My first "Mommy Instinct" :)

Warning; Warning!!
This post may only interest other mommies out there,
especially ones who breastfeed or have breastfed their children in the past.
So fellas, consider yourselves warned! HaHa!

Here's how it all went down...I know I'm a new mom, and frankly, munchkin hasn't been in the world long enough for me to know much about him. But I quickly learned how he likes to be soothed, what a typical "poo" looked like, and whether he had spit up a "lot" or a "little," and so on. So, a few weeks ago he started to do some things "out of the ordinary" for him: coughing during his feedings, starting and stopping, he had some stools that were green and small, a few of which had "threads/streaks" of blood in them, but not always. And the green poos were 'frothy' - hey, that's the only way to put it!! He wasn't necessarily fussy, but his bowel movements were certainly explosive, and he still tooted a LOT even after I cut out milk from my diet for a few days. (Since birth, he had been gassy and had nasal congestion since 2weeks old, but they never seemed to bother him before this and now they seemed to be getting worse.) So, the blood appearing overlapped with his2 month checkup, and his pediatrician said it was "Infant Milk Protein Allergy," suggesting I cut out all dairy products, soy, and nuts, and only use a hypoallergenic formula from now until he was a year old (saying that's when the allergy mysteriously goes away). I was breastfeeding and didn't want to stop abruptly; so, I called my Lactation Consultant (LC) for advice. In the meantime I had read a lot online about this so-called "milk-protein allergy," and came across 2 articles that seemed to describe what was going on to a 'T;' yet, they had NOTHING to do with an allergy!  

They were articles about a situation called "breastmilk oversupply" and/or "foremilk imbalance." (I've included links to the articles below.) In talking with my LC, she agreed that there were too many variables (dairy, soy, nuts, etc) in my diet, aside from the foremilk imbalance possibility, to really know the cause of the blood in his stool, with 100% certainty. So she suggested that "before I go changing my diet (risking him not getting the nutrients he needs, like calcium and protein from the milk, cheese, soy, and nuts) that I should try pumping out the foremilk (2-3minutes) and feed him only the hindmilk from one breast to see if his stools improve." Adding that "if he wants the 2nd breast, do the same. I asked, "So, how will I know if it's worked." She replied, "If the stools returns to normal. If they don't, it's the allergy." I thought, Okay, simple enough! And did just as she suggested for the next feeding.  

Result: his stools have been totally normal "breastfeeding poo" ever since from that first feeding - yellow, creamy, and cottage-cheesy! Ultimately, he DID NOT have some weird allergy, nor true "lactose intolerance," which I've read is actually pretty rare. He was just getting too much lactose, which his body didn't have enough lactase (lactose's enzyme) to break down, which irritated his intestinal tract. And the bloody diapers were *inconsistent* because sometimes he was getting too much foremilk and sometimes he was getting just the right amount. In other words, sometimes my breasts were "fuller" than other times.  

I can see why his PED didn't identify the foremilk imbalance--- she didn't even ask any questions about our routine, and whether I ever found myself engorged or him coughing, etc. And besides, if she had known it was the oversupply or imbalance, she probably wouldn't have known how to adjust our routine to help it, nor how to down-regulate my supply (and surely that isn't ANY pediatrician's expetise -- thank God for LCs!). But I will admit that I'm the type of person who gets skeptical when any Dr. states something like "we don't know why the allergy suddenly happens" and "we don't know why it goes away on its own." (Come on. When you're talking about SEVERELY changing the mom's and as a result, the baby's diet, and lifestyle, get a second opinion Doc!)
Anyway, now, with guidance from the LC, I'm balancing out the imbalance without having to pump the foremilk. And yes, his poos have stayed completely normal!! I'm sooooo glad that I did my homework and listened to my mommy instincts, and that my husband encouraged me to do so. Cause if I had to cut out all dairy and nuts....Good glory, I would've had to call up my dietician friend, and had a seriously long discussion with her, and maybe even hire a personal chef -- haha! I mean, being Italian I would have had to totally RELEARN how to eat!
Morals of the story: Trust your instincts, Don't be afraid to challenge your Pediatrician or get a second opinion, Use your resources--a quick (or long) call to the Forsyth Med Center's Nursing Mothers Center is free! Only if you go in for a formal consultation is there a charge :) And there's plently of LLL groups around, though I've never been.

The LaLecheLeague Articles I mentioned above:

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