Smart ways to help relieve your baby’s unpredictable bowel habits.
Find out what’s normal—and what’s not—when it comes to bowel movements. Plus, discover tips for getting your irregular baby back on track.
It’s not unusual for babies to experience irregular bowel movements. The key is to recognize when you need to act. Here are expert tips to help you cope with your baby’s unpredictable BMs in a safe and effective way.
Know what’s normal for baby’s bowel movements:
- Breast-fed babies tend to have bowel movements daily (or even multiple times a day) until 3 to 6 weeks, when they might pass stools only once or twice a week.
- While most formula-fed babies tend to have a BM at least once a day, having them less often is also normal.
- It’s not necessarily how often your baby has a BM that’s the issue; as long as his stool is soft, he’s probably fine.
- Infants have weak abdominal muscles, so it’s not uncommon to see them strain when they’re having a bowel movement. Straining alone doesn’t signal anything unusual.
Watch for signs that your baby may be constipated:
- Your baby is crying or having an unusually tough time when having bowel movements.
- Your baby arches his back or squeezes his buttocks.
- Your baby’s stool is hard, like little pellets.
Try a formula that’s designed for comfortable stools. Sometimes simple diet changes can make all the difference. Ask your doctor if switching formulas could help. Enfamil® Reguline® has prebiotics to help promote good digestive health and comfortable stools and all the same great nutrition as Enfamil regular formula.
Soften stools with food choice. If your baby is on solids, ask your doctor about trying pureed peas or prunes, and offering barley cereal instead of rice cereal..
Find relief in movement. Try moving baby’s legs by gently pushing his knees toward his stomach one at a time. Movement can help ease bowel movements.
Don’t treat constipation on your own. Never give a baby laxatives, suppositories, or enemas unless instructed by your doctor.
Call your doctor if your baby:
- Is vomiting
- Has abdominal pain
- Shows loss of appetite
- Is bleeding from his rectum
If you are planning a trip to the doctor, read “Constipated Baby: Questions to Ask Your Pediatrician” for some helpful advice. But remember, it’s not unusual for babies to have unpredictable bowel movements. In most cases, with a few simple changes to his diet and an increase in his activity level, your baby should experience more regular BMs.