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Thread: 4 month old suddenly straining to poop, but not constipated?

  1. #1
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    Mar 2012
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    Default 4 month old suddenly straining to poop, but not constipated?

    I know that sounds totally wrong, but it is. Starting yesterday morning my son has been straining really hard to poop, but when he has it has been it's usual gooey soft poop.
    Nothing has changed in his diet in the last week or even two weeks, and he isn't sick that I can tell yet. It wasn't really bothering him until after he had his shots yesterday. I didn't think to ask my pediatrician about it because when we saw him he had only done it once and I didn't think much of it, but now he's been trying all morning and starting to get very upset.
    Has anyone else experienced this or have any advice other than massage, and a warm bath?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: 4 month old suddenly straining to poop, but not constipa

    I wouldn't worry about it. My baby often strained while pooping until he could stand and squat. Our pediatrician assured me that it is normal. The only other recommendation I can give is when he is straining either hold him upright with his feet supported by your hand or arm so that he is in a squat, or lie him on his back and push his legs up into a squatting position. Babies tense lots of muscles as they learn how to poop, and squatting forces certain muscles to relax making it easier to pass the poop.
    K. Sophia - Mama to my little lactivore, the amazing Mr. X (11/10).

  3. #3
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    Default Re: 4 month old suddenly straining to poop, but not constipa

    We do EC, and while holding him to poo, I hold under his thighs in a squatting position, and let him sorta rock forward until his stomach is touching the top of his thighs. This seems to be the way to let everything open up for him.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: 4 month old suddenly straining to poop, but not constipa

    Mama, are you still using formula? (Pardon me if I have you confused with someone else!) If you are, cutting it out could change things, since formula tends to constipate babies. It doesn't sound like your LO is constipated- but a 100% breastmilk diet, even for just a few days, could move things out a bit faster and maybe get you over this bump in the road.
    Coolest thing my big girl said recently: "How can you tell the world is moving when you are standing on it?"
    Coolest thing my little girl sang recently: "I love dat one-two pupples!"

  5. #5
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    Default Re: 4 month old suddenly straining to poop, but not constipa

    We are still doing formula, yes. I had a similar, thought about trying him with just breastmilk for a couple days to see if that doesn't get things moving, and lucky for him yesterday and today were my days off this week. Doesn't look like it's made much difference either way and today he does seem a little crankier than usual.
    Could it be that he is usually very active while I am at work? Playing in walkers and things like that, while this week he's spent a lot more time in the car on the go, or just napping post shots with me?

  6. #6
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    Default Re: 4 month old suddenly straining to poop, but not constipa

    Can you avoid formula for a few more days? It can take a little while for the body to work everything out.

    Why don't you try keeping your baby more active to see if it helps. Lots of activity seems to help move things along with my 18 month old, but there is a much larger discrepancy between active an idle at this age than there was at 4 months so it's hard to say.

    Of course, the straining can be normal, and getting him into a squatting position helps with that. However, my pediatrician's lack of concern and recommendations were based on my baby getting only breast milk at the time. I'm not sure how concerned you need to be when you give formula.
    K. Sophia - Mama to my little lactivore, the amazing Mr. X (11/10).

  7. #7
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    Default Re: 4 month old suddenly straining to poop, but not constipa

    He hasn't ever had a constipation problem with the gentle formula I have him on now, and today we bought him a new booster seat so he is sitting more upright (he's too big for his car seat already) which seems to be more comfortable. Tomorrow when I go back to work I will just have to be sure my mother is keeping him active when he isn't napping, and make sure she knows how to help him squat.
    I would be more concerned if his poops were actually hard or dry, but he seems to be doing a lot more work than we're seeing results for.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: 4 month old suddenly straining to poop, but not constipa

    Yeah, my gut says it's probably normal from what you've described, but I have no experience with formula so I don't want to speak out of turn. My son did a lot of grunting and straining, and it was just a case of learning how to poop. Squatting and bicycling legs helps with that.
    K. Sophia - Mama to my little lactivore, the amazing Mr. X (11/10).

  9. #9
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    Default Re: 4 month old suddenly straining to poop, but not constipa

    hehehe, mine strains, too & makes an increasing "aaaahhhh" sound (not an uncomfortable sound) & you can see his face getting flushed, has been doing it since he found a non-crying voice, around 3-4 months maybe? I think its normal & mostly adorable that he's learning his body. the muscles he uses to get the poo to go & to make the increasing volume are almost the same. Then he usually gets a big smile shortly after the highest volume of his "ah-ing" when the poo flows. No constipation yet & he's 8 months.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: 4 month old suddenly straining to poop, but not constipa

    Poop update:
    I just saw his first for the first time in a couple days (he usually poops during the day time while I'm at work) and I think my mother in law snuck him some banana again. He's been playing with solids for a while and I keep having to remind her that he can't have rice cereal or banana because of the constipation factor.
    I ended up giving him some diluted juice with a little bit of dissolved pureed fruit in it (and then skipped his usual fruit feed in the morning) and that seems like it was all he needed to get going and I mentioned his straining to both my mother and mother in law (his only baby sitters) so hopefully they'll both be a little more careful with watching for constipating foods.

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