Constipation in my 3 1/2 month old son

  • My 3 1/2 month old son is usually the most predictable when it comes to a potty time schedule, but the last week he has been constipated and fussy and not really letting it all "come out", if you know what I mean?  He has hardly been gassy and we've been giving him prune juice (watered down of course) every few hours.  He is a breastfed through a bottle baby, a long story for another day, and has recently discovered his fingers, and rolling over, and conversation.  He cries when we try to burp him and cries when he is straining to release gas or poop.  I'm not sure what to do.. It's been a few days now and he's only had about 1/2 of a bowel movement.  Other than at feeding time he's the most content little guy, loves to play and meet new people, but during and just after feeding time he acts like he's in pain and acts like he's constantly hungry for more food.  What should I do??  Should I take him to his Dr??   I spoke with a nurse in the ER that told me that hospitals and doctors can't really do much for an infant this young, but I'm not sure.  Any advice at all will be great!!

  • BrettnCatherinenZach, has there been any change in his bowel movements yet? If he is still having trouble it may be he has a stomach bug and you should take him to see he pediatrician. Whenever my daughters poop changes it usually coincides with a cold. On the other hand if you've recently changed his diet (introduced anything other than the milk?) it could be something he's eating - for instance when we started vegetables my daughter was perfectly fine, until we gave her sweet potatoes those made her very upset and gave her lots of pain so we stopped giving them to her and it cleared up in a day. It may even be he's developing a milk allergy, something many of the moms on the boards here have spoken about, in which case you could look into certain formulas - though I'm not as familiar with that so you should ask around or speak with your pediatrician for more details and opinions.

  • If he is 100% breastfed then irregular and infrequent bms can be totally normal. Some breastfed babies start having bowel movements only once a week at about 2 months of age because they so completely absorb the breastmilk.

    It is okay for him to strain a little and pull his legs in some as long as he isn't crying with pain or straining for a long time (>10 minutes) with no bm. You can do a little rectal stimulation by putting the rectal thermometer in his bottom for about 10 seconds (only 1/2 inch) to help him have a bowel movement if he is straining and unable to pass stool. If he has always been breastfed, then the prune juice may upset his tummy just a little bit and making the gassy/fussy problem worse.

    As a pediatric nurse I deal with fussy newborn issues quite often and these are just the first things that come to mind. Any time your baby has tummy issues, change in poops, fussiness or anything else that concerns you, please just give your pediatrician a call. He or she should be happy to help you. Also, if you are exclusively pumping, you can give your lactation consultant a call. She wants you to succeed and might have some good advice as well.


  • I just noticed how often you were giving the prune juice. Juice for constipation shouldn't be given more than twice daily. In your baby's case I would stop it all together and do just the breastmilk to help with what sounds like an upset tummy.

  • Well we got lucky on New Years Eve and he did have a bowel movement, but since then he's kind of stopped up again.  We've only started him on juice just to try to keep him regular, but I think that maybe he isn't being satisfied enough by my breastmilk.  I have started to supplement him with formula and juice here and there, but I think maybe starting him on some oatmeal just to try to fill the void the milk/formula/juice isn't.  However his pediatrician said not until 4 1/2 - 5 months old, but I have 5 younger siblings that were all started on cereals at 3 months and they're perfectly healthy.  When did you start your young one on cereals?? 

  • Thank You so much for the advice! I really appreciate the advice from someone who deals with these kinds of issues on a daily basis.  I know that he spits up the juice sometimes and we'll definitely stop the juice.  I never thought that could be irritating his stomach more than helping it.  I do pump exclusively and I've been having a bit of a problem producing enough milk for him, so I will be calling my local lactation consultant about increasing my milk supply. 

  • Your milk supply is probably decreasing because of the supplementing. If he is getting juice or formula then he is not nursing. The best ways to increase supply are nurse, nurse, and nurse some more. Also drink plenty of fluids (milk, juice, and water) and get as much rest as possible. There are herbs that you can take that help increase milk supply. Your doctor can also prescribe a drug called Reglan that is inexpensive and can boost your supply (if you live in the States). I think you are right on about calling LC. They are soooooo helpful!