So, about a week ago I cut out dairy & some other foods, and also started using thrush/yeast creams on Quinn's bottom along with regular diaper creams. His bottom has been slowly but surely getting better-- some of the rash is still there, but the overall trend has been towards healing. I'd even switched him over to cloth diapers, figuring he didn't need the heavy creams as much anymore so could use lighter ones with a flushable liner and be ok.
Then yesterday I noticed some new, fresh redness developing. Ugh.
Then my sister said something that made me get out my Womanly Art of Breastfeeding book (the latest edition, which BTW I strongly recommend to all breastfeeding moms even if you've breastfed before-- this book's already been a big help) and read up on oversupply and over-active let-down. Here are some of the symptoms related to having an oversupply/over-active let-down of breastmilk:
Quinn has shown all these symptoms, not all the time but off and on pretty much since birth. The past 2-3 days have been classic examples of "lactose overload"-- he'd get overwhelmed while nursing and pull off, then get sprayed in the face by my milk. His poops were green and mucousy. He's been super gassy again, and getting really upset about it. And, the flaring up of his rash, which is apparently another sign of an overactive supply (all the extra lactose & sugar in the foremilk irritates the gut/intestines, which causes more acidic poops). My supply seems to fluctuate a lot-- some days/weeks it seems fine, then for a few days/weeks it'll seem to go overboard. I haven't thought it was an issue, since the main symptom I remembered as being associated with oversupply was green poops, and Q tends to have a variety of colored poops-- yes, many green, but also yellow & orange. But if the screaming, gas, and rash are related to this then I want to try to get it under control. I don't remember this being an issue with D, but apparently mothers tend to make more milk with each baby so oversupply is more likely to happen with later babies.
So, here we go again. He's back on disposables (I can't be sure if the cloth was part of what's irritated him again). I'm also trying to only nurse from one side per feeding, to make sure he's getting plenty of hindmilk and may even try block nursing (using one side only for 2-3 hours) if necessary. And, all the usual stuff-- keep using the creams that seemed to be helping, frequent baths, air-out time, etc.
Part of the annoying thing here is that many of these "symtoms" can be normal. I'd taken Q's occasional fussiness, LOUD gas, and explosive (we haven't had many blow-outs, but if you hear him poop you'll understand why I think that term applies) mucousy poops to be just a normal part of being a newborn. But past a certain threshold, I guess, they become warning signs of a problem, and how do you know where that line is?
And this is the part of parenthood that I despise. Something is wrong, and there's a million different things that could be causing the problem. You try a bunch of different stuff, and can't know which (or if any) of them is helping at all. At least each time I find a new possible solution it feels like I have a new "plan of action" and feel a bit more hopeful again. One thing is for sure-- I'm ready to be able to change my baby's diaper and not see red, sore spots every single time.