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Constipation with Breastfed Poop?

I recently had a mama ask me about her baby’s breastfed poop, saying she (the baby) hadn’t gone in two days and was that okay. I always tell moms if they are really worried, to feel free to call their pediatrician, but then I follow-up with the information I would give if she were my own client… or my daughter. 

When a baby is 100% breastfed, no formula supplements, it is nigh on impossible for the baby to get constipated. I’ve heard Peds and breastfeeding experts say it is impossible, but I know as soon as I utter those words, someone will come and tell me their baby was. Advisors/Providers… always leave an out. 

Breastfeeding-Problems.com explains the difference between a baby making a straining face and a baby that has true clinical constipation. 

-         “Baby cries when straining to poo 

-         Pain in the belly area 

-         Stools seem like little pellets” 

Dr. Jack Newman says

“Some breastfed babies, after the first three to four weeks of life, may suddenly change their stool pattern from many each day, to one every three days or even less. Some babies have gone as long as 20 days or more without a bowel movement. As long as the baby is otherwise well, and the stool is the usual pasty or soft, yellow movement, this is not constipation and is of no concern. No treatment is necessary or desirable, because no treatment is necessary or desirable for something that is normal.” 

So, I threw this out to my Navelgazing Midwife Facebook readers to see what their experiences were. I asked, “Breastfeeding Mamas: Does your baby ever go days without pooping? Do tell!” Here’s what the moms shared:

R: Definitely, but not often.

J: They did when they were little. E. would sometimes go 5 days and then explode. He had a lot of food issues though, so I'm not sure if that contributed to it.
P: Mine sometimes did. I never worried about it though. Probably no more than 2 days tops. My memory is fuzzy already though.
S: I had one of my kids that routinely pooped once every 3 weeks. No big deal.
(Obviously changed once solids were introduced around 9 months of age.)
T: Oh yes. He pooped every 4 days, down to the hour!
M: My two youngest pooped once a week until solids were introduced (about 8-9 months), starting around day 10 with both. Ped said as long as the poop was soft, it was within the range of normal. Some babes just digest breast milk completely with very little waste.
K: Even at nearly a year L. will go about every 5-7 days. He's not constipated, that's just how he has worked since the beginning. The more solids for him, the more frequent the poop.

T. was the exact opposite though.
P: Not often, but once in a while, yes.

D: I’ve had a 7 poops a day-er and a once a week-er. They just have different digestive systems. Once we started solids, her poops regulated out to about 1 a day, but sometimes she still goes 2-3 days between. My older one usually still has 2 poops a day. Oh yeah, the once a week-er had poo-splosions. Once it started, we couldn't leave the house all day. Even though we cloth diaper, the poo went everywhere. Down legs, out the front top, it was crazy. I don't know where she stored it all.
G: Mine was a daily pooper. Sometimes more than once a day.
D: Never. They poop every time they eat when under 3 months or around there. Seriously.
U: My first was on a 5 day cycle.
J: Yep. She goes every 2 or 3 days now and multiple times in that day. Early on, she went every 5 days or so, and they were huge. My older one always went several times a day and at 2.5 it's still unusual for her to go a day without going.
A: In her second week of life, my eldest went 8 days without pooping. My family doc noted our concern and told us that because she was peeing lots and otherwise seemed healthy, to just wait. It was pretty explosive when it came. She often went several days.
C: Yup and when she did it was from her hair to her socks. She did it in public once too. Drip drip drip poop all over the floor all the way out the door.
B: I wish! Mine went anywhere between 5 and 12 times a day for the first 10 months or so! Made it easy to potty train, though!
L: He is every other or every two days and then will poop 2 - 3 times. I call those "poop days".
H: Mine would go from pooping 4-5 times a day, to going once every 7-8 days for several months, then it'd be back to once a day or so around the time we started solids.
B: My 6-week old poops 4-6 times a day and leaves skid marks in EVERY SINGLE diaper from her wet farts!!
N: 1st bub, every nappy was poo until solids, then at least once a day. 2nd bub, every nappy poo until solids then up to 5 days between poos - having major constipation issues though, screaming, red faced pushing, frequently waking in obvious pain so we're onto the prune juice, lactulose, glycerine suppositories.
C: With three kids, they ran the gamut, from each time he nursed practically, to #2 who had a BM every 7-10 days to #3 who was intermediate of his brothers.
S: Not mine but a friend’s baby would go about 5 days between HUGE explosions of poo.
E: My daughter went 8 days once as a breastfed newborn. Completely fine!!
K: Yes! Our joke is that my son poops an average of once a day, which is to say not at all for a week and then 7 times in a row.
E: I have a friend whose first daughter would only poop once a week. She was a wonderfully chubby baby, so we all just figured she was metabolizing everything she got. Isn't it supposed to be 100 percent digestible? My kids were both regular poopers for the most part, but my daughter once went four days (and then went and went and went).
V: Both of mine went on a poop strike at about 10 days... since doula-ing I've noticed a lot of babies doing the same. It is at this point it seems like there is a switchover or consolidation of pooping. I never knew I could be so focused on pooping until I had kids. 

NgM: And I’ll add my own story! All the kids were regular poopers, but Meghann (my daughter who’s pregnant right now). Meggie went every eight days. And on that 8th day, we stayed home and changed diapers all. day. long. She was perfectly fine, healthy as could be, it was just her bowel’s rhythm. 

Thanks to all the mamas who participated and those reading now, feel free to add your baby poop stories!

Baby Aimee nursing 20 min. after being born in the car. 4/20/86.