Poor Jack! He had a rough day yesterday. Something's going on with his G.I. system, and whether it's due to a specific problem or it's good old fashioned colic, it's getting worse.
When we brought Jack home from the hospital, he slept one 4-5 hour stretch per night. This lasted about two weeks. Now he is down to 2-3 hour stretches of sleep. Worse so, Jack has gas attacks at the same time every morning. Bad gas attacks. Right around 4 or 5am, it starts. He wakes up screaming. He squirms and kicks his legs. He cries and sobs. He toots, gets 5-10 minutes to nap or nurse in perfect comfort, and then the next cramp hits him. He is positively miserable for two hours. Once the gas attack passes, Jack is happy as a clam. With one exception (see below), Jack has gone through this morning routine every day for the last two weeks. It is upsetting to everyone involved.
We've been doing our best to help him (knees to the chest, lots of belly rubs, simethicone drops, careful burping, gripe water, tummy time). It could be "colic" -- that generic word which describes babies who cry for an unknown reason (presumably it has something to do with their maturing nervous systems or G.I. tract). Perhaps he is sensitive to something in my diet (milk protein would be a common suspect).
I also wonder whether Jack might be having more foremilk/hindmilk issues. Perhaps he's waking up for comfort (as opposed to hunger), which results in his taking small snacks of milk without having a full serving. This would send too much lactose to his stomach from the disproportionate dose of foremilk and give him a belly ache in the morning. Interestingly enough, I switched up his napping pattern on Wednesday, and he slept like a champ, nursing at 9:30pm, 2:00am, and 7:00am (and I woke him up for the 7:00am session!). This was the only day that Jack escaped his gas attack. I was very excited that we avoided the gas attack, so I tried the napping trick again on Thursday. Well, that night was his worst ever. Up every 2 hours. Screaming. Gassy. Started sobbing at 4am and didn't sleep for more than 20 minutes at a time until 9pm. Watching him cry was absolutely devastating to me. He was miserable. We were miserable.
Then, in one of many marathon google searches, I realized that the on and off pain I had been experiencing for weeks was a sign of thrush. Thrush is an overgrowth of yeast in the baby's mouth and mom's milk ducts. It causes a variety of symptoms. It is most commonly identified by white patches in the baby's mouth; Jack didn't have obvious overgrowth in his mouth, but I was experiencing breast pain that strongly suggested this was the problem. Plus he had a diaper rash that looked just like a yeast diaper rash and had been bobbing on and off during nursing sessions in a way that suggested his mouth hurt. Lastly, a little googling uncovered something unusual... moms were noticing that their babies were excessively gassy when they had thrush. Since the yeast also invades the lower G.I. tract, it's possible that the thrush infection was turning poor Jack's belly into a CO2 factory. Meanwhile, on the day that Jack had the worst gas, I had the worst pain -- coincidence?
Poor Jack. Poor mom. We went to the doctor, where they confirmed that we both have thrush and prescribed some topical stuff. It seems that the topical is very often ineffective, so we are also both taking a probiotic. I'm also cutting a few common gassy culprits out of my diet -- spicy food, chocolate, nuts and dairy. Greg and I are crossing our fingers that the thrush was the cause of little Jack's early AM discomfort.
P.S. The photos in this post have nothing to do with early AM gas... I just liked them :)