Stringy Mucus During Breast-Feeding
Keeping track of the contents of a breast-fed baby’s diapers helps breast-feeding mothers ensure baby is getting enough to eat. Mucus in your baby’s diaper is not unusual, even in a breast-fed baby, and most of the time, it is not a cause for medical concern. Treatment and prevention of stringy mucus in your baby’s stool often requires changes in your diet and breast-feeding practices, and there is no need for you to stop breast-feeding your baby.
Visible amounts of stringy mucus in your baby’s stool often result from exposure to foods in his diet or certain proteins from foods that you eat, which then pass into your breast milk. Starting your baby on vitamin drops, often recommended for breast-fed babies, is another cause of stringy mucus in the stool, explains the KellyMom website. An imbalance of foremilk and hindmilk is another cause of mucus in your breast-fed baby’s stools. Intestinal infections such as viral gastroenteritis also cause stringy mucus in infants’ stools. Less commonly, serious digestive disorders, such as Crohn’s disease, cause mucus in baby’s stool.
Identification and Diagnosis
A small amount of mucus in your breast-fed baby’s stool that happens once or twice is not a cause for medical concern. However, large amounts of stringy mucus, sudden changes in your baby’s bowel movements or eating habits, regular passage of mucus in the stool or mucus accompanied by blood requires evaluation by a doctor and lactation consultant. Consider tracking your baby’s bowel movements and noting the color, consistency and odor, along with what solids your baby consumed and what foods you consumed before your baby passed the mucus-filled stool.
Stringy mucus in your baby’s stool that results from viral gastroenteritis requires no specific treatment, and you should continue breast-feeding your baby. If he becomes dehydrated due to diarrhea or vomiting, some pediatricians recommend treating the dehydration with an oral electrolyte solution in addition to breast-feeding. If you suspect the mucus in your baby’s stool is related to foods in your own diet or in foods you give to your baby, your doctor or lactation consultant often begins treatment with an elimination diet, asking you to eliminate certain categories of foods, such as dairy products, until the issue with your baby’s stool resolves. To treat an imbalance of foremilk and hindmilk, lactation consultants often recommend expressing your milk for one to two minutes to remove some of the foremilk, then latching your baby to the breast.
Taking supplements of acidophilus or feeding your baby yogurt after a bout of viral gastroenteritis helps restore normal bowel function. Check with your pediatrician before giving your baby any dietary supplements. If you suffer from foremilk-hindmilk imbalance, talk with your lactation consultant about changing your breast-feeding method to only offer one breast per feeding as this method allows your baby to get more of the hindmilk, explains the Breastfeeding website.