My Baby Doesn't Poop: What Can I Do?
Throughout development, it’s normal for a baby’s intestinal rhythms and the characteristics of their poop to vary. Here, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about your baby’s stool. We’ll also tell you what you should do if your baby doesn’t poop.
Baby poop is a worrying issue for many parents. In a newborn, it’s important to know the characteristics of the stools they produce. This will give us information about the baby’s digestion and what’s good or bad for them.
What does a normal baby poop look like?
Normally, a newborn has its first bowel movement before 48 hours of age. This is called meconium, and it’s black and thick. After this, the baby gradually begins to acquire its first bowel routine.
Breastfed babies usually poop frequently, and their poop is liquid and yellowish in color. Bottle-fed babies, on the other hand, usually poop a little darker and thicker and less frequently.
Some babies poop at every feeding, while others poop a little more often or little less frequently. However, if your newborn baby doesn’t poop in the first 48 hours after birth or they don’t poop for a few days in a row during the first days of life, you should consult their pediatrician. It could be a congenital problem.
Changes in our baby’s intestinal rhythm occur as we introduce new foods into their diet. This usually occurs around 6 months of age. It’s normal for their poop to change color a little and become a little harder. They also poop less often each day. It’s not uncommon for many babies to go a few days without a bowel movement at this stage.
What should you do if your baby doesn’t poop?
Regardless of diseases that may cause a baby not to poop, which will be the first to be ruled out by a pediatrician, there are several reasons why this may occur. Some of them are:
- Dehydration: If the baby doesn’t drink enough fluids, their poop will become much harder and bowel movements will become more difficult.
- Introducing new foods to their diet or formula feeding which, as we’ve already mentioned, will also change the texture and frequency of the stools.
- Dyschezia: The baby wants to poop, but can’t. This happens because they have to “learn” to control their bowels and relax them so that the poop can come out. This situation isn’t serious and will last a few days or weeks and resolve itself.
- Real constipation: In this case, the poop is hard and in the form of balls. The baby has to make a real effort to pass it, which differentiates it from dyschezia. In addition, the frequency of bowel movements decreases. The baby can go for days without defecating and the more days go by, the more serious it becomes, as the poop becomes harder and harder to pass.
How can I help my baby to poop?
Once you’ve consulted the pediatrician and serious pathologies have been ruled out, we can help our baby in different ways:
- It’s important to keep the baby hydrated. Exclusively breastfed babies should breastfeed often in order to stay hydrated. As for bottle-fed babies, ask your pediatrician how to best hydrate your baby with formula. Babies over the age of 6 months should drink plenty of water and foods containing water so that the consistency of their stools is as soft as possible.
- Remember that you shouldn’t give water to babies under the age of 6 months.
- If the problem is due to artificial breastfeeding, there are anti-constipation formulas with which you can substitute their usual formula and help your baby to poop more easily.
- If the problem’s due to the introduction of new foods to their diet, in addition to waiting for the baby’s body to adapt naturally, you can increase the fiber in their diet with fruits, vegetables, and cereals. Just make sure you introduce these foods properly and at the appropriate age.
- Stimulating with exercise. If the baby has enough activity, either playing or crawling, intestinal activity increases.
- Massage. With oils suitable for the baby’s skin and always in a gentle way, you can massage our baby’s tummy, thus stimulating bowel movements.
- Posturally. Gently, you can bring the baby’s knees bent towards the abdomen. This way, you’ll make the poop press on the sphincters and it’ll be easier for the baby to expel it.
It’s very important not to give laxatives to a baby without the supervision of a pediatrician. You should also avoid stimulating the baby’s anus with thermometers or other home remedies.
When it comes to bowel movements in babies, you should take into account…
It’s normal for babies to undergo changes in their intestinal rhythm at different stages of their development and with changes in feeding. Whenever you have any doubts or notice any important change, you can consult your pediatrician during your next appointment.
If at any time you notice that your baby is especially irritable or you observe signs of alarm in their stool, such as blood, cracks in the anus, or your baby’s making a great effort to poop, you should see a pediatrician immediately. They’ll be the one to properly assess the child and establish the guidelines to follow.