Burping and spitting up for one to two hours (and sometimes even longer) after a feeding doesn’t seem normal to me. But this is what Little M generally does.
I tried to be understanding of Little M’s gassiness during the first three months of her life, because I remembered that it took Big M a few months for her “tummy troubles” to settle out. But now we are nearing four months and things haven’t really improved a whole lot.
To help her with her gassiness, which I learned may be a result of a foremilk/hindmilk imbalance and a strong letdown, I experimented with pumping off a bit of foremilk (which is very high in lactose) and getting just past the “letdown” to slow the flow of milk and prevent the crazy gulping that might contribute to her tummy troubles. You can well imagine how much of a nuisance this process was (especially with a very hungry and very loud baby waiting to eat). But it seemed like it was worth it; her tummy troubles seemed to be somewhat alleviated … for a week or so.
What next? Well, my research led me to a possible intolerance to lactose. Though lactose intolerance is apparently very rare in infants, she seemed as though she had a lot of intolerance symptoms – bloating, gassiness, spitting up, burping, screaming after a feeding, etc. During this time, I was giving Little M one bottle of formula before bedtime (around 8 p.m.) each night. Otherwise, I was breastfeeding exclusively. To test for an intolerance, I purchased a soy based formula and experimented with that for a few days (pumping on the side to maintain my supply). Though I secretly hoped her problems would be immediately solved, in a way I was not surprised when they weren’t.
Now what? Exhausted with Little M’s incessant need to be burped long after a feeding (which prevented her from getting proper rest, which we all know = a very grouchy baby), I knew we had to see the doctor. Though we were not able to get into our regular doctor, the doctor we did see was thorough in his investigation of her symptoms (though he did make me feel guilty about supplementing with formula, which I hate!). Weighing in at 17.5 lbs, Little M was in the 95th percentile for her weight, so there was no “failure to thrive” issues (which I knew all along). He was hesitant to give her antacid medications, because the acid that is in a baby’s stomach is important to ward off bacteria and viruses. He offered two suggestions (the second after I questioned him about it). The first was giving her a probiotic that basically has the same good bacteria as yogurt, and the second was thickening her formula a bit with rice cereal. We were to come back in a month.
A week later, we are trying both … unfortunately, I have yet to see major improvements. This morning, she still needed burping 2+ hours after her feeding.
We will be seeing our regular doctor tomorrow …