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Date of last update: 9/9/2017.

Forum Name: Pediatric Topics

Question: preemie strains all day

 daisypot - Tue Aug 26, 2008 11:19 pm

Good evening, I was wondering if you can help me before I take my baby to the doctor. My baby was born at 32 weeks and was released from the NICU at 3 weeks. He is currently a month and 6 days. I have completely stopped giving him breast milk and he is on enfacare 22, for the extra calories. He was getting the formla at the hospitol as well but not all day cause I wasable to pump out most of his feedings. He strains all day long as if he is constapated. He does have at least one bowel movement a day. But sometimes he actually will cry and then I will smell that he used the bathroom. He is very gassy as well. My concern is that he's gonna get a hernia or something. Is this normal in preemies or should I take him for appointment? He strains most during feeding. I appreciate any advice. Thank you.
 Dr. Chan Lowe - Wed Aug 27, 2008 10:11 pm

User avatar Hello Daisypot,

Newborn babies, especially premies, will strain a lot when they try to have a bowel movement. There are a few reasons for this but essentially it is because their abdominal muscles aren't quite as strong and their intestines still don't have the whole motility issue down yet. Formulas tend to be more constipating than breast milk so constipation is quite possible, in fact relatively common.

The key to determining constipation, though, is not the amount of difficulty in having the bowel movement but the consistency of the stool. If the stool is very hard and pellet like, constipation is the culprit. If the stool is still soft and mushy your son is likely not constipated. Having diarrheal stools can actually be a sign of constipation as well due to the more watery stool moving around the obstruction.

There are several home remedies that can be used for constipation as well as some prescription medicines. Given the age of your son and his more complex medical history with the prematurity it would be inappropriate for me to recommend any of these without an evaluation. If you believe your son is constipated I would recommend he be seen by his doctor. If he is still having soft stool I would give it more time and this should get better as he gets bigger.

Best wishes.
 daisypot - Thu Aug 28, 2008 1:12 pm

Dr. Lowe,
I appreciate your help very much. I think I will just be more patient. Im a new mom and everything freaks me about him. But I don't want to be rushing him to the doctor for everything. LOL. His stool is still mushy so I am positive he is just fine. This service is so helpful again thank you very much and God Bless.

 Dr. Chan Lowe - Sun Aug 31, 2008 9:54 pm

User avatar Hi again,

I'm glad we can be of service. The stooling patterns of newborns can be incredibly variable. You are certainly not the first person with this question.

Best wishes and congratulations on your son!

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