Introducing the Mom Chat by Willow — a new series diving into conversations that light up your group text at all hours of the day (and night). When you’re wondering if the latest sleep regression, food refusal, or maddeningly short nap is par for the course, look no further than right here. We’ve got answers straight from the experts (aka the lactation consultants, sleep consultants, pediatric nutritionists, and others that we keep on hand to answer your questions).
So, your baby isn’t pooping enough. (Or is she? How much is enough?! But when did she actually last poop!? Cue the spiral…)
First, take a breath. Like so many things when it comes to babies, there’s no *right* pooping frequency, just like there’s no “right” number of ounces per day. Some babies poop more often than others, and if your little one is generally healthy and passes stools without pain (more on this later!), you probably have nothing to worry about.
Okay, okay. We know you need more convincing.
In the newborn days, breastfed babies poop more than formula-fed babies — sometimes up to 12 times a day! According to La Leche League International, this starts to change after six weeks when colostrum (which is a laxative) is no longer found in your milk. At this point, your baby may go up to a week without pooping, and as long as they’re not straining to pass stools (grunting, pushing, crying), the consistency of their stool isn’t hard or bloody, their tummy doesn’t appear “tight,” and they’re continuing to eat happily and gain weight, they’re probably fine. It likely just means their bodies are absorbing all the nutrient-rich milk they’re drinking. (Healthline)
Some formula-fed newborns poop every day (or multiple times a day), but it’s also normal to have three or so days go by between stools. While it’s true that formula-fed babies are more likely to be constipated than breast-fed babies, as long as your baby seems comfortable, you don’t need to worry about it.
Plus, remember that it’s not all about frequency. If your baby is pooping once or twice a week but their stools are soft, they’re better off than if they poop every day but their stools are hard.
Now let’s chat about some common constipation culprits.
So let’s say your baby is only pooping once a week and they are constipated, and you are worried. What might be the cause?
- You just introduced formula or solid food and your baby’s digestive system is all like… what?
- You need to add more fiber to your baby’s diet (once they’re eating solids)
- You’re going overboard on foods that can be constipating (bananas without the brown spots, apples, sweet potatoes)
- You’re not using the powder: water ratio recommended on the formula package (this can lead to dehydration, which can lead to constipation)
Good news: constipation can be cured!
Pediatricians will recommend all sorts of remedies, from mixing prune juice into your baby’s bottle, giving them an ounce or two of water in a sippy cup (if they’re around six months of age), or doing stomach massages and bicycle kicks to get things going. If your baby is eating solids, remember to stay away from binding foods (see above!) and offer peas, prunes, and pears.
Finally, if your baby is formula fed, talk to your pediatrician about other options. It may be possible that they’re sensitive to certain ingredients in their current formula and could better tolerate another option. (Just remember that jumping around from formula to formula won’t help things — it’ll only confuse your baby’s digestive system even more!)
Our Favorite Bottles
Our Favorite Bottles
You want only the best bottle for your pumped milk. For breastfed babies, we love Comotomo bottles.