When my daughter Grace was born, I remember a variety of nurses saying to me, “You’ll want to make sure she has at least two poops each day and be sure to record it on this chart.” The chart had us checking off wet diapers and bowel movements for the first week of her life.
We quickly realized that this baby was a good eater. From the very first day, every three hours we were changing a wet diaper. And she had all of the regular sort of bowel movements that babies should have in her first week of life, surprising us by pooping sometimes 2-4x/day! Our first baby did not eat and poop so easily since he was born at 36 weeks 1 day, so all of this easy-breezy stuff was new to us!
On the first day that my husband went back to work, Grace was officially five days old. And it was the first day I was on my own at home with two children. Just minutes before my husband was set to walk out the door, I took Grace’s diaper off and she promptly projectile pooped several feet across the room. Her poop hit the wall and slid down to the baseboard heating element. I literally jumped and cried out in complete shock! My first never did this, EVER! And she was only five days old!
However, from that day forward, Grace has truly blessed us by being a baby that only poops every 7-10 days. She has not deviated from this every 7-10 day schedule since she was five days old and her poops are healthy baby poops when they finally do happen. Our pediatrician surprised us when he told us that this schedule is very normal in exclusively breastfed babies. Some babies use breastmilk nutrients so efficiently that there is very little waste to eliminate. Our pediatrician went on to say that as long as our baby is generally happy and her belly is soft, we can rest assured Grace is doing fine and there is no cause for concern. And exclusively breastfed babies are almost never constipated. He also made us laugh by saying, “I will never understand parents that complain that their babies are only pooping once a week!”
I know this is a lot of exposition, however, baby poop is a huge part of my life right now, so there you have it.
My overall point is, if you are anything like me, it is hard to imagine passing a bowel movement just once a week, so even though her doc assured me that all is well, I do find myself occasionally applying a few tricks to help my Gracie girl poop if she seems at all uncomfortable (or if we are on the 10th day of no poop!). I learned these tricks through attending ChildLight’s Yoga for Babies & Toddlers Teacher Training. Since then, I’ve been teaching baby yoga classes once a week and I can hardly believe it myself, but babies regularly pass gas and/or poop in the middle of yoga class because of these gentle movements. Here’s how infant yoga can help:
In a clockwise motion, gently circle a few fingers around baby’s tummy. This helps with moving anything that’s backed up in the intestines toward the colon for eventual elimination.
Holding baby’s knees, bring both knees into the chest as close as baby will allow (never force movement) and then straighten the legs. Babies love it when you sing to them, so in our training we happily chant, “In And Out” as we do this motion.
Holding baby’s knees, gently circle the knees in a clockwise motion (same intention as exercise #1, just another method!). For this one, we teach an easy tune to “Around We Go, Around We Go, Around We Go…” Gracie smiles BIG when I do this!
ChildLight’s Director of Trainings and Master Reflexologist, Sally Delisle, taught me that applying pressure to the bottoms of the feet at the very front of the heel (close to the middle of the foot), can help babies poop.
You know what inspired me to write this article? Today, we were yet again on the 10th Day, and shortly after doing this routine, our Gracie pooped! Now she is smiling and kicking, flirting with the toys hanging from her bouncer. Nothing makes me happier than to see her feeling cleared out and comfy again!
Megan Ridge Morris, E-RYT 500, RPYT, YACEP, CD, is the co-creator of ChildLight’s Prenatal Yoga Teacher Training (also a Registered Prenatal Yoga School / RPYS) and brings her expertise off the mat as a Certified Doula. In addition, she facilitates ChildLight’s Yoga for Babies & Toddlers Teacher Training…read more here.