What do you do if you notice your breastfed baby has green, frothy stool? Here is the scoop on green poop. There are two main considerations when a baby has green watery bowel movements: (1) oversupply and a foremilk/hindmilk imbalance, or (2) baby’s reaction to something the mother consumed.
Oversupply and Foremilk/Hindmilk Imbalance
It may take several weeks for a mother’s milk supply to regulate. When a mother experiences oversupply, the baby can take in too much low-calorie, lactose-rich foremilk and not enough high-calorie, fat-rich hindmilk. That can lead to fussiness, gassiness, low weight gain and/or green, watery stools. A mother can attempt to remedy the foremilk/hindmilk imbalance by “block feeding”: feeding on the same breast for any feedings during a two to three hour period. The mother nurses on one side per feeding, and if the baby wants to nurse again within two to three hours of starting that first feeding, she continues to nurse the baby on that same side so that the baby gets more hindmilk. During that block of time, the mother can express just enough milk on the other side to prevent engorgement, plugged ducts or mastitis.
It is possible that the green stools are evidence of a sensitivity, allergy or negative reaction to something the mother consumed. Green stools with mucus is a one of the possible signs of a food sensitivity, along with fussiness, trouble sleeping, pain, eczema or rash, congestion, and blood in the stool, among other things. If you suspect an allergy, read more about allergies here.
Interestingly, some mothers taking the galactagogue fenugreek report green, watery stools as a side effect in their babies. It’s unclear whether this is from the fenugreek herb itself or the mother’s increased milk supply from the galactagogue.
As always, if you have concerns about your baby’s health, consult a doctor. Certainly if the green stools persist or there is any question about possible low weight gain, seek medical attention.