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“If you are a new parent, you might be feeling like you are changing your baby’s diaper every hour. If you have other little ones, you already know that a diaper can tell a lot about a baby’s well-being, but that babies can sometimes have plumbing issues.”
“Don’t worry if your baby isn’t pooping but passing gas. Your baby is still learning how to digest. This is a normal part of being a baby.”
There are several reasons why your baby is not pooping. It can be uncomfortable for them, but they are not going to worry about it. Here is what you can do to help your baby with their lack of poop.
Your baby will naturally poop less as they get to be a few weeks to several months old, compared to the early days when it seemed every diaper change was a poop.
“There is a range of healthy ways to care for a baby. If your baby is gaining weight and feeding normally, you don’t need to worry about the number of poops.”
“Some babies poop once a day or more often. Babies poop once a week or once a few days. If your baby is pooping less frequently, it’s important that they are soft and easy to pass.”
Breastfeeding, formula, and solids
The amount of pooping depends on what your baby is eating.
If your baby is only being breastfed or chestfed they may not poop every day. This is because their body can use up almost all the components of breast milk for nutrition and there is very little left that needs to be eliminated. After the first 3 to 6 weeks or so, they can go even a whole week without a poop.
If your baby is formula-fed they should poop at least once every couple of days. But some babies poop every day, while some poop more often, up to several times a day. This is all within the typical range.
Because the look of your baby’s poop can vary, it can sometimes be hard to tell when a baby has diarrhea. Signs that there could be a problem include pooping more than once per feeding, or poop that is getting more watery over time. If you notice any of these signs, talk with your baby’s pediatrician or doctor.
It is a whole new game when your baby starts eating. You will soon learn which foods give your baby gassiness without pooping and which foods cause their irritative gut flora to poop out quickly.
Color and texture
A baby is not usually pooping the rainbow. Different smells and textures are normal.
In fact, your baby’s poop may move between several shades of brown, yellow, and green, depending in part on what they’re eating.
“There is a health issue if there is poop that is red, black or chalky. If you notice any changes, talk to your baby’s doctor. If your baby looks sick or has blood in the poop, you should tell your doctor.”
Straining to poop
“Don’t worry if your baby is straining to poop. Young babies are used to being strained while pooping. They are still learning how to poop.”
“Babies spend a lot of time lying down, so gravity isn’t on their side to help pass poops.”
“If your baby’s poops become hard or dry, talk to your doctor.”
If your baby is formula-fed and poops less than once a day, you should talk with a doctor. It could be a sign of a problem.
A baby can sometimes get a little stopped up or constipated. In fact, up to
Your baby might get gassy in between poops, without the need for the bathroom. There are several reasons why this might happen. Babies can have gas if they swallow air.
Some babies are just naturally gassy, just like they’re naturally cute. Sometimes a baby with stinky gas is just a baby with stinky gas. But if your baby seems to be having gas pains, bring it up with your pediatrician.
The good news is that babies who are breastfed are less likely to get constipated.
If you’re nursing your baby, changes in your milk might have something to do with your baby’s poop frequency. Around 6 weeks after birth, your breast milk has little or no trace left of a yellowish substance called colostrum. Colostrum contains extra protein, antibodies, and other nutrients.
This liquid is one part of your breast milk that helps to give your newborn baby’s immune system a boost against germs. Colostrum may also
Newborns poop several times a day. Your baby may have less poops when there is less colostrum.
“If your baby is fed on formula, they might get gassy if they swallow air with it or if you change the formula you use. A baby’s new system can be hard to understand.”
“Some babies pass more gas than others, and some babies are normal in their gas levels. If your baby is gassy, it doesn’t mean there is an issue or that you need to change anything to fix it.”
If your baby is happy and not showing any symptoms of any issues, it is fine to just let them be. Discuss the issue with your doctor if your baby is in pain.
When your baby starts eating solid food, they might get gassy. Introducing new foods to your baby can cause small problems with the GI tract.
It is best to introduce new foods at a time. This can help you find out what causes gassiness or pooping issues for your child.
If your baby is gassy but not pooping, check for other signs.
- Irritated or excessive crying.
- decreased appetite
- straining or turning red without pooping
- Small hard poops.
- “When they do poop, it’s dry.”
“Your baby’s gassiness and constipation will be resolved on their own, as their bicyle works out what is wrong. You might need to give it a little push.”
Call the doctor
If your baby is not pooping at all or rarely pooping, you should see your doctor. Not pooping can be a sign of a health issue. Check for other symptoms.
- refusing to eat
- excess crying.
- The stomach is bloated.
- arching their back.
- There is a high degree of fever.
- There is blood in the stool.
“It is important to talk with your doctor immediately if you notice blood in your baby’s stool.”
Babies who are 6 weeks old will occasionally be constipated. If your baby has not had a poop for a week or more, you should call the doctor.
Ask your doctor if you should try home remedies for your little one, like:
- liquids: If your baby is over 6 months old (age is important here!), you can give them a few ounces of water. For babies at least 1 month old, you can talk with your doctor about giving them a small amount apple or pear juice — 1 ounce for each month of age, up to 4 months. These juices have a natural sugar called sorbitol that is also a laxative. Drinking this might help soften your baby’s poop. Babies who are eating solid food can have prune juice.
- food: If your baby is eating solids, give them fiber-rich foods to help pass the poop. Try puréed prunes, sweet potatoes, or fruits. Fiber-rich foods might make your baby gassy, but they often help with the poop!
- exercise: Your baby might just need to get moving to help them poop! Moving your baby’s legs as in a bicycle motion may help rev their digestion engine. You can also try holding your baby up so they are “walking” in your lap.
- massage and a warm bath: Try massaging your baby’s stomach and body. This can help relax them and get their digestion moving. You can also try a warm bath to help them relax.
- medications: If none of the changes in feeding, diet, or exercise help with the constipation, your doctor might recommend trying an infant glycerin suppository. These have to be put into your baby’s rectum, but they may be relieved and sleep peacefully when they can have a good poop! But be sure to talk with your baby’s doctor first if you are considering this option.
“Don’t worry if your baby is gassy but not pooping. Babies learn how to feed and digest food. Your baby might be sick.”
If your baby is not pooping at all, call the doctor. If your baby has been having trouble with their bowels for more than 5 days, you should call.