Many new parents worry when their newborn baby does not have regular bowel movements. This is perfectly normal, as breast milk is very high in nutrients, nearly all of which are absorbed into the baby’s body. This leaves very little for waste, and a baby may have only a single bowl movement in a week’s time. In other cases, a baby may have a slow-moving digestive tract, which would account for infrequent bowel movements.
More information about newborn baby constipation follows below.
Defining Newborn Baby Constipation
Contrary to popular belief, stool that stays in the body for a while does not cause any harm. The frequency of bowel movements does not always define newborn baby constipation. Doctors use the guideline of a soft stool every five days to gauge infant digestive health.
If a baby has trouble passing stool, or the stools are hard, contain blood or there seems to be discomfort, a doctor should be consulted.
Resolving Newborn Baby Constipation
Newborn baby constipation can usually be resolved through the following methods:
- Switching formula brands. Bottle-fed infants may benefit from a change in formula. It should be noted that constipation is not a valid reason to discontinue breastfeeding, as this is best for the baby.
- Adding pear or prune juice, or some other form of non-absorbable sugar, to formula can ease problems with hard stools and constipation. Extra water works as well, but only one to two extra ounces per day.
- A glycerin suppository may be given by way of a rectal thermometer to ease newborn baby constipation. This method should not be used without first consulting a doctor and only as a last resort.
- Parents should always bear in mind that infants with occasional bowel movements are usually not constipated, and further action rarely needs to be taken in the matter.
New parents have many things to worry about after bringing an infant home. Newborn baby constipation should not be high on the list, as it is relatively uncommon. A doctor should be consulted only in cases of discomfort or if stool is not being passed at least every five days.