Friday, May 21, 2010

Breastfeeding and the baby’s bowel movement (Poop)

I was fully breastfed my baby for 6 months. My baby has no issue with constipation for that 6 months. For the first few weeks, the bowel movement is very frequent, few times a day. And as he grow bigger, about 2-3 months, he start to have irregular bowel movement. This is NOT constipation. Although most of the time he had his bowel movement (poo-poo) every 5-7 days (sometimes even longer than 7 days)! I still remember, one time he break record, after 12 days then he had his poo-poo! It makes me so worried! BUT his stool is soft and has “nice” color (golden yellow) and it smell like usual. I am a first time mother, I was so panic when my baby doesn’t had bowel movement (poo-poo) for so many days. PLUS, one mother, who stay “near” me, told me that I should STOP breastfed my baby, because not all baby suitable to be breastfed! Hah??? In my mind I was thinking, is she sure what she is talking about? she herself didn't breastfeed her baby! Then she suggest me to give my baby water, because according to her, my baby can not poo-poo because he wasn't given water! I listen to her advise, I gave my baby water… my baby didn’t want water, then she suggest me to give my baby glucose water….again… I tried what she suggest… this time my baby drink a bit, because it is sweet! still… No poo-poo! I see my baby was fine, no discomfort, why should we adult over worried? and every time he poop, the stools are normal… not the hard one! Although my baby stools is soft BUT it doesn’t mean he has diarrhea.

After 5 days waiting, still no bowel movement(poop), and this mother who stay “near” me make me very uneasy. She keep on saying it is something wrong about my baby for not having his bowel movement for many days and I SHOULD STOP breastfed my son and give him formula milk instead! WHAT?!!! I think I need a professional advice, although I knew what I was doing is right, breast milk is the best for my baby and it’s normal for breastfed baby to have irregular movement! Finally, I call my doctor (maybe I make the phone call is to assure her that my baby is OK and I should cantinue breastfeed my baby) and told him about my baby siuation, then he asked me to relax…. Just like what I expected, he told me it’s normal for fully breastfed baby, because breast milk is very easy to digest and adsorbed, and most of the time, almost 100% being adsorbed, so nothing much left in the intestine, the intestine will collect enough to move it out, that’s why breastfed baby doesn’t had bowel movement (poop) everyday and it is absolutely normal. However if the baby shows discomfort, then the baby need to be checked by doctor! And according to my doctor, breast milk contains about 70% of water! So if the baby is breastfeeding, it is ok if the baby doesn’t want to drink water, just give breast milk will do.

After 6 months fully breastfed my baby, I finally started to introduce solid into his diet at 6 and a half months (breast milk was still added into his cereal), at the same time he started to have constipation, because all the while the system having too easy work digesting the breast milk! As he was taking lesser breast milk now, I have to give him more water this time (some glucose water may help too). I found that giving certain fruits is help also, like Golden Kiwi Fruit, Papaya, Prune(baby puree food in bottle), Pear(baby bottle food) and Peach/apricot (from baby bottle food). Remember, all the fruits must be ripe and soft. Before give the fruit to my baby I mashed the fruits with fork untill like puree. I son like all of it :)

According to Dr. Sporck in his book, “Baby & Childs Care”, breast-fed babies bowel movement are as follow :

1. In early weeks, the baby may have many or few movements (poops) a day, some have movements (poop) after every feeding/nursing!

2. The movements are usually of a light yellow color and maybe watery, pasty or seedy, or may have the consistency of thick cream soup. They are almost never hard.

3. Many breast-fed babies change from frequent to infrequent movements by the time they are one, two or three months old ( This occurs because breast milk is so well digested that there is little residue to make up bulk in the movements). Some baby have one movement (poop) a day, others a movement(poop) only every other day or even less often.

4. The breast-fed baby’s movement (poop) stays just as soft when it is passed every two or three days or even less frequently.

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