Is your newborn in pain upon passing a bowel movement, is the stool hard, or have you just noticed that your baby didn't poop for a while? Any of these events may lead to questions about newborn constipation, its causes, and how to treat it. Unfortunately, there are plenty of myths about newborn constipation out there. What should you know about this problem?
How often your baby poops is not important
Many parents become worried if their newborn has not had a bowel movement in a few days, or even after one day. If you are concerned that your baby may be constipated just because of a lack of bowel movements, remember that it is not unusual for babies to poop once every couple of days. Breastfed babies may even have a bowel movement only once a week. This by itself does not mean constipation.
So if only the frequency of bowel movements is not important, than what are the symptoms of constipation? Very hard bowel movement that look more like pebbles or rabbit droppings indicate that your baby is constipated, especially in combination with pain while passing poo.
How to deal with constipation
If your baby's symptoms indicate constipation, seeing their pediatrician is your best bet. Parents who are bottle feeding may notice that the problem goes away after they switch to a different brand of formula. Prune juice or a medical laxative may be prescribed in rare cases, and aiding the passing of bowel movements by inserting a lubricated thermometer into the newborn's rectum can be recommended as well. However, in the vast majority of cases you will find that your baby is not truly constipated especially so if you are breastfeeding your baby. Breast milk is so easily digested that it can happen that hardly any waste products remain for the baby's body to expel.