My second son is now a month old and for the past 10 days he's been very fussy and windy. In the weeks leading up to his birth, I changed my diet because I am breastfeeding and didn't want to cause him problems.
I made a point of not eating cabbage/onions/sprouts nor have I been indulging in (my favourite) spicy foods. I've stopped drinking my morning orange juice, coffee or tea and, apart from one little slip-up, I have cut out alcohol entirely. I don't have any food allergies in my family, neither does my husband, so I am still eating dairy, peanuts, wheat etc.
For the first few days of the fussiness, I just thought it must be normal. He was fussy for most of the day and feeding for hours on end in the evenings. Night-times, interestingly, weren't too bad. I don't remember my first son going through a particularly fussy stage, but all babies are different, so I just assumed that this little guy was just this way.
Then came the change in the poo. Like all new parents I'm obsessed with what's in my boy's nappy and the first day the little green flecks turned up, alarm bells started ringing. This wasn't right.
Green poo coupled with wind meant something was going wrong...I started Googling and worked out that it could be one of two things.
1. He wasn't getting enough hindmilk so was suffering from hyperlactation. If you swap sides before they've completely emptied your breast, babies will be living off the foremilk which is less fat-rich and has much more lactose than the hindmilk. This can cause them problems as it's hard for them to digest the higher amounts of lactose.
2. He was reacting to the relatively small amounts of dark chocolate I'd been eating.
Immediately, I changed the way I was feeding him. I had been assuming that when he stopped feeding or fell asleep on one breast, he had emptied it, so would swap sides. During his mammoth evening cluster feeds, I'd be swapping sides sometimes twice or more an hour. Instead, I am now sticking with one side for two hours no matter what and then swapping.
I also stopped having any chocolate.
His poos immediately went back to the normal, lovely, yellow kind with no green at all. He still has the odd bit of wind, but it doesn't seem to cause him discomfort and he's certainly not crying and grunting for hours before letting rip some definitely-not-baby-sized-toots.
The jury seems to be out on whether or not chocolate causes problems in breastfed newborns. Half of the advice says to cut it out all together, the other half says to continue eating it. Some say that it's the caffeine in the chocolate that causes the problem, others say it's the dairy (I only eat dark chocolate and am still eating and drinking dairy products, so that isn't the issue for us). Some women say eating chocolate was a requirement for them when breastfeeding, others say that even the tiniest amount would cause their baby to have terrible problems.
At some point I will have to try some chocolate again to see if it's the culprit. I will leave it a few weeks in order to give him a break though. It will be a tough few weeks.
No coffee. No tea. No wine. No beer. No spicy Indian meals... AND no chocolate?! Please, please, don't let it be the chocolate. It's the only food-indulgence I have left. If I have to cut out chocolate what will I be left with?! A cup of (non-chocolate) Ovaltine?
The sacrifices we make for our children. Harumpf.