What to Do When Newborn Not Pooping But Passing Gas?
Most young babies go two to three days without a bowel movement. Many go five or seven days newborn not pooping but passing the gas, some 10 or 15 days and, although it seems incredible, it is entirely normal, and there is no need to worry. You don’t have to do anything; in the end, they end up pooping on their own when they have to. But what to do when the baby does not poop beyond this time or defecates with difficulty and discomfort?
What “has been done a lifetime” can backfire
When you have a baby for the first time, a world of sensations, colours, textures and smells opens up before you. Suddenly you see yourself observing the essential aspects of a human being, and you even feel proud of the achievements of the little one. It’s what happens with poop. Let’s face it, and we have all looked at our baby’s stools and smiled approvingly or lopsided when we saw little balls (a sign of constipation ).
Even today, we congratulate the youngest of my daughters when she makes a big “pet”, and it is less than a year ago that we said goodbye to diapers and, after seven years, it is a milestone in the evolution of our family! But putting jokes aside, it is true that when a tiny baby throws himself for several days without pooping, or we see him turn red and fidget annoyed, we immediately get the alarm (the one that never goes off and is always on standby, ready to turn on at the slightest sign).
And there is always someone nearby who immediately advises: “put oil on her ass”, “give her a sprig of parsley”, “give her juice”. And the truth is that even if they recommend what “has been done all your life”, it can be counterproductive … There are certain things, on the other hand, that can be done to help you.
Newborn bowel movements
Newborns usually make their first stool within 24 to 48 hours of life. It’s a thick, sticky black poop called meconium. In the following days, the so-called transitional chairs, which are very liquid and greyish-green in colour, are expelled.
Then they begin to make the typical infant stools (semi-liquid, golden yellow, brownish or greenish) with a good smell and persistence (babies who take a bottle, on the other hand, tend to make more complicated poops). Many newborns were not pooping but passing the gas every time they feed (although some do less, just 4 or 5 a day), and others poop more between feedings.
All this is normal, but if a newborn is not pooping but passing the gas in the first 48 hours, or if he does not spend several weeks doing several poops a day afterwards, consult a paediatrician. It could be expected, but it could also be a congenital problem, such as Hirschsprung’s disease (paralysis of a piece of the rectum, the end of the large intestine). In this case, they do not usually expel gas either.
Is it constipation or are we parents overly stressed?
Throughout the first year, your baby’s bowel movements will change. After being born and (usually) during the first 24-48 hours of life, you will expel meconium, the poop that has been stored in your intestine during pregnancy. With breastfeeding, mixed or artificial, the colour and texture will change from black and sticky (meconium) to dark brown or green to finally be mainly liquid, yellowish and lumpy.
In the first two or three days, it is even expected for the nursing baby not to poop because it absorbs colostrum from the mother very well. Then your bowel movements will start to be more regular. However, there are two exceptional circumstances in this period:
- The gastrocolic reflex causes the newborn to defecate while eating because milk stimulates bowel movements. This tends to disappear after three or four months, and the little or the little one may take several days without adding anything. If the consistency is normal when you do, there is no need to worry.
- The infant’s disquecia is a circumstance that can drive parents crazy: the baby does not know how to poop and has to learn to relax the sphincter and squeeze. Then, the little one seems to be suffering, so he squeezes, turns red, and nothing comes out. And, immediately, that stand-by alarm begins to sound, and we strive to devise strange ways to help you when you don’t need it. You are training! It does not hurt or bother you. If when you get it, the poop is normal (liquid and yellow); again, no need to worry.
Almost all babies go two to three days without a bowel movement at some point during their first few months of life. Many are five or seven days, some 10 or 15 days, and some take even longer. But when they do, it’s effortless or painless.
That is not constipation; It is entirely normal, and you do not have to do anything: you do not have to give the baby juice, water, herbs, or laxatives or put the thermometer in the bottom of the sprig of parsley or suppositories. You do not have to do anything because it is normal, and they will poop alone when they have to do it.
Signs of Constipation in Babies
Does this mean that babies are not constipated? Unfortunately, they do suffer from it, especially babies who drink artificial milk, because the composition of its fats can cause harder stools, so if they go two or three days, newborns are not pooping but passing the gas. When they do, it is hard, dry, and in the shape of a ball. It is true constipation.
In these cases, the baby tends to be uncomfortable, cry, or spit up more than usual and may even bleed from small fissures in the anus when the poop is expelled. The introduction of complementary feeding, starting at six months, can also influence the child’s constipation.
A baby who drinks formula has a bowel movement almost every day, although it may go up to two days without doing so. The breastfed depends on the age. Newborns may have a bowel movement several times a day (and if they don’t, they may not be eating enough ). They can then go several days and up to a week without pooping.
The thermometer? No thanks
Many people’s first reaction to a baby’s constipation is to resort to “popular wisdom.” I remember my eldest nephew (who is now a 22-year-old man), his parents (real rookies barely two years old) were desperate that the baby would be a newborn, not pooping but passing the gas. Someone recommended that he be stimulated to defecate. And sure enough, they got him to poop.
Nowadays, however, it is a practice that is not recommended since it can be counterproductive because you can get used to that external stimulation to make your bowel movements. So there is no stimulating it with a thermometer, a sprig of parsley, or olive oil.
Nor should you offer them juices (neither natural nor industrial because they are not recommended for any child ) or herbal teas. If we see that the little one is constipated, it is best to consult with the paediatrician because the more time passes, the fatter the ball becomes and the more difficult it will be to remove it from his body.
What we can do when newborn not pooping but passing gas formula fed
There are other solutions to help the baby improve his constipation. For formula-fed babies, the type of milk can be changed. Even the paediatrician can advise some unique to combat constipation. We must also ensure that we are doing the bottle well, with the amount of water and powder they have recommended, mixing them correctly and without filling the bottle.
In the case of babies who are already starting with complementary feeding, foods that contain a lot of fibre can be encouraged, such as legumes (lentils, chickpeas, beans); whole grains (bread, rice, oats); vegetables (artichokes, celery, green beans, peppers, leek); or fruits (apricot, avocado, strawberries, kiwis, pears, etc.).
Infant massages have also been shown to help babies improve their bowel function. There are several techniques (here in the Common Sense Raising Tribe, we have an expert physiotherapist in these massages, Marta Saeta, who can guide you). There are several techniques focused on the baby’s abdomen (in the area of the large intestine) that, moving the hands in a clockwise direction, can help you in this regard. They were not counting the many benefits massages have when establishing the bond between mother and child.
Use of medications for constipation
Suppose, even with everything, the baby does not improve. In that case, it is best to go to the paediatrician because constipation can be painful and lead to more critical problems (such as anal fissures). The doctor will decide the treatment (suppositories, oral medication or others) so that the little one can regulate his bowel rhythm and poop is not an ordeal. Learn more about infants when they are young.
Treatment will depend on the age of the baby. Maintaining this treatment for as long as they tell us is essential. Sometimes the minor begins to poop, and we abort the administration of medicines, thinking it has been solved. However, we run the risk that not only is this not the case, but that over time the problem will get worse. What you should NEVER do is give him a homemade enema. And, of course, any medication must be under strict medical supervision.