What to do if the baby does not poop?

The baby’s digestive system takes months to complete its maturation. Therefore, in the first weeks of life, stools are very irregular and can vary depending on the type of feeding of the baby. So, if the nursing baby does not poop, it is not always necessary to be alarmed and go to the doctor.

At birth, the digestive system of babies and everything related to intestinal traffic has not fully matured. Therefore, there is no regular evacuation. However, in the first 48 hours after birth, the baby expels meconium , a sticky black substance that formed in the baby’s intestine during pregnancy.

After this first evacuation and, mainly, with breastfeeding, the baby’s stool changes in terms of frequency, color and consistency.

In general, in the first weeks of life, the baby’s stools are soft (not to say liquid), frequent and with some lumps, if he is breastfed.

For babies who are fed infant formula, stools are less frequent and less soft. 

During this stage, you may ask yourself how many times does a baby poop?, and the answer is that it is normal for the baby to evacuate several times a day, taking into account the gastrocolic reflex , in which the intestinal movement occurs with the new intake. of food. In other words, it is a way of creating space in the stomach every time the baby is fed. Therefore, every time the baby eats he will be able to defecate. This is common in most cases.

When to worry if the baby does not poop?

Based on the above information, we can be concerned if a newborn does not poop, but this should not always be the case, as it is normal for breastfed babies to go several days without defecating, usually after 3 weeks of life.

Now, defining how many days a baby can go without pooping is inaccurate, since each little one has a different development and maturation process, so we cannot establish a specific range.

On the other hand, when this happens, it is normal for the baby to spend some moments of the day with discomfort, grunting or “pushing” until he manages to poop with a normal consistency and appearance. This process is called infant dyschecia and does not represent an alarm signal either. 

Real constipation vs fake constipation

Now, you may be wondering how to distinguish constipation in a baby from the normal conditions that we already described. Well, the truth is that there are some symptoms that we can observe: 

  • Crying, restlessness and signs of pain in the tummy.
  • Excessive effort when evacuating.
  • Evacuate less than three times in a week.
  • Hard, large, bloody stools.  

If the baby has one or more of these symptoms, it is necessary to go to the doctor to check the little one and indicate the necessary treatment to help him evacuate as soon as possible. 

However, if your baby is feeding normally, isn’t vomiting or crying when eating, but hasn’t pooped for several days, you shouldn’t worry. Also, do not rush to use home remedies, as you can complicate the situation.

We say this because there are still families who believe that giving a constipated 1-month-old baby sweet fruit juice or herbal teas can help them have frequent bowel movements. This practice is considered irresponsible and dangerous, since the baby’s digestive and liver systems are not mature enough to absorb these liquids and herbs. 

How to help a baby to poop?

If your baby is showing signs of lactational dyschezia , there are a few pooping tricks you can try on your baby that have nothing to do with herbs, teas, thermometer stimulation, or laxatives. 

One of the most effective and least invasive techniques is the massage for baby constipation, which consists of making slight pressure on the belly in a clockwise direction. A variation of this massage is to flex the baby’s legs simulating the movement of the pedals on the bicycle. You can also move them up and down, bending them until the knees reach the abdomen. 

On the other hand, we must remember that the position in which babies are during the day can also affect intestinal transit, so if they remain most of the time in a horizontal position, it is more difficult for there to be a natural descent of feces..

In this sense, you can use the nursing pillow to lay the baby in a semi-sitting position, in which he can rest comfortably at nap time or while awake in the crib. In this way, you avoid keeping it horizontal for so long and you contribute to improving the frequency of your bowel movements. 

Evolution of stools

As the months go by and the start of complementary feeding, your baby’s stools will change continuously. Therefore, you should be aware of all the signs you observe in him, as well as the type of food he eats to see how they affect or improve his daily bowel movements.

On the other hand, after 6 months of exclusive breastfeeding, you can introduce water intake, which will help maintain good hydration so that the stools are softer, since the body will not have to absorb the liquid from the food that enters to the digestive system.

At this stage, your baby may present constipation due to changes in feeding, since the stools will be harder and more abundant, as well as a different color than when he was fed exclusively with milk.

We know that everything related to the baby, changes and evolution of its habits, activates your alarms, which is totally normal and we attribute it to maternal instinct, because you are doing very well. Continue breastfeeding, introduce new foods little by little from 6 months and consult with your doctor all doubts about what is beneficial for your baby, as well as what is harmful.

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