The occasional green stool is not unusual in the breastfed baby. Consistently
green stools, however, are not normal for the breastfed baby. Most
doctors don't seem to recognize this as a potential problem because
they often define "normal stool" as that of the formula-fed
infant. Baby's stool can be a wide
variety of colors and textures , and not all of these are cause
for concern. It is helpful to know what is normal
for the bf baby as well.
Consistently green stools in the breastfed baby can indicate:
- an imbalance of foremilk/hindmilk, often resulting
in frothy green stools.
- a sensitivity to something in the mother's diet,
such as cow's milk products.
- a sign that baby has an illness. Babies with an intestinal virus
or even a simple cold will sometimes have green, mucusy stools.
Teething can also bring about green stools due to increased saliva
(can also cause tummy upset)
- a lot of green vegetables or something with
green food coloring in mom's diet.
- If baby has started solids, that could also
account for the change in color (this is normal with the change
If your baby is sleepy here are some suggestions
to help keep the baby awake and interested:
- make sure your free hand is supporting your breast
so the weight of the breast isn't on the baby's chin
- switch breasts as soon as the baby begins to
lose interest in active nursing, this *may* need to be done every
30 to 60 seconds at first (the first few times you do it). You
should begin to see a difference within a couple days of doing
- Burp and change diaper. Burping should be done
with the baby sitting supported upright on mom's knee or lap rather
than over the shoulder because it's also less sleep-inducing.
- nurse in clutch or "football" hold
as opposed to cradle hold - it's a little less "cuddly"
- massage the baby's head (crown) in a circular motion while nursing.
Also using a wet cold washcloth and wiping back against the grain
of the hair growth can help Try this for several days and see
if there's improvement, and please update us as you can.
- Place baby on your lap with legs near your tummy
and head on your knees. Gently supporting baby, raise in sitting
position, like doing a "sit- up". Do this two or three
times, then do "side to side" a couple times.
- You can also try breast
You may want to reduce any outside or excessive
stimulation. (bright lights & noise) Sometimes babies just need
to tune out all the noise/light and they do this by falling asleep.
If you are having problems with the baby not actively sucking,
you can try breast
compression, or try the following tips offered by Kathy
Kuhn RN BSN IBCLC:
Allow the baby to take normal pauses in his suck pattern up to
about 15 seconds. If the pause lasts longer encourage him to suck
- Taking a deep breath...sometimes just that movement of your
chest makes the baby suck again.
If that doesn't work try...
- massaging your breast...take your whole hand and squeeze
near the chest wall (GENTLY) then squeeze midway between the
chest wall and areola then squeeze near to the areola and then
repeat the sequence. Stop massaging as soon as the baby sucks.
If that doesn't work try:
- stroke under the baby's chin from chin to
Adam's apple with medium pressure.
If you have tried all three and the baby is not
suckling take the baby off the breast. If it has been less than
about 10 minutes per breast of active suck then you should probably
supplement after that feeding unless
all other feedings have been super.
See additional tips on waking
baby at Dr Wm Sears website, Ask
Teething often brings concerns about biting. It
may help mom to know that the actively bf baby cannot bite during
the process of nursing. It is only when baby is not actively nursing
that biting may become a concern. Sometimes this can happen if baby
starts to fall asleep on the breast and "clamps down"
to prevent the nipple from slipping away, or sometimes the baby
is "testing" out the new teeth and will bite down on the
nipple. Teething babies often "gum" things, including
mom's nipple to help with the teething process, not understanding
that teething on the nipple hurts!
The following links have tips to help with
teething, scraping of teeth, and reduce/stop biting:
Copyright © 2000 - 2006 Jim Yount
Send email to Paula Yount for any questions or comments about this site.
The pages contained herein are meant purely for informational purposes
and every effort is made to provide accurate and up-to-date information.
This information, however, is not meant to take the place of your doctor,
nor should the information contained on this web site be considered specific
medical advice with respect to any specific person and/or any specific
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