BM Issues with Newborn

Updated on March 11, 2008
K.P. asks from Frisco, TX
26 answers

Hello! We have been working with my 5 week old since she was born trying to get her to have a regular Bowel Movement. So far, we have been putting Karo syrup into her bottles every feeding, and have also switched her from Infamil Lipil to Similac Soy formula. She still is not regular... sometimes she doesn't have a BM for two to four days... Any other advice out there from any Mom's who have had issues with their newborns? The Ped isn't too concerned with it, but the baby seems to be constantly pushing, trying to get something out. Any advice or comfort that my baby is normal would be helpful.

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So What Happened?

Everything has been fine with our baby, thanks for all the advice. We ended up switching formulas and after she adjusted to the Soy, she has been regular ever since!!

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D.C.

answers from Kansas City on

I had a friend that had to deal with her newborn not being regular. Her doctor had her put juice in with the formula. She only put like and ounce in each bottle. It worked for her little one. Good luck!

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K.A.

answers from Enid on

Soy tends to constipate. I had a friend who fed soy formula to her son (for no medical reason) and he was constipated for most of his infancy. I used Carnation with Lipil for all of my children and it worked wonders for regulating tummy problems.

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N.A.

answers from Kansas City on

It's totally fine and your baby is normal. I have a 4 month old daughter who still does the same thing. She has a big bowel movement every 3 or 4 days and I breastfeed her. It's very rare for a breastfed baby to be constipated too. She's not constipated since it's not hard when it does come out. Don't worry. Your baby is totally normal too. We just have more of mess to clean up when they DO go! Most babies I've seen make a big production when they go anyway (the whole grunting and pushing thing). My pediatrician says it's fine too.
A little bit about me: I'm a stay-at-home mom of two amazing daughters. Emma is almost 2 1/2 and Olivia is 4 months. I'm also married to my soulmate who is an incredible dad too.

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A.Y.

answers from Kansas City on

K.-

I'm a pediatric chiropractor (I think that was mentioned before), which may be able to help. If you would like more info on that, please send a PM.

My baby girl had similar problems as a newborn, and I took her to a craniosacral therapist which completely helped the problem (she actually pooped a ton while getting worked on). In her case, there was some tension in the fascial system around her gut from birth (her cord snapped when she came out).

Recently, she's been constipated again (probably related to starting solids), and now I'm using gripe water (I use ColicEase brand... I can only find it online or at the Nursing Station at 79th & Marty). After two days with no poop, I gave her some, and about 40 minutes later, it ALL came out. Needless to say, she was very relieved.

IMO, many people say this is "normal"... I would say that it is "common" but not normal. Poop is meant to come out of us on a regular basis.

Good luck. I hope that helps.

Yours in health-
Dr. Alyssa

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S.T.

answers from Kansas City on

There are supositories don't think I spelled that right but they are safe for infants I would ask the pharmisist first though.

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K.B.

answers from Kansas City on

K.,
Feel free to email me- I went through the exact same thing! My son is also on Soy which was a big help w/ the gas issue but he still was constipated. My doctor said to give Benefiber so that is what we now do. We do 1/8of a teaspoon once a day and it really seemed to help!
Good luck with this! I know it had me very upset thinking my little sweet baby may be in pain!
My email is [email protected]____.com if you want to hear more about my experience or you have any other questions!

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M.A.

answers from Kansas City on

We always have used molasses(not karo). It makes the bottles look funny, but a teaspoonful in EVERY bottle really works!!

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J.O.

answers from Oklahoma City on

Try a little prune juice.

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A.K.

answers from St. Louis on

white grape juice works if the baby is constipated, but at five weeks, especially if you are nursing, it is completely normal for the baby to go a couple of days between a bm. Personally, I would leave her alone and let her function "normally".

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J.W.

answers from Tulsa on

I had this same issue with my daughter too. We ended up using Enfamil Low Iron for her. I was hesitant at first but the Dr. assured me that we could watch for signs of anemia and respond accordingly. Like, using iron drops that are vegetarian based which are easier to digest. I also added some diluted baby-fruit juice to her diet to help as well as diluted chamomile tea. I've recommended chamomile tea for sleeping issues but it's also a digestive aid. I didn't like karo syrup because it was messy and because it adds so much sugar to her diet.

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K.H.

answers from Tulsa on

K., try gradually switching formulas again. With my son, we had him on Enfamil and he started doing that so we switched him to Nestle and did not have that problem anymore. Sometimes you just have to go through them to find the right formula that works for your little one. If that doesn't work, I would call and talk to your dr. again. Good luck!

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A.W.

answers from Oklahoma City on

Your baby is normal! My son had the same issues with regular BM's. He would go up to 6 days sometimes without one, and always looked like he was trying so hard to go. What I was told by my ped was that a babys system is not finnished when they are born and sometimes it takes their bodies a little while to get the hang of it. I was also told that if he seemed to be in a lot of discomfort(he cried all the time and his face would go red trying to go) that I could try rubbing his anus with some lube and that would help stimulate the right muscles and get him to go (although gross this actually worked and after about 3 weeks of doing it every other day he started being a bit more regular going every 2-3 days) this was the only way that I found that didn't involve some kind of supplement or syrup

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B.S.

answers from Kansas City on

Brer Rabbit molasses worked wonders with my daughter who had such bad hemorrhoids she almost had surgery simply from being constipated. It needs to be Brer Rabbit brand as the others have tested positive for botulism spores. Start with a teaspoon per bottle and go up from there if it's not getting better. They said you can give as much as you want and it won't hurt them!

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R.S.

answers from Wichita on

Hi K.,

Just one question: Are you using dark Karo syrup? The doctor told me that it had to be dark, not the light. My son was having the same issues and I put a teaspoon of dark Karo in his bottle and it worked like a charm. Next time I would only put in half a teaspoon though as it worked too well!

Thanks,
R.

A.W.

answers from Kansas City on

I went through this will all 3 of my children. The doc called is obsitpation (spelling?) They are not constipated, but the bowels are not fully deveolped and not sure how to let go. It always started after I switched to formaula. Breast milk is a natural laxitive so breastfed babies dont normally have the problem and is normal for breastfed babies to go many days without a bm. Formula fed babies its not. At first I started with baby supositories, but that can get expensive. Doc advised to take a thermometer and put some ky or some kind of lube on it and stimulate thier bowels to release. My kids were so happy afterwards. I did normally in the mornin and the evenings, and they were good. My daughter it only took till she was 2 months to start going on her own and still periodicaly had to help her out. My middle one, he was probably 4 or 5 months before he would go, but let me tell ya, when they learn to do it on thier own, watch out, I swear they made up for lost time. My youngest, I breast fed for 3 months so his was just a couple weeks once switched to formula. There is a thermometer out there, I loved, I cant find mine as I just moved, but its blue and has a lil ring around the tip and you should not insert in the rectum past that line and its got a flexable tip, the hard ones just made me nervous. It will get better. Also I was told when they start pushing put them in some warm water with baking soda and that will help thier bowels to relax, but I'm just not much for cleaning poopy water out of a sink or a bathtub so I never tried that. Sometimes when you first try to stimulate they didn't go, they would release alot of gas, it may take a few minutes, very easily move around in there, some are easier then others. Its also a good way for tempertures too. My kids to this day dont mind if I take thier tempertaure in the rectum and I love it because its the most accurate reading. Also if attempting this, from experience, dont get your face to close, it can get very dirty. Good luck and happy pooping! Feel free to send me an email if any more questions and congrats on the new baby, they are a blast!

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J.T.

answers from Kansas City on

HI K.,
My daughters newborn has the same issue. Its not abnormal for a newborn not to have a bowel movement for up to 4 days anything after that see your doctor. A secret I will share with you that I have been doing with him and did it to my owns kids to help them out and I am sure your Dr. told you if not. Use a rectal themometer and lube it up it will not hurt your baby it will give her relief and help her poop. She will eventually after a few times be able to go on her own sometimes they just need help. Beside Karo that much is not that good for a newborn.
J.

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M.F.

answers from Springfield on

It is completley normal! His body will figure it out! All the extras may not be so good for him though. His body will find his balance on its own. I know you think something is wrong and you need to help him, but don't with this. He is going to be fine. I would not worry unless he is really in pain and bloated up. And if that is the case, take him to the dr.and find out if he has suggestions. Sometimes old wives tales like Karo syrup are good, sometimes not so good. In the case of a child under 6 months, I would not do the Karo. Good Luck!

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A.V.

answers from Peoria on

K.,

I have three children 3, 5 and 7. None of them had a daily BM like all the books say. It was more likely that they would have one every 3-5 days. If your pediatrician isn't worried about it then I wouldn't worry about it either.

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B.B.

answers from St. Louis on

Contrary to popular belief Karo syrup is dangerous for several reasons. One it is in the same class as honey in the sense that you don't feed it to infants under the age of 1 yr old in case it may be contaminated with botulism. Even your ped should have that info for you. The other concern is you are filling your child's new system with pure sugar from corn which is extremely allergenic and she is likely not able to digest it. This will increase the likelihood that she will have chronic yeast problems as well as food allergies thus reducing her immune systems capabilities as well as preparing her for a sweet tooth that is not possible to control. It could also lead to diabetes or other blood sugar disorders. This is not correcting her bowel problem. I would try switching the formula again to maybe something that is easier to digest (those that advertise for babies with milk protein sensitivity). It sounds like she may already have digestive failure to some extent...not to be alarmed. She is very young and with proper nourishment of her gut, this can be completely resolved. I would also immediately get her on a probiotic supplement such as culturelle or primal defense for kids. You can spoon a tiny amount in her formula once a day to help build her immune system and also help undo some of the damage from drinking syrup. Oddly enough that type of supplement also tends to help regulate bm's. Good luck and I hope your sweet little one gets regular soon!

B. :)

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E.Y.

answers from Topeka on

Get a small jar of prunes and give her a tiny bit. Since she's only 5 weeks, you may not be able to use a spoon, I would try just dipping your finger in it or maybe her pacifier if she uses one. Once or twice a day should do the trick. My son was constipated for a while and that worked like a charm. I only had to use the prunes for a couple of weeks before his system worked out all the kinks.

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C.H.

answers from Kansas City on

My son also had constipation problems when he was an infant. He was on the Enfamil soy formula. His pediatrician had me add prune juice to his formula once a day. I think I used to add about an ounce of prune juice. It looked gross, but he seemed to like it and it usually did the trick!

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R.S.

answers from Kansas City on

I wouldn't worry about it. I used to be concerned with by daughter. It seemed like she had to put alot of effort when she had a BM, but it was soft so no constipation. When she got older, she would go 3-4 days between BM's. We started having BM updates with her grandparents who cared for her while I worked, so they would be prepared for the big "blow out" when it came around. She's very regular now at 20 months old, and has two a day.

Unless they are very hard or she seems to be cramping, I wouldn't be concerned.

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S.O.

answers from Lansing on

We had the same problem with our newborn. We tried the dark Karo syrup and had no luck. Then we gave her baby suppositories (we had much help from those- don't use them too often because they can become dependent on them), and last but not least we gave her 2 ounces of apple juice mixed with 2 ounces of prune juice. It worked like a charm!! I cannot remember exactly how old she was when we gave her that so I would check with your doctor to get the exact number of ounces (it may have been one ounce of each). But I would recommend it. We only gave it to her a couple days and she has been regular ever since.

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J.A.

answers from Lawrence on

Hi K.! I run a daycare in my home and have quite a bit of experience with little ones and constipation. The thing I have found that works best is actually getting them into a chiropractor that uses the "activator" method. (They are not the traditional "pop and crack" chiro's.) I see a great one here in Lawrence that I can recommend if you want. They see all kids under 13 for free, so it would cost you nothing. With the Karo syrup not working it sounds like it could be a physical problem (nerve to her colon pinched off, etc). I've seen chiropractics work wonders on the kiddos I take care of, and my daughter as well!
~ J.

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J.C.

answers from Kansas City on

I would suggest checking out a book or class on infant massage. My daughter had the same problem and I took a class where the instructor gave us some massages that help with that sort of thing. By the time I took the class, she was pretty much regular, but I used them a few times when she would have a problem and she always poooped later that day. (when she was first born, she usually went 3-5 days between BMs and once went 8 days!) I'm like you-- I didn't like to use the Karo unless I knew she was uncomfortable. Don't worry, she'll work out a rhythm.

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R.U.

answers from Oklahoma City on

I would stop giving soy, it can cause estrogen dominance and may be linked with future infertility. I would stop giving Karo, it can be toxic. It sounds like her behavior is perfectly normal. Grunting and/or fussing is a typical newborn reaction.

I highly recommend getting some pediatric probiotics. They really help a sluggish digestive system. Also one of the previous posters mentioned a pediatric chiropractor. They can cure all sorts of things from bowel troubles to ear infections! Hope you find some relief!

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