Newborn Straining to Poop: Is It Something to Worry About?

Know the factors why infants strain when pooping, what you can do to help them and more mommy tips to guide you along the way, so worry no more!

I could not help but laugh when you see that adorable face of a newborn straining to poop! I know it should not be something to laugh about but newborns always have this soft spot that makes me feel happy even in situations like this one. There should be known reasons why they strain. Could there be any medical condition that triggers it? It all boils down to the thought, do you really need to worry about it? Or is it something that would naturally resolve by itself? Let us find out if it is, and how it could be prevented.


Straining when pooping means you are giving an unusual great effort in letting the stool pass. This is not a natural condition under some circumstances. It is of utmost discomfort and a sign of pain experience for newborns. The medical term for it is Dyschezia. What are the signs of Dyschezia?

  • Straining during bowel movement
  • Abdominal pain and bloating
  • Pain and long time needed when passing stools

Different Reasons Why Newborn straining to poop

Newborns strain often when passing stools, especially in their first month after being born. To better understand the causes of straining, you need to know the reasons why it happens. Let us try to know them one by one....

Constipation- Mothers are encouraged to breastfeed their newborn right after they give birth. For a few days, newborn breastfed usually do not pass stool since there is a little waste with breast milk. Most likely your newborn is constipated. Ask help from your pediatrician when it happens.

• Learning How to Poop- it is not unusual for newborns to grunt, cry or display those funny face when passing stool. They are learning the new feeling of the process and learning how to use their body.

Grunting Baby Syndrome- Newborns does not have proper control yet in their stooling reflexes and the relaxing of the muscles near the anus is not yet properly coordinated so they tend to push hard.

• Digestion- newborns also need to get used to their mothers’ breastmilk formula. It may cause pressure in their abdomen and gas pains that makes them feel distressed. When their digestive system adjusts, the grunting will fade away

• Gassy Newborn- Swallowing lot of air is just normal for newborns especially if they love to cry often. This is the cause why they burp too. Other situations where they got to swallow gas is during breastfeeding and swallowing their saliva.

Colic- this is a condition wherein newborns tend to cry hard for a very long time. This occurs during the first three months of the newborn in this world and they will appear like straining and pushing with a red face all over.

Diarrhea- passing wet stools often is not a nice feeling and newborns are no exception. On top of the confusion on how to use their body, diarrhea could be painful. It gives gas pains and soreness in the anus area. No wonder it causes straining.

Ways on how to help your newborn during straining:

Whatever it takes, parents can’t help but look for ways on how to help their newborn. It hurts to see them in pain. To help you not to get physically and emotionally stressed, here are what you can do to ease your newborns’ situation. To more help you grasp below list, here is a video for you to watch.

+ Do hot compress during the process. This means placing a warm water (not hot) bottle on your newborn’s tummy. Watch out for the temp, be sure it is warm enough not to burn her skin.

+ Give your newborn a warm bath and a gentle massage for relaxation. Here is a video on how to properly massage newborn

+ Bicycle legs- try this to your newborn by gently holding her legs and move it like she is riding a bicycle. Here is a video to show you how

+ Increase the amount of water intake for your newborn, an average of 2-4 oz. two times a day

+ Let your newborn burp during and after feeding. Here are burping techniques for you

​+ Do the proper breastfeeding positions. Keep your newborn’s head and neck above the abdomen while feeding. Here is a video to teach you proper nursing positions.

​+ Do not stop breastfeeding. Mother’s milk is a natural wonder for the newborns’ good health

See more : How to induce lactation quickly

Mommy Tips:

New mommies need tips to make their new life easier. In this transition, it is best to check on some guidance from mommies who have been in the same situations.

 If your newborn starts to have a fever and cry endlessly along with the straining, consult your pediatrician immediately.

 Unless recommended by the doctor, do not use rectal suppositories to newborns or other methods you may do to ease this temporary torment. They may not learn the natural way and may find themselves dependent on those aiding techniques.

 The belief that newborns tend to swallow air when brought into a windy place is a MYTH.

 Do not hesitate to ask the experts. Call your pediatrician right away.

Having a newborn is a bizarre feeling especially if it is your first time. It is unbearable and completely frustrating to see them in pain especially if you do not know what to do to help them. You really need not worry that much. Newborn is naturally touchy in their first few weeks outside the womb. It is their adjusting and learning period. You can help your newborn by letting her feel the warmth of your love that they are used to when they were inside you. It would be more than enough for them to get by!

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