My Newborn Is Not Pooping but Passing Gas – Should I Be Worried?

Welcome to the world of parenting, where every little thing about a newborn can cause concern for parents – including their bowel movements. Irregular bowel movements, constipation and diarrhea can all cause parents to worry.

In this article, we’ll delve into the reasons behind why your newborn isn’t pooping but passing gas. Exploring possible causes, potential concerns, and helpful home remedies, this comprehensive guide aims to shed light on this natural occurrence and provide peace of mind for parents navigating through this unique stage of their baby’s development.

So, let’s dive in and unravel the mysteries of newborns and their adorable, yet sometimes puzzling, bodily functions.


How Often Should My Newborn Baby Poop?

Frequency of Newborn Pooping

Newborn babies generally have different bowel movement frequencies from that of adults. Understanding the unique pattern of their bowel movement can help determine whether they’re well or if a visit to the doctor is necessary.

Here’s a breakdown of the pooping frequency of newborns and what to look out for:

StagePooping frequencyCharacteristics
MeconiumWithin the first 24 hours
  • Greenish-black color
  • Sticky texture
  • Before 6 weeks old (Breastfed)5 – 12 times per day
  • Green, brown or yellow color
  • Soft and runny
  • Before 6 weeks old (Formula-fed)1 – 4 times per day
  • Green, light brown or yellow color
  • Peanut-butter-like texture
  • What is meconium?

    Meconium, a type of feces, is already present in your baby’s intestines before their birth. They’ll typically pass this within the first 24 hours after coming into the world, though some may take up to 48 hours to pass it. It’s critical to see a doctor if your baby doesn’t pass meconium within the first 48 hours of birth.

    As your baby reaches 6 weeks old, you may notice a decrease in the frequency of their bowel movements. It’s normal for your little one to go without pooping for a day or two so don’t worry!


    What Does It Mean When My Newborn Isn’t Pooping but Passing Gas?

    My Newborn Isn’t Pooping but Passing Gas

    Though passing gas may seem like a sign of constipation, this might not necessarily be the case if your little one has been eating well. This gas can be a result of swallowing air during feeding or the fermentation of small amounts of milk in the digestive system, which feeds the good bacteria in the gut. Thus, your newborn passing gas might just be a natural function of the digestive system to eliminate excess air.

    On the other hand, it’s also possible that your newborn is constipated and passing gas, since passing gas is often easier than passing a hard stool. Constipated babies may cry more than usual, leading them to swallow more air and become gassier. Additionally, the accumulation of stool in a newborn’s intestines can contribute to increased gas.

    In most cases, a baby’s gas and constipation will resolve on their own. But if you have concerns about your baby’s bowel movements, it’s best to consult a doctor for advice.


    How Do I Know if My Baby Is Constipated?

    Is My Baby Constipated?
    Baby crying

    While it’s common to think that straining to poop or not having a daily poop is a sign of constipation, this may not always be the case. The weak abdominal muscles of babies may mean that they strain to poop even if they’re not constipated. Furthermore, some babies may naturally have irregular bowel movements.

    Instead of looking out for straining or irregular bowel movements, you can instead look out for these signs of constipation:

    • Bloating
    • Hard stool
    • Persistent crying, especially when passing stool
    • Reluctance to eat
    • Spitting up more often
    • Hard and rigid abdomen

    Causes of Constipation in Newborns

    Constipation in newborns is often caused by their diet. Here are some common reasons your baby may be experiencing constipation:

    Change in feeding methods

    Swapping from breast milk to formula milk or vice versa can cause your newborn to experience constipation. Additionally, the introduction of solid food to your baby’s diet can also cause constipation as their delicate digestive systems learn to break down this new food. You might even notice changes in the smell, color and texture of their poop, aside from changes to the frequency.

    Change in baby formula

    If you’ve recently switched your baby formula brand or the type of formula you’re using (such as powdered or concentrate), it could be the reason for your baby’s constipation. Some babies may have sensitive intestines that don’t adjust well to these changes.

    Lactose intolerance

    Lactose intolerance can cause constipation, though diarrhea is a more commonly observed symptom. Other signs of lactose intolerance include swelling or pain in your baby’s abdomen after feeding and increased crying. You may also notice your baby spitting up or refusing to eat.

    Lack of water

    If your baby isn’t drinking enough water, their stool can get drier and harder to pass. You can check for dehydration by looking out for the following signs:

    • Peeing less than 6 times a day
    • Urine is yellow and smelly
    • The inside of their mouth is dry and sticky

    Iron supplements

    Iron supplements can turn your newborn’s poop into hard pellets, making it more difficult for them to pass.

    Unwell or sick

    When your newborn is unwell, they might not eat or drink enough, causing constipation.


    When Should I Worry About My Newborn Not Pooping?

    When Should I Worry?

    Each baby is unique, so the color and texture of their poop and their frequency of pooping can differ. However, if you notice any or the combination of the following signs, it’s best to take your little one to the doctor immediately.

    BehaviorNoticeable signsPoop characteristicsPoop frequency
  • Loss of appetite
  • Excess crying that can’t be soothed
  • Lethargic
  • Crying when you touch their abdomen
  • Weak cry
  • Inability to sleep
  • Fever
  • Constipation accompanied by vomiting
  • Hard abdomen
  • Weight loss or poor weight gain
  • Severe pain during bowel movement
  • Blood in stool
  • Excess water or mucus in stool
  • White, gray or black stool
  • Newborns who don’t pass any stools in the first 48 hours
  • Newborns younger than 6 weeks who don’t poop daily
  • Newborns younger than 4 months pooping less than 3 times per week
  • 5

    How Do I Help to Relieve Constipation in My Baby?

    How to Relieve Constipation

    As different causes of constipation require different remedies, it’s always best to consult a doctor for advice. But if you’d like to try some home remedies before seeing a doctor, here are some options for you.

    Home Remedies for Babies Under 6 Months Old

    Picture of a mother massaging her baby

    Massage your newborn’s tummy

    If your newborn is constipated, try massaging the abdomen using your fingertips. Start at the navel and move outwards in a clockwise direction, creating a circular motion. This can potentially help to stimulate the bowels and push out gas from their digestive system.

    Ensure proper latching during breastfeeding

    Hindmilk contains a greater amount of fat and serves as a natural laxative. Making sure that your newborn latches properly during breastfeeding ensures that they consume enough of this milk.

    Give your newborn a warm bath

    A warm bath can stimulate your baby’s bowel movement by relaxing their muscles. Just make sure that the water is at the right temperature – neither too hot nor too cold!

    Move your newborn’s legs in a bicycle motion

    Place your baby on their back and gently move their legs in a cycling motion. Do this for a couple of minutes, several times a day to stimulate your baby’s bowels and get rid of gas in their system.

    Change the type of formula milk

    If your baby is lactose intolerant, a simple fix might be to change the type of formula milk you’re using. It could contain ingredients your little one is sensitive to, such as cow’s milk. However, do consult your doctor before changing formulas!

    Prepare the formula milk correctly

    The improper preparation of formula milk can cause constipation, especially if the formula hasn’t been diluted properly. The best way to measure accurately is to use the instructions and the scoop provided!

    Home Remedies for Babies 6 Months and Older

    If your baby is over 6 months old and starting to eat solids, it’s good to include fiber-rich foods in their diet. This will encourage regular bowel movements and prevent constipation.

    Some fiber-rich foods you can consider including in their meals are:

    • Banana
    • Peaches
    • Plums
    • Prunes
    • Pureed broccoli
    • Pureed carrots

    You can also consider giving your little one very small amounts of 100% fruit juice to stimulate their digestive systems.

    Home Remedies to Avoid

    While some home remedies may be helpful, there are also some that you might want to avoid. This includes:

    • Corn syrup
    • Enemas
    • Honey
    • Mineral oil
    • Laxatives

    It’s crucial to avoid giving babies younger than 1 year old honey or corn syrup as these substances may contain a bacteria that causes infant botulism. This condition can result in muscle weakness and breathing difficulties, among other symptoms.


    Frequently Asked Questions About Newborns Pooping

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Disclaimer: The information in this article serves as a general guideline. Every baby is unique, so their bowel movement patterns may vary. If you have any worries or questions about your baby’s bowel movements, it’s always a good idea to seek advice from a doctor!

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