10 Ways To Get Your Baby to Poop
When I first found out I was pregnant, I had the concern that most first-time-moms have… will I be any good at this parenthood thing!? Amongst other questions, I wondered: how will I know what cry is the hunger cry and which one is the diaper-needs-changing cry?
Call it instinct, call it what you want, but you do figure it out pretty quickly!
Inevitably, one day you will hear the “I’m in pain” cry, and your heart will feel like it’s breaking into a million pieces.
For my daughter, it was when she was constipated after switching from breastmilk to formula. She expressed obvious pain when trying to pass stool—red face, bloated belly, and piercing screams. The lack of bowel movements also tipped us off (although that isn’t always a sign of constipation).
The frequency of your baby's bowel movements will fluctuate throughout their first year of life. Newborns poop almost everyday, whereas after a couple of months, it's not uncommon for babies to poop once every 5 days. Then when solid foods are introduced into your baby's diet, their poop patterns will change again. It's all about tracking your own baby's pooping trends to recognize what's out of the ordinary.
To really determine if your infant is constipated, you must note the texture of your baby’s stool. If it’s hard/rocklike and seems difficult for your baby to pass, they are probably constipated. Always call a doctor to get a professional opinion.
HOW TO GET YOUR BABY TO POOP
Below are 10 at-home remedies that reportedly help babies with constipation:
- Switch Formula. The easiest measure to take is changing the formula you’re using. Your baby may have a sensitivity issue or an allergy such as dairy or soy that’s causing them to be backed up. This particular method did not work for my family personally, but it was worth the try. When making your newborn a bottle of formula, make sure you’re not using rounded scoops, as you want the powder to be properly diluted.
- Prune Juice. The sorbitol in prune juice helps soften stool! Find pasteurized prune juice in the pediatric aisle and follow the directions provided. You can mix the juice in with your baby’s bottle or use an oral syringe to directly feed them. Never use it more than twice a day.
- Rectal Stimulation. Apply a small amount of vaseline to a rectal thermometer and gently insert it into the baby’s anus. Hopefully this stimulation will be enough for your baby to produce a bowel movement. It’s important not to force it, though.
- Glycerin Suppository. If the stimulation alone does not work, consider a glycerin suppository—a safe laxative that gets inserted into the rectum. Check to make sure you are using an appropriate suppository for your baby’s age. This shouldn’t be a long-term solution however, because you want to train your baby to poop on his or her own.
- Exercise. Just like with adults, exercise or just moving around can relieve constipation. Infants can’t exactly go to the gym… or even walk for that matter, so how do they get exercise? The simplest solution is doing “bicycle legs” with them. While your baby is on his or her back, take their feet and mimic a bicycle motion, gently pushing their feet toward the belly. Other forms of baby exercise include tummy time or the kick and play piano.
- Warm Bath. Help your baby feel better by giving them a soothing bath. The warm water relaxes their baby abdominal muscles. Hopefully they make it out of the tub before they go number two... but as long as they feel better, right!?
- Miralax. Miralax is an over-the-counter stool softener in powder form, safe for children 6 months and older. The ingredients in Miralax work with water in the body to unblock your baby’s digestive system quickly and naturally.
- High Fiber Diet. If your child is 6 months or older and eating whole foods, increase their fiber intake. Try incorporating some or all of the following high fiber foods: whole grain crackers, cereal, grapes, apples, plums, carrots, oatmeal, peas, and figs.
- Hold Their Legs. Just how your baby is learning to talk and learning to crawl, he or she is also learning how to poop. Babies need to learn how to use their stomach muscles to push out a bowel movement. Sometimes when they strain their abdominal muscles to push out stool, they simultaneously close their rectum. You can assist your baby by holding their legs or their butt cheeks apart. This isn’t a forever solution, but it certainly helps give your infant instant relief.
- Massage. Help your baby get their bowels moving by massaging their belly. Make circular motions on you baby’s tummy around their naval using your fingers. This will hopefully loosen them up and aid with digestion.
Remember, no concern is ever too minuscule to call your pediatrician. It’s never fun to see your child in pain or even discomfort. Good luck… you can do this!
- Samantha Colandrea