6 Normal (but Alarming) Baby Health Issues

Is Baby Constipated?

In your newborn's first few weeks, it can seem like all you're doing is tallying wet and dirty diapers and hoping the daily sum adds up to the normal six wet and six soiled. And it probably will, at first. But as your baby gets older, there may be something of a shake-up in the poop department.

"When Blake was about 6 months, he went from pooping once every four days to once a week, and it put me over the edge," says Cindy Myers, of Gatlinburg, Tennessee. "He wasn't disturbed by it at all, but I was."

Although it can be hard to imagine, Dr. Danielson says infrequent stools in infants usually aren't a worrisome sign. "Somewhere around 1 month, most babies go through a sudden slowdown in terms of bowel movements," he explains. "So they will be perfectly healthy, but they may have a bowel movement only once every seven days -- and that's fine, if what comes out is soft and mushy and not difficult to pass."

You'll know your baby is truly constipated if he cries or screams while trying to poop and if his bowel movements are hard, round balls. In these cases, you should talk to your pediatrician, who may suggest giving your baby foods such as prunes that act as a mild stimulant, massaging the anal area with a Q-tip to relax the muscles, or using glycerin suppositories to lubricate the area.

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