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By Health Promotion Board in collaboration with Dr. Yvonne Ng, Senior Consultant, Department of Neonatology, National University Hospital.

Your baby hasn’t had his bowel movement in a while, and you’re worried that he’s constipated. Keep calm, mummy and daddy: a baby’s bowel movements can vary widely.

Breastfeeding, Months 1-4

Breast milk is easily digested and absorbed by the body, and breastfed babies are less likely to develop stomach upset, constipation and diarrhoea. That said, your breastfed baby’s bowel movements can vary over time.

For example, a breastfed baby may initially pass motion with every feed—as many as 10-12 times a day—in the first weeks of life. This may change when he turns one month old and he may have less frequent bowel movements, only pooping once every few days. This is normal and mummy and daddy need not worry!

Related: Breastfeeding Your Baby

After Introducing Solid Food, Months 5-6

Your baby may poop less frequently after you first introduce solid food to his diet. One way to make change easier for your little one is to introduce new foods slowly, in small amounts.

Keep your baby hydrated with regular feeds (breast/formula), and slowly and gradually introduce him to high-fibre foods like fruit, veggies, and wholegrains. Your little one will likely be pooping regularly once he gets used to his new diet, so keep calm and have patience.

Related: Baby's First Food Journey

3 Questions to Ask

Still concerned about your baby’s bowel movements (or lack thereof)? These questions might tell you whether your baby has constipation.

  1. Has your baby’s bowel movements been less frequent than usual?
  2. Does your baby look uncomfortable, in pain or in distress when he has a bowel movement, especially when it’s his first one after 3 days?
  3. Do the stools appear hard and dry?

If you’ve answered yes to these questions, it’s possible your baby is suffering from constipation. Do consult your paediatrician for advice. Do not give your baby a laxative or suppository without talking to the doctor first.