My baby only passes stool once every 3 days after the first month of life, what should I do?

What is the normal frequency of passing stools in babies?

The frequency of passing stools varies among babies. For newborn babies, they will usually pass stool 3 times a day, being more frequent in breastfeeding babies. As babies grow older, the frequency of passing stool will decrease, which varies from 3 times a day to once every 3 days. For some breastfeeding babies, the interval can even be longer. You do not need to worry if the stool being passed is not hard and your baby is active and feeding well.

I noticed that my baby’s face is all red when passing stools, is he having constipation?

Your baby needs time to learn how to coordinate the abdominal and pelvic muscles, to increase the abdominal pressure and push the stool out. It is common for baby to have red face when passing stool, it does not mean constipation.

When should I consult a doctor?

Apart from not passing stool for a few days, if your baby also has signs of bowel obstruction such as no gas passing out, frequent vomiting, decreased appetite, distended abdomen, or blood-stained stool, you should consult a doctor as soon as possible.

If my baby does not have the above signs but is still having hard stool, what can I do?

The problem of baby having constipation can be due to incorrect milk dilution. Other reasons include hot weather, overdressed or excessive sweating causing increased water loss. If your baby is only passing hard stool without the signs mentioned before, you should check the milk dilution. If your baby is on formula milk, you can consider adding sips of water in between 2 feeds for the baby. It helps the bowel to move and will soften the stool, making it easier to pass out. It can also replenish the water loss on sweating. Remember not to change the milk dilution by yourself. For breastfed babies, increasing the amount of breast milk intake will help.