Why Babies Get Upset When They Poop

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 he’s really in pain, but it does mean that he might get upset.

Keep in mind that it’s hard to poop while lying down. Your baby can’t sit and “push.” He has to coordinate his belly muscles to squeeze while relaxing his anus. That’s not so easy for a little baby! In time, he'll learn to do it without putting on such a big show.

Don't worry if he grunts and groans and makes 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 his belly or legs before or while he’s doing it. You might try putting a warm water bottle on his belly during the process, but be sure to check first that the temperature is not too hot for him.

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 him checked out by his pediatrician as soon as possible. Also, call the doctor if you see blood or his poop is white, black, or hard, pellet-like stools.

WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Dan Brennan, MD on April 10, 2018

Sources

SOURCES:

KidsHealth: “How Can I Tell if My Baby Is Constipated?”

UpToDate: “Constipation in infants and children.” 

 

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