Poop, who knew you’d ever be so interested in it.

Poop, who knew you’d ever be so interested in it. The color, the consistency, the smell. Who cares?? But then you have a baby and you find yourself talking about it like it’s the weather. I often find it’s the first thing I think about when I’m asked about my baby. Well that and sleep, but that’s a whole other story.

So why is it we become so interested in poop when we become parents? If you already are a parent, and I’m really not sure why you’d be reading a blog post about poop if you weren’t, then you already know the answer. If you aren’t a parent, please back away from the screen and go to SLEEP. You will thank me one day…

Poop is one of the few things that give you some insight as to what is going on with your baby. If your baby is sick his or her poop will likely give you a heads up. Or drive you bonkers trying to figure out if something is wrong because when is green, liquefied poop normal?!

For those of you, I’m looking at 9 out of 10 of you moms, who wonder if your baby’s poop is normal or it’ a sign they are…

Lactose intolerance, have a stomach virus, milk protein or soy allergy or some other kind of allergy, a hindmilk/foremilk imbalance, or diarrhea… you’ve come to the wrong place. I’m no doctor. I can’t tell you what's going on. BUT I can share my experience and hopefully give you some peace of mind while you wait till a decent hour to call your pediatrician. Yes, I know you are probably reading this while you breastfeed at 2AM… because I to was scouring the interwebs in the wee hours of the night looking for an answer about poop and devouring every piece of information possible.

Let’s go back to about 7 weeks ago… My little girls poop— oh wow...  It just dawned on me I really an writing a post about my child’s poop. LOL— was a bright mustard color with what I can only describe as mushy pieces of white rice in it. Everywhere else you look it’s described as whole grain mustard, and just no. I don’t know what kinda mustard y’all are eating but trust me… it shouldn’t look like (healthy-breastfed) baby poop. Well, unless you are eating honey mustard, because it totally looks like that. Or curry….

Fast forward 4 weeks… I open her diaper to a firehose of pea soup. How’s that for a visual? I proceeded to call my pediatrician, on a Saturday, to describe my baby’s poop. A first for me. He informed me that it sounded like a hindmilk/foremilk imbalance. I, of course, being a great mom knew exactly what he was talking about…. Just kidding. I promptly replied, “A what??”. Well kids a hindmilk/foremilk imbalance basically means they aren’t emptied the breast before moving to the next. OR you have an oversupply (lucky you) and your little one is filling up on the “skim milk” and missing out on the “whole milk”. It’s a common misconception that one is better than the other, but that simply isn’t the case. They are both nutritious. BUT you want a happy balance of the two. Anyways, we discussed options, which are as follows…

Hindmilk/foremilk imbalance?

Symptoms:

Frothy and/or loose green poop

Painful burping and spitting up feeds

Colic

Explosive stools

Reflux-like symptoms

Troubleshooting:

  • Wait until your little one has finished the first course before moving on to dessert. Always offer them the 1st breast twice to ensure they are finished.

  • Oversupply? Block feeding may be right for you. Block feeding is where you exclusively feed from 1 breast for roughly 3 hours before switching… though I’d suggest speaking with your ped or a lactation consultant prior to making this move as it could affect supply.

  • Force full letdown or oversupply? Try pumping for a couple minutes to get some of that foremilk out of the way.

I initially chose to block feed, but couldn’t trust myself to religiously pump the other side to ensure my supply maintained as I didn’t have an oversupply, so I ended up ensuing I was getting her to empty the breast before moving on. I personally didn’t like that last option of pumping for a few minutes as I didn’t want to waste any milk by tossing the pumped foremilk, but I also thought it would be counter-productive to save all that foremilk up and feed it to her at some point.

This didn’t seem to solve the pea soup poop problem.

The next issue we investigated was lactose intolerance/milk protein allergy. Because I totally forgot to tell you guys, there was also the occasional mucus in her poop. Which can indicate an allergy. Or nothing at all. This is fun, right?

From my understanding, the major difference in initially diagnosing whether we are dealing with an intolerance or allergy is blood in the stool. Now before you think you are in the clear you should know this is a trick. You cannot necessarily SEE the blood. They will run a test to see if there is any blood in the stool. For me, there wasn't. So we were to assume it may be an allergy. First up would be checking lactose off the list as that is the most common intolerance/allergy in infants. (For those of you wondering, Soy is next on the list.) Say goodbye to cheese, milk, CHOCOLATE. Sigh. Life is hard. Oh! But on the plus side the baby should be smiling at me soon! Which she did, as I was wiping her butt one day. At least she is appreciative. :)

Allergy/intolerance

Symptoms:

Loose green stool

Mucus in stool

Blood in stool (allergy only)

Pulling away from breast, crying or fussing while nursing/feeding

Hives or rashes

Vomiting (not always, usually with an allergy and not an intolerance)

Diarrhea

Troubleshooting:

  • Have doctor test stool for signs of blood

  • Elimination diet

So now I’m in week one of what I’m sure will be the three hardest weeks of my life. Life without dairy. I’ll report back once I have more information. In the meantime I’ll leave you with some more information I learned about baby poop.

Here is a nifty link to images of the various types of baby poop.

Worried your baby has a stomach virus? A big indicator would be dehydration. Dry lips, fewer wet diapers, sunken eyes and/or fatigue are some signs. If you suspect you baby is dehydrated, call your doctor right away.

Wondering if your baby has diarrhea? Join the club. This one is hard to diagnosis if you are breastfeeding. My baby is pooping 3-4 times a day, which isn’t considered a copious. To be considered diarrhea the poops need to be frequent and they will likely be stinky.

There is a TON more information on poop. I could literally talk for hours, people. If you have any specific questions I’d be more than happy to share what I’ve found or even do some more research for you-- let me know in the comments!


Katie SchroederComment