The world is very new to babies -- including the sensation of pooping. It may feel surprising and strange to a baby. It doesn’t mean they are really in pain, but it does mean that they might get upset.
Keep in mind that it’s hard to poop while lying down. Your baby can’t sit and “push.” They have to coordinate their belly muscles to squeeze while relaxing their anus. That’s not so easy for a little baby! In time, they'll learn to do it without putting on such a big show.
Don't worry if they grunt and groan and make all kinds of faces during a bowel movement; it’s usually not a sign of a medical problem by itself. Some parents who bottle-feed their kids may think they need to change formula to help them feel better, but that typically doesn’t make a difference. Babies all seem to get over it with time.
Tips for Concerned Parents
If your baby does react to the feeling of pooping more intensely, try massaging their belly or legs before or while they are doing it. You might try putting a warm water bottle on their belly during the process, but be sure to check first that the temperature is not too hot for them.
When to Worry About Your Baby
Severe, high-pitched, inconsolable crying is a different story than the grunting and groaning that most babies do. If your child has this type of reaction, get them checked out by their pediatrician as soon as possible. Also, call the doctor if you see blood or their poop is white, black, or hard, pellet-like stools.