. (Note: some babies actually have trouble getting enough milk because of overactive letdown, so not having rapid weight gain doesn't necessarily rule it out, but it is one factor a lactation consultant will consider.)

Baby Nae had the same kinds of symptoms the older kids had displayed--wanting to nurse constantly, but writhing and fussing even while nursing. Green frothy diarrhea. Massive numbers of wet and poopy diapers, far above average. Arching her back and screaming inconsolably even right after feeding. Copious amounts of spitting up and gassiness. Gulping and spluttering during feedings. More fussing and crying and writhing. Not sleeping unless being held almost upright.

Thankfully, this time around we were able to figure it out and work with a lactation consultant to help manage the issue. The LC showed me some nursing positions to help gravity work to slow down the flow of milk, and I learned how to "block feed"--nursing on only one side for long periods of time. In our case, what worked was about 4-hour segments. I found a smartphone app to help track when I'd fed the baby on which side, and I'd feed her as often as she needed to be fed but only on one side for that 4-hour block of time.

That helped to regulate the milk supply and ensure that Baby Nae was getting enough hindmilk to meet her needs, rather than just getting foremilk delivered fire-hose style at every feeding. Within a week or two, it was so much better. The "colic" was gone.

Which meant that my fussy, colicky, inconsolably-screaming baby turned into the intense, social, active, but basically extremely happy child that she is. And, this time around, I get to experience having a baby that I can actually console most of the time when she cries. Usually if she's fussing, there's a reason that I'm able to figure out and fix. I can't even begin to describe how wonderful that is.

Such a simple thing, but it has made such an amazing world of difference.

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