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Why on earth has my breastmilk changed from full-fat to skimmed? (& green poo...)

(26 Posts)
pobletsmum Sun 20-Jul-08 21:50:30

Firstly, I am delighted to still be exclusively b'feeding DD at nearly 5 months, having only managed 3 months with DS, the last 6+ weeks of which he didn't gain any weight. After a difficult start, things have been going well this time. At the last weigh-in, 10 days ago, DD was still gaining weight. However I'm concerned about a few things.

1. DD has been unsettled & quite whingey for the last 3 weeks, since her 3rd set of immunisations (probably coincidental)
2. She has done several green runny poos every day (most nappies are dirty) for 3 weeks. Sometimes they are greeny-yellow, other times fairly green, but not like they had been previously (yellow).
3. I use the occasional bottle of EBM (1 every 2 weeks approx), and the last few times I've pumped, there is very little cream when the milk settles out - not even a complete layer of the bottle, even in a bottle of 6oz expressed in one go. There has previously always been a thick layer of cream on top.

DD is definitely teething, so I'm not sure whether that explains the whingeiness, but I'm not convinced, and it wouldn't change my milk fat content. I took her to the GP who checked her chest, ears, felt her tummy (all fine) and has sent off a urine sample, for which I'm still waiting for results.

I haven't started weaning, and am feeding on demand, approx every 2 hours during the day, more in the evening. Since the early days, DD has slept through the night (currently 8pm-5.45ish, at one time was regularly 7.30-7.00!). I am reluctant to wake her during the night as she is gaining weight and gets very grumpy about it! DD feeds very efficiently, taking less than 10 mins for most feeds. She sometimes only wants 1 side, but I always offer both. In the evenings when supply is low, she has been known to have 6-7 'sides'!

So... please can you tell me whether I should be worried about the changes in DD & the milk. Also, I have the opportunity to weigh her tomorrow, and can't decide whether to or not. I am very anxious...

LackaDAISYcal Sun 20-Jul-08 21:57:01

could it be an oversupply issue? is she fussy at the breast and do you have a forceful letdown?

JackieNo Sun 20-Jul-08 21:57:06

IIRC the milk definitely looks different at different stages (ie, depending how long you've been bfing). Can look almost blue, in later months.

LackaDAISYcal Sun 20-Jul-08 21:58:46

and I should have said well done for still exlc Bfing at 5 months.

they do go thorough a big growth spurt at this age which mught also account for the fussiness and the oversupply issue if she has been feeding lots and stimulating your supply.

MamaHobgoblin Sun 20-Jul-08 21:58:48

I can't tell you anything about the milk going skimmed (I haven't expressed for ages and am crap at it), but my baby boy is 20 weeks tomorrow and has also been going through a similar-sounding thing to yours, also more or less since his last imms at 16.5 weeks.

He's grumpier during the day, unsettled at night (that is a blinding understatement: in fact, for any of us to get any sleep at all, he's in bed with me by midnight so he can wake and feed and be comforted by me without me having to be very awake myself) and his nappies have been ... odd for the last two and a half weeks. Green or greeny-yellow, and until last friday, he was pooing every couple of hours, although these were mainly mucussy splats after the big humdinger wake-up poo... We're seeing his GP tomorrow, in fact.

I just wonder if it's developmental, or related in a minor way to the last lot of jabs, or even that now everything goes in his mouth, he's getting minor tummy bugs. (I suspect him of teething too, but nothing to see as yet.)

Sorry, not much help, but it does sound familiar!

JackieNo Sun 20-Jul-08 22:01:23

Does this help with the way it looks?

JackieNo Sun 20-Jul-08 22:04:02

And yes, when they're teething, it often seems to affect their poo - can be much more explosive.

ilovemydog Sun 20-Jul-08 22:05:36

My DS is 4.5 months and is teething, or at least something is happening around his gums as he's drooling and sucking hand.

AM no expert, but my milk content changes frequently. I pump usually every day, at least a bit, and varies.

I don't know what ebm means.

RhinestoneCowgirl Sun 20-Jul-08 22:06:30

pobletsmum - DS's poo went exactly as you described whenever he had a cold or a bug of any kind. Same for teething. I wouldn't worry too much about the consistency of your milk, but would have taken to nurse/GP if things didn't improve(which you have already done).

JackieNo Sun 20-Jul-08 22:07:27

ebm = expressed breast milk.

Notanexcitingname Sun 20-Jul-08 22:14:25

I found EBM to be really variable in fat content, and can't say I noticed a correlation in DS's behaviour, so assume it wasn't indicative of general milk fat content, iYSWIM. For me it was more down to how well I let down for the pump, which depended on how I was feeling, stress, time of day (whether DS was crying blush)

Am not an expert, just sharing my experience

LackaDAISYcal Sun 20-Jul-08 22:16:52

kellymom with links to stool problems

try not to be too anxious; if she has been gaining weight and is well inspite of the fussiness etc then it would appear things are well. I would take her to have her weighed tomorrow if only to set your mind at rest, then perhaps try offering the same breast for two subsequent feeds to see whether that resolves the issue, if it is one of foremilk/hindmilk imbalance or over supply.

If you keep bumping this, then hopefully tiktok or hunkermunker or other BFCs will see it. Or look on hunker's blog for the helpline numbers and talk to a counsellor direct.

pobletsmum Sun 20-Jul-08 22:49:38

Thanks everyone, you're all being such a great help! I'll try to respond to all of your suggestions:

LackaDAISYcal - I guess it's possible that it's an oversupply issue, but my gut instinct is that it's not. If anything, DD gets fussy at my breasts due to slow flow/lack of milk. She's not very patient! She's happier when I swap to the next side (having put her back same side till she gets cross!). For the first couple of months, DD choked at every feed due to forceful letdown. Things settled down after that, and she doesn't choke now, so I assumed the letdown is more manageable for her. Also my boobs never feel full any more, like they did when I had oversupply in early days. I had a good look at the Kellymom links, and the only thing that kept seeming to fit is either a bug (although that should have passed in a few days) or teething. Maybe it's just teeth after all.

JackieNo - thanks for link. Milk is blueish, which is fine, but it does concern me that even in a 6oz bottle taken from one pumping session, there was barely any fat, just a few flecks. This has been happening for my last few pumpings, not just a one-off.

Rhinestone - I intially thought it was the injections, or a bug on the way, but it's been 3 weeks now, and DD seems generally healthy apart from the whingeiness & teething symptoms. Very odd...

ilovemydog - I agree there's variation in milk from one pumping to next, but this a massive change from how it used to be, and seems to be fairly consistent.

MamaHobgoblin - I'm so relieved to hear that DD isnt the only one suffering this way, although I'm sorry you're having the problems too. Mucussy splats are a good description of DD's nappy contents! I look forward to hearing what your GP has to say...

I think I will weigh DD tomorrow, thanks Lacka, and hope that tiktok & hunker etc. are around sometime. I might ring one of the helplines tomorrow.

pobletsmum Sun 20-Jul-08 22:56:24

Thanks notanexcitingname. I think in all honesty I'm a bit worried that my milk is being affected by my low mood/anxiety at the moment, making it less fatty. This in turn could be causing the green mucousy poos and whingeiness. Just a theory, and I am really hoping that it's not the case as I really want to keep b'feeding...sad

I think I had better get some rest now, but I plan to check back in the morning. Thanks everyone.

tiktok Sun 20-Jul-08 23:40:06

pobletsmum, it's late and I am on my way to bed but there is no evidence from any studies or research that low mood can affect the milk's fat content in any way at all and no possible mechanism by which this could happen...speak tomorrow

pobletsmum Mon 21-Jul-08 06:05:52

Thanks tiktok, that's good news! Hope to hear from you later.

tiktok Mon 21-Jul-08 10:20:12

pobletsmum, sometimes babies do have whingey times and sometimes this coincides with green nappies. Both may be the result of the baby fighting off a minor infection - no big deal, and this is what breastmilk is 'designed' to do, to prevent a baby becoming ill, and as your GP has checked everything, we can be pretty sure she is basically well (barring results of urine test).

Green nappies are on the normal spectrum, anyway.

The obvious layer of fat on your milk which you are used to seeing - that was unusual. There's nothing wrong, but I would say most women would not be aware of that, especially not of a 'thick layer'. Breastmilk fat content changes all the time, from feed to feed - it doesn't matter. My guess would be you have just observed normal milk, every time, and coincidentally some of it has looked very creamy and some of it hasn't. Maybe the fat has homogenised more effectively more recently, who knows? If you weren't expressing, you'd not be aware of these normal variations.

It's not worth micro-analysing these things - breastfeeding is clearly working well for you and your baby, and this is the case whether or not her poo is green, she whinges, and whether or not your milk seems to be less obviously creamy than it was.

You wondered about having her weighed - fine, but be aware that some health visitors are liable to microanalyse as well, and what they say may not be based on a good knowledge of breastfeeding

ilovemydog Mon 21-Jul-08 12:56:32

Like the word 'microanalyze' smile

Am weaning myself (or rather DS) from scales as I'm turning into hyper nervous woman. May go once every month or 6 weeks....

pobletsmum Tue 22-Jul-08 21:00:46

Grrr.. I posted yesterday, or so I thought, but the gremlins have been at work and there's no sign of my post.

I have some good news...

- urine test all clear
- DD has gained 4oz in 10 days, which is fantastic grin
- DD has her 1st tooth - I sense that a whole new adventure in feeding is about to begin (ouch!)

The green poos and 'fat-free' milk are still with us, but thanks to everyone's support, I'm not nearly so worried now. Thanks tiktok for your sane, sensible advice! I do have a tendancy to micro-analyse everything. Not an easy habit to break! The change in creaminess of my milk interests me more than it worries me. A change from nearly 1cm cream layer to just a few flecks is quite dramatic.

MamaHobgoblin - how did you get on at the GP?

tiktok Thu 24-Jul-08 08:42:59

Good news, pobletsmum

Gill79 Thu 24-Jul-08 23:06:49

Hi Pobletsmum! This all sounds so familiar. We too have cranky baby, green explosive poo and skimmed milk grin. Congrats on the tooth!

pobletsmum Sun 27-Jul-08 19:55:42

Hi Gill! I hope to come back to feb thread when I find it. I'm so out of touch I almost daren't come back blush. Glad to hear you're having the skimmed milk thing too. I feel much better about it knowing it's happened to someone else. Did yours go from decent creamy layer to almost nothing too?

I have good news again... only 2 dirty nappies today, one of which wasn't green!

Still have cranky baby.

Must express some more milk to see if it's still creamy...

littleducks Sun 27-Jul-08 20:02:05

My milk is less creamy atm and im pretty sure it is due to the heat as ds is thirsty more than hungry iyswim,

weblette Sun 27-Jul-08 20:02:17

pobletsmum, my ds3 went through exactly the same for about five weeks from when he was four months old. It cleared all of a sudden and he's been fine ever since

whomovedmychocolate Sun 27-Jul-08 20:08:28

Glad to hear your baby is doing so well and you are still feeding - good for you! In answer to the creamy/non creamy bit though - fat in breastmilk does vary in both levels and also it's emulsification. Basically if you freeze milk it depends on its state when frozen on what state it comes out in. Kind of like badly mixed icecream wink.

Also it depends when you express apparently, was reading this really interesting academic paper on how breastmilk is so much better than formula (well duh) and apparently evening milk is not only more plentiful but fattier - to sustain for the night ahead (and yet they still wake up and demand more), whereas morning milk is more watery. So there you go. (The stuff you learn when stuck in hospital for the month with only the breastfeeding library and Heat magazine for company!) hmm

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