Baby Poop Concerns

Parent Q&A

  • 3-month-old with pooping problems - help please!

    (15 replies)

    Our 3-month-old boy is having significant trouble "learning" how to poop - he struggles and pushes for 30-90 minutes before every one and, while he doesn't seem in pain, he does seem pretty uncomfortable and struggling. We told the pediatrician, and she said it common and that we should just wait it out. We believe her, but are wondering if there are any small steps we could take while we're waiting. Any advice for us? Thanks!

    We had a similar issue when our son started formula. So I guess that would be my first question, is your son on Formula or Breast Milk? We found that formula is fortified with iron which causes difficulty in pooping. We changed through a number of brands till we found one that it was at least softer and took less time. 

    I used probiotics for my infant and found it helpful for her pooping. I was strep B positive so had to have the antibiotics IV during delivery meaning baby missed getting the good bacteria during delivery. 

    The kind I used was developed at UC Davis and recommended by another mom. It’s pricey but we did a single round- one month- and it was really helpful. It’s called Evivo and has to be mixed with breast milk. I know there’s other baby probiotics on the market too. 

    We had the same issue, and our pediatrician (whom we really like and trust) also said that essentially, that is also normal behavior. Our little guy sometimes seemed to be straining for 50% of his waking hours, and he always seemed uncomfortable, but he was also not a frequent pooper, which confounded us. Some poor little ones just have very immature digestive/bowel systems (read about it all on google), and it just takes a few months for that to get sorted out, is what I understand. I think this lasted around 4-5 months for him, unfortunately. However, we were suggested some remedies for relief. I used a combination of Mylicon gas drops, asked for prescription baby Zantax (I think it is called ranitidine and a very yucky peppermint syrup), and lots and lots of burping. Because I also wanted to have more restful sleep at night, I'd give him Mylicon right before bed and also again when nursing him at night. I never tried gripe water but would've if the Mylicon didn't work. The Zantax helped also, but she did mention that if you start it, it does require some consistency so to try it for a week or so. We did, and it seemed to help. Hope that helps, and good luck!

    Is your son formula-fed or breast fed?  If formula, you might want to try a different brand, or a formula with a different base (for example, switch from cow-based to soy based).  Some kids may handle different formulations better.  If breast-fed, the mom might want to check her diet.  There is not a whole lot of science behind this, but some have suggested that the baby can be effected by milk proteins through the mother's milk.  Again, the mom might want to experiment by cutting out dairy or soy products for a couple weeks to see if there are any changes. Even though it's not scientifically proven, it might be worth experimenting. 

    If not diet related, a great way to help poops is through baby massage!  We did this whenever our daughter seemed constipated.  Just google it, there are many videos on how to do it. Typically you can use a couple of fingers and just make light U-motions clockwise around the belly button.  We would also bicycle her legs while she was lying down to help keep things moving. 

    Good luck!

    You could add a little bit of prune juice to their milk. It's a natural laxative. You won't need much.

    Hi! 

    Have you tried infant massage? Here are some techniques: 

    • Water Wheel - Place one hand under your baby's rib cage with the pinky side down and palm facing your baby's feet. Gently scoop your hand down his abdomen, stopping above his pelvis. Repeat the motion with your other hand, and continue alternating hands fluidly.
    • Knees Up - Bring your baby's bent knees together toward his belly, taking care to provide support behind his knees with your index fingers. Gently press and bounce his knees into his tummy.
    • Sun and Moon - Draw your right hand around your baby's belly in a clockwise full circle and let your left hand follow, drawing a partial clockwise circle.
    • I Love You - Hold your index and middle finger together, like you're taking a Girl Scout oath. Gently press the pads of your index and middle finger down the left side of your baby's belly, from under the rib cage to the leg crease, like an "I". Then, starting on the left side of your baby's belly, drag your index and middle finger across to the right and then down, like an inverted "L". After that, starting at your baby's right leg crease, drag your fingers in the shape of an upside-down "U" over the bellybutton and all the way to the left leg crease.
    • Thumbs to Sides - Hold your baby at the waist with both your thumbs in the center of his belly. Draw both thumbs out to the sides of his abdomen simultaneously.

    Before you begin a massage, always check in with your baby and ask permission to massage him. If he's open and receptive to massage at that time, place a few drops of gentle, scent-free massage oil, such as organic sunflower oil, into your palms and rub your hands together near your baby's head. The sound of your palms rubbing will become a non-verbal cue that lets your baby know he'll be receiving a massage. Now rest your open hands on his belly and take several cleansing breaths to relax before you start.

    Vimala McClure, founder of the International Association of Infant Massage and author of Infant Massage: A Handbook for Loving Parents, recommends repeating what she refers to as "The Colic-Relief Routine" twice a day for at least two weeks. This routine involves doing the following in succession for six counts each: Water Wheel, followed by Knees Up, Sun and Moon, and, lastly, Knees Up again.
     

    It may be totally normal, but there can be other causes, but you don't mention in other issues in your post so I am guessing normal.  Our child had anal stenosis when she was little. It sounds different than your situation as it was interfering with her ability to hold her meals down- she would puke or spit up after nursing and she wasn't gaining weight sufficiently. She was having trouble evacuating as the opening was quite narrow. She would try not to poo and would arch back, etc. I guess you have to look at the whole picture of what goes in and what goes out , frequency etc.

    Don't worry about it. He's likely just fine. Some babies are just very dramatic poopers and will make all manner of grunting noises, growling, fussing, go red in the face, and look like they're really working hard before pooping. As long as he IS pooping, and it's soft, without blood or other obvious problems, just let him be. He's just learning how to coordinate his muscles. This isn't something you can really help him with. Digital rectal stimulation w/ a pinky finger or rectal thermometer can help trigger a BM for babies, but don't do it if he's not constipated. Congrats on your new babe!

    We added some prune juice to our boy's milk.  Like a table spoon.

    Our daughter had this problem too. She did eventually grow out of it (mostly). I regret that we did not do more at the time - she would strain for up to 30 minutes or more to have a bowel movement. Now that she is 7, it still hurts her to poop because she has hemorrhoids from all that straining. I would put your son on a daily dose of Miralax or another laxative as soon as possible. We did that for a while and it helped - I wish we had continued it longer. Good luck. 

    We had the same issue with our newborn, and it resolved itself. Hang in there, he will indeed figure it out.

    The only thing we tried, which may or may not have helped, was a probiotic. Our pediatrician recommended it, although studies aren't conclusive.  I can't say if it helped, or if time helped.

    Fiber - There's not enough fiber in his diet which is why he is struggling.  Add a quarter to a full teaspoon of psyllium to his diet.  You'll see results in a day.

    https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/expert-answers/fiber-supplements/faq-20058513

    Today some pediatricians (including ours) ok starting solids at 4 months.  Sounds like the minute that's possible for you, prunes are on the menu.  They are an easily digested food so can be given at 4 months, and of course, get things going!  Just be prepared for the prune blowouts (and you probably don't need to give him the entire package).  You could also do a combination of apple and prune, or pear and prune - just anything with prunes!  If that sounds like too much risk of a blowout, pears should also do the trick.

    With my baby I tried massaging the tummy area especially below the naval with castro oil and it seemed to help. Good luck. It is hard to see our little ones go thru these difficult changes.

    Our daughter was the same and we later discovered she had a lot of food intolerances. All those things doctors suggested -- prunes, Myralax, tummy massage, etc etc didn't help her and none of it addressed the root issue. She ended up have a gluten allergy and she was getting it through my breast milk. If you bring her to a NAET specialist (alternative doctor), they can tell you what foods she is sensitive to. You can also experiment with your diet and figure it out on your own. Try cutting out dairy, gluten and soy to start and see if it improves. It takes 2 weeks for gluten to leave your system. Corn is also a common allergen and my daughter can be sensitive to that sometimes as well. If symptoms improve, gradually try adding back in one thing at a time and then waiting a few days to see what happens so you can determine which food impacts your baby.

    Best of luck! 

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Baby with gas and bubbles in poop

Nov 2008

My baby strains, struggles, and cries every couple of hours from gas in her intestines. I thought this was a mild form of colic and is quite common and normal. Then my nanny noticed that her poop has bubbles in it and she didn't think it's normal and she might be sick. My nanny feeds her once a day w my breastmilk in a bottle, rest of the time I feed her directly. After each feeding we make an extra effort to burp her and usually gets a couple of burps. Have other parents experienced similar symptoms and found solutions? Is there any reason to believe that my baby is sick? Teresa


My baby was having similar symptoms, and even had some blood in her stool. She was also getting fussier and fussier in the evenings. The doctor suspected a milk-protein allergy, and recommended that I cut out all dairy. I did, and after 3 weeks the foamy poop stopped, the blood stopped, and fussiness largely went away. I highly recommend it! anon
I have heard that this sort of poop is an indication of a foremilk/hindmilk imbalance. Check out the website Kellymom.com for advice on how to balance this, and for advice on all things breastfeeding. My baby had this sort of frothy poop for a while, and did not seem to be a problem, she grew well, though ''snacked'' a lot, so got a lot of foremilk, less hindmilk. Good luck figuring things out! angela
it may be nothing--especially if your baby seems happy and is gaining well. But this sounds like one of the symptoms of a foremilk/hindmilk imbalance. You can google it to learn more--LLL's site has good info such as at http://www.llli.org/FAQ/foremilk.html. Essentially, if the baby isn't given a chance to ''finish'' a breast and is instead switched to the other breast, the baby won't get the high fat/high protein hindmilk and will be filling up on the sugary foremilk. All that sugar (lactose) overwhelms the baby's gut and the bubbles form. It is easy to remedy by limiting the baby to one breast per feeding and letting him/her feed as long as she/he wants to. It is worth mentioning to your pediatrician in case there is something that needs to be corrected. -
If you are very worried you ought to call your pediatrician. You don't say how old your baby is, but I've heard that it takes several months for baby's digestive systems to really get working so this could be part of that. My daughter did a lot of scwirming and moaning with gas. I would also consider what YOU are eating, she may be having a reaction to something that is passed through the breastmilk. Try cutting out foods that might give gas or that are considered common allergens and see if that helps. good luck. anon

Blood and mucus in infant's poo after we ate miso

April 2007

My breastfeeding wife and I had a nice lunch of miso soup for the first time since 6 mo baby was born. About five hours later, baby had the biggest, stinkiest poo she's ever had, plus a hint of blood. For the next three days (and still) she's had some particularly foul-smelling poo with a little blood sometimes. (blood and mucous, actually.) We think it might be the miso... is that possible? Anyone out there have similar experiences with miso poop? Thanks! k.


It sounds to me as though the miso may just be a coincidence. I would run, not walk to your pediatrician and include a stool sample from the baby. Bronya
hello advice on your problem with the baby it is not from the food that your wife ate. you need to take the baby to the hospital and get blood work done and x-rays. especially if the baby is not eating regular and is sleeping too much. when there is blood in the poop it could be 4 serious problems. you need to go right away. if you could prevent getting surgery getting done. it is best to go to the hosiptal and take care of it. i seen a child have something similiar to that and they had to keep the baby over night to do tests and be on antibiotics. please take your child to the nearst emergency just to prevent the worst.have them check for EVERYTHING DON'T LEAVE THERE UNTIL EVERYTHING IS CHECK ARGUE WITH THE DOCTORS IF YOU HAVE TO JUST MAKE SURE THEY TAKE CARE OF YOUR BABY OR GO TO CHILDRENS HOSPITAL IN OAKLAND. GOOD LUCK JUST GET IT DONE. PLEASE! TO A CONCERN PARENT TO ANOTHER. CONCERN PARENT
your baby has blood and mucous in her stool and you haven't gotten her to a doctor? call tomorrow. no, call right now. you didn't mention any other symptoms so hopefully this is something easily managed. anon
Bloody stool from eating miso soup?? Take your baby to the doctor! amy
It could be a soy allergy? Mucus and blood in baby poops are usually allergy related. i would call advice nurse at your dr.'s Liz
Ok. I'm going to go out on a huge limb here and say CALL YOUR DOCTOR!!!!! Yeesh.
I've never had that happen with miso and I drink/eat it often with my breastfed baby. Blood in baby poop is a dangerous sign. Go to doctor asap. Jenny
I'm not a doctor but I nursed my 2 children for a very long time and ate a whole variety of different foods. Certain foods would cause gassiness (i.e. indian, or other very spicy). I don't think that anything your wife ate would cause blood in the stool. I'd see a doctor asap. concerned
no! this is not from the miso soup! and i have had it a few times since breastfeeding. take your child to the doctor. this is very abnormal. blood in the stool could be a sign of something else wrong. worried health professional
I hope you are in touch with your child's pediatrician! My 10-month old son was just diagnosed with food allergies (we are still determining what it might be - milk, wheat, soy?) and had symptoms like those you are describing (mucousy poop with a tinge of blood at times). He's fine but, because I am nursing, we are both on a strict diet -no milk, soy, wheat, eggs, nuts, citrus, etc. for a while. Good luck - hope your little one is feeling better soon! anon
Hi, this sounds like an allergy to soy. Our kid was allergic to milk protein with a cross allergy to soy, and the blood is the indicator. It resolved when we stopped the soy & milk. hope this helps.
Sounds like your baby might have a soy allergy, which is not uncommon. I'd call your pediatrician. Good luck! Naomi

5-week-old baby's stool is green and mucousy

Sept 2005

My 5 week old baby has been having green and mucousy stools for a few weeks now (they were yellow and seedy in the beginning). the dr is not worried because he is growing rapidly. He has no other problems and we had a normal birth. the only other thing is that I was taking clyndamiacin (an antibiotic) the week before he was born and his first day or two. I am breastfeeding. I tried cutting out caffeine, which seemed to help with the consistency of the stool-- it made it less watery. Did anyone else have a baby with green stool? The dr did recommend trying probiotics. Did you get other advice from the dr? Thanks! worried new mom


I had the same problem w/my now 2 yr. old son when he was about that age. After much research, I finally found out that he was only getting the fore or skim milk when I would breastfeed. He would often fall asleep after only a few minutes on one side so I would switch him to the other. The solution was to feed him on one side/feeding so that the breast would empty completely and he would get the fatty-er milk at the end or make sure he empties both sides as much as possible. I now have a 2 wk. old and am trying to avoid the same problem. I feed him about 15-20 min. on one side and then switch to the other for another 10+ min. Fortunately he's not as sleepy as his brother. I also massage the breast while I'm feeding to make sure he gets as much milk as possible. I recently consulted w/the lactation consultant at Kaiser and she said not to worry about the green stools, but instead focus on whether the baby's gaining wt. We bought a Salton digital baby scale ($84 online and well worth the peace of mind) so I weigh him about once/wk. Hope this helps, and feel free to contact me. cv
My 11-week baby has had green stools twice now (lasted a few days each time). My pediatrician told me that any earth tone was fine, but that I should call for white, red, or black stools. anon
Assuming that you're breastfeeding, green stools can indicate a foremilk/hindmilk imbalance. There can be many reasons for it, including an overactive milk ejection reflex, overabundant milk supply, or switching sides too often/soon while nursing. I have struggled with two of the three above, and am finally getting it under control at 11 weeks. I nurse only on one side for every four hour period, take sage extract a few times daily, and express a little before nursing if I catch my baby gasping, ''clicking,'' or swallowing a lot of air. An internet search on ''foremilk/hindmilk imbalance'' might give you more information. Good luck. Whole lotta milk
My now 8 month old had this... are you breastfeeding? If so, try massaging your breast as you feed. One theory with my little one was that she wasn't getting enough of the fatty hind milk and that massaging would help her suck the fattier milk out. The doc also limited my foods by taking out some allergens but I suspect the fat milk was the issue. happy mom of healthy babe
Do try the probiotics. Lifestart by Natren is a good place to start. It has gut bacteria that are the predominant beneficial bacteria in the guts of healthy infants. Whole Foods carries it and if it isn't on the shelf they will order it for you. Usually infants are colonized at birth, but if you were taking antibiotics they may not have had a chance and less beneficial bacteria may have taken their place. My child had a diarrhea illness and only recovered after we gave her lifestart every day for more than a week. Otherwise she'd relapse and it'd be back to the green poop again. The mucus is a sign that your baby is having diarrhea. The other cause for green stools can be not enough hind milk. If the baby is getting milk low in fat the bile ends up coming out in the stools. But since your baby is gaining well I'd try the Lifestart. Good luck, susan
My baby had something similar, only it wasn't related to antibiotics. Instead, I had an overactive letdown and when breastfeeding, my daughter was getting too much foremilk and not enough hindmilk. I'm not sure if this is what's happening, but if you're spraying everywhere (like I was) and your baby seems cranky at the breast, you might consider it. Once I saw a lactation consultant and learned strategies to slow down my milk, my baby's stools went back to yellow. Good luck! Green Poop Veteran
Are you breastfeeding? You may feed your baby more foremilk than hindmilk. The first milk coming out - the foremilk - is more watery and has less fat and calories than the hindmilk. This shows in more green stool. It might help to try have your baby stay longer on one breast to get the hindmilk. If you feel you don't get enough advice from your doc, try a lactation consultant.
Our baby also had a green stool for a while. I don't think you need to worry, unless the baby shows some other signs of distress. I was also concerned at the time and looked through lots of books for advice. The only one I found that addressed the subject and calmed me down was Dr. Spock's! mother of a healthy baby
Hi, When our baby (two weeks old at the time) had developed a rash, he was put on antibiotics. His stool also became green. We gave him a probiotic supplement (Jarrow Formulas' Baby's Jarro-Dophilus). His stools returned to normal color in a day or two.

By the way, when we asked his docor (at Kaizer) about the green stools, her response was to wait and see, and if they continued, to give him another antibiotic to correct the effects of the first one. She did not mention probiotics... Good luck!