We can imagine how concerning it can be for you as a mother to try to understand your newborn baby’s bowel habits. How to get your newborn to poop is a frustrating question for most moms. Bowel movements vary from baby to baby. So before you psych yourself out over your baby’s pooping habits, it’s important to know what normal poop for infants should look like and how frequently should they be needing a diaper change.
Is my baby really 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 totally 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, that’s almost the consistency of peanut butter.
It is normal for breastfed babies to go a few days, even about a week at times 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 he/she is 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 certain 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 is exhibiting any of the above-mentioned signs, he/she is most likely constipated. The presence of blood in the stool prompts a visit to the pediatrician. It’s important so you can find out the exact cause for it and rule out any serious conditions.
What to do? How to get your newborn to poop?
If you have made the conclusion that your baby is in pain due to constipation and you’re wondering how to get your newborn to poop, here’s a list of some of the things you can do at home that can remedy your baby’s condition:
Mothers often tend to think that the breast milk or formula feed is sufficient to keep their babies well hydrated because their total intake is an all-liquid diet. If a baby, however, shows signs of constipation and is soiling his/her diaper with hard stools like pellets, giving the baby 2/3 teaspoons 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 in a clockwise fashion.
- Softly make clockwise circles on your baby’s stomach with a finger. Be mindful to not put too much pressure.
- Running the flat of your finger from the ribcage of your baby all the way down till a little below the belly button.
It’s preferable to use slightly warm olive oil or coconut oil to make the massage more relaxing for the baby and to buffer any friction against his/her delicate skin.
Getting anxious over how to get your newborn to poop can take a toll on stress levels too. 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 very drastic improvement in their bowel habits and digestion just by changing the brand of formula milk. 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 formula that is lactose-free or has less dairy content.
Hold your baby’s feet and legs together and press them gently against his/ her 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 on how to get your newborn 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 his/her body and releases tension from the abdominal muscles too 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 important to be cautious while giving it though 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 if you take your baby’s rectal temperature with a clean, disinfected, lubricated thermometer. Be careful not to resort to this method too frequently. That is because it could even worsen your baby’s constipation if he/she gets too used to pooping only when you 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 the above-mentioned methods are improving your baby’s constipation
- Starts to lose weight rapidly
- Refuses to feed
- Is vomiting out all the milk after every feed
- Has streaks of blood in the stool
- Has been running a fever
- Is continuously crying and straining
- Is not very responsive when awake along with any of the above-mentioned symptoms
It is imperative that you 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.