New Momma MusingsBeing a new momma, I have discovered many things I never imagined I would be so intrigued with or spend so much time researching. So, until D-man is about 1 (when I guess I will no longer be a “new momma”), I will write a monthly “New Momma Musings” to document my journey and give some info about things we come across that I have either been surprised about, or have found helpful or interesting. What better way to begin than by getting down and dirty!

 

Of all the things I was not prepared for upon entering motherhood, this is one of the most surprising to me. NEVER, ever did I think I would be so interested in my child’s diaper contents.  I was well aware that it was in the job description to make sure that D-man was having an appropriate number of wet and dirty diapers, but I was not prepared for the natural progression from a quick glance to a scientific inspection!

Maybe everyone is not so engrossed with their child’s poo patterns (how often, what color, what consistency, etc.), but because D-man quickly went from the normal mustard seedy yellow to a scary green mucous, it was my mission to become an expert on poo. Despite my immediate fear and concern over what might be wrong with my child, he is healthy and happy, but I have learned A LOT about the causes (and remedies) for different types of bowel movements.

Here’s how I became an expert: All was fine and dandy for  3-4 weeks after our little guy arrived. Then, one day the diaper changed it all! D-man would alternate between the normal yellow mustard seedy to the green and slightly mucousy poo until there was no more yellow. After a few trips to the pediatrician and many hours of research online, I am no longer awaiting each elimination with great anticipation!

If this happens to your child, of course consult your pediatrician (lactation consultant can also be helpful in breastfed babies), but here is what I learned that might be helpful. The most important thing for a new mom to recognize is that chances are your child is completely healthy!! But, here are a few causes that my pediatrician and I went through until we narrowed down what was going on with me and D-man. He is strictly breastfed, so that played a huge part in our explorations.

1)      Virus. This was the initial thought from our pediatrician. I took a diaper (I felt completely awkward wrapping up my child’s poopy diaper and then offering it to our pediatrician, but it turned out he wanted to see and it was much easier to show than to describe) and braved the sick hours one Saturday morning. The pediatrician thought D-man may have picked up a virus due to the large amount of mucous in the diaper. The recommendation for this was to keep him hydrated and let it run its course.  We later learned the virus was not the cause, but for many babies mucous can indicate a virus.

2)      Food Sensitivity/Allergy. D-man’s actual “diagnosis” is a dairy protein sensitivity/allergy. I was suspicious of this from the beginning, so the first week after birth, I began to limit my dairy intake. However, after a couple of weeks with no problems, one weekend became a dairy fest! After some lattes, a cheeseburger, pizza (all super healthy, I know!), we had a return to the green. Off to the pediatrician and I returned with a healthy baby who  is thought to be sensitive to dairy. No more cheese or lattes for this momma!  After about a week, all was right with the diapers (we were lucky it only took a week–I learned that it can take a few weeks for the dairy protein to completely clear from baby’s system).  So, being oh-so-smart, I went back to my daily lattes, but substituted soy milk. This may work for some, but I have also learned that it is common for babies with a dairy sensitivity to also have a soy sensitivity. After a brief return to the green, I cut out the soy and all went back to normal. Fast forward to about 3.5 months and a return of the green! After analyzing my diet thoroughly (no dairy, no soy), I realized that I had peanut butter every day for about 5 days in a row. I have not discussed this one with the pediatrician yet, but after some research of my own, I came to the conclusion that peanut protein might be another sensitivity, so I cut it out and all has been normal since. There are many different sensitivities that can present, but I have learned that it is typically foods with protein that pass into the blood stream that cause a problem (dairy, soy, peanut, egg, etc.). Hopefully this will not be a lifelong problem for D-man. Our pediatrician said that most babies will outgrow these sensitivities and he will have me begin to reintroduce certain foods into my diet once D-man gets to 6 months or so.

3)      Foremilk/hindmilk imbalance. While this was not officially diagnosed, I do believe that this was a minor contributor to D-man’s diaper dilemma for a brief period. I went through a short period where all of the foods that cause sensitivity were cut out and we still had some random green diapers. I scheduled an appointment with my lactation consultant and she made the suggestion to make sure that he completely finished one breast before moving to the next.  La Leche League and KellyMom were my go-to research sites for this. Without going too deep into the science of how you produce milk and how baby digests milk, the basic explanation is that foremilk has more lactose and hindmilk has more fat. Baby produces lactase to help digest the lactose. If baby ingests too much lactose from the foremilk and not enough fat from hindmilk, they may not be able to produce enough lactase to easily digest the lactose, which can then cause green watery or frothy stool (bring back some memories from Bio 101?!). So, I followed that advice (he has always fed from both sides at most feedings) and I also tried to start on the same side the previous feeding ended on for about a week. Keeping up with this was tricky in those early weeks when all feedings ran together, but I found that keeping a hair band on my wrist, which I moved back and forth depending on what side he fed from last was a big help to keep me on track. Through my research, I learned that a true foremilk/hindmilk imbalance is not as common as many believe. So, while I don’t think this was a major problem with us, making a minor adjustment in his feeding pattern seemed to help.

4)      Poo is just green. From what our pediatrician has said and the research I have done, it seems as though some babies simply do not follow the text book routine with bowel movements (or anything else, for that matter). D-man has continued to have a random green-ish diaper here and there and when our pediatrician said that just might be his normal, I had a hard time accepting it.  However, I am quickly learning that there is no baby manual, despite ALL of the baby books on the market.

I REALLY like when there are clear cut answers to problems, but I am slowly learning to accept that will not be the case with raising a child! I anticipate that this poo problem is only the first of many new research projects for this momma!