A newborn not pooping but passing gas is a very common thing to happen in both breastfed and formula-fed babies. A baby’s digestive system is still developing, which sometimes results in babies not pooping but passing gas only. However, there are certain signs that might point towards a more concerning issue regarding your baby’s poop, and that will be discussed here.
A constipated baby is uncomfortable, which causes a lot of crying. While crying, the baby could inhale air that can make him more uncomfortable, and that is entirely normal. A breastfed baby can go days, sometimes even a whole week, without pooping. However, if you want to ease the constipation, you could place the baby’s belly button under warm water, which will help ease the sphincter muscles to relax, helping healthy bowel movements.
How Often Should Babies be Pooping?
Within the first two days after birth, newborns excrete a substance known as meconium. This is a thick and dark stool, made up of those nutrients your baby eats in the uterus. As the days go by, the baby’s bowel and bladder movements become more frequent. Until the infant is six weeks old, he or she may poop two to five times each day and after every meal. However, the number of bowel motions declines after six weeks and continues to do so for three months.
While it is usual for infants to have just one bowel movement per day, or even once per week, as long as the infant has a healthy weight, this is not abnormal. According to a 2012 research that examined the stool regularity of 600 infants under three months, breastfed babies had an average of 3.65 poops per day in the first few weeks of life, dropping to 1.88 times daily by the time they were three months old (den Hertog et al., 2012). At every developmental stage, newborns who were given formula saw a modest decrease in stool frequency.
When Should I Worry About Baby Poop?
One of the most concerning changes to look out for is maroon or bloody stools. This could be a sign of a more serious issue and should be addressed right away. Similarly, black stools after the first four days of life could indicate a problem, as this is when the meconium should have passed. White or grey stools could also be a reason for concern and warrant a visit to the doctor. Additionally, if you notice a large increase in the number of stools per day or stools that are particularly watery or mucus-filled, it’s important to seek medical advice.
Diarrhea is a common problem in newborns and can be caused by a virus or even bacteria. Dehydration is common when dealing with diarrhea, so it’s important to monitor your baby’s fluid intake and seek medical help if necessary. On the other hand, constipation is less common in newborns, particularly when they are breastfed. However, if you notice hard stools or difficulty passing stool, it’s best to call your pediatrician for advice. Apple or prune juice may be recommended, but always consult your doctor when giving any liquids to your baby.
Your breastfed baby may not be getting sufficient food if they aren’t passing stool. In this case, a lactation consultant or pediatrician may need to check your latch and feeding position. Lastly, bright green or neon green stools may be normal, but they could also indicate a problem with your breast milk or a sensitivity to something in your diet. Your doctor will be best equipped to diagnose the issue and offer advice.
It’s crucial that you look for medical help when it seems necessary. Your pediatrician is your best resource for ensuring the health of your baby.
Breastfed Baby Poop vs. Formula-Fed Baby Poo
Breast milk poop often changes in appearance after a few days of feeding. Typically, it appears more yellow and seedy, with a frequency of 4 times a day after each feeding. However, as the baby reaches the age of one month, the frequency of pooping may decrease, and the baby may even go for several days without a poop.
On the other hand, the poop of formula-fed babies is usually different in appearance. Compared to breastfed infant poop, it appears less yellow and more tan or brown. It is also much thicker. Additionally, the excrement of babies fed on formula doesn’t look seedy. Formula-fed baby poop has a smoother texture, which can look anywhere from green to brown to yellow; they are all completely normal for babies.
Exclusively breastfed babies may not defecate every day because practically all of the nutrients in breast milk may be used by the body for sustenance, leaving very little for elimination. Following the first few weeks of life, this can lead to their going without poop for as long as a week. Contrarily, formula-fed babies should urinate at least once every 1-2 days, while some may do so more often, perhaps as frequently as several times each day.
What Can Cause Your Baby To Not Poop?
Constipation is a common issue for a newborn babies, affecting up to 30% of children. This can cause discomfort, resulting in excessive farting or passing gas even though there is no bowel movement. The stool produced during such instances is usually hard. However, not all gassiness in babies is a result of constipation. Swallowing air during feedings and some babies just having a gassy nature can also contribute to this issue. If your baby is in actual pain due to gas, consult your pediatrician for proper guidance.
Nursing mothers can be relieved to know that their babies are less likely to experience constipation compared to those who are fed with formula. This is because breast milk can be digested easily, hence contributing to regular bowel movements. Moreover, changes in the composition of breast milk can also impact the frequency of your baby’s bowel movements. Six weeks after birth, the yellowish substance called colostrum found in your milk reduces, which can lead to fewer poops. Colostrum is rich in protein, antibodies, and many other important nutrients that can help in improving the immune system of your baby. Additionally, colostrum may act as a natural laxative, contributing to regular bowel movements during the first few weeks of life.
When babies are fed formula, they might experience gas as a result of swallowing air during feeding or switching to a different formula brand. This is due to the sensitivity of their developing digestive system. While it is normal for babies to experience some degree of gas, some may pass more than others. If your baby is uncomfortable or in pain due to gas, it’s important to consult your pediatrician. However, if your baby is otherwise content and not experiencing any other symptoms, there is no need to change anything.
As your child begins to try solid foods, they may experience gas without regular bowel movements. The transition to solid foods and the introduction of new items can disrupt the digestive system of your baby. To avoid any difficulties, it is recommended to slowly introduce each new solid food to your baby, one at a time. This approach allows you to identify any sensitivities or foods that may cause digestive issues, such as gas or irregular bowel movements, in your baby.
Treatment For Infrequent Pooping In Babies
Helping a baby exercise can alleviate constipation. The same goes for adults, i.e. physical activity is good for improving bowel movement in both adults and babies. A caretaker can help a baby who is still not standing or crawling with movement to relieve constipation. The infant can be gently moved like they are riding a bicycle while resting on their back. By doing this, their constipation will go away, and so will any discomfort they were feeling.
A warm bath can be a soothing experience for a baby, providing relief to their abdominal muscles and easing any discomfort caused by constipation. The water will help to relax the muscles and reduce straining, providing a calming and restorative effect.
Juices and Water
Hydration is an essential part of a baby’s immunity development and overall growth. Infants usually do not require additional liquids as they obtain sufficient hydration from either breast milk or formula. However, some physicians advise that offering constipated babies older than a tiny amount of fluids or fruit juice can be quite beneficial. This is because of sorbitol, a laxative-acting natural sweetener is included in these juices and can help the baby with constipation.
Parents can begin by offering 2 to 4 ounces (60 to 120 milliliters) of water or 100% apple, prune, or pear juice. The amount should be based on the baby’s needs. The most important thing is to monitor your baby’s reaction to the additional liquids and make sure that they are not experiencing any adverse effects.
Change the Diet
Constipation in babies can be a difficult issue to address, as the causes can vary greatly. For those who are breastfeeding, dietary changes may help, but it may take constant testing to determine the best course of action. Eliminating certain foods from the mother’s diet could potentially help.
On the other hand, for formula-fed babies, changing to a new formula can be the solution, but it’s important to get in touch a pediatrician before doing so. If that doesn’t work, continuing to try different formulas may not be effective. For those who are eating solid foods, introducing high-fiber foods, such as skinless apples, broccoli, or whole grains, can stimulate the bowels and help relieve constipation. Each baby is unique, so finding the right solution will take patience and persistence.
Constipation can also be relieved by massaging a baby’s tummy. This actually is a popular and efficient technique and there are a few ways to go about it. The first technique is gently massaging the stomach in a clockwise direction with your fingertips. Another method is to circle the naval with your fingers while going counterclockwise.
You can also gently push down on the baby’s abdomen while holding the infant’s legs and feet together. Finally, you can massage the area from the lower ribs to the navel using the tip of your finger. These techniques can help to promote proper digestion and alleviate discomfort associated with constipation in babies.
Taking a rectal temperature is a measure used to check a baby’s body temperature. This method can also help relieve constipation in infants, but it is crucial not to overuse it. Rectal temperature readings for infants who are constipated should only be taken using a clean and lubricated thermometer.
However, over-reliance on this method can worsen constipation and cause the baby to associate discomfort with having a bowel movement, leading to increased fussiness or crying during the process. In cases where frequent rectal temperature measurement is necessary, it is advisable to consult with the baby’s doctor for proper advice and guidance.
As a baby grows, their frequency of bowel movements naturally decreases from the frequent poops in their early newborn days. Provided that a baby is feeding correctly and gaining weight at a rate of 1 to 2 pounds per month, the regularity of their feces will be normal, however much it is. Some babies may poop once a day or more frequently, while others may do so only once every few days or once a week. Regardless of the frequency, it is important that their poop is soft and easy to pass.