Seeking Advice Regarding Infant's Digestion

Updated on October 25, 2010
B.M. asks from Naperville, IL
15 answers

I have a 4 week old son who is having bowel movements only once every 4-6 days and is very uncomfortable because of that. Our pediatrician says it is normal for breastfed babies to go several days without a BM and to just wait it out. I'm trying to understand if there is anything in my diet I should either add/remove in order to help his deigestion. I eat a pretty well balanced diet and have been eating a lot of fruits and veggies thinking that may changes yet.

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answers from Duluth on

you are fine. as long as you are breastfeeding, like your doctor says, you dont have to worry about it.

the thing is that with breastfeeding, so much of what baby gets is used! this is good! less waste! formula fed babies have excess stuff that they have to get rid of and because of its concentration and etc, they can usually end up constipated.

as long as there is no blood in the stool, and as long as your baby doesnt seem like he is working SO HARD on going, theres nothing wrong! breastfed baby's stool should be very very soft.

i wouldnt worry too much about your diet, as it is good for baby to get the different flavors from your milk. you are doing the right thing by just enjoying foods. there are some foods that might bother baby, i couldnt eat green peppers or basically any food that gave me gas cuz it would give my baby gas too! so use your knowledge about foods for you and just eat small amounts of everything so your baby knows all different flavors!

great job mom for breastfeeding your son and giving him the best possible start. - le leche league - find a group in your area and attend as many meetings as you can. there you will find not only an educator, but other moms who breastfeed, giving you support and encouragement in an otherwise disconnecting, formula based world.

WAY TO GO!! keep up the good parenting!



answers from Duluth on

He may be having a reaction to a food you are eating. Dairy can oftern cause issues. Try eliminating all dairy from your diet for a week or so & see if that helps. If it is the problem he will probably have issues with dairy when he starts eating real food as well.

Good luck



answers from Waterloo on

My son would go up to 2 wks at a time!!! I was very worried also, but I actually think the more healthy you eat, the more digestable the breastmilk is for your baby. The reason I was told that the BM's do not happen as often is because breastmilk is sooooo digestable. Hope this comforts you a little.



answers from Janesville-Beloit on

Have you tried the "bicycle run" w/ his legs? Move his legs, several times a day, like he is riding a bicycle. That helps alot. In the health stores you can find lotion/oil to massage on his belly for discomfort.



answers from Iowa City on

Stop worrying! It is normal for breastfed babies to go 2 weeks without a BM! Their bodies become very efficient at processing breastmilk & it has little waste in it. It's nature perfect food for baby! My children both went right up to the 2 weeks of not having a BM & are now very healthy 4 & 2 yr olds.



answers from Minneapolis on

Anything that would be "binding" foodwise to you, will affect your child the same way. So avoid bananas, any veggies that cause gas and bloating like broccoli for instance. Milk/dairy products can slow things down too. Someone told me even pears can bind! Who would have guessed! Check out and check under breastfeeding for other suggested foods that bind.

Last but not least don't worry, the ped is right. They usually do work through it in time. If the baby is really uncomfortable a warm pack such as those little microwavable heat packs for muscle strains (be sure to wrap it well in a small towel or washcloth so the baby isn't burned and it's not too hot on the tummy...just heat it for 30 to 45 seconds or so)on the tummy is helpful as is tummy massage. I believe doctor Sears book (I'm not 100 percent on the title but I think it's called "The fussy baby" has an explaination and pictures on infant tummy massage. There are also certain "holds" in doctor Sears' book "The Fussy Baby" you can use that add mild pressure to the tummy that help with constipation and other tummy troubles. Hope this helps.



answers from Minneapolis on

Both of you should take acidophilus every day, and you should take a good essential fatty acid (EFA) to help with digestion and to soothe the lining of the colon for your baby.

Acidophilus comes in a powder and capsules. Get the powder for your baby, dip in your finger to coat it and then let him suck the powder off of your thumb 1-2x/day. It won't take long for this to regulate his bowel movements.

Keep giving it to him until his symptoms subside and reintroduce if they come back OR if he develops any skin rashes or thrush.

EFA's help to soften stools and calm soft tissue (colon lining). Flax oil or fish oil are fine. Flax oil is less expensive, just as effective and comes both in capsules and liquid. Pour the liquid flax into yoghurt or (people do this) just take a teaspoon of it plain - 3x a day.

You will notice your skin getting softer and your own digestion getting easier as well.

Feel free to do the "dip" with your finger with flax for your baby as well if he likes it. It is completely harmless and will help with his muscles, tissues and brain development.



answers from Minneapolis on

I agree with previous mom. As long as he has lots of wet diapers and is gaining weight he is fine. It's unfortunate that he is uncomfortable. I wonder if he is just gassy. Try laying him on his stomach or ask your doctor about gass drops.



answers from Minneapolis on


I nursed my son for about 18 mo. When he was little he would go days without a bm. If he is having hard bm's, maybe try giving him some prune juice or peach juice. That might help. Talk to your pediatrician for advice on what to give him to make the bm's softer. But it is common for them to go days without one since their bidies are digesting and absorbing so much of the nutrient from the breast milk. Good luck!




answers from Milwaukee on

We have a product that you may want to check out. It is Ultimate Aloe. It is a drink that has 200 nutriants and has a benefit of being a natural laxative.
For more info go to look up code # 1280.
Let us know if we can be of service to you.
Tom & Kathy in Muskego



answers from Omaha on

Breast Milk is a natural laxative for children. Are you supplementating your child any formula? If so formula is more constipating. If you are strictly just breast feeding make sure the baby is eating frequently. At four weeks of age he should still be eating every three to four hours or more frequently on demand with breast fed infants. Breast fed infants eat more frequently because the breast milk is digested quickly. Make sure you increase your water intake for yourself. When he stools are they hard like little pellets or are they soft? If they are hard it is more likely constipation. Does he strain to have a bowel movement and stick his legs straight out like they are rigid, while having a bowel movement? Or does he seem like he is in pain? Some veggies and some fruits are gas forming i.e. broccoli, cauliflower, onions..... Which if you are having problems with gas I would recommend staying away from gas forming foods. Was your baby born early at all? If so sometimes the early babies have a slower gut and tend to be more colicky. I would recommend to increase your water intake, feed infant frequently, try and stay away from gas forming veggies, sometimes dairy can be a culprit also. If all else fails and your still concerned talk to your pediatrician about your infant bowel patterns i.e. hard, soft, straining, pain.... Maybe your doctor will suggest something. Hope this helps. I know how frustrating it is when your are concerned about your child. Hope this helps



answers from Dallas on

I know this question is from years ago, but I think I just stumbled upon wise advice. It is a FREE replay of an interview with Donna Gates, who wrote "The Body Ecology Diet."


answers from Minneapolis on

It is common for breastfed babies to go up to 2wks without a bowel movement. Breastmilk is easily digested, and it is perfect for the babies body, meaning there is no waste.. so nothing to poop out. It is very uncommon for a breastfed baby to be constipated while strictly nursing. If you are supplementing at all, that will be your culprit right there. If not, then just wait it out. He's doubtfully uncomfortable because of constipation.

When he poops, it should be yellow and seedy, even orange in color. It shouldn't be green or stringy. If it is, then he's getting too much foremilk and that WILL cause him discomfort. Only nurse from one breast per feeding, don't switch sides. This ensures that he gets the fatty hindmilk that hsi body needs, and you can tell when he is getting adequate hind mnilk by his poops. If they are yellow/orange nad seedy, then he's gettign enough hind milk. If they are mucousy, green, and stringy, then he is getting too much foremilk (forceful letdown) and will be uncomfortable.

Again its very uncommon for breastfed babies to be constipiated, but VERY common for them to go a few days, up to two weeks without pooping. True constipation is hard, dry pellets, like rabbit poop. Otherwise, breastfed babies can go quite some time without pooping because of how good breastmilk is for them, and how it works perfectly with thier body because its made just for his body.



answers from Omaha on

Dear B.,

I have nursed for 7 years and never had a Dr. tell that bowel movements are more infrequent. It is usually just the opposite. My first daughter, who was a lousy nurser at first, would fill her pants after most feedings. When she finally weaned, then there were issues with bowel movements.

I would encourage you to talk to a La Leche League Leader in your area and ask her to refer to the breastfeeding answer book. It could be something as simple.

And, as wonderful as our pediatricians are, the medical schools provide little or no training in nutrition or breastfeeding. So keep looking for an answer.

Have you looked at They often have a great answer!
Good luck,



answers from Minneapolis on

i was told to stay away from broccoli and onions because that could cause gas in the baby. I have also been told to stay away from chocolate and spicy food. Maybe write down what you have eaten and then when he is fussy. You might notice a pattern and be able to figure out if it really is something that you are eating.

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