The first few weeks of life are marked by the counting of dirty diapers. It is easy to get caught up and worried about the number of diapers your newborn is outputting. The number of dirty diapers and the amount of time an infant can go without pooping is different based on how your baby eats.
What is Normal?
Before you get worried, let's establish what a normal in the world of newborn poop is. The first few days of your life, your newborn's poop will change substantially. It will go from the meconium and gradually get to the newborn poop for either formula or breastmilk. By a week old, most newborns generally can have as many as 8 to 10 bowel movements each day.
Between the age of birth and one month, it is normal for a baby not to have a bowel movement for 1 or more days. The biggest factor is to make sure your newborn has at least six wet diapers per day. If this is happening, you shouldn't feel concerned about the lack of poop.
After one month or age, your baby’s bowel movements can vary. It is possible for a baby not to have any bowel movements for up to 1 week at a time. Let’s take a look at how this range can vary based on formula or breastmilk.
Over the age of 8 weeks, can easily go 4 to 5 days without a dirty diaper. This isn't an indication of constipation. So long as they have yet to start solids, they could even go as long as two weeks without a dirty diaper. This seems so long, but there is a good reason why they can go so long.
Breastmilk is designed for your baby and is what your child needs. There is
Just because they have long periods without a bowel movement doesn't mean their bellies are hurting and full of poop. Breastmilk is a natural laxative, so true constipation isn't healthy for babies.
Formula Fed Babies
Formula Fed Babies have the same amount of bowel movements as breastfed babies in the first few weeks. As they reach the age of one month, the frequency of the bowel movements tend to change.
Around this time, you will notice it declines to just one a day or one every other day. For some formula-fed babies, a bowel movement every two days is very reasonable.
However, formula fed babies do have the tendency to become constipated more than breastfed babies. If you notice your child pulling his legs up to his stomach, they may have a stomachache due to constipation. Other signs include:
- Face turning red while trying to produce a bowel movement
- Increased fussing
- Hard stools
- Pebble-sized stools
- Stools with blood
- Infrequent stools
If you notice your baby is experiencing constipation on a regular basis, it is time to talk to their doctor. They may advise you to switch formulas to help ease their stomach pains and produce more frequent bowel movements.
Why Do Babies Get Constipated?
Some babies experience constipation on a more regular basis. While this isn't fun, constipation isn't a strange problem for newborns. When babies are brand new, they are still developing their abdominal muscles, which are used to help them poop. Their stomachs are also very young and immature, making it even more complicated at times.
Formula fed babies have a bit harder time because they have firmer stools. Some straining or pushing is normal and helps them develop their muscles. For breastfed babies, constipation could also be a sign of a food allergy.
Food that the mother eats is transferred to the child, such as dairy. Milk allergies are very common among young infants, and it is many foods that people eat each day.
If you notice your breastfed baby is inconsolable for long periods, very fussy after feedings, has a lot of trouble sleeping, or a history of family allergies, you may want to think about eliminating dairy from your diet. Constipation is one of the classic symptoms, along with rashes, dry skin, wheezing, congestion, and diarrhea.
How to Help Your Baby
If you are concerned about your baby, there are some easy things you can do to try to help. A warm bath is sometimes all that is needed to get things moving. Kids enjoy having their stomach rubbed and their legs bicycled, which can contribute to stimulating their system.
Taking his rectal temperature can help stimulate the rectum, while simultaneously checking for other reasons for his abnormal fussiness. Most drugstores also sell infant glycerin rectal suppositories; they are very easy to use but shouldn’t be used as the first effort.
What to Do if Baby Hasn’t Pooped in a Few Days
It is easy to understand why parents get nervous when their newborns go days without a bowel movement. The last thing a parent wants is for their baby to be uncomfortable and in pain. However, there is a broad range of healthy. So, just because your baby hasn't pooped in a few days, it doesn't mean anything is wrong.
Breastfed babies have the widest range of what is normal. Some babies will have a bowel movement each day, while some babies can even extend all the way up to once every two weeks! However, if your child has a large gap like that, expect a massive blowout whenever he does finally poop.
Formula fed babies are more likely to get constipated, but they too can go a few days in between poops and feel okay. Most importantly, watch your child for signs of discomfort. If constipation occurs frequently, speak to your doctor about a solution.
When you realize your infant hasn't pooped in a few days, watch for signs of discomfort. If you notice them, try some of the natural remedies such as a warm bath and a belly massage. If this fails to help, you may want to seek help from your child's doctor.
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