Oh No! My Baby Isn’t Pooping! What Can I Do?
Poop isn’t normally at the top of everyone’s conversation list, but as a parent to a new baby, you’ve probably found yourself talking about your baby’s pooping habits more than you’d like to admit! If those pooping habits change in some way, it might lead you to wonder if your baby is ok. It can be especially frustrating and worrisome if your baby isn’t pooping. You’re probably wondering if there is something wrong with your baby and if there is anything you can do to help your baby to get relief through having a bowel movement.
It can be difficult as a parent to watch your sweet baby experience discomfort from constipation. When your baby isn’t pooping, their discomfort from not having had a recent bowel movement often leads to them expressing their discomfort to you. And, your baby will do this in the manner they know which, of course, is through crying! This can lead to some sleepless nights and stressful days for both you and your baby. So you are probably wondering what there is that you can do if your baby won’t poop due to constipation!
How Can I Tell if My Baby is Constipated?
Before you treat your baby for constipation, it is important to know the signs of constipation so you can determine if your baby is indeed constipated. Here are some signs that your baby might be constipated.
Straining to poop
Infrequent bowel movements
A firm belly
Blood in their stool
Refusal to eat
Straining to Poop
If it looks like your baby is having a hard time producing a bowel movement or is straining to do so, they may be constipated.
Another indicator of constipation that you’re sure to notice is hard stools. If, when changing your baby’s diapers, you notice that their stools are unusually hard, then they may be experiencing constipation.
Infrequent Bowel Movements
Infrequent bowel movements can sometimes be a sign of constipation. However, it is also important to know that every baby is different. Some babies will poop multiple times a day, while other babies may only poop every five days (or even less frequently). This can be perfectly normal. You can check with your pediatrician if you are concerned with the frequency of your baby’s bowel movements.
A Firm Belly
Sometimes a firm belly could be a related to the fact that your baby isn’t pooping. Constipation may lead building pressure and bloating in your baby’s belly, making it feel firmer than is typical.
Blood in Their Stool
If you notice blood in your baby’s stool, it could be related to constipation and the associated straining to produce a bowel movement. If you do notice blood in your baby’s stool, it is a good idea to let your pediatrician know so they can make sure it isn’t being cause by something more severe.
Refusal to eat
If your baby isn’t pooping, their belly might be bothering them. This can sometimes lead them to refusing to eat more food. They might not want to add anything more into their already achy belly!
What Can I Do to Help Relieve My Baby’s Constipation
If you suspect that your baby is constipated, there are different things you can try to help relieve their constipation. Every baby is different, so what works for one baby might not work for another.
Increase water consumption
Change your baby’s diet
Work with your baby to move more
Massage their belly
Incorporate specific solid foods into their diet
Take your baby’s temperature
Try a suppository or laxative
Increase Water Consumption
If your baby won’t poop, then adding a little more water into your baby’s diet can help to ease their constipation. Water can help soften stools to make them easier for your baby to pass. If your baby is under 6 months, you’ll want to check with their pediatrician first, since most pediatricians recommend waiting until a baby is six months before giving them water to drink.
If your baby won’t poop, you can try giving him or her a little bit of juice. Check with your pediatrician first, but often an ounce or two a day of prune or pear juice will help your constipated baby who isn’t pooping.
Change Your Baby’s Diet
It is possible that the formula your baby is using could be contributing to their constipation and may be the reason behind why your baby won’t poop. Different formulas contain some different ingredients. There may be something in your baby’s formula that is causing them to be constipated. Also, if you are using a formula that is thickened with rice cereal, this could definitely be the reason why you baby isn’t pooping. Often time, formulas thickened with rice cereal are used with babies who have acid reflux, but these formulas often lead to firmer stools.
If your baby won’t poop, it could also be a sign of a milk allergy or intolerance. Babies who are allergic to milk can become constipated. If you concerned that your baby may be allergic to milk, talk to your pediatrician. They should be able to help you determine if there is an allergy or refer you to an allergist for further testing. If it turns out that a milk allergy is the reason your baby won’t poop, then you’ll need to change their diet.
If your baby is formula-fed, there are numerous formula options on the market that are dairy free. If you are breastfeeding your baby, you’ll need to eliminate dairy from your diet so they aren’t getting the milk protein through your breastmilk. It will take a few weeks for the dairy to be fully out of your system, so it may take a little while to notice an improvement in your baby’s constipation.
Work with Your Baby to Move More
Exercise and movement help our bowels to work better and can decrease constipation. If your baby won’t poop, help increase their activity. Encourage them to roll and crawl. If they have a jumper they enjoy, let them spend some extra time each day bouncing around. This will help their bowels do their job a bit more easily.
If your baby isn’t mobile yet, then you can help relieve their constipation by moving them around. Try bouncing them up and down on your lap some. Bicycle kicks can also be effective in helping a baby who is constipated. A bicycle kick is simply moving your baby’s legs in a motion to mimic that of riding a bicycle. All you’ll need to do is lay your baby flat and then carefully cycle their legs around (be careful to support their knees and be gentle on their hips).
Massage Their Belly
Belly massage can also be key to help a baby who won’t poop. Rubbing in a circular, clockwise motion can help relieve pressure and bloating, thus helping your baby have a bowel movement.
Take your Baby’s Temperature
Sometimes taking your baby’s temperature rectally can help to loosen up their stool and stimulate a bowel movement. Be careful when you are inserting the thermometer; you don’t want to accidentally push it in too far and injure your baby. If you find yourself reaching for the thermometer too often, you should check with your pediatrician.
Try a Suppository or Laxative
If none of the more natural remedies above are providing relief and your baby still isn’t pooping, you may want to consider trying a suppository or laxative. Before purchasing anything from the pharmacy, check with your doctor to see what they recommend and ensure they think giving your baby a suppository or laxative will be safe.
Poop isn’t something anyone enjoys talking about, but as parents, we find ourselves focusing on it more and more when it is the culprit for our fussy baby. When your baby isn’t pooping and it is causing them discomfort, you want to do everything you can to help them have a bowel movement and go back to their happy, smiley self! Be sure to check with your pediatrician before you try something at home to help your baby who won’t poop. You want to be sure that your pediatrician thinks what you are planning to try is safe for your baby.
Hopefully the ideas on this list will help your baby to get some relief and get you both back to happy days and sleepy nights! Not every remedy will work for every baby since no two babies are identical, so be prepared to experiment with a few different possible solutions before you determine the solution that works best for your baby!