If your baby hasn't pooped all day, you tend to notice. Every time you open a wet diaper and think “Oh good! No mess!” and then follow it with “Next time for sure!” After the first few times, it begins to worry you.
It's usually a bad thing when anyone goes a day without pooping, so it stands to reason that a baby not pooping all day should be even worse. Newborns and growing infants eat so frequently, they must move their bowels frequently. Right?
It does make sense, but it's not completely correct. Babies don't always poop every day. Not pooping on a daily basis isn't itself an indication of illness in babies. Before you rush to contact your pediatrician's office or take baby to a clinic, you need to ask yourself a few questions.
Is Your Baby Breastfed?
It's not unusual for a breastfed baby to go days or even weeks without pooping. This is not something I was ever told until I became concerned and asked. It's not something I was expecting either.
Breastfed babies usually need to eat more often than formula-fed babies, so you’d expect them to poop more often too. That's not the case. Breast milk is the most digestible food for a baby’s stomach and there is very little waste.
If your baby has other symptoms to cause concern, such as fussiness, gas, or vomiting, you may want to consider making changes to your own diet. There could be something you're eating that your baby is sensitive to.
Some common culprits are:
Grains and wheat
It is recommended to eliminate just one food at a time to find out which one is causing issues. If you cut one thing out for a whole week and there’s no change for your baby, try eliminating something else.
Is Your Baby Formula-fed?
A formula-fed baby is less likely to go a day without pooping, but it still may not be an indication of illness.
There are many different kinds of formula. If your baby is having digestive issues, it may be time to switch and try something else for a few days.
Keep in mind your baby's digestive system is always changing as he or she grows. Even when you've been using the same kind of formula for months, problems can begin to arise because of changes in your baby's body.
Be Concerned Your Baby Hasn't Pooped All Day If...
According to the Mayo Clinic, signs and symptoms of constipation in children may include:
Less than three bowel movements a week
Bowel movements that are hard, dry and difficult to pass
Large-diameter stools that may obstruct the toilet
Pain while having a bowel movement
Traces of liquid or clay-like stool in your child's underwear
Blood on the surface of hard stool
So, simply not pooping all day isn't a clear indication your baby is constipated, nor is pooping necessarily an indication that he or she is not constipated.
Their advice is to consult your child’s doctor if the constipation lasts longer than two weeks or is accompanied by fever, vomiting, blood in the stool, abdominal swelling, weight loss, anal fissures, or rectal prolapse.
Absent these serious symptoms, constipation may not be a big problem. There are many reasons to keep an eye on your baby's poop though. In general, your bowel movements can tell you a lot about your health.
Have You Introduced New Foods?
Another thing to consider, whether you're breastfeeding or using formula, is if your baby has been introduced to new foods recently. If your baby has other caregivers, it's a good idea to ask if anyone else has been giving them something new.
It's typically recommended to not give anything other than breastmilk or formula to babies under 6 months. Even a small taste can affect your baby if their digestive system isn't quite ready for it.
Of course, all babies reach milestones at their own pace, so your baby's age doesn't necessarily tell you whether they're ready for new foods. The U.S. National Library of Medicine offers this handy checklist to help you determine if your baby is ready:
Your baby's birth weight has doubled.
Your baby can control their head and neck movements.
Your baby can sit up with some support.
Your baby can show you they are full by turning their head away or by not opening their mouth.
Your baby begins showing interest in food when others are eating.
However, your baby may be developmentally ready while their digestive system is not, or your baby may have a food sensitivity or an allergy to certain foods.
What Can You Do Now?
If you're breastfeeding and your baby is not unusually fussy or distressed, it's best to just wait out the poopy diaper. Be forewarned, it will appear at the most inopportune time.
If you're formula feeding and your baby has other signs of constipation, you can consider trying a different formula.
You can eliminate problem foods from your diet if you're nursing or from your baby's diet if you’ve been giving new foods.
Do not try giving your baby any over-the-counter laxative before FIRST consulting a doctor.
Let us know about your experience by commenting and share this article with your friends when their baby hasn’t pooped all day!