Friday, January 15, 2010

This comes from a worried parent so please no jokes. What happens if my 3 month old son can't go poo?

We had to put him on the second formual as he was just sucking the first 1 dry! But now we have changed, his bowl movements have almost stopped. The last time that he went was 2 days ago. We have seen the Doc and he said not to give him nothing to help him go and that he would go eventually. The Health Care worker isn't much help either.This comes from a worried parent so please no jokes. What happens if my 3 month old son can't go poo?
It's probably the formula change. Also, it's normal for some formula fed babies to go up to five days without pooping.

There are suppositories to help, though.This comes from a worried parent so please no jokes. What happens if my 3 month old son can't go poo?
Infant Constipation

Most parents, at some stage, worry about their infant’s bowel movements.

Maybe you are concerned because the frequency of your baby’s stools has decreased. Perhaps you became alarmed when your baby appeared to strain while trying to poop. If these changes coincide with your baby being unsettled, it’s only natural that you would wonder if he could be constipated.

bWhat is constipation?

It’s not the frequency of bowel movements or straining that determines if a baby is constipated or not, it’s the consistency of the stool. A baby is constipated if he passes firm, dry pebbly poop. However, if his poop is fluid, soft or paste consistency, then he’s not constipated.

Crying while passing a bowel movement, bleeding from the anus, abdominal pain and reduced appetite can also be signs a baby is constipated.


When baby is breast fed

Consistency: Soft or runny.

Color: Yellow mustard to orange with little white flecks that look like seeds.

Frequency: Can vary from every feed to once per week.

When baby is formula fed

Consistency: Soft paste.

Color: Grayish green, yellow, tan or brown, depending on the type of formula.

Frequency: Every 1 to 2 days.

When baby is eating solid food

Consistency: Paste to formed stools. Often contains undigested food.

Color: Can vary depending on what is eaten.

Frequency: Can be less frequent – particularly for a breast fed baby.


It’s true that infant constipation can result in less frequent bowel movements than normal. However, a decrease in the number of times your baby poops each day doesn’t necessarily mean he’s constipated.

A change in diet e.g. switching formula or introducing new foods can result in changes in the amount and how often a baby poops.

A decrease in the number of times a breast fed infant passes a bowel movement is often noticeable around 4 weeks of age, as baby’s digestive system begins to mature. Although a formula fed baby’s digestive system matures at the same rate, a change in number of times a formula fed baby passes a bowel movement may not be obvious at this time.


Adults strain as a result of constipation, but constipation is not the only reason a baby will strain while trying to pass a bowel movement. Provided his poop is not firm, dry or pebbly, then he’s not constipated.

It can be very alarming when as a parent you see your young baby draw his little legs up and grunt and groan and go red in the face while tying to poop. However, this is very normal behavior for an infant particularly in the early weeks of life! Straining helps move the stool through his intestines.

Straining commonly occurs around 2 - 4 weeks of age, as baby becomes more aware of his body sensations. He strains as he’s learning to control his body. He needs to figure out which muscles do what and how much effort is needed to pass a bowel movement. He will often use a little more effort than is necessary to begin with as he’s learning. Within a couple of weeks he will become a “poop expert” and the straining should settle.

Straining can also occur when baby is learning to pass a larger or slightly thicker consistency stool than he’s used to, e.g. when changing from breast feeding to formula or when he first starting on solids. This also, is normal and generally settles within a week or so.

* Staining is normal, but crying during straining can be a sign of constipation.


Inadequate fluid

The type of formula

New foods

Low fibre

Food intolerance

Inadequate fluid

Is your baby gaining appropriate amounts of weight for his age?

Is he passing lots of urine?

If the answer is no, he may not be getting enough fluid in the form of breast milk or formula and this can lead to constipation.

A breast fed baby does not need extra fluids until he starts eating solid foods. Even then only small amounts are offered, more for the benefit of providing learning opportunities than for hydration. Additional fluids should not replace breast milk.

Depending on the climate, a formula fed baby may not need extra fluids until he commences solids. However, if you live in a warmer climate, offering baby water (in addition to formula) is often recommended at an earlier age.

Check how you are preparing his formula. Make sure you are adding the correct number of scoops of formula powder to water, as recommended by the manufacturer. Take care not to overfill or tightly pack the formula powder in the scoop. This can lead to a more concentrated formula resulting in constipation.

The type of infant formula

Switching formula (or switching to cows milk) can lead to a change in stool consistency, resulting in either constipation or loose runny poop. Most often this change is only temporary, until your baby’s little tummy gets used to the new formula.

Some types and brands of formula are more constipating than others. If constipation continues to be a problem for your little one, it may be necessary to change formula.

New foods

It’s common for a breast fed baby to experience constipation for the first time when solid foods are introduced into his diet. His little body is just not used to digesting anything other than breast milk. Introduce new foods slowly to allow time for him to adjust.

Some foods are more constipating than others. If your baby passes a firm, dry, pebbly poop, think back to what he’s eaten in the previous 24 hours. Did you offer him a new food? If there’s something you can identify, wait until his constipation has cleared, then try offering it in smaller amounts next time.

Low fibre

Fibre is only found in plant foods such as cereals, fruits and vegetables. Babies over 6 months with high intakes of formula or cows milk (only recommended after 12 months) can become constipated. It’s not the milk itself that cause this, it’s simply that the child fills up on milk which means he will have no appetite for other foods which provide fibre.

Food intolerance

Persistent constipation can be a sign of milk or food intolerance.

Some Medications Common medications given to babies can sometimes cause constipation.

pain-killers containing paracetamol, acetaminophen and ibuprophen


antacids containing aluminium

Infant constipation remedies

Most babies are not truly constipated unless they experience all of the following:

1. Firm, dry pebbly stools

2. No bowel movement for 2-3 days for formula fed babies and 7-10 days for breastfed babies, and

3. Strains while trying to poop.

Unless your little one has a problem with all three, she’s probably not constipated and you needn't do anything. If baby is constipated, treatment may be necessary. I suggest you start with the simple things first.

* It’s rare that a fully breast fed baby will become constipated prior to the commencement of solids. 7 or 10 days without a poop can be very normal where baby is only offered breast milk. Breast milk is the perfect food for babies and very little is left to waste. Breast milk also has a natural laxative effect, that helps protect baby against constipation.

Natural remedies


Sugar e.g. brown sugar or corn syrup (Karo)

Fruit juice


Increasing the amount of water offered, is often more effective than adding sugars to a baby’s diet. For babies less than 6 months of age, offer 1 oz of cooled boiled water, once or twice a day. For babies over 6 months offer 2 oz once or twice a day.


A remedy for constipation that has been around for centuries and still recommended today is to add some form of sugar to a baby’s diet. The sugar works by drawing additional fluid into baby’s bowel to soften the stools. Sugar can come from fruit, in the form of fructose or sorbitol or sucrose from sugar cane.

It’s commonly recommended to add sugar (particularly brown sugar) or corn syrup (Karo) to baby’s formula. Rather than do this, I suggest you offer it in a small amount of cooled boiled water for two reasons…

The additional water is helpful, and

If baby becomes accustomed to drinking the sweetened formula he may fuss with feeding once the sugar or corn syrup is stopped.

Caution: In previous generations, honey was recommended as a natural sugar to relieve constipation. It is no longer recommended that children under 12 months be offered honey because the associated risk of botulism (a gastro-intestinal illness).

Brown Sugar

Add ½ teaspoon of brown sugar (the one used for cooking) to 1 oz of cooled, boiled water.

Offer this to baby 3 times a day, directly before formula feeds, only until he passes a soft stool.

*Although brown sugar is recommended because it contains molasses, white sugar would do.

Karo syrup

Corn syrup is a mildly sweet, concentrated solution of sugars derived from corn starch. A common brand is Karo. Light Karo is recommended for treating infant constipation.

Add 1 teaspoon of Karo syrup to 4 oz of cooled boiled water. Offer 1 oz of this solution to baby from a bottle, just before formula feeds, twice a day only until he passes a soft stool.

Caution: Only add sugar or corn syrup to your little one’s diet if you are treating constipation.

Fruit juice

Offer diluted apple, prune or pear juice. Dilute the juice to ¼ strength to start with, by adding cooled boiled water to the juice. Slowly increase the concentration to ½ strength if necessary.

Offer 1 oz of diluted juice to babies 2 – 6 months or 2 oz for babies over 6 months, twice a day until the poop has softened. Give less rather than more to start with. Too much juice can result in abdominal gas, bloating and diarrhea.

Unlike added sugars (including Karo), fruit juice can be offered on a regular or daily basis to maintain soft stools.

Caution: Do not treat infant constipation with juice and additional sugars (including Karo) at the same time. Choose only one treatment.


Rice cereal, bananas, and pureed apple can result in firmer stools. Carrots and squash are constipating for some babies. Prunes, peaches, pears, plums, apricots, and peas make stools softer.

For a baby under 9 months, avoid citrus fruits such as orange, grapefruit and pineapple as the acid content in these fruits can be harsh on little tummies, as well as the skin around his mouth and bottom (when it comes out).

Recommendations for relieving infant constipation

Babies under 2 months old

1. Offer additional water – 1 oz once or twice a day.

2. Try brown sugar or Karo syrup.

3. Change formula if constipation returns.

Babies between 2 – 6 months

1. Offer additional water – 1 or 2 oz once or twice a day.

2. Try brown sugar or Karo syrup OR diluted fruit juice.

3. Change formula if constipation returns

Babies over 6 months

1. Offer additional water - 2 oz once of twice a day.

2. Offer baby a mixed grain cereal.

3. Offer fruit juice or daily if necessary to maintain soft stools.

4. Increase the amount of fruit offered daily.

Babies over 12 months

1. Offer plenty of water.

2. Increase activity.

3. Check milk intake, decreasing the amount to 24 oz per day if necessary.

4. For those who are trained or in the process or toilet training, encourage regular toilet times or sit child on the potty after meals.



Laxatives are only necessary if natural remedies have failed or where constipation is severe. Although many different types of laxatives can be purchased over the counter, most laxatives are not suitable for babies and small children. If you feel your little one’s needs a laxative to relieve his constipation, we recommend you consult your doctor about the best treatment.

Different laxatives work in different ways.

Some simply soften the stool.

Others act as a peristaltic stimulant (in other words, they stimulate the natural contractions of the bowel, in order to push the stool out).

Some offer a combination of a softener with a peristaltic stimulant.

Others offer additional fibre.

Laxatives can be given to babies orally in the form of drops or anally by suppository or enema.

What to do when baby is constipated and strains

When baby strains, lift his knees to his chest (which is a natural squatting position). Or gently move his legs backwards and forwards in a ‘bicycle’ motion. Also…

Try a warm bath and/or a tummy massage.

Tummy massage

Baby’s large bowel sits in his abdomen in one large loop. Poop travels around his large bowel in a clockwise direction. To assist him to expel gas that can occur with constipation, it’s best to follow the natural path of his large bowel.

Put some oil on your hands and gently massage his abdomen (the area under his ribs) in a clockwise direction using long stroking actions. Alternate this with lifting his knees and the ‘bicycle’ motion.

When to see your doctor

If baby cries while straining.

If constipation remains a persistent problem.

If the number of wet diapers each day have also decreased.

If your baby passes an unusual stool or has blood in his poop.

If you notice any bleeding from baby’s anus.

For advice on suitable laxatives.

*If you are concerned your baby’s constipation is due to iron, please consult your doctor before making any changes to his diet.

*Constipation in infants is rarely due to excess iron. Low iron formula should only be given if recommended by your doctor

sorry if its too long as i cant get the link to come up for it lol
take him to the doc. my son was 6 weeks old when he ended up in hospital due to constipation(he was only pooing once a week!) i had recently changed to sma hungry baby (because he was) and i think thats what caused it. i tried orange juice to help him but nothing worked and the doctor kept telling me he was crying 24/7 because of colic, and i knew it wasnt that. in the end he started passing out and turning blue because he was in that much pain, so i took him to the hospital and in the end i was listened to and my child was given lactulose. and he improved almost immediately(i also used to massage his bum cheeks together...dont ask why but it works) he eventually stopped needing the laxitive when he started on proper food. hes four now so it worked out alright in the end, thank god
If this was my baby I would be back down the doctors. My health visitor used to reccomend a small amount of fresh orange juice but that was 8 years ago so it may have changed since then but it never done any of my babies any harm. Have you asked your pharmacist sometimes they can be better than the doctors. I wouldnt leave it any longer then 2-3 days. Good luck.
Well years ago it was suggested to give the baby a drink of sugar water ( not too sweet) or a teaspoon of gripe water.

An old fashioned remedy but one which worked. My health visitor recommended it.
If it gets to three days, give him a baby-size glycerin suppository and he'll do a big doodle in under 20 minutes.
here are things i did with my baby and she was formula fed, and she had times like this. also pay attention if they are farting, if they are, then they are constipated. makesure to have rash cream on their tush at all times so it don't hurt when it comes out.

1. hold baby up on your chest with their legs bent. start patting their butt upwards for awhile. take a break, do it again. that always helped my child

2. once a day give them a bottle of water with some apple juice in it. that worked too.

3. lay them on their back, and bend their knees to their tummy and stretch out, keep doing that. GOOD LUCK!
I would say he's constipated. Try giving him prune juice.
if he starts crying because he's got a bellyache, give him a drink of boiled water with a tiny bit of sugar or a spot of apple juice in it. He'll be fine.
Use 1 less scoop of formula, eg: 7oz water 6 scoops.His body need to get used to the extra fats and stuff in the higher formula..Give plenty of cool boiled water to drink.If that doesn't work seek medical advice.
please see a real doctor, f you're really worried and nothing changes!!
As long as it's not causing him pain or discomfort then he's fine. They are right, he'll go on his own eventually. Although when he does, that diaper change won't be a lot of fun.
thats pretty normal for his age so do not worry. My son started going every other day at 3 months and now hes almost 5 months and still doing that. Its very normal so do not worry. The only thing you need to worry about is if they start not having many wet diapers. My son has not went in 2 days as well :).

i see everyone saying to give him water but the DR actually told us to stay away from it bc their kidneys are working overtime and water is the last thing they need for them (kidneys). Just wait another day I am sure he will have a bog poo tomorrow and everyone will feel better (I wish that for my son too, lol. )
it is perfectly normal ; scares the heck out of most parents .....

try feedin a jar of 1st prunes with a spoon ..... that will definately get him goin ....

my son started skipping days at two mths from twice a day and it scared us so bad ......

also Similac Advanced plus Iron makes babies poo alot ... just a regular 8 oz bottle should do the trick ....
my 15week old baby didn't go i gave him 1ounce pure orange juice mixed with 1 once of boiled water. he went that evening.
Hi, a lot of people have suggested water, sugar water , juice etc, I wouldnt do this without checking with your doctor, as their kidneys may struggle to cope. There are a couple of other things you can try, massage his stomach in a clockwise direction around his belly button, this is the direction of the bowel and can help to get things moving. Also if you are in the UK, you can buy ready to drink cartons of formula which as they contain preservatives can help your son to become more regular, I swopped to this for a couple of months with my daughter and she was soon going regularly again.

2 days isnt really anything to worry about, just make sure you are still getting plenty of wet nappies and keep an eye on his stomach, if it appears to be bulging more than normal, or you can real a hard 'knot' when massaging then go back to your doctor. Hope this helps , I remember the worries of bowel movements and sympathise !!! :)
Make sure he has plenty of cooled boiled water to keep his system hydrated.

You could also try well-diluted fruit juice - orange or apple.

Don't go for the old fashioned sugared water idea, it just dries the system up further.
Second formula is harder to digest - that is the whole point of it - but the downside of this is that it can change bowel habits. Your baby not going for 2 days isn't really a cause for concern. Anything up to once a week is considered normal. He will probably get used to the formula in a few days and start to poop normally again.
i put my daughter on hungry baby milk and was told to add 1/2 oz of extra water to each feed so 7.5 water to 7 powder etc to help. baby needs to go to the loo as eventually it will poison his system (it will take a while so dont worry its not going to happen in the next couple days!)

my cousin had twins, 1 of which just stopped going to the loo, she is now on pica sulphate and latculose (sorry about the spelling) you may also find if hes straining that lifting his legs up so his knees are nearer his chin might help him a little too, this was what my cousin was told by the hospital dr.if he still doesnt go in the next couple days take him back to the dr!
Are you breastfeeding too or just formula? If you are still producing milk, my advice would be to breastfeed him as much as you possibly can for a week. Breastmilk is the most suited to a baby's immature body and therefore doesn't put so much strain on the digestive system. I had this problem when I moved my baby onto solids at 6 months, after she became constipated, I stopped the solids, reverted back to breastfeeding only for 1 month on the advice of my breastfeeding counsellor and she was fine.
The poor little guy. It must be equally distressing for him as well since he has no idea what's happening. Best thing is to keep him hydrated. I know that at his age he has a sensitive stomach as well as the rest of his system. I wouldn't fool around, get him to your nearest hospital. The specialists there will likely put him on an IV and keep him for observation. Is he having runny bm's? If so, then wait a day or two for the formla to adjust. His system has to get used to the second formula. If in doubt, return to the first formula x 1/2. Still take him into the hospital where he can be checked properly. They have the X-ray machines, Lab and other Doctors available.

so bad because its inside and for baby is so hard to manage!

you must use a black draught or enema!

dont listen to everybody that baby get use ti it !I had a problem with my baby for about 5 month but in one day everythink will came ok!

You must do somethink as soon as possible!!!!!!

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