While some things we hear about babies are common, that doesn’t mean they are normal. The idea that breastfed babies don’t need to poop daily has been normalized, but in reality, isn’t true!! The idea that there’s very little waste produced from breast milk is not based on scientific evidence and can actually prevent finding the true reason for baby’s lack of poop.
In the newborn stage, prior to 6 weeks, pooping tells us if baby is getting the appropriate volumes of milk from the breast. Many times when a newborn isn’t pooping, it’s a sign they’re not getting enough breast milk. As you increase milk volumes, baby starts to poop! Decreased milk intake can happen when baby has a tongue tie and can’t efficiently move milk from the breast, if feedings are scheduled (waiting for every 3 hours) or if baby is being sleep trained too early. Low milk supply can be caused by retained placenta, thyroid or hormone disorders or when there is a breast surgical history like a reduction.
Constipation can have other root causes.
🧬For some, it may be that their digestive biome is not ideal… things like antibiotics given to mom during pregnancy/birth or antibiotics given to baby shortly after birth shift the biome where it doesn’t ideally absorb and process milk. Introduction of formula also changes the gut microbiome. Some babies may have difficulty digesting certain formulas and may struggle with pooping until the right one is found.
💃🏻Not getting enough movement, tummy time or being in one position for too long (sitting in positioning devices like a dockatot for hours a day) decreases movement through the gut. Allergies and intolerances are another culprit. 🦷Babies who are teething may have a temporary change and miss a day or two and then return to daily stooling.
🤢Illness, change of environment (maybe a holiday/ move of house), change of daily rhythm etc can all play a role, and temporary changes are to be expected.
Every person is unique and so there isn’t any “one size fits all” reason why an infant may be struggling with constipation/infrequent stooling. If you baby isn’t pooping regularly, an IBCLC can help figure out what may be going on and refer you to the right specialist as needed.