September 02, 2010,
M.T. asks from Brooklyn, NY on December 21, 2007
Constipated Baby and Infant Suppositories
My 5 month old baby has not pooped in a few days. I breastfeed her 90-99 % (sometimes she gets a formula bottle if she's gone through the pumped stuff). She usually poops several times a day. On monday she pooped 1 time, and that's been it. We've given her a little prune juice, but nothing! She's peeing up a storm and passing lots of gas, but no stool. She's been in a pretty good mood, but it's so strange that she's just stopped. The pediatrician (was annoyed I called--see other post) suggested an infant suppository from Duane Reade. Have people had good luck with those? Any other suggestions for a more natural way or ideas about how this happened? This is the start of day 4 without a poop, so i'm very worried. Thanks!
A.S. answers from Boise on September 02, 2010
My baby is 3 months old and he had the exact same problem.
Your description of your feeding style is the same as mine, our son pooped in EVERY diaper then one day he just stopped. Our doctor said that is normal for breastfed babies and that her daughter (now 1) didn't poop for 14 days. Our son however didn't sound comfortable after about six days so we used the suppository and he was sooooo happy after.
However the problem still continued so after a stomach x-ray our doctor referred us to a pediatric GI doctor. He told us to put a tsp of Karo syrup in one bottle a day (sugar is a mild laxative for babies) and try that if we wanted. He also said the glycerin suppositories were completely healthy and we could use those whenever we liked. Babies won't get addicted to them or not learn to poop on their own. The final thing we tried was rectal dilation therapy (if you can avoid this do because it isn't fun as a parent). Basically the little guy was pushing with his stomach but keeping the back door closed by not relaxing his bum so nothing would come out. We had to insert a dilater in his bum twice a day for 8 days to help him relax his bum. I think it helped, I think the Karo syrup helped as well, and the suppositories we only used when our little guy cried in pain because he hadn't pooped for 3-4 days. Just in the last few days has he really started to get it figured out but it is common for breast fed babies to only poop every few days so don't worry too much. (I know that is the really hard part)
One last thing there are a few GI diseases that the doctors checked for on our son so if your gut tells you something is really wrong be persistant, they can do a stomach ex-ray and some other minimal test to pretty much eliminate the question of more serious diseases.
Also change peditricians...you need to be comfortable calling whenever you need to so change for everyone's sake.
L.S. answers from New York on December 21, 2007
First off...I'm so sorry your pediatrican was nasty to you! How awful! Secondly, my son had some difficulty with pooping when he was younger too. I didn't breastfeed (couldn't unfortunately) but same issue existed. I was honestly scared of the suppositories and never used them! We gave him two ozs of prune juice diluted with 1 oz of water. If that didn't work gerber does sell prunes (the good ol' baby type all mashed up). My son ate it without a problem and then pooped without a problem within the day. Anohter suggestion our ped gave us (gross but worked also) is to take a q-tip (the regular kind not the baby ones which are wider) and dob it with a lot of vaseline and put it up his rectum for a few seconds. It helped a few times. It stimulates the muscles to get everything moving so watch out if it works b/c it comes out quick!
Hope that helps and best of luck to you!
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D.A. answers from New York on December 22, 2007
My daughter, who is now 10, used to be constipated fairly often as a baby. I did use suppositories, which sometimes worked and sometimes didn't. I also used Senokot for children which worked, but be sure to read the label because I don't remember if it's for children as young as yours. A few times we even had to give her an enema, which is unpleasant, but necessary if they go too long without a poop. And what I wished I had known sooner was an old fashioned remedy of a spoonful of olive oil.
The important thing is not to let it go too long. At one point my daughter had to be disimpacted at the doctor's office - that is when they have to reach in with a gloved finger to dislodge the dried, impacted feces in their rectum. If you see trickles of brownish fluid coming out but no solid matter, that might be the case. Anyway, if your pediatrician is uncooperative, find a doctor that will be more accommodating...you don't want to let this go too long.
J.J. answers from New York on December 22, 2007
oh my god Shelli DO NOT GIVE YOUR BABY A SUPPOSITORY! SHE IS FINE! thank god you are breastfeeding, that is SO wonderful. but you need to know that pediatricians are very hostile, even if they pretend not to be, toward breastfeeding mothers. so don't go on your doctor's advice. your baby is NOT sick.
first of all the best information on all this is at the La Leche League Int. website; go there and find your local chapter; go to a meeting to discuss this concern if you can, or contact your local chapter leaders. what you're experienceing is totally normal and totally fine.
breastmilk is extremely efficient; exclusive and near exclusive breastmilk fed babies will very often not poop because there's nothing leftover to get rid of! :) breastmilk is nature's single perfect food. so your baby is just using up all her food, and not to worry.
my children have never had formula but they both started food early, at about 5 months; but much more of the food got ON them than IN them. once they did start eating food they started pooping a lot. but prior to that they often didn't poop. before i knew anything about breastfeeding, i had the same experience as you and was worried like you; i gave my son about 2 teaspoons of raisin juice which i made by boiling and straining raisins. it did not work! so don't worry about the prune juice. you can keep giving it to your baby in small quantities, like a teaspoon at a time, but don't expect it to do much. it's not poison, it's just food, and that's perfectly fine.
LLLI asserts that babies should not have any solid (or soft incl.) food of any kind before 6 months, and that's fine; i didn't do that, obviously, but there's no reason NOT to follow that rule. but a little prune juice is not a problem.
what IS a problem is a suppository; giving medicine to any person who isn't sick is extremely risky, and i really hope you will not do this. if your baby was showing any signs of being sick, that would be different. i am glad that you see the difference. you're obviously a very tuned-in mom. i would really wait until the baby seemed uncomfortable or unhappy before going back to the doctor. remember that doctors stay in business and stay important because they have "answers"; but they often create answers where there don't need to be any. i would say stick with your obviously excellent intuition for now.
i would also say to you, why use formula at all? you could just pump a bit more, if you need to, or offer your baby the actual breast a few more times per day. breast milk is really so very much better than any formula; anyone who says otherwise is less informed than they should be. you're doing a great job, why not fill in that one or two feedings? your body will naturally make more if your demand goes up, i promise you won't run out.
good luck to you! your baby will be fine!
J. answers from New York on December 22, 2007
Hi, When my daughter was younger, I was told to give her Mineral Oil. She generally pooped within the hour. I don't recall how much to give but I think it was the same dosage as Tylenol. Check with the pharmicist. You can purchase it at Rite Aid. It isn't supposed to have a taste so you can mix it but it is greasy so I don't suggest mixing it with milk. Hope this works for you.