Your breastfed baby not pooping?

Your breastfed baby not pooping?
December 30 17:45 2016

A newborn baby comes with many responsibilities among them making sure they are all right and everything is going fine. Since they do not speak, parents often have to be attentive throughout their whole development and make sure to spot any concerning changes. One particular question that always pops up among parents who consult pediatricians is the issue of newborn baby’s bowl movements. Is it possible that a breastfed baby does not poop?

To answer this question let us first go through the stages and changes that happen to baby bowl movement from the time of birth until after the newborn stage.

 

Understanding the changes in newborn bowl movements

When babies are born they have a particular bowl movement that changes as they grow. At first the result of their bowel movements is a deep green stool that is sticky in consistency. This green stool comes from the meconium found in every new baby’s bowls. As the baby continues to grow, the digestive system will also develop resulting in the green stools changing first to yellow then to brown; all at difference consistencies.

 

So is it normal that a Breastfed baby doesn’t produce any stool?

Beast milk is recommended for baby feeding for a reason and a good one. It contains all the nutrients needed by a developing baby in their rightful quantities. To put in in biological terms, breast milk is perfectly balanced. Because of this, when a baby is breastfed correctly they can produce very little to no stool at all as the breast milk contains no waste products.

From the time a baby is born up to around the ages of 2 months, it is possible for the baby not to produce stool for a period of about 5 days as long as they are being breastfed. Further more if solid food is not introduced and breastfeeding is maintained, babies can go for a couple of weeks without producing any stool. This absolutely normal if the baby is feeding on breast milk alone, it does not mean they are constipated or anything.

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On the issue of constipation it is very rare for a baby feeding on breast milk to be constipated. Here is why.

Breast milk has laxative properties for babies. Babies who fed on breast milk will naturally have assisted bowl movements and constipation is rare even when solid foods are introduced.

However there are times that your baby might find himself or herself constipated. Parents have to pay close attention to the baby’s behavior in other to be able to tell when they are constipated.

 

Signs might be useful

  • Is there a change in the behavior of the baby?
  • Is he or she being playful as usual?
  • Does he or she look like something is bothering them?
  • Does he or she refuse feeding?
  • Is the baby abdomen stiff and ballooned?

Carefully watching the above mentioned behavior changes could be helpful in telling if your baby is constipated or not.

What is the normal bowl movement frequency for a baby feeding on breast milk?

Within 24hrs of birth, a newborn is supposed to emit their first stool. This is expected for all newborn babies even if they were not fed. The following day the number of stools generally doubles up to 2 per day regardless of the feeding method. In the next few days the stool and bowl movement will increase to about 4 times a day.

It is possible that your baby might not produce any stool when you breast-feed them, but those that do will produce an average of about 3 stools per day for the first 6 weeks of life. From then onwards the baby can go for a couple of days without pooping, it is normal and you should not worry about it as long as the baby is playing normally, feeding and not showing any other behavioral changes that we described above. Some babies will poop after every feeding, which is normal too.

At the introductions of solid foods, there will be changes in the consistency and frequency of the baby poop. You will notice the poop gradually becoming more and more like that of an adult.

So there is no need to worry when your breastfed child is not pooping as often as you think they should. It is very rare for a breastfed baby to be constipated, that problem is more common with babies that feed on formula.

When a breast fed baby is not pooping you should worry about the following things:

  • Dry or hard stools that are challenging to evacuate or pass
  • Irritable babies just before attempting to pass a stool. Some may even cry uncontrollably
  • Foul smelling poop

 

If you notice such things in your baby there are some things you could do. First try to remember if you have been feeding the baby other types of food other than breast milk. If you have been feeding them on breast milk alone then everything is okay unless they cry a lot then you should visit a pediatrician.

If you have been feeding them some other foods, particularly solid foods or foods with very low fiber content then a diet adjustment will do the trick. You can substitute foods with low fiber content and add food with more fiber to the baby’s diet. Oatmeal is a good place to start. If you are giving the baby some formula you can also try to change the type of formula and see if there are any changes.

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When the problem persists you can try using prune juice as a mild laxative to help the baby with its bowl movements. Fruit juice from apricots, peaches and pears also have similar effect to that of prune juice and the can help ease baby constipation.

Formula fed babies should be given extra water after every feed to prevent dehydrations, which can cause constipation. Other useful methods of relieving baby constipation include gentle abdominal massages and moving the baby’s legs in a bicycle like motion to help with the bowel movement.

If you have done the above tips and trick but the constipation still persists then you can go in to see a doctor.

 

 

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