Helping Your Newborn With Bowel Movements

When I gave birth to my daughter, I was hoping that she would be like my son as a newborn. He was quiet, easy going and had no health issues. I was wrong on all three! She cried more than he did, she was a bit picky and she had difficulty when it came to having a bowel movement.

A newborn can sometimes have difficulty with bowel movements. Find out why and how you can help them.

When it came time for her to have a bowel movement I thought that she was in pain. It happened all of a sudden one day not too long after she was born. She let out a big yell. Then she started to grunt and her eyes got really big. I panicked because she had never done this before. I had no idea what just happened. Again, my son did not have this issue and when I asked around nobody else had a child that did this. I started to think maybe it was something that I had eaten since I was breastfeeding her.

After seeing her do this a couple more times in a day I took her to her pediatrician. He told me that she was not in any pain, but that newborns have weak stomach muscles. Therefore, they may need help when they are pooping. Her doctor also said that the feeling of having a bowel movement is surprising to her. Furthermore, she doesn’t know how to handle it yet. He gave me two tricks to try if I thought that she may be getting ready to have a bowel movement and also for when she is actually having one:

  1. Rub her stomach
  2. Grab her feet and gently push them back and forth towards her stomach

He said that this should help her to pass her BM more easily and that she would eventually grow out of it.

Hearing that it wasn’t anything serious and that it didn’t have anything to do with my breast milk was such a relief. I took his advice and after a few tries, it definitely started to get better. The yelling and grunting started to ease and after a few weeks, it had stopped for good.

Even though this was my case, all newborns are different. A newborn that seems to be in pain during a bowel movement paired with other symptoms could mean something totally different. For example, it could mean that a newborn is constipated, dehydrated or possibly have Hirschsprung disease. This is a very serious condition that does not allow bowel movements to pass through the intestines. Therefore, always have your baby seen by their doctor if they seem to be having difficulty or pain from having a bowel movement.

Do you have a newborn? Does your newborn experience difficulty with bowel movements? Read more to find out why and how you can help.

2 thoughts on “Helping Your Newborn With Bowel Movements

  1. My daughter had trouble with BMs the first couple of weeks and they showed us at the hospital how to gently probe her with a thermometer. It seemed odd but it definitely worked!

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