Raising a new baby can be terrifying. There is so much to learn and every time your child shows the slightest sign that anything is out of the ordinary you find yourself going from 0 to PANIC. One common example we hope to shed a little light on so that you can replace worry with knowledge and keep your cool if it occurs is this: What should you do if your newborn is not pooping but passing a lot of gas? In this article we will discuss exactly what you should do if you see this in your newborn so that your baby will soon be healthy and happy!
Is it normal for my baby to do this?
Actually, yes. Your baby’s first year can be a bit chaotic where bowel movements are concerned. There are a number of factors involved such as your baby’s digestive system, their frequency of feeding, how much they are feeding, and it’s not uncommon for your baby not to poop for days. This is scary because we know our own bodies and we expect that to be a regular part of the ‘routine’, but with your baby this is not a cause for immediate panic. You will want to consider a few things first. Have you recently changed the baby’s formula, for instance? Any changes in your baby’s diet can have a dramatic effect on their bowel movement schedule so if you just changed the formula then your baby could just be getting used to it. Also, if you are alternating breastfeeding with formula feeds, when are you noticing the gas and constipation more? Most of the time it boils down to an adjustment period for the formula but there are still some symptoms you can watch for and some things that you can try if you suspect that the constipation is genuine.
How do I know that it’s not constipation?
Okay, so in a scenario like this there are two facts that are apparent. First, that your baby is not pooping and secondly, that there is a lot of gas instead. There are some other symptoms that you can look for as well that often come hand-in-hand with genuine constipation. Here is a quick checklist:
- Does your baby appear to be a little bloated? – If your baby’s stomach feels very tight and firm and if your child is looking a bit bloated then this could be a sign of genuine constipation.
- Does your baby appear to be in pain or crying more than usual? – If your baby starts crying when trying to have a bowel movement then this is very likely real constipation. In some cases, poop that does actually come out may be in the form of tiny ‘pellets’, sometimes with blood. Don’t panic. This is very, very likely just constipation, but you will want to try some treatments right away or better yet, schedule an appointment immediately with your pediatrician.
- Does your baby’s gas smell more foul than usual? – If your baby’s gas smells quite a bit more than usual then this could indeed be a sign of blockage and warrants further investigation.
Okay, if my baby has those symptoms, what do I do?
For constipation there are a few things that you can try in order to help give your baby some relief. Try one or more of the following to see if it helps:
- Tummy massage – Gentle rubbing of your baby’s tummy many times throughout the day can help to relax your baby naturally and remove the constipation symptoms.
- Baby ‘Bicycle’ exercise – To do this exercise, hold your baby’s feet and start gently moving them in a ‘bicycling’ motion. This is a good exercise for baby and it helps to loosen up those muscles so that your baby can get back to their regular bowel movement schedule.
- Gramma’s prune juice – If your baby is older than one month and you are certain that they are well-hydrated then you can put 1 teaspoon of prune juice into their formula to see if it helps. Prune juice is a natural laxative (as Gramma can tell you) and can help your baby by softening the stools enough that they may be passed naturally.
- Rehydration – The most common cause of constipation is dehydration, so you want to make sure that your baby is getting enough fluids. Simply increasing the amount of breast milk or formula during feedings can help to do this.
- Warm bath – Try a few warm baths throughout the day to relax baby’s muscles and help things to resolve naturally. Sometimes a little persistence and nice, warmth baths are all that your baby needs to return their pooping schedule to normal.
What if my baby is not pooping but seems completely happy?
Welcome to the weird world of parenting! If your baby seems completely fine other than the lack of pooping then you might not need to do anything at all. Remember, your baby is going through a lot of changes, especially in that first month. After that first month your baby, now used to their diet of
“Remember, your baby is going through a lot of changes”
breastmilk, may still only have one bowel movement per week. So relax, a few days without pooping is just simply part of being a baby. Their digestive tract is becoming more efficient and the first year is going to be a little hectic where bowel movements are concerned.
If none of these tips have helped and you are worried we recommend taking your child to the doctor at your soonest convenience. If you see symptoms such as fever, loss of appetite, nausea, abnormal colored stools (or stools with blood) then an immediate visit is recommended as this might be something more serious. Most likely this will not be the case but as a general rule it is always best to err on the safe side and schedule an immediate appointment. Your pediatrician won’t be mad, we promise!