My 4-week-old only has a bowel movement once a day, but they are soft stools. She strains and screams a lot. Any suggestions on what to do?
By: Dan Brennan, MD, CLC, FAAP
Tummy trouble, such as the straining and screaming that your baby is experiencing with a bowel movement, is a common and normal experience for many 4 week-old infants.
Producing a soft bowel movement once a day is very reassuring. Passage of firm stool could be a sign of constipation or dehydration, suggesting the need for increased fluid intake. Bowel movements with mucus or blood could be an indication of milk intolerance and should prompt a call to the pediatrician.
The good news is that this is a temporary condition that will get better in the weeks to come. Until that time, techniques such as frequent burping and tummy massage will help your baby feel more comfortable.
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