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Thread: At a loss... : /

  1. #1

    Question At a loss... : /

    My son is 3 weeks old and has not had a regular BM since Dec. 21th. He has been BF since he was born and only given formula twice (the doctors were worried about his blood sugar as it was low and having him by c-section I was wiped out and my DH had to feed him), but neither time did it cause any kind of disruption.

    It started from the time we brought him home. The doctors were keeping a close eye on his Billyrubin, because the levels were slightly elevated, but not enough that they thought he needed treatment yet. So everyday for about a week they were testing his blood and the levels were rising slightly each time. At one of the appointments the doctor ordered that we take him off breastfeeding and give him formula for 24 hours. Apparently, BF can cause the jaundice, but if that is the case the levels won't get high enough to cause damage and they wanted to see if that was the case. It turned out that it was and that we had nothing to worry about, BUT after switching him all of a sudden to the formula and then back again to BF he hasn't pooped on his own.

    His poop isn't hard or pellet like, it's like soft serve. He has a lot of gas, some of it pretty stinky, and it is causing him a lot of pain and discomfort. He went 1 week without a BM, before I couldn't take it anymore and I had to do something for him, so I tried some olive oil like some people suggested for constipation and it did nothing. So I tried a q-tip and some Vaseline and finally he went, filling up 3 diapers worth of soft squishy poop. The poor thing was so relieved and went to sleep for a few hours. I thought he would be fine after that, but still no BMs and still getting terrible tummy aches and gas.

    I just don't know what to do. Is this normal? He is still having a regular amount of wet diapers, he is eating great and gaining weight like normal. He's just not pooping, it almost seems like he isn't even trying? Does anyone have any insight or advice?


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2008

    Default Re: At a loss... : /

    Did he pass meconium in the first 24 hours? This is out of my league, but I think it's unusual for a 3 week old to not have a normal (unstimulated BM) for almost 2 weeks, especially if, as I understand it, he's now exclusively breast fed. I would definitely bring this up with his doctor -- there are conditions of the colon that can cause this problem, and I personally would want my child evaluated.

    I say this because my DS who was born on the 20th didn't have a BM for almost 30 hours after birth, and we made this whole plan with a pediatric GI in case he continued not to poop. Turns out he is totally fine (he pooped almost immediately after the complex follow-up plan was made, suggesting that he does things on his own schedule) but we went through the list of possible problems that newborns not pooping can be, and it may be worth running a few tests. Maybe I'm getting riled up over nothing...other people can chime in.

    DS Ethan 12/16/2008
    Breast fed/pumped 11 months as a surgical resident, 80 hours a week at work
    DS Abram Daniel 12/20/2012
    Feel like we've gotten a strong start

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2009

    Default Re: At a loss... : /

    Hi and welcome!
    After about 6 weeks of age, it can be normal for a bf baby to start stooling very infrequently. But before that, this is pretty unusual.
    So I understand your concern.
    Can you give a weight history? also, how frequently is baby nursing-at least 10 times a 24 hour day?

    Was the last time baby pooped before or after the formula? And no formula since when now? I ask because formula supplements may change poop frequncy and stool consistency. And it can take time for that to clear the system.

    When a baby under 6 weeks old is not pooping a concern would be weight gain. So as long as your baby continues to not poop, frequent weight checks on the same infant scale might be helpful to make sure baby is getting enough breastmilk. Another concern would be jaundice, as frequent pooping helps with jaundice, and typically in the newborn, breastmilk and the act of suckling together produce frequent stooling.

    Just for others who may read this, I want to address the idea that it is possible that 'breastfeeding causes jaundice.' Jaundice in the newborn is a very complex issue, and there is lots of conflicting and confusing information out there about it. so I am just going to post this link for anyone interested.


  4. #4

    Default Re: At a loss... : /

    @blue2000: He did. There was no problems with his passing of stool from the time he was born until the the sudden switch to straight formula for 24 hours. He was having an appropriate amount of wet and dirty diapers until then.

    @lllmeg: Since Dec. 21st, when is doctor ordered switching to formula for the 24 hours he has not had any formula since. I couldn't tell you EXACTLY how long before that he had a BM, but it was at least the night or morning before. He had an appointment on the 28th (the day after I stimulated a BM) and I mentioned that he had been (what I thought at least, because he wasn't pooping on his own) constipated from the formula, but that we were able to get a BM and the doctor was fine with that as he had gained weight and was healthy in the check-up exam.

    For weight history, when he was born he was 6lb2oz, at discharge 3 days later he was 5lb12oz, his first doctors appt 2 days later he was 5lb13oz, and at his last check-up on the 28th he was 6lbs.

    Currently he is nursing every 2-2 1/2 hours. He is latching great. Sometimes he falls off in the beginning, but I think that is because my let down overwhelms him a little. He nurses for about ten minutes or so before he falls off. Should I make him nurse longer, even if he seems content with that? I am pretty sure I am producing enough milk and that he is getting enough, as my breasts feel very full before nursing and empty when he is done.

    It's really confusing because, like I said, his poop is soft and there is no blood or anything abnormal in the stool that I have been able to stimulate out of him. It seriously just seems as though he isn't actually trying to push it out. Granted, last night after a feeding he pooped a little bit, but it did seem like it just came out with a really powerful fart. I suppose I will give his doctor a call tomorrow and see what she thinks of the whole thing. I'm just really worried he could have a serious underlying condition

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2006

    Default Re: At a loss... : /

    As LLLMeg said, after 6 weeks a lot of babies will routinely go as much as a week between poops, and will occasionally go longer. But thee do seem to be a few babies who will start doing this prior to 6 weeks- which makes sense, in a way, because there's nothing magic about 6 weeks. As long as a baby is gaining weight appropriately, infrequent stooling is generally normal. My one concern here is that your baby has been a bit slow in the weight gain department- most guidelines are for a baby to have regained birthweight by 2 weeks and it sounds like he didn't quite do that, correct?

    I wouldn't worry about a serious underlying condition right now. If your LO was able to pass his meconium in a normal amount of time, he's very unlikely to have Hirschprung's Disease- which is what Blue2000 was trying to eliminate (Am I correct, Ellen?). But I'm glad you're calling your doc. Let us know what he/she says!

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