3.5 Month Old Hasn't Pooped in 36 Hours

Updated on July 28, 2008
M.B. asks from Sarasota, FL
29 answers

Hello everyone,
My 3 1/2 month old hasn't pooped in 36 hours. Prior to this, she was doing 1-2 a day. She is strictly breastfed, with maybe 1-2 bottles of formula a week when she's at daycare. She doesn't seem uncomfortable, but she is very gassy, lots of toots. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

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So What Happened?

Horray for poop! I never thought I'd say that, but I certainly did. After about 48 hours, it finally came. Thanks to everyone for their advice. So much of it really made sense. She probably is going through a growth spurt, and her digestive tract is maturing. Thanks so much to everyone! Before I started giving her juice, I decided to pack myself up with prune and apple juice, figuring she'd get what she needed, and apparently she did. Thank you again, I'm so glad I have you all as a resource when I just don't know what I'm doing as a first time mom.
Thanks again and take care.
M.

Featured Answers

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M.F.

answers from Norfolk on

Don't stress about it! Mine did the same thing (she's 5 months now). She's breastfed, and generally poops every day, 1-2 times a day. However, about the same age, it was like once every 2-3 days, and sometimes she still does that, although she seems to be back to once a day. It must be some phase they go through....

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V.M.

answers from Norfolk on

Hi M. - this happened with my first son and I was really worried but was told because he was exclusively breast fed that he can go quite a while without a bm - I was told that I could give him a little pear juice. I did not end up giving him juice just because I was exclsuively breast feeding and thought that things would work out. It ended up being like 13 days before a bm and it was quite a biggie when it happened. Something my sister in law did that I thought was helpful was exercise him a little - massage his belly and move his legs - it certainly worked out some gas.

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K.B.

answers from Washington DC on

My ped recommended 1 ounce prune juice with one ounce water. It worked well when my little one wasn't going.

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S.K.

answers from Washington DC on

What's wrong with a bottle of prune juice cut with water once a day (along with breast milk of course) until things get going? Got my girl going at that age. They make little kid sized bottles of prune juice, maybe just for this reason!

And yes, it is normal for them to not have a bm for a few days at a time. Unless it looks like they're in pain or have a fever, etc., don't let it stress you too much. When in doubt, call your pediatrician.

-S

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A.B.

answers from Washington DC on

My baby's 4 1/2 months old and he was really regular too. Every morning around 11 he would go for his morning poop. Then all of a sudden since about 3 weeks ago he's been pooping every 4-5 days. He doesn't seem fussy about it, has incredibly strong gas :) but other than that is his happy self. My pediatrician says as long as his stool is the same consistency as before when he goes that he should be ok. it's the really hard stools that we need to look out for (in my case cause he's breastfed).

But if he seems unhappy and constipated then you could try inserting a rectal thermometer(lubricate it w/vaseline). If that doesn't work then the day after the stimulation, try 1 oz of apple juice with 1 oz of water and feed it to him in a bottle. That was the advice I got from the triage nurse.

Good luck!

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E.E.

answers from Washington DC on

definitely normal, but can be worrysome for sure. if baby seems uncomfortable, giving a little baby probiotic powder on the finger or nipple can help, and/or some gently abdominal massage in a clockwise motion, to gently stimulate the bowels.

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S.W.

answers from Norfolk on

Hi M.,

Relax, its normal for them to go up to 4 or 5 days without pooping. I know its wierd when they change their pattern on you. You can try to massage her abdomen also you can lay her on her back and roll her legs gently upwards over her head, that massages the intestines internally and can get things going. If you get really worried call you pediatrician and ask the nurse. One time they told me take my sons temperature rectally, or at least insert the themometer like I was to help get things moving. Its going to be OK.

Good luck, S.

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K.C.

answers from Washington DC on

As someone else said, this happened with both of my boys too. If I remember correctly, the consistency will change a little bit, but if you are concerned, call your pediatrician before you do anything to help it along.

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J.F.

answers from Richmond on

Dear M.,
Two things move our bowels: fiber and water! Since your daughter is breastfed, the consumption of both falls to you for her bowel movement progress.
Fiber is only found in fruits, vegetables and whole grains. The govt receommendation for fruit and vegetable consumption is 7-13 servings per day per adult (variance has to do with age, gender and activity level). If you'd like, I can send you a chart on how many per what age, etc. (including for children).
Also, if you find eating that many fruits, vegetables and whole grains daily is hard to do, I do have some simple solutions. You can email me at [email protected]____.com all the professional sources I have acces to, the most common recommended amount of water per day is half one's body weight, pounds converted to ounces (and, preferably, filtered water).
Blessings!
J. F.

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L.G.

answers from Washington DC on

I had the same concerns about my son, but when I spoke to my pediatrician, she had no concerns.

Below is a Q&A which may assuage your fears:

Q. I have some concerns for my 3 month old grandson. He only has bowel movements every 5 or 6 days. They are not "hard" or difficult for him, but just doesn't seem normal to me. It's almost like he has a "blow-out" on those days and doesn't do it again for the same length of time. Just doesn't seem normal for a baby that age because he's a good eater and seems to have no problem with the urine. Dr. has told her to give him prune juice, but he's on breast milk, and of course hasn't started anything else yet. Is this o.k.? Thank you for your help. Buka, TN

A. For an older infant or child, going five or six days without a bowel movement would usually be a problem. In younger infants, especially those who are breastfeeding, constipation is defined more by what the bowel movements are like rather than how often they occur. So a younger infant would be constipated if his bowel movements were like hard, little pellets, or if they were very large, firm and difficult to pass. Some people also consider an infant to have constipation if the bowel movements have a consistency that are thicker than peanut butter and the child strains to pass them.

Keep in mind that babies who are exclusively breastfed very rarely get constipated. After having very frequent bowel movements during the first month or two, they then begin to go much less often. In fact, some breastfed babies only have bowel movements every week or two. In these children, as long as the bowel movement is watery or soft when they finally have it, then they are likely normal and not constipated. So it sounds like your grandson doesn't need any treatment, since it doesn't sound like he is constipated. In cases like this, I personally don't recommend giving an infant prune juice or doing anything else. Giving extra water, apple juice, or prune juice would be appropriate treatments for an infant that really was constipated though.

Why do breastfed babies have such infrequent bowel movements? Most people believe it is because breast milk gets digested so well that there is not much left over to make bowel movements. Of course, once you start feeding him solid foods, like cereal, that will likely change. At that point, he will likely have more regular bowel movements and they will probably be firmer.

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T.C.

answers from Washington DC on

same thing is happening to my 3 month old. the doctor said it is normal for them to go 7 - 10 days. then to use an infant suppository after 10 days. it seemed crazy to me, but she is the head of pediatrics at hopkins so i'm believing her (she was filling in for my normal doc.)

however i would let your doc know your daughter's condition. they did ask me to tell them if my son quit peeing, or farting.

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W.T.

answers from Jacksonville on

Wow! You have some really great advice and some horrible advice! It happens with most all breastfed babies. Just rub her tummy, do bicycle rounds with her legs and wait it out. My doctor also said that 7-10 days for strictly breastfed babies is quite common. Her system is maturing and her body is absorbing more of the milk. No worries! Hang in there. She's not as uncomfotable as we would be.

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K.W.

answers from Washington DC on

my son went once 9 days without pooping at 6 mo. My dr said it is not uncommon for this to happen. I just kept feeding as normal and eventually he'll go. The unfortunate thing is that it can be unpleasant because the baby is VERY uncomforable. Hang in there and of you are worried give your ped a call.

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M.S.

answers from Washington DC on

Since she is primarily breastfed, have you changed your diet recently? You need to be aware of what you are eating (more dairy, veggies/legumes that may cause gas constipation,etc) because everything you eat will go to the baby.

A friend of mine had to cut out ALL dairy products (milk, butter, cheese...everything) because her daughter couldn't tolerate it. She also limited her intake of foods like cauliflower, cabbage, etc which are known to cause gas and sometimes constipation. Also see if you can limit her formula for the next few days by giving her pumped breastmilk at daycare.

Check with your pediatrician about giving prune juice or water...there are a lot of babies who only poop every 2-3 days but it seems this was not the norm for your daughter.

Good luck.

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K.F.

answers from Washington DC on

I would check with your ped before trying any of these things but mine suggested a teaspoon of light karo syrup in the bottle.

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N.O.

answers from Norfolk on

It's not unusual for a mostly/strictly bfed baby to not poop for several days. My dd had times when she didn't poop for several days but when it came it came! Even now when she's not feeling well and she's mostly nursing her poops become less frequent. It's b/c breastmilk is mostly digested. Perfectly normal.

Check out this link.

http://www.kellymom.com/babyconcerns/bf-links-concerns.html

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M.Y.

answers from Washington DC on

Seriously, it sounds horrible but, lube you pinky finger and take care of it the old fashioned way. You don't need to go far. Just enough to loosen things up. Nothing works quicker and is more cost effective. I know, I know...the things we do for our children. :)

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L.L.

answers from Dover on

When my son was about 4 months old, he also had a drastic change in his pooping schedule. I freaked out and took him to the doctor and I was told that it's normal for a change in poop habits around that age. If the next poo is really hard, I would give her some Karo syrup mixed with warm water in a bottle...that should "move" things along :)
Of course, you should probably call your pediatrician and make sure this is OK for your baby.

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J.Z.

answers from Washington DC on

I would give her alittle apple juice or prune juice to see if that helps get things rolling.

J. Z.
Independent Shaklee Distributor
www.shaklee.net/Z.

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E.G.

answers from Washington DC on

Hi,
There is a change in pooping schedule around that time when they go through the growth spurt. I called our pediatrician once when my son had a similar situation. He is now 5 months and occasionally goes a couple of days without pooping. Don't worry, the next time your daughter does, she will make up for it :) Our Ped told us that occasionally breastfed babies can go up to 5-7 days without a bowel movement. As long as there is no fever, there are normal wet diapers, and the baby is eating normally, then you don't need to worry. Also, since it sounds like she is passing gas, that is a good sign. I think 36 hours is a little too early to start adding syrup or prune juice. I especially get freaked out about feeding anything before 6 months. A lot of times, there is an on call doctor that you can speak with if you want to calm your concerns.

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C.D.

answers from Norfolk on

An old fashioned remedy is a teaspoon of Karo syrup, the baby can take it off the spoon or you can put it in a nipple so she can suck it in. I know it's pure corn syrup and that's not very pc these days, but it works and is certainly more gentle than any other laxative or a baby enema.

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W.C.

answers from Washington DC on

This happened to our son at about the same age (he's now 3 yrs old) and our doc told us that a lot of strictly breastfed babies DON'T poop every day and that it's because the breast milk is so pure that the body utilizes it and there is very little waste.

Here's a quote that I googled for you:

Babies that don’t poop for several days

Once your baby is about one month old, he may start having fewer bowel movements. If your baby is breastfed, he may go several days to a week without having a bowel movement. This is nothing to worry about. Exclusively breastfed babies rarely have problems with constipation. If he goes longer than a week, he seems to be in pain, or if you are concerned, call your pediatrician.

Best regards,
W.
http://motherrising.blogspot.com

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M.W.

answers from Washington DC on

I suggest you call your pediatrician and ask, sometimes this is due to something serious, but sometimes not.

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G.T.

answers from Norfolk on

Hi M.,

For a strictly breastfed baby this would be normal at this age. Some can go up to a week between bowel movements, then have a blow out. The formula could be the reason too. Her intestinal flora has now changed from pure lacto bacillis and will now have E. coli---you have probably already smelled the difference. If she is not uncomfortable and has a bm at least once a week, then she is probably fine. She should still be having at least 5 to 8 wet diapers every day.

Hope this helps.

G. T.

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V.L.

answers from Washington DC on

Hi,
I am not a fan of giving kids the extra sugar in juice, but I would recommend in this situation giving her a bit of watered down prune juice. It worked for my little one in these situations.

Good Luck

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C.B.

answers from Washington DC on

Due to her being breast fed I would recommend you eating more green vegetables. If that doesn't work, you may want to take her to the doctors and inquire whether the iron in formula is constipating her. She will be fine though. This is normal. This to shall pass! lol!

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A.C.

answers from Washington DC on

go with karo syrup! Put a spoonful in the bottle w/ your breast milk and shake it up. this was Pediatrician recommended when my son was an infant(he's five with no after effects!). He is completely normal and healthy in every way. It completely and GENTLY works. No obvious painful explosions. We used this method FREQUENTLY because he was bottle fed and the iron in the Soy formula blocked him up. Good luck, it works.

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L.M.

answers from Norfolk on

Around that age my son would sometimes go three days without a poopy diaper. I was told that during growth spurts that is not uncommon. As long as you're not seeing a dip in the number of wet diapers it should be OK.

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