"Touchpoints" and a One-Month-Old

As I enter the room Keema, Katherine and Roberta's robust one month old, is wiggling in Katherine's lap.  As I walk closer to these mothers, Keema  turns toward mother's breast. Mom looks tired as she leans over, picks up and undresses her daughter for her check up. 

Breastfeeding has gone wonderfully for the trio. As a full term baby, Keema crawled right up to Katherine's nipple within thirty minutes of birth. Lots of time spent skin to skin and frequent breastfeeding contributed an abundant milk supply.  She seemed predictable now and was sleeping for at least four hours at night. Mom was up for only two quick feeding during the night.

But now life is different. 

Keema is wiggling and squiring after only one hour of sleep. The baby nurses for for few minutes then drifts off to sleep again. Her nap also seems more unpredictable. She goes down, wiggles and squirms and fussies until Katherine puts her to the breast. Keema is more gassy now and her stools have become oddly green. Katherine and Roberta wonder if their baby is really hungry and might need some formula. "Maybe I don't have enough milk," Katherine say.

What an interesting example of when a "Touchpoints" has been misunderstood and actually creates a breastfeeding problem. 

"Touchpoints" is a time when a baby is having a developmental surge causing a change in her breastfeeding pattern. These times of change are predictable. Breastfeeding mothers can misunderstand this behavioral change and give formula or abandon breastfeeding. 

I took time to show these mothers The HUG video demonstrating the difference between Active/Light and Still/ Deep Sleep. Katherine laughed right away when she saw Active/Light Sleep. "That's exactly what she looks like!"

And in the case, frequent "Snacking" by this one month old was causing symptoms of "Lactose Overload": increased gassiness and green stools. The condition quickly resolves when Katherine follows this advice: 

  • Watch for Active/Light Sleep. Let the baby wiggle and squirm a few minutes and baby will probably return to Still/Deep Sleep. 
  • Breastfeed fully from one breast to get the higher calorie (and lower lactose) at each feeding.
Within only three days, Keema's stools are back to yellow and gassiness has resolved. Even more exciting, these moms have watched their little one wiggle from Active/Light back to Still/Deep Sleep. Mothers and baby are both sleeping better.