Thursday, August 20, 2009

Sorry, More About Poop

Don't bother reading if you have any aversion to discussion of baby poop in detail. I mean it; this post is the shits. Har har.

So Mac (a.k.a. Big Mac, Mac Attack, Macaroni)'s poops were green, runny, frothy, and stinky for weeks. Very un-baby like. I asked my doctor, my lactation consultant and various lactating friends. From the experts I basically got shrugs and the response that with breastfed babies, it's variety in, variety out. But Mac seemed kind of cranky and he wasn't sleeping that well and the poops were really gross, so it seemed to me there was more to it.

My friends, meanwhile, had all read about foremilk / hindmilk and suggested this might be the problem. The idea is that if you have too much letdown, your baby fills up on 'foremilk', which is kind of like skim milk. Great for hydration, but baby misses the thick, fatty whole milk at the end of the feed. So I tried feeding on one boob per feeding so that he would empty it. No luck, still green. I tried block feeding (feeding on one boob exclusively for multiple feedings). Still green.

So I started pumping. I don't bottle feed exclusively; I alternate between the two. But he's been getting three full bottles a day. One in the morning, one around lunch, one at night with breastfeeding sessions in between. And yeah, expressing is time consuming but frankly so is breastfeeding. He spends upwards of 40 minutes on the boob. What time I blow hooked up to the Medela, I get back with the bottle when he sucks it down in under ten minutes. And not only are his poops back to a nice, yellow, non-smelly baby normal, he's happier, calmer and I swear his naps are steadily increasing in length. Plus, it's giving my boobs a break and I've noticed a reduction in vasospasms. That in and of itself is worth it.

Of course, the sleep thing also correlates with our attempts to follow the 90-Minute Baby Sleep Program. Wait, wait, don't roll your eyes, hear me out. I AM NOT SLEEP TRAINING. Some friends had good luck with it, so I decided to give it a go. The premise is that babies are on a 90-minute BRAC cycle. So you start the clock as soon as they wake up and 90 minutes later, they should be ready for their next nap and you need to start the process of putting them down.

Normally I'm also skeptical of this stuff, but I'd already noticed Mac had a cycle. He slept better if he had a good play following a feed and now that I've started watching it, it's pretty damn close to a 90 minute cycle. If we can get him down around that mark, he goes to sleep with very little fight. His naps will vary - shorter in the daytime - but he's up to three hour chunks at night, which is a vast improvement. And he goes back to sleep a lot sooner. Plus, he's waking up happier. And did I mention his poops?

I dunno. Maybe this all sounds obsessive and you experienced parents are still rolling your eyes. But having a plan gives me the illusion of control. Research gives me comfort. Like I told my Reflexologist yesterday, maybe this is all just a placebo and Mac would be going in this direction anyway. But said placebo gives me confidence, makes me feel happier and relaxed. These positive effects must translate to my relationship with Mac. And that's an improvement.

WORKING: Now that he's staring at the TV, do you feel a responsibility to show him quality programming?
TREV: Yeah. Put on The Daily Show.

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Anonymous Anonymous ~ 10:33 AM

Hi Monica ---- The 90 minute theory sounds much like the way we did it in the old days....... (When Baby cooperated). Baby would wake for a feed, we would feed them, play with them for a while, or bath them, whatever, and then put them down for a nap. I don't know how long that this would take, but it could have taken around 90 minutes (more or less. The feed,play,then sleep, would be a 3 to 4 hour cycle. Then you would start over..... The night sleeps would then increase from 3 to 4 to 5 to 6 hours all the way to 8 to 10 hours.... (only to change when teething started). This is generally how it worked - ( not every day of course --- you would still get bad days). Hopefully this will work for you.... Glad to hear that expressing milk has helped with the green poop.... The theory makes sense. Talk to you soon...
Love Mom (Grandma) A.  

Anonymous Anonymous ~ 10:37 AM

One added comment that probably doesn't need to be said... You didn't do the play step during the night..... That was just feed, change diaper and back to bed.....
Mom (Grandma)A.  

Blogger Working From Home Today ~ 12:03 PM

Yeah, it seemed really instinctive anyway, which is why I decided to try it. We were kind of going that way anyway. Just, sometimes I need a book to tell me the obvious. I blame it on the school system... ha! ;)  

Blogger Pam ~ 12:55 PM

We did the 90 minute cycle too, and it worked like a charm on Claire. I didn't consider it sleep training because we were still flexibile and would still rock her or cuddle her a bit longer if she needed it.

Pam (fellow reginamom and blogger)  

Blogger Momma Pants ~ 10:35 PM

You should be the founding member of the #1 Mommy's Detective Agency with your poop sleuthery! Well done!  

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