30 answers

Help! My 4 Week Old Wont Poop!

Hello Moms, I need some advice as to how to get my 4 week old little boy to poop regularly. It's so strange, because he was pooping fine in the first few days he was home from the hospital, and then he just stopped! I am breastfeeding but supplementing with formula due to a low milk supply. The formula he got at the hospital was Similac Advance Early Shield. He seemed to be doing fine on it at first, then he got really gassy and seemed to be in pain while trying to go poop. Then he just stopped pooping all together! I then changed his formula to Similac Sensitive, which is what I did when my first son had that issue, but it still doesn't seem to be working (by the way, my first son did fine after I switched him to Similac Sensitive) Anyways, he did go poop once day before yesterday, but that's it. He still grunts a lot and looks to be in pain while trying to go poop. Do any of you know anything else I can try or give him to make his bowels move? I know pears and prune juice work on older babies, but what about a 4wk old? I am desperate..I feel so bad for the little guy! :( Any help would be greatly appreciated!

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Karo syrup. That is what I had to use for all my babies. use a hlaf teaspoon and mix it with his milk. He will start to get regular after a couple feedings.

My suggestion is that if that formula has iron in it then find another one. It will make him SO constipated!

Good Luck!

My pedetrician said it is ok for a baby to go 2-3 days without pooping. So try not to assist with his pooping, using therm in butt or laxatives. Good Luck!

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I would be leary of giving him anything (food/juice/medicine) at 4 weeks without talking to the dr. But, sometimes I found that if I took my baby's temperature, rectally, it seemed to make them go poop. So, on occassion, if I thought they were a little constipated, I would insert the rectal thermometer like I was taking a temp, in fact, you can actually take the temp to give you a time frame to leave it in, and then just wait and mine usually would go within a few hours of doing that.

Dear G.,
What I did with my children and granchildren. Put a little bit of karo syrup in the formula,start out with a few drops if it don't work add a little more .But keep track of how much you use.If they go to often and to loose back off. good luck.
J. G

My daughter was having the same problem with her 4 week old baby. While she was on breast milk fulltime, the baby did fine, but when she started to supplement with formula, the baby became constipated and seemed to be in pain. She is now on formula full time, and seems to be doing fine. While she was having the problem, she asked the doctor and he also told her to use the thermometer and vaseline. I guess the switching back and forth from breast to formula is upsetting to the tummy.

My pedetrician said it is ok for a baby to go 2-3 days without pooping. So try not to assist with his pooping, using therm in butt or laxatives. Good Luck!

Never do anything without your pediatrician's approval, but there are suppositories for infants that can help. I had to use them occasionally with my baby until her system got adjusted.

This is a very common problem with supplementation as you never know how a baby will react to different formulas. I would suggest that you breastfeed as often as possible which will help your milk supply come in more readily. Mom's that have a low milk supply is usually due to them being given formula at the hospital and not allowing mom to breastfeed moments after birth. Breastfeed every 1 1/2 hrs even if your baby doesn't seem hungry, they just may want to suckle which will stimulate lactation. If that's not possible pump for 5-10mins every hour or in between feedings. You will most likely only have to do this for a couple of days. Start drinking Traditional Medicinals Mother's Milk Tea. This will not only help increase healthy lactation, but contains herbs to help with colic and bowel movements. Stay away from foods containing partially hydrogentated oils (trans fats) as they decrease your milk production. Drink plenty of water. Also, stay away from antihistamins and caffeine which will dehydrate you and reduce milk supply. As you do all this, your milk supply will increase and you can slowly wean him off the formula. It sounds like a lot, but I'm sure that even now you have more milk than you think. Breastfed babies tend to grow longer first instead of chunkier like formula fed babies. Formula fed babies receive a lot of corn syrup (part of the formula) and that decreases leptin in the brain which initiates the feeling of being full. Formula fed babies eat more because they don't feel full right away. Breastfed babies will eat just what they need at the time. So, at four weeks, your baby should only be eating around 2-3 oz at a time with breast milk. Just give your body the chance it needs to increase the supply. You can do it!!! Congrats on your little one! My little girl is just 4 wks older than yours---it's quite a journey huh? God Bless!

My second baby would go days without pooping starting around 4 weeks until about 3 months. He was only breast fed at that point. I made my pediatrician nuts. He kept telling me as long as the stool was soft when it finally came out that my baby was fine. The stool was always soft, but would be a lot for such a little baby! I bascially camped out at the doctors office for a couple of weeks until I was convinced. My pediatrican said that breast milk is truly such perfect food (we did not discuss formula since it was not relevant) that there is not much waste.
If your little guy's stool isn't hard and he is thrivng, there probably isn't anything to worry about. Of course it is always best to talk to your doctor. Good luck!
PS, My baby started pooping daily when I gave him cereal at 5 mos. He is now five years and regular. :)

Hello G.,

you may need to change formulas and/or remove dairy from your diet. talk to the doctor. rub his tummy. figure out what's constipating him. Good luck! ~C.~

I am a grndmother who breastfed all four of my children. They all had infrequent bowel movements, which is normal for breastfed babies. One went only every 14 days, like clockwork, another every 10 days. After my first baby, I didn't really worry about the frequency anymore, but two of my others actually had trouble pooping, as did my grandson. (You mentioned your son is grunting and acting uncomfortable--that's what mine did.) My pediatrician explained that they often have a problem with what he called "anal-intestinal incoordination". He said that some babies have trouble pushing and relaxing the rectum at the same time. This is why the rectal thermometer often works, but his suggestion was to buy pediatric glycerin suppositories and insert them partially to hold the rectum open; stand there and hold it for as long as it takes for your baby to get relief. It may take several minutes, and the suppository may begin to melt before the poop will start to come. I suggest you lay him on a towel and keep lots of wipes ready--it can get really messy, but it really works and it will be worth the mess to see your precious one comfortable again!

I had the same problem with my youngest. I put her on the Similac organic and she did a lot better. Hope this helps. I know how frustrating this problem can be.

I always place some dark karo syrup in the formula or bottle of water worked like a charm.Old fashion remedey.

This sounds pretty normal to me. I was breastfeeding and both my kids slowed down on the pooping for a bit. I think you have to be worried if they go without pooping for a week; however, I can't remember for sure. The peeing is what you have to worry about b/c of deheydration. It sounds like all of the switching of food my be causing his little system to be confused. I don't know how long he has been on the most recent swithc; however, you may want to just stick with one thing for a while and see what happens. Good luck!!

I have a 2 mo old little boy. And about the time I switched from breast to formula (around 3 wks) he got very constipated. I did try the Karo syrup. I just used about 1/2 tsp in a 3 oz bottle of formula and he literally had a HUGE poop within an hour or so. I was nervous about using it, but glad I did b/c his suffering (and MINE!) was over. I have only used it once. I wouldn't suggest continued use...but it helped us in a great time of need.
Hope this helps!

I had the same problem with my first child...breastfed but had to supplement with formula due to lack of milk supply and he was having trouble pooping...we finally used Earths Best Organic formula and he did great after that.

We started off with the Organic formula with our second child and he has never had an issue.

I had the exact same problem when my little guy got home from the hospital. We were told the same thing Marisa wrote about...stimulate the rectum and it helps them to go. That didn't work for us so we were then told to get a suppository. Worked like a charm!

Call your pediatrician/nurse line and they will tell you what to do.

Best of luck,


My suggestion is that if that formula has iron in it then find another one. It will make him SO constipated!

Good Luck!

For my daughter we put Karo syrup in her bottle, per our pediatrician. We would add about a teaspoon until it seemed like she was going consistently, then we would slowly take it away until she became regular again. It has been a while but I think we did it first for every bottle, then as we weened her off we went every other bottle, then every third bottle, etc..

This is normal. I have two sons. The first was only on formula, the second a combo of breastmilk and formula. They both went through this. They do not have to have a BM everyday. You have to give his little new body time to adjust to all the changes. Also, I would not change his formula anymore. Give him time to get used to the one he is on. Use Mylicon often everyday to prevent gas. It really works!

It is NORMAL for infants to go up to a week between their bowel movements.

I saw the dr. about it. My baby was fine. I just had to get used to the idea.

You don't say how often he does...I would not give him anything else than what he's used to until you speak with your pediatrician and go with what they suggest - it may be pedialyte or something like that. My 9 week old goes every few days my 3 year old would go every or every other day and both are/were breastfed, I think they're all different. Something to try if you think he might be constipated is to take his temp rectally - it usually works. But if it's still loose/soft and not hard and formed this is probably normal for him. (I will warn you until my 9 week old switched to every few days it would be up to a 5 days in between and he'd fill 2 diapers in a row when he finally went.)

This sounds gross but our nurse told us to take her temperature with a lot of vasaline. We did it several times and it worked like a charm. Then she wS able to go byherself

Hi G.,
You don't mention how long he goes between bowel movements. Nor do you mention what "type" of BM it is when one does come along. Is it hard vs. soft?

I ask these things because I too was worried about my little guy and how he used to have a few BMs PER day (very liquidy and seedy at first, then turning green---just as it's supposed to be) during his first few weeks of life. And then, like you, he just STOPPED at 4 weeks!

In fact, I took him in for his 4-week well baby visit and told the pediatrician that I was concerned that my baby hadn't had a BM for the past 3 days and that they used to be a few per day. The doctor told me not to worry about a few days, that this was very normal, and that as long as it wasn't a hard ball (and as long as there are a lot of wet diapers, which is more important to occur several times per day) when it came out that there was no need to do anything. Well, he did have a BM the very next day and it was very soft / liquidy (it's about the consistency of melted chocolate and will completely fill --- or blow out --- his diaper).

That schedule has continued to this day and Max is now 3 months old. He goes once every 3 - 5 days on average (it was 7 days this last time!) and it is the same consistency. And, as of his 2-month well baby visit, his doctor was still unconcerned.

My advice would be to check with your pediatrician to see if they are concerned. If your story is like mine, and the poop is soft, then obviously you wouldn't want to give a stool softener of any kind.

By the way, the cause of my son's "delays" may be gas. He is a very gassy, uncomfortable baby compared to his big brother. He also squirms a lot---like your son---and grunts when he is "pushing". However, all he is pushing out is gas. Perhaps this is also your little boy's story...

Good luck...I hope this helps!

My pediatrician suggested Baby Lax (liquid glycerin suppositories). He also said it was normal for the body to adjust during this period and have infrequent bowel movements, but if the baby seemed in pain or straining to give the Baby Lax. They are over the counter, but check with your pediatrician first!

If the baby was breast fed exclusively, then you would never have to worry about constipation. I understand the low breast milk supply, but the only way to get your supply up to where it needs to be is to nurse him more. Even try breast pumping in between feedings. Your body has a trigger to produce more milk when your breasts are emptied...so the more you empty them the more they produce milk.
So, my advice is to breast feed more than give formula...it will definitely help. Don't give any other foods because his digestive tract really isn't ready for it. You can give him a little water (purified of course). Also, there is a technique that I learned in chiropractic school to help get the bowels moving and work out constipation...it is hard to explain in writing. If you would like to have me demonstrate it and see if there is anything else that can be done to prevent this from coming back...please call my office at ###-###-####. Just because during the week I don't have my cell phone on me. I am located in Plano.

You should talk to your doctor. My 6 week old was consipated and my doctor had me give him up to 2 oz of prune or apple juice a day. It started working the next day. We also has problems with gas so he is on the Enfamil Nutragamin. Good luck.

put in every bottle a drop of dark kero syrup. this helps. my son and daughter both had very bad constipation problems. i was unsure but then i had no choice when he wouldn't do. also, you can get infant enemas. walgreens, etc. warm them up in your hand and put it in. he'll poop within a few hours.

Hi! My name is C., I have a 2 1/2 year old and a 1 year old. I used to put about a tbsp of kayro syrup in their bottles when they had trouble pooing. Next day, big poo! I did have to take my son to the dr. Because of the same problem, and when they took his temp (rectully) he pooed right away, but that's not something that you would want to do more then once or twice.

Jennifer T has the best suggestions so far. Breast is definitely best. The only reason you have low milk supply, as Jennifer stated, is because of the formula given. If you introduce anything other than breast milk, then the supply goes down. The more you nurse the more the milk. A definite supply and demand formula of success.
The Mother's Milk Tea is excellent for increasing your milk supply as long as you are nursing and pumping as often as you can. It usually only takes a few days to get back the supply. The baby usually has problems with nipple confusion as well, when feeding from a bottle. I would suggests getting the help of a private lactation consultant. They can get you back on track. Babies need the breast milk for neurological development as well as just for growth. It's worth the effort.

It's not uncommon for breastfed babies to go quite a while without pooping (up to 4 or 5 days is normal). It's only been a day and a half, I think it may be too soon to think about giving your child anything in addition to breastmilk or formula. Also, keep in mind that water at this age can stress the kidneys at this age so don't do that either without talking to your Dr first.

One thing you can do is to 'cycle' the babies legs. Basically, you just hold his feet and make them go round like they're pedaling on a bicycle. It's actually quite effective. If he's not better by tomorrow, call your Dr for advice on what to do.

Karo syrup. That is what I had to use for all my babies. use a hlaf teaspoon and mix it with his milk. He will start to get regular after a couple feedings.

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