Parents rejoice about the happy sounds that their newborns make, the smiles, and even the little gurgling sounds. Cries can bring frustration, but they are obvious signs of mood changes and distress. Pooping is an important way that parents can detect changes in the child's health as well. Keeping an eye on what's in the diaper can help understand how the baby is doing. Constipation in babies can be cause for concern, but it doesn't appear quite the same as in adults.
Signs During the First Few Days
By the end of the first five days after birth, something should be coming out. It should look strange to adult humans -- bright yellow in color. Brown or green isn't right, and a lack of poop is cause for concern, especially if the baby is not accepting food very often.
Signs by Type of Feeding and Frequency
If a child is breastfed, it will often have a bowl movement after most meals. Breastfed babies are rarely constipated, say experts. The diaper discovery, as it were, should be somewhat awkward to behold: runny or pasty in consistency. If it's like small balls of clay, the child may be constipated.
Formula and solid food each cause changes in the baby's output, but should produce results in most children a few times a day during the first four months, and as the food switches to more solid types, once a day is common.
Seeing Blood or Difficult Movements
Harder, less liquid bowel movements can cause difficulty pooping, and the passage through can stretch and damage linings, bringing a bit of bright red blood with it. Constipation in babies can be painful, too, causing unhappy sounds if feces does emerge.
When the Child Expresses Signs of Trouble
Watching your baby's face could show trouble, if there's more than the usual look of concentration he or she makes when pooping. Refusal to eat may not be bad behavior! It may be a sign that things are not moving out, so your child doesn't want to add to the trouble. Touch the tummy and see if it's very firm and painful. If so, suspect constipation.
When Delays Might Not be Trouble
Breastfed babies can take up to a week to make a bowel movement; don't expect a beginner to be operating like clockwork. Check for other signs of trouble in addition to delays, to be sure it's not just your baby's system doing its thing.
Issues to Consider
There are many causes of constipation in babies, including some you can check into yourself before calling for help. For breastfed babies, consider the mother's diet as a potential source of allergic reactions in the child. Otherwise, think about the food, especially as solid food is introduced, especially for common issues such as lactose intolerance. Ask your doctor about ways to get back on track, including pears and broccoli as natural remedies, and Miralax powder mixed in liquid or lactulose, a sugary substance which helps the intestines lubricate themselves.
Having a baby means paying close attention to signs and symptoms of all kinds, but did you ever think you'd become an expert on baby poop?