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newborn screaming before pooing/pooping: why?

(34 Posts)
am988 Wed 06-Apr-11 21:21:12


Can anyone help please?

My baby is 5 weeks old. I breastfeed 90% of the time apart from the occasional bottle (formula) at night / day. He screams and really squeezes when he is going to poo/poop - at times worse than others.

He becomes red and he seems in pain. Sometimes he does it in his sleep too - it is hard to watch him being so uncomfortable. His poos are runny and normal in colour and he poos a lot- so doesn't look like he is constipated. He seems to be comforted by the breast when he is screaming - not always though. Sometimes he just screams and nothing can stop him. Sometimes he wouldn't take more milk from the breast but it is just so that he can squeeze. Anyone had any similar problems please?

I don't know what to do.

Started giving him gripe water - and bought infacol.

I'm blaming a bit myself that something is not right with my milk - but he would do the same when we give him the odd bottle.



tiktok Wed 06-Apr-11 21:26:27

If he's in pain (poor little soul ) then maybe the doc will help - will check for anal fissure or something not being 'right' .

If the poo is soft when it comes, then this is not constipation.

Breastmilk does not cause this sort of pain on pooing.

However, if he is doing it in his sleep then he is not in pain. Some babies do seem to make a fuss about the sensations involved in eliminating - your doc or your HV will be able to help you judge whether this is pain or not.

Hope you get it sorted.

LeninGrad Wed 06-Apr-11 21:32:00

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

am988 Thu 07-Apr-11 08:35:36

Thank you so much - Tiktok - he does seem to do this in his sleep - so he does fall peacefully asleep after. He makes noises in his sleep and I always think he is awake but he would be asleep. Sometimes I give him the dummy and the sucking seems to help as the health visitor told me that that could help relax the tummy muscles. It is just annoying to hear his squeezing noises and as you say it is hard to say if it is really painful or maybe I am interpreting it as painful.

If he is awake however or I pick him up that's when the squeezing noises start getting louder or when he cries.

He also squeezes before he passes a poop... it just seems that he wants to get rid of whatever is in his belly right away. I noted that his belly is a bit hard so it can also be a combination of wind. He does not burp a lot either - but the gripe water is helping him burp so maybe that will reduce the pressure from his tummy.

Wish these babies could talk to tell us what they are really feeling!
thanks again
xx A

tiktok Thu 07-Apr-11 08:50:03

am - honestly, if he is asleep then he is categorically not in pain
Babies often make the oddest noises when asleep or half asleep.

Not sure why you are concerned about the 'squeezing' - this sounds like normal gut and body movements in response to the sensations of needing to have a poo. Babies often squirm and grunt and go red faced in response but they are not in pain or even uncomfortable - babies cry when uncomfortable.

Hardening and softening of the tummy could just be normal.

If he is actually screaming in distress - as you described in your first post - that's a different matter.

bankholiday Thu 07-Apr-11 08:58:23

My DS1 (6 weeks) is the same. He is also bf with a very occasional bottle of formula (must have had about 1 bottle/week so far). He used to make a poo every day, but it's every other day or every 2 days now and he seems in a lot of pain for hours before. It usually starts at about 4am, he is straining and screaming, but is not sleeping through it - on the contrary, he is very unsettled and I'm struggling to comfort him. He is not comforted by the breast, but holding him close and giving a dummy helps.

He is definitely not constipated, and makes explosive poos, after which he is so relaxed, a different baby it seems. Bless him, I feel so powerless watching him in pain! What I've started to do (and I don't know if it works yet) is give him a couple of teaspoons of cooled boiled water in the morning and evening - not sure it makes any sense, but maybe it could help things move

I think I'll also try a cranial osteopath. I'm not a great believer in alternative medicine, but it can't harm and I would do anything to help him.

cobweb1979 Thu 07-Apr-11 09:43:43

My son HATES pooing - honestly, every mum I've mentioned it to had the same with their child. I don't think there is anything wrong, I think it just takes them a few months to get used to the sensation. Don't forget they dodn't have to do it in the womb!

am988 Thu 07-Apr-11 18:30:22

Hi all, Thanks for the reassurance.

Apologies for the panic. It is my first baby - and sometimes I feel a bit cut off thinking that I'm doing something wrong or that something is wrong. I have moments of panic wondering whether I should take him to the doc or else - if it is just normal. I have also started drinking more (and replaced many cups of tea with camomille tea - as i read somewhere that it helps - maybe it is in the mind). Well he seems he wasn't in too much distress when he wanted to poo/poop today (although he still becomes red and squeezes with 'car engine - like' noises. I think after 5 weeks I'm still not used to the crying either and think that something is very wrong when he cries and becomes. I need someone to remind me that it is normal that babies cry and that I'm doing fine.

He does grunt and squeeze when he is asleep - he makes the noises and then keeps sleeping - but if he is awake he grunts and squeezes and cries. I haven't learnt to sleep through these noises and I'm always checking to see if he is ok - so I'm suffering from exhaustion and everything looks worse in the middle of the night.

He normally likes pooing/pooping when i'm feeding him - that is when sometimes he goes into a cry.. which has the potential to turn into a scream. It could also be that I am not used to his different cries/signs: when he is grunting and squeezing he also makes the signs that he is 'hungry' - opening his mouth - he would 'eat' my hand... so then I think he is hungry and I start to feed him. When I pick him up he also bumps his head on my chest - and that is a sign of hunger: right?

At times I don't think he needs food so when I put him in the position for breastfeeding he takes the nipple - maybe takes a sip - sometimes not even and just squeezes on it - and sometimes he just cries cause it is not what he wants. THen I put him back to sleep in the moses basket but he starts to cry - then I pick him up again - try to offer the breast again - he cries (or screams) but then I cuddle him and eventually the crying stops and he's a sleeping angel: of course by then I'm completely exhausted wondering when will I ever sleep again!

Will let you know how it is going - thank you sooo much for your reassurance and advice :-)

xx Am

abigailj Thu 07-Apr-11 19:56:32

Hi Am

I could have written your post 8 months ago. We went through the same thing - it took about a week of screaming/crying before pooing for him to calm down. I asked my GP about it and she said that at about 5-6 weeks your body is no longer producing colostrum (apparently there is still colostrum in your breastmilk for the first month or so) which is a laxative. This means it is more difficult/a different sensation for the baby when they poo.

Hang in there, bubs will get used to it and calm down. One thing we found worked very well was to put our little boy in his bouncy chair post-feed - the sitting position helps them poo. That, or sit them on your lap facing away from you and try to keep their legs to their chest (our boy used to straighten his legs and strain - not helpful).

Hope this is useful - all the best.


eversoslightlytired Thu 07-Apr-11 21:46:33

Hi there. My DD is 5 weeks tomorrow and is EBF. She is exactly the same. My son was also the same and he was breastfed with one formula bottle at night so I dont think the formula can be blamed. When I spoke to my HV she told me it was a symptom of colic. I use Infacol which helps her burp more but the pooing is the same. We tend to but her legs to her chest or do the bicycle movements with them and rub her tummy. After a while there is a great big poo! Hope this helps!

am988 Fri 08-Apr-11 18:41:07

Hello Abigailj and eversoslightlytired: it is sooo reassuring to see your posts - makes me feel I'm not alone. Same as you say: my boy straightens his legs and becomes all rigid to poo: and makes all the squeezing noises (which when I'm 'not' stressed could be even funny cause everyone will be able to tell what he's doing!). I'm giving him gripe water which seems to make him burp - I took some advice from above to give him a teaspoon of boiled water occasionally or dip his dummy in it - he seems to like it too in the hope that it will make it a bit better.

Today I had an appt at my GP (for me not for my baby) but I asked him what it could he, he also said that it could be a symptom of colic. I have bought infacol as well as gripe water but thought i'll give gripe water a chance before i move on to infacol. My HV also suggested doing the bicycle movements when he's getting changed and it is true, it works - in fact he tends to poo a lot when I'm changing his nappy - sometimes i can go through a second nappy as i'm changing him cause he does it whilst I am changing him - or if I leave him without for a bit as he kicks around he poos in the muslin I put under him - sometimes more than once! So I guess I have to stick to it and be brave for a while (hoping the while is sooner rather than later) before I become completely crazy...

Thanks again and will stay in touch - it really is so reassuring.

xx Am

TittyBojangles Fri 08-Apr-11 19:26:22

Massaging his tummy clockwise- use some olive oil and do the whole body while you're at it if he's in the mood (there may well be some classes near you, not that you need them, but it's something to do), bicycling legs or a bath all may help. Lots of nappy off and tummy time, with plenty of towels/muslins etc to hand to help get things moving.

ChopMonster Sat 09-Apr-11 05:42:01

Hey, my DS is 6 weeks and from 5 weeks has been exactly the same. He is breastfed with a formula feed before bed. Since last week he has been getting more and more upset, crying inconsolably for long periods and getting upset when passing wind and pooing. He isn't a crier so we were worried too! We've been using infacol at each feed, winding him well and cut out the formula and he seems a bit better now. Glad to have seen this thread!

He has just spent 2 hours squeezing farts out in his sleep. Fine for him but kept me awake!

am988 Sat 09-Apr-11 08:45:11

Chopmonster I know EXACTLY what you mean. It is hard to ignore the squeezing and noises - the odd thing is that all the noises stop when I pick him up and cuddle him - husband spent night with him in the living room bless him - cause I needed sleep and with all the squeezing and noises I couldn't bear not picking him up. I really hope this phase passes.

Will try all advice above thank you Tittybojangles will try massaging and bath. I have used olive oil. Will check out some baby massaging videos on u-tube too. Hope you all have a good day.

Oneof4 Sat 09-Apr-11 19:06:21

Hi. My DS (6 weeks) is exactly the same - it's heartbreaking, isn't it? I found one explanation which said that some babies get confused and try to squeeze their sphincter tight shut when they feel pressure on it, which obviously stops the poo coming out and causes them pain because their digestion is trying to push it out at the same time.

My boy's been suffering from this for several weeks and I do find that holding him horizontally with my hand 'cupping' his bottom - almost like giving him a target to push into - is the only thing that soothes him and makes him relax.

Good luck.

abigailj Sun 10-Apr-11 09:00:18

Hi Am and others

I think its really good that you found a few others on this thread with the same experience - we were taken aback and stressed by this for about a month. Our DD used to wake up almost every day at 5am or so to poo as well (we would lie and listen to him grunt), and then it would be v difficult to get him back to sleep. Finally at about 3 months or so all the pooing issues calmed down as his little system matured. Nevertheless it was as pain and worrying at the time.

I really would try out a bouncy chair and see if it helps him relax and get things going... really helped for us, I would put DD in it every morning first thing and after every feed.

Its just another of those things that no-one tells you about before you have a baby...


ButteryJam Fri 21-Jun-13 06:31:05

I came across this after searching for the pain my little one is going through - and this is exactly it! Thanks OP for starting this thread.

I've started dd on infacol - when did your babies stop needing infacol? When did this pain go away?

Sunnysummer Fri 21-Jun-13 06:43:58

Have you looked up 'grunting baby syndrome'? It's not harmful, but is when a new baby doesn't yet know how to simultaneously push down with his stomach but relax his anus to poo.. So they tend to make a real fuss of pooing, as they are trying to get though a closed trapdoor! My baby had this, but grew out of it over time. Deep warm baths helped a little bit with relaxation, but we never found the perfect answer. We're still having trouble with wind, though! hmm

SofiaAmes Fri 21-Jun-13 07:00:39

My dd did this screaming while pooing. She was exclusively bfed. She also only poo'd every 7-10 days. We ended up having to put her on her tummy to sleep (no other cot death factors present, so we decided to take the risk) as she seemed to be in pain and not sleeping in any other position. We also added a special staydown formula (Enfamil ER) at 5 months in addition to the bfing as pediatrician had diagnosed hidden reflux. She got much much better once she was completely on solids. The good news is that Dd is now 10 and has no digestion issues and eats everything in sight.

LAF77 Fri 21-Jun-13 14:13:45

This isnt, breast feeding related, but if you want to google, elimination communication, visit born for more information. You will learn that despite what we seem to understand as a society, babies do know when they need to relieve themselves and actually don't want to soil themselves. Human skin is not meant to be in contact with faeces for any length of time.

I used a tiny cheap potty from John Lewis for my DS and he has used it all the time for his poo for the last 9 months. It sounds amazing, but it is just really that babies are born ready to do this!

Lallie321 Thu 27-Jun-13 20:17:13

We had this problem. Unfortunately our daughter also had colic with associated constipation and painful wind which caused more problems pooing as she began to shriek in pain whenever she needed to go. It started at 2 weeks when she had to move from breast to bottle as I was ill.

Thankfully, after trying every other product on the market, her colic stopped overnight at 6 and a half weeks when we moved her to Comfort formula and the constipation and screaming stopped too. However she still struggled to learn to poo. She's a very strong baby and physically advanced for her age - usually does most things two weeks early - so we think she was pushing with the wrong muscles and couldn't relax the ones she needed to.

She would go red in the face and strain for ages, starting to cry in frustration. It could take her ages to actually manage the poo even when the constipation was well gone. We used to make a big fuss of her when she managed it with lots of praise and we always whisked a dirty nappy off immediately. I used to hold her up and pat her bum to give her an idea where to push, especially if she needed to pass wind. Gradually it started to get better. I did read that at ten weeks they gain co-ordination of their pelvic floor muscles and by eleven weeks their anal muscles have got to almost full strength. I would say she got markedly better at nine weeks and now at twelve weeks she doesn't seem to have a problem at all. I did find sitting her in a semi-reclining position seemed to help her poo - I lean her up in one of those breastfeeding donut cushions and she poos really easily like that. I tried baby massage etc but can't say I saw any result with that. She liked it but it didn't help with wind or pooing.

Hope this helps someone. She's my first and I was going nuts trying to work out how to help her and fathom out when it might clear up!

adraylay Mon 27-Apr-15 12:31:19

I am soo worried about my son currently condition.. His tummy was kinda bloated and I guess his constipation problem is back. Hmm.. need to get him to the doctor again and the medicine will just temporary cure his constipation. What should I do?

tiktok Mon 27-Apr-15 14:24:58

adralay, start a new thread with more details in it (age etc of your baby). This thread is old.

MLM488888 Tue 28-Apr-15 14:24:21

Hi, you could try home remedies! I think is less chemical and good for babies. But for long term prevention, I will suggest you to swicth to milk powder that contains high pre-biotic.

Halleyleong Wed 29-Apr-15 17:47:22

I think u can try Mamil bcos as I used for like almost a year now, its good for ur children when comes to constipation prob. I was like u facing such probs then I come across Mamil where it also has prebiotics which is very crucial ingredients in solving children's constipation and also it has no sugar in it.. definitely better for children.. not to mention it also has the highest DHA level in the market.

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