The first few months of a new born may seem like a simple cycle of eat-sleep-poop, but these are of utmost importance to a mother. The new mother’s immediate concerns may be feeding, as she grapples with breastfeeding positions and sufficient milk production, and almost immediately followed by sleep as she adapts to new sleep patterns. Following birth, the baby passes out a dark green-tinged meconium for the first few days, which is due to the amniotic fluids and other stuff that the baby ingests in the womb. Once the baby crosses this phase and the mother settles into her new routine, she begins to notice irregular bowel movements in her baby. And hence, out of concern, ends up committing mistakes that may cause more harm than benefit to the baby. Here are 5 things never to do to make the baby poop:
1. Assume Baby’s Bowel Movements To be Regular
The most common mistake parents commit is assuming that their baby needs to have a regular poop routine, just like adults. What they actually don’t realize is that babies do not have a fixed “pattern” to their bowel movements as their digestive system is still evolving. The bowel movements may vary from thrice-a-day to once in three days as well, which may naturally confuse parents. Consulting a pediatrician to address your concerns may help.
2. Stimulate The Rectum
There may be rare occasions when, seeing the parents’ concern, and probably finding it genuine, the pediatrician may offer to stimulate the baby’s rectum with a tiny probe to help the baby pass out the stool. However, this should not be followed regularly. The baby is at an early learning stage and is getting used to the idea of relaxing his bottom to push the stool out. Once the baby gets used to the idea of external ‘help’, at this stage, he/she may find it difficult to poop independently in the long run.
3. Misinterpret Their Efforts
Most of us have witnessed our baby’s facial expressions when they try to poop, generating he’s-so-cute to God!-he’s-in-pain kind of reactions. The fact is, it’s a natural learning process for the baby where he’s trying to put an effort to pass the stool out. Since babies poop either standing or lying down, compared to a fixed posture of being seated, as in adults, it shouldn’t be misinterpreted as constipation or pain.
4. Do Not Apply Force or Use Laxatives
Most new mothers, or well-meaning elderly women at home, may try & use external means, like applying oil to the private area, pressing the stomach, or use a laxative, like enema or mineral oil, to force the poop out. This may stress out the baby or cause stomach pain. Oiling may result in unnecessary infections of the private area. However, in case of actual constipation, you could use a glycerin suppository or apply an over-the-counter topical anesthetic gel to soothe the baby, but strictly after consulting a pediatrician.
5. Increase Fiber Intake
Once the baby graduates to slightly solid foods, mothers generally try to increase their fiber intake in the hope of regulating their bowels. While fiber may be good for the infant, they absorb more fluid in the body. Hence, care should be taken to increase the amount of fluid intake as well, without which the baby may get further constipated.
Your baby’s bowel movements may seem like a pressing problem for you, but do not stress too much about it and avoid the mistakes mentioned above. While your baby is making an effort to learn how to poop, much like everything else, on your part, let your baby know that you are always there for him/her!