Author Topic: "Is my breastfed baby constipated??"  (Read 6542 times)

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Offline Carter'sMama

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"Is my breastfed baby constipated??"
« on: July 05, 2006, 03:06:02 am »
What is constipation?

 Constipation happens when bowel movements (poops) are less often than usual and harder than normal. Often there is pain passing bowel movements.  Most babies do not actually get constipated.

What is Normal?

It is normal for bowel movement patterns to vary from infant to infant.   While the amount and frequency of a breastfed baby's wet diapers and bowel movements can be a valuable indicator of his well-being, there is a wide range to what is considered normal.

1st 6 Weeks

In the early weeks, a breastfed baby may have three to five (or more) bowel movements a day. As your baby gets older (at about one month) he will have fewer (two to three) bowel movements and may even go as long as five to seven days without one. Breastfed babies' bowel movements have a mild smell, and are usually pasty, yellow, and soft.  It is also normal for an infant to grunt, grimace, or have a red face when having a bowel movement.

Constipation is rare in infants. Not enough breast milk, introducing solid food too early, or fluid loss due to illness or diarrhea, and allergy might be most possible causes of constipation. Also, some medications or medical conditions can cause constipation in infants.

After 6 Weeks

It is normal for the bowel movements of a breastfed baby to decrease in frequency when the colostrum, which has laxative properties, is completely gone from the mother's milk after about six weeks of age. A baby this age may continue to have bowel movements as frequently as five times a day, sometimes even after every nursing. It is also normal for a breastfed baby older than six weeks to have only one bowel movement every few days. Some healthy babies will have only one bowel movement a week, some go as long as 10-14 days.

After Solid Foods

Once solid foods or other liquids are introduced to your breastfed baby, there will be many changes in his elimination patterns. The stools will have a stronger odor and different color and consistency. Now it is indeed possible for your baby to experience constipation and even diarrhea, which are good clues that he is not tolerating a new food or juice.  When an infant starts eating solid foods, he may have some changes in his bowel movements until he adapts to the new food. It is important for children this age to get enough fluid and fiber.


*** As long as your baby is gaining well, wetting sufficiently, and is happy and content there is no cause to be alarmed by infrequent bowel movements, and it is not necessary to give the baby a laxative, fruit juice, or any other "helpers." In fact, attempting to force bowel movements can have harmful consequences to your baby.   If you have any concerns consult with your Pediatrician or Family Doctor.

Some references:

« Last Edit: July 05, 2006, 03:09:08 am by Carter'sMama »
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