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Breast Feeding

Gassy breastfed baby

01/31/2007

Question:

My baby is 5 months old. He is terribly gassy and has always had a fussy time with breastfeeding. I had (have) lots of milk. He pulls off the breast and it is streaming out on its own. Early on, I went to one sided feedings and it seemed to help a bit. I was also told that my baby`s GI tract would become sophisticated and that he would also become better at breastfeeding and coping with my let down. Now, at 5 months he is still very gassy. Feedings are not comforting. He is on and off the breast a million times. I can never tell when he is finished. He seems to suck desperately, but pops off. I stop and burp him. This helps a bit, but he still has a hard time settling down. He doesn`t seem very is content after a nursing. Can be fussy if its awake time, or needs a pacifier if he wants to fall asleep. He usually nurses for about 5 minutes before getting really worked up. Sometimes I just don`t know if he is ever satisfied. He has very little quiet alert time unless I sling him. He IS gaining weight just fine though, so I can`t get my pediatrician to take me seriously. Birth weight was 6lbs, 4oz. and he is now 16lbs., 8 oz. at 5 months. His stools are only once a day and sometimes he goes 2 days without one and seems uncomfortable from gas. They are always dark green and mucousy. I have been off dairy and off soy, with no marked difference. We`ve tried Mylicon drops and Gripe Water but he hates taking either. Gripe water seems maybe to help get up some burps. Also, he spits up. I don`t know if its anymore than the average baby. Any ideas? Thank you.....

Answer:

It takes 3 to 5 weeks for all cow milk protein to be out of your milk.

If it has not been this long, then more time is needed to be sure this is not a cow milk intolerance. The dark green mucousy stools are a sign of bowel irritation. There could be some other allergens in your milk, but the dairy is the most common offender.

It also sounds as if he has GE reflux. This often leads to heart burn-like discomfort after feeding rapidly and can be helped by slowing down the feeding, but may need to be treated with anti-reflux medications such as acid reducers.

Breastfeeding in a sitting-up position also helps by allowing the milk to stay in the stomach during the feeding. Upright positioning for at least 20 minutes after feedings helps as well, as does elevating the head of the baby's bed slightly.

Sometimes it takes a combination of all of the above interventions to get to a more comfortable state for the baby.

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