For the first few days, your baby will be getting rid of a dark, tarry material known as meconium from his or her bowels. Newborn’s first poop is usually sticky and a mess to clean up. The fact that it is coming out is a good sign.

This means that your baby is getting nourishment and the bowels are working. If your baby does not pass any stool in the first two days of life, then there may be an intestinal blockage. If the poop is not passing at all, it is a definite concern requiring prompt attention.

What is Meconium?

What is Meconium?

Meconium is the baby’s first stool. It is a greenish substance that is in the baby’s intestines and is usually passed shortly after the baby is born. It is usually retained in the newborn’s bowel after birth.

However, there are some instances in which meconium is ejected into the amniotic fluid during labor/delivery or before birth. Meconium passage prior to birth may be caused by being overdue, stress, or other medical problems.

What is Meconium Aspiration Syndrome ?

Meconium Aspiration Syndrome (MAS) occurs when the infant inhales particulate meconium mixed with amniotic fluid into the lungs while in utero or on taking the first breath after birth. It is a common cause of newborn respiratory distress and can lead to severe illness.

Meconium Aspiration Syndrome

When Should I Expect My Baby’s First Poop?

Your newborn will normally have his or her first bowel movements (meconium) a day or two after his or her birth. The appearance of first poop is a good sign. It shows that your newborn’s digestion is working normally.

Special care should be taken to clean the baby after meconium because it is sticky and may hurt the baby’s tender skin if left to dry on the skin. Your infant’s subsequent releases will vary in color and consistency depending on whether you are breastfeeding or formula feeding.

 Click to check colors of poops 

Breastfed newborns’ bowel movements vary widely. Some babies poop only once every four or more days, and others as often as once per feed. First breastfeeding milk protects the bay against infection, and has the added advantage of acting as a laxative.

The thick yellowish milk helps to push meconium out of your baby’s system. Once your milk comes in about three days after you give birth, your baby’s poop will gradually change. Your infant’s releases should get lighter in color, day by day. It should change from greenish brown to bright yellow.


Baby’s Delayed Passage of Meconium

While most parents worry that their newborns will never stop pooping after meconium, other parents are faced with the problem of delayed passage of meconium in 24 hours or in 2 days.

The majority of healthy babies pass their meconium stool in 24 hours of being born. While others would have their first stool in 2 days tops.

The basic take-home message is that if your baby has not passed any meconium stool after about 36 hours, you certainly want to contact your doctor, and you may want to do so sooner than later.

If your baby’s tummy is bloating, he or she is vomiting, or he or she refuses to feed, these should greatly add to your level of concern.

As far as delayed meconium is concerned, several kinds of obstruction could be the cause. And these are certainly for your doctor to diagnose and care for. The most popular causes are Hirschsprung’s disease and meconium plug syndrome.

Causes of Delayed Meconium Passage

Hirschsprung’s disease

Hirschsprung’s disease is the most common cause of neonatal obstruction of the colon, and accounts for about 20 to 25% of all neonatal obstructions. It is characterized by transition zone, empty rectum, and tight anus.

A larger percentage of normal newborns pass meconium in the first 24 to 48 hours of life. Failure to pass first stool, feeding intolerance, and abdominal distention suggest a diagnosis of Hirschsprung’s disease.

General findings for this condition are as follows:

  • Failure to pass meconium within 48 hours of birth
  • Absent ganglion cells and nerve hypertrophy on rectal biopsy
  • Transition zone on barium enema
  • Abdominal distention
  • Feeding intolerance
  • Fever, sepsis, and diarrhea.
Meconium Plug Syndrome

This is a condition in which intestinal obstruction (in most cases, of the lower colon and rectum) occurs as the result of unusually thick meconium in the absence of demonstrable enzymatic deficiency.

Meconium Plug SyndromePremature newborns are particularly prone to this condition. However, the condition may also be found in hypotonic infants with central nervous system damage and in some infants of diabetic mothers.

Other causes that the doctor may diagnose include: meconium ileus, anorectic malformation, small left colon syndrome, hypoganglionosis, and neuronal intestinal dysplasia type A.

When Should the Passing of Dark Sticky Stool End?

Your newborn’s poop will likely transition a bit gradually from tarry meconium to mustard-colored or light brown loose infant stools.

Generally, this transition should begin by the fourth day, and there should be no more meconium appearance by the sixth day.

Meconium lasting longer than six days is suggestive that a baby may not be taking in enough nutrition to push the pre-birth accumulation out.


What Can Cause Your Baby Not To Poop All Day

Apart from delayed meconium passage, your baby may fail to poo after his or her first stool due to constipation. Constipation is a common concern for parents of premature infants.

Infrequent stooling is not necessarily pathologic. However, frequent stools are common in the immediate postnatal period. Although, some infants may pass only one soft stool per week with no ill effects.

Constipation in newborns often has no clear cause. However, several important causes must be considered.

Powdered Formula

Formula-fed infants have a higher risk of constipation than breast-fed infants because powdered formula is not easily digested as breast milk. Also, allergies to formula can cause constipation.

Here are the major signs that your baby is allergic to powdered formula:

  • His or her bowel movements tend to be very hard
  • His or her belly is distended and he or she is gassy
  • Your baby is fussy after feeding

Dietary Changes

Diet may contribute to constipation in three ways:

  • Premature infants may be consuming concentrated formulas, which are limited in free water content.
  • A newborn who is having difficulty breastfeeding may have limited fluid intake, which may change stool consistency.
  • Some researchers suggest that formula based on cow’s milk protein may contribute to constipation in certain newborns.

Food Intolerance

It is not conclusive whether or not food allergy can cause infant constipation. However, intolerance to formula or breast milk may cause constipation.

Newborn Constipation

Signs of Newborn Constipation

  • Less eating
  • Crying when passing stool
  • Firm belly and constant straining
  • Hard poop
  • Fussiness caused by stomach pain
  • Bloating

How Can You Relieve Your Baby’s Constipation?

If you observe any of the above mentioned signs of newborn constipation, then you need to be concerned. In some less severe cases, you can try and relieve your baby’s constipation. Here are the main tips on how to do it:

Bicycle Legs: To do this, you need to place your newborn on his or her back, and then move his or her legs in a circular motion. This will help to get rid of belly pressure.

Use Warm Water Bath: Again, this will help to relax your newborn’s belly and relieve tension.

Tummy Massage: You can massage the abdomen with long clockwise strokes. Conduct this massage while performing bicycle on the baby.

Add Fluid Intake: If your infant is older than two months, you can give him or her two to four ounces of water twice every day besides his or her normal fluid intake.

Change Diet: If the aforementioned solutions fail to work, then you should consider changing your baby’s diet. You can try to get rid of diary fluids.

The Wrap Up

Pooping is important for every infant, and this starts with the release of meconium stool in 24 hours or in 2 days after birth. You should consult your doctor if the first poop fails to pass in 36 hours.

Newborns may also fail to poop after the passage of meconium due to a constipation. This is a problem that most parents experience when changing diet to powdered formula.

You can try the abovementioned tips to relieve constipation. However, you should immediately consult your doctor if the condition does not change.

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