How to get your newborn to poop is a frustrating question for most moms. We can imagine how concerning it can be for you as a mother to try to understand your newborn baby’s bowel habits. Bowel movements vary from baby to baby. So before you psych yourself out over your baby’s pooping habits, it’s essential to know what normal poop for infants should look like and how frequently they need a diaper change.
Is my baby not pooping right, or am I worried unnecessarily?
The first two to three diapers that your baby soils right after being born might have a dark greenish to black poop, and that’s normal. That’s the meconium (poop collected in your baby’s gut while it was growing inside you).
After the baby starts feeding, the color of the stool will get lighter, and the consistency will remain soft. Newborns usually have pasty light yellowish poop with almost the consistency of peanut butter.
It is usual for breastfed babies to go a few days, even about a week, without having any bowel activity. Bottle-fed babies usually poop once during the day, if not more.
The question that arises here is: how do you know if your baby is pooping normally or if they are constipated if the pooping habits are so variable? The answer to that question is that paying close attention to your baby will be the best indicator of your baby’s health. What I mean by that is to look out for sure signs that may indicate that your baby is in pain or discomfort.
Signs that your baby is in pain due to bowel problems
- In case your baby strains and cries too much for too long
- Your baby has a hard belly
- In case your baby strains a lot while pooping and the poop is hard or comes out like pellets
- Your baby has a lack of appetite
- Streaks of blood present in the baby’s stool
If your baby exhibits any of the signs mentioned above, they are most likely constipated. It’s crucial to find out the exact cause for it and rule out any severe conditions. The presence of blood in the stool prompts a visit to the pediatrician.
What to do? How to get your newborn to poop?
If you are confident that your baby is in pain because of constipation and wonder how to get your newborn to poop, here’s a list of things you can do at home to remedy your baby’s condition:
Mothers often think that breast milk or formula feed is sufficient to keep their babies well hydrated because they are on an all-liquid diet. However, suppose a baby shows signs of constipation and is soiling their diaper with hard stools like pellets. In that case, it probably needs some additional hydration. Giving the baby two-thirds of a teaspoon of water after every feed can help replenish hydration and make the stool soft.
A gentle tummy rub can be relaxing for your baby. It can help relieve constipation because it encourages bowel activity in babies. There are a few ways you can go about this step:
- Gently walk your fingers around your baby’s belly button clockwise.
- Softly make clockwise circles on your baby’s stomach with a finger. Be mindful to not put too much pressure.
- Running flat of your finger from the baby’s ribcage to just below the belly button.
It’s better yet to use slightly warm olive oil or coconut oil to make the massage more relaxing for the baby and to buffer any friction against their delicate skin.
Getting anxious over getting your newborn to poop can take a toll on stress levels. Take some time out to indulge your baby in a massage. It will help you unwind and bond with your baby.
Changing your baby’s diet
Babies who are being given formula milk can at times show a drastic improvement in their bowel habits and digestion by changing the formula milk brand. If switching to another formula hasn’t helped your baby, it will not help to keep changing it, so it’s not advised to keep switching. It is also better to take your doctor’s advice before changing to a lactose-free formula or the one with less dairy content. Be aware that any changes to baby food may cause worrying changes to baby stool.
Hold your baby’s feet and legs together and press them gently against their belly. Hold this position for about two to three seconds and release the legs slowly. Repeat this two to three times during the day
Gently hold your newborn’s legs and move them in a bicycle motion for a few seconds. Do this two to three times during the day.
A warm bath
Upon asking some new mothers how to get their newborns to poop, I found that none of them realized how a warm bath could do wonders for their baby. A warm bath is not only relaxing for the baby in general. It helps the baby loosen their body and releases tension from the abdominal muscles, which may help alleviate your baby’s constipation.
Giving your baby fresh apple juice starting at about two ounces per day improves constipation. Fruit juice has sugars, because of which more liquid moves to the gut and helps soften the stool. It also increases gut motility. It’s essential to be cautious while giving it because too much sugar in the gut could lead to diarrhea, and that’s not what you want. Dehydration is dangerous in babies.
Bowel movement can be stimulated by taking your baby’s rectal temperature with a clean, disinfected, lubricated thermometer. Be careful not to resort to this method too frequently. It could worsen your baby’s constipation if they get too used to pooping when you only stimulate the anal opening.
Other solutions on how to get your newborn to poop
- Colic drops/ Laxatives
- Glycerin Suppositories
I’ll advise you not to resort to these methods without the advice of a pediatrician.
When to go see a doctor?
If you feel like none of those mentioned above methods are improving your baby’s constipation
- Start losing weight rapidly
- Refuse to feed
- Vomit out all the milk after every feed
- Have streaks of blood in their stool
- Have a fever
- Are continuously crying and straining
- Are not very responsive when awake along with any of the symptoms mentioned above
You must go see a Pediatrician and seek expert advice on how to get your newborn to poop if none of the above mentioned methods seem to help.