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Baby Is Not Pooping But Passing Gas: Should I Worry?

Baby Is Not Pooping But Passing Gas: Should I Worry?

When a baby is not pooping but passing gas, it is usually a cause for concern for many new parents. What does it mean, and how can you intervene? Find out here.

First Up, Passing Gas is Normal and Necessary

Before anything else, please keep in mind that flatulence in babies or baby farts are normal and necessary.

You see, babies can get gas when they swallow air during feeding sessions, be it breastfeeding or bottle feeding. Little ones on solid foods can develop gassiness due to certain foods such as cabbage, onions, beans, broccoli, and legumes.

When there is extra air in their digestive system, they need to release it either through burping or passing gas. If not, they might develop symptoms, such as stomach pain, bloating, incessant crying or irritability.

Frequency of Baby Poop Varies

New parents often have the image that they’ll change countless diapers or lampin because babies poop all the time. But that’s not the case for all babies, and many don’t even poop every day after reaching a certain age!

According to experts, within their first month, your baby may poop daily. Formula-fed newborn babies pass stool up to 5 to 8 times a day, but they begin to poop less often as they grow. If you’re breastfeeding, they may go more often. After 6 weeks, they may easily go without pooping for up to 7 to 10 days.

In other words, the frequency of pooping in babies depends on their age and diet.

Baby Not Pooping, But Passing Gas: What Does It Mean?

At this point, we know that passing gas is normal and that babies don’t necessarily poop daily. Hence, for the most part, a baby who is not pooping but passing gas is not a cause of concern. However, it might also be indicative of constipation in infants.

Experts remind parents not to immediately assume that their baby has constipation, even if it appears that they are straining.

baby not pooping but passing gas

Come to think of it, your baby is still adjusting, and their digestive system is still developing. Additionally, since they often lie supine, it’s hard for them to poop.

Generally, if your baby’s stool is soft, even if they poop less often or appear to be straining, they are probably not constipated. Furthermore, exclusively breastfed babies rarely experience constipation, even if they don’t poop for a long time.

Baby Constipation: Signs and Home Remedies

In addition to infrequent passing of stool and straining, watch of for these signs that your baby is constipated:

  • Passing stool less than 3 times a week.
  • History of excessive stool retention.
  • Hard and pebble-like or wide and large stool.
  • Presence of large fecal mass in the rectum.
  • Liquid stool (like diarrhea) is also an indicator since liquid stool can pass through the hard, solid stool in the colon (fecal impaction).
  • Blood in stool
  • Moving their body in different directions.
  • Clenching their buttocks.
  • Crying when having a bowel movement.
  • Abdominal pain, usually with gas.
  • Fussiness

If you suspect constipation, the following expert-approved tips might help:

  • Burp the infant right away for 30 to 60 minutes.
  • Give babies small amounts of water every 30 or 40 minutes. Please don’t add sugars or rice cereals in the water as it increases choking risk.
  • For babies on solid foods, consider adding high-fiber fruits and veggies to their diet.
  • Some reports1 say 2 to 4 ounces of prune juice might help; however, some experts2 mentioned that it contains irritants, and babies younger than 9 months shouldn’t have it yet.

Please don’t give any laxative or suppositories to your little one. If the symptoms persist, bring them to the doctor.

Key Takeaways

Is your baby not pooping but passing gas? Experts say it’s usually not a source of concern. After all, it’s normal and necessary for babies to pass gas and their bowel movement depends on their age and diet.

However, passing gas without bowel movement can be indicative of constipation. Baby constipation home remedies include giving them small amounts of water might help. If they are on solids, adding high-fiber foods is also beneficial.

If the symptoms persist, bring them to the doctor for appropriate intervention.

Learn more about Baby Care here.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Sources

1 Constipation in infants and children, https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/003125.htm, Accessed March 1, 2021

2 Baby poo, http://www.dchs.nhs.uk/home/our-services/find_services_by_topic/healthvisiting/advice_guidance/hvs_bowel_movements, Accessed March 1, 2021

Passing wind or flatulence, https://raisingchildren.net.au/guides/a-z-health-reference/wind, Accessed March 1, 2021

How Can I Tell if My Baby Is Constipated? https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/constipated.html, Accessed March 1, 2021

Constipation: Infant, https://www.nationwidechildrens.org/conditions/constipation-infant, Accessed March 1, 2021

Is It Bad to Stimulate a Baby to Poop? https://www.medicinenet.com/is_it_bad_to_stimulate_a_baby_to_poop/article.htm, Accessed September 14, 2021

Constipation, htttps://llli.org/breastfeeding-info/constipation/, Accessed September 14, 2021

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Written by Lorraine Bunag, R.N. Updated Sep 14
Medically reviewed by Ruben Macapinlac, MD, DPPS