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Breast Feeding

Rapid letdown and increased gassiness

10/17/2006

Question:

MY SON IS 4 MONTHS OLD. HE CONTINUES TO HAVE ISSUES WITH EXCESSIVE GAS. THIS SEEMS TO BE WORSE IN THE MORNINGS. HOWEVER,HE HAS ALOT OF REALLY SINKY GAS FREQUENTLY NO MATTER WHAT. HE ALSO HAS HAD A DECREASE IN BM FREQUENCY WHICH I UNDERSTAND IS NORMAL.

HE ALSO HAS STARTED TO GO FOR LONGER PERIODS OF TIME WITHOUT WANTING A FEEDING. USUALLY DURING THE MORNING PERIOD AFTER ALL THE GAS. I`M PRETTY CERTAIN THIS HAS SOMETHING TO DO WITH A FORCEFUL LETDOWN--WHICH I`VE HAD ALL ALONG. COULD THIS HAVE SOMETHING TO DO WITH USING A BREAST PUMP WHILE AT WORK? HOW DO I SOLVE THE RAPID LETDOWN THING AND HELP MY SON WITH HIS GASSINESS? THANKS

Answer:

Infant gassiness with a foul odor, decrease in the frequency of bowel movements and feedings, is usually related to the mother's dairy intake. Stopping all dairy in your diet would probably solve all these problems. It would be necessary to stop ALL dairy products and to persevere with this for at least 5 weeks to see a complete resolution of symptoms.

Rarely gassiness is related to a foremilk/hind milk imbalance, when the mother has lots of milk, uses both breasts at each feeding and never really drains either breast well.

A forceful letdown usually makes babies cough and sputter at the breast, then rare back and push away while trying to catch their breath. It does not cause the foul odor or the decrease in BM's and appetite.

Using a pump at work is usually the answer to keeping up one's milk supply despite having to be away from the baby for several hours at a time. It does not usually cause an overabundant supply or a forceful letdown.

If you feel your letdown is too brisk for your baby, you might try releasing some of the initial pressure with a few minutes of hand expression before latching him onto the breast. A nipple shield will also blunt the squirting at the start of the feeding if you think it is a problem.

For more information:

Go to the Breast Feeding health topic, where you can:

Response by:

Jeanne L Ballard, MD, FAAP, FABM Jeanne L Ballard, MD, FAAP, FABM
Professor Emeritus, Pediatrics, Obstetrics and Gynecology
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati