Newborn Poops While Nursing: What to do!
That look, that grunt...right smack in the middle of breastfeeding (or bottle feeding). What is an EC-ing mama to do with poops during a feed? Learn why this happens, how to prevent it (yay!) and three ways to handle poops during breasfeeding.
You will hear:
- why babies poop while nursing
- what to look for that signals in impending poop
- how to prevent poops during nursing
- three ways to be prepared for a poop during nursing
- the best thing to keep in mind during this phase
Links and other resources mentioned today:
- Mini mirror with adhesive
- Cloth wipes
- Top Hat Potty
- Waterproof Pad
Download the Transcript
If you can't listen to this episode right now (um, sleeping baby!?)...download and read the transcript here:
Transcript download: Newborn poops while nursing: what to do!
Today, we're going to talk about what to do when your newborn poops while nursing. How do we start EC when that's also pretty unpredictable, and because they're so small? So, we're going to talk about that today. Please go to godiaperfree.com/176 to join in the conversation during, or after you listen to this if you have any questions or comments, and we'll see you there.
Hey there. Welcome to the Go Diaper Free Podcast. I'm Andrea Olson, your host, author, and mom of five babies, all EC from birth, all out of diapers by walking.
When your baby poops while nursing only and you haven't started EC yet, maybe this is you, I think the odds are against you and your mindset. You're like, "Okay, my baby's pooping all the time especially when I have her on the breast. How in the world can I do EC and try to catch these in the potty? I know my baby doesn't want to do this, but why is this happening, and how in the world can I start EC?"
Why is this happening? Maybe this is you, but your baby gets on the breast and you've pottied them beforehand, maybe you caught a pee before you put them on the breast, and then they just poop. The reason this happens for you guys is because your baby's relaxed. Your baby's like, "Oh man, my whole body's relaxed. I'm getting massive amounts of oxytocin coming in. I'm connecting with my mom. I'm in the moment." All these things are released, and then you have a poop in the diaper, which is where you don't want it. That's a little bit on the why.
And also maybe when you offered... When your baby wakes up, with a brand new born, they're going to need to go pee because of the antidiuretic hormone. They just have to. That's how babies are made. That's how we were created. We're perfect the way we are. We don't need diapers, but we live in the modern world. What we want to do is when they wake up, we want to offer the potty. Here's a little toy baby. I have her knees don't bend though. I don't like this one. But we would hold them over the sink like this. You see? Her knees would be bent and curled in because they're like this when they're first born. They're like these little balls.
We would hold them over the sink right after waking up before nursing and go. And I alternate those signals and... When I alternate the signals, I'm also just giving this primal cue. So if this is happening to you and your baby's pooping while nursing, and we're talking about when they wake up, you could prevent this.
There is a way to prevent it. I've started from birth with all five of mine, so I have a bit of experience here, along with all the people I've helped with this. But you could offer a little longer. They wake up, the hormone wears off, bladder fills, and they go pee. Usually you have to go poop because you have a lot of cell production and a lot of waste. That's why their poop is yellowish, greenish, mustardy, because they are producing and then shedding away so much byproduct from building a body. It's pretty cool. If they're exclusively breastfed, they're going to have this yellow, mustardy, squishy poop, or it's more like watery mustard. Sorry, if you're eating. Probably don't watch my lives if you're eating. Okay. Don't listen to my podcast while you're eating either, by the way, because this is going to go on my podcast.
But what I want you to do is just take a little bit more space and time when you're holding your baby over the sink or the toilet or wherever you do that when they wake up. We're holding them over. We're going... And we're alternating... I hope I'm not queuing your babies to go to the bathroom, those of you listening with babies right now, but I have to demonstrate how to do it because you might feel weird doing it in front of thousands of people like I'm doing right now, but I don't care. I'm used to it. We're going to alternate this signal, and then just wait a couple of minutes and see.
Now, here's how you can literally see and try to catch a poop before you breastfeed after they wake up. You can put a little locker mirror or a very small mirror on your sink, and do this at your sink, or you can put it on the back of the toilet seat. You can even find a stick-on mirror to put there so that while you're holding them in EC position over your sink or toilet, you could actually look at their sphincter. I know it sounds weird, but trust me on this one. Once I introduced a little locker mirror on the sink, it was a game changer. Because then, I can see that they pee, but a lot of babies will poop first and pee second, and that shows that they're done pooping. It's different for every child, but just stick with me.
If you have the mirror there and you can see this sphincter opening or closing, you can also see if they start to open their anal sphincter and that means that a poop is coming, so you have fair warning. Do not take them on a position. Do not think that it's too long to have them in position. If you need to cradle them to make them a little more comfortable, for those of you who can see this recording, this video, this live, whatever, you can have them in the nook of your elbow so that you're not just like, "Gosh, is my baby so tired of being held up?" But you want to give them a chance, so that's one way to prevent that, pooping while nursing.
The other thing is to be prepared while you're nursing. This applies to bottle feeding too, so don't... "I only bottle feed. Don't make me feel bad for not breastfeeding." I don't care if you breastfeed or your bottle feed. What I want to do is give you the option of what to do if they start to do the number two while you're trying to nurse. So here I am, nursing my baby. Sometimes they start to pop off or smack a little bit, and that's a signal that they need to poop. We've already offered before they're nursing. If your baby's super fussy, and I get it, you can't offer the potty beforehand. They're like, "Give me a breast now." We put them on the breast. I have a Top Hat Potty in my hand. You can get those at tinyundies.com, my other store, or on Amazon.
You put it between your legs. Then when the baby pops off or starts to poop, you've got your baby naked. You might want to have a little, a cloth, baby wipe kind of thing, a reusable, like a rag or something underneath her bottom just in case, because you really don't want to get that all over yourself, on the couch. But you're going to either just lift the potty up to be underneath her bottom like so, if you're looking, or you want to completely take her off the breast. Just turn her around in your lap and potty over the top hat right then. Can you see that? Okay. Those of you just listening probably can't see, but we're going to just make an easy transition to pooping on the top hat potty, then we will transition back. We've got that little cloth that we had. We're going to wipe any excess, which usually it's a clean one with an exclusively breastfed child.
Did they have toilet paper back in the day? No. Couple thousand years ago, did they use toilet paper? No. And when we're eating healthy and normal food and diets that we're supposed to eat as hunters and gatherers, the poop would come out clean and you wouldn't need to wipe, but we have such a terrible diet and all this constipation issues that we get, like poops that are hard to wipe. With a brand new, fresh baby, they're going to poop pretty clean, and I always say it's a clean one. I don't even wipe a clean one. I don't, because wiping these tender areas when they're new is not a good idea.
You can put that cloth back on their bum or whatever. Yeah. We want to have them... And when they pop off, we would unlatch them. Just stick your finger in and break the seal, pull them off and put them on the potty. Usually, they won't cry because they really have the need to poop, and they're going to pause eating to poop. Once they're done with that, you put them back on, and get a full feeding. Be aware that they might pee after that, or there might be more poop, so I want to keep that cloth there just in case. That's option number one, is a top hat potty, besides prevention.
Option number two is this Waterproof Pad. This wet dry pad, I sell these at Tiny Undies. Oh man, these are so much better than the Kushies ones that I had with all my other kids. They have a waterproof backing and this really soft cotton top. You can get those at Tiny Undies too. You would nurse with this pad on your lap and just have your baby over it, and prop your knees up a little bit. Nursing, nursing, nursing. Maybe they don't pop off. Maybe they don't signal. Maybe they just stealth poop and they just start going. Because she's saying, the woman who wrote me about this, was like, "It's unpredictable, and I'm scared because she's so small."
Oh you guys, I went to Africa when I was 20 and those women handled their babies, over in Ghana. I was there for dance and they danced with a brand new newborn's head flopping all over the place. Those kids were walking, running, dancing, talking, doing all the things earlier than our American babies, and that is my unscientific, completely anecdotal experience of that.
But what I'm saying is, the first thing that a woman taught me when I had my first baby was to handle him, to not be afraid to handle him. He's not made of porcelain. Obviously, you want to be careful with your baby and not do something stupid, but you also have to realize that it's okay to hold your baby and to move them around, and they're not going to get hurt. I know it's just a new, first time mom thing, totally. When the baby needs to go, you just either fold this pad up a little bit and let them poop on the pad. Yes. I let them poop on the pad, because why not? I can just easily rinse it off in the sink and wash it. You can do that if you don't feel comfortable having a top hat or you don't have a top hat in your lap.
And then when they're done pooping, you fold that part over on itself and then you continue to nurse. They don't even have to let go to poop, and some babies can do that. I can't. I can't poop and eat at the same time. I don't know about you, but it's a little bit hard. You need to switch gears and do one rather than the other. Depending on your baby, that's what you'll do with a pad. And then, you can even use the pad, because both sides of this are so nice, to wipe her little tush if you would like to. That's how to do it with a pad too.
The third way is if they poop every time you nurse and you're just trying to start out. The third thing, besides prevention, is to have them in a diaper, let them poop in their diaper and know that this will pass and won't be that long. Let them poop in the diaper and just grunt along with them, so you're building sound association. It's like when we give a child an apple and we do a little sign language, like an apple, and we say the word. We're teaching them the language for that food. For the baby, we're going to teach them the language as well while they're pooping, like when you're potty training a puppy outside. When they go pee, you say, "Go potty." You don't say, "Go potty," beforehand. You do it while they're doing it.
I look down. My baby's like... They look like they're smiling. They're not smiling. They're pooping, and you just go... while they're going, and that is literally it. That counts as EC, you guys. High five. That means you've done it, and that means that you are absolutely making all this easier for you in the future, by doing the sound association while they're going. And then when they're finished nursing and you're done, you just change the diaper and wipe it all up.
The last thing I want to say about that is this too shall pass. They're not going to poop and nurse forever. In fact, it usually only ever lasts a couple days to a couple of weeks, so just know that... I'm still nursing my little baby in this demonstration. Oh, I miss having babies. Just remember this will pass. This isn't going to last forever, and that's all I want to say about the person who is worried about starting because they're newborn poops while nursing. There are three different things you can do, and also one preventive measure for that. Hopefully, that makes sense to you all.
Again, you can see the show notes for this whole conversation, including the entire transcript. Leave comments, ask questions over godiaperfree.com/176. Please leave a comment over there and let us know. Have you started when your newborn is pooping while nursing? Have you been doing EC in that way? What is your biggest trick for that? We'd love to learn from you over there in the comments as well, or just ask your questions if you don't have any ideas.
Well, we'll see you next week. Thanks for listening. Thanks so much for listening. This is the Go Diaper Free Podcast at godiaperfree.com. We'll see you next time.
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About Andrea Olson
I'm Andrea and I spend most of my time with my 6 children (all under 10 yo) and the rest of my time teaching other new parents how to do Elimination Communication with their 0-18 month babies. I love what I do and try to make a difference in one baby or parent's life every single day. (And I love, love, love, mango gelato.)
What about wet farts? My 3 week old consistently wet farts multiple times during and after eating instead of one active poop session. Should I wait until his digestion is better for one active poop? I feel like I would have him in the potty every 5 minutes if I don’t.
Offer the potty when you hear a wet fart, and/or see if there is a consistent timing when your little one goes the most. 10 mins after a feed for example.
My 10 month old is still sometimes going while in the highchair, while eating. Emergency stop, and run for the potty, not making it every time. Just have to be ready for this. She’s super hungry after naps, especially after the night, so pottying after waking up is not happening. Our routine is nurse one side first thing in the morning, potty, then finish nursing the other side 😂 I started EC with exclusive focus on poops around 3 months. I think I would go crazy if I tried it earlier 😜 baby is in diapers at daycare but sometimes she waits until we get home to poop in the evening and almost every day we have the morning poop into the potty.
Sounds like you are successful at EC! You are doing what works for you and your little one, and that it is the beauty of EC. Thank you for sharing your story!
Thank you for this post. I have a little…. maybe a lot!… to add! Hopefully this helps some other mammas!
The main reason for this is actually due to a reflex called the gastrocolic reflex. Wikipedia has a brief article about it: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gastrocolic_reflex. It is particularly pronounced in newborns, and remains pronounced throughout infanthood. In a nutshell, the action of drinking (eating, later) stimulates the digestive system to… get things moving, as it were. My husband and I think of it as “making room” for the new food.
Due to the presence of the reflex, this is one of the easiest “easy catches” to practice with. Whenever I send my mamma friends your post on the four easy catches, I always let them know about this easy catch, as I also find it’s a great one for beginner ECers.
As an added bonus, this one also resolves much of newborn fussiness. Whenever Baby is bucking, arching, squirming… basically anything other than calmly feeding in your arms… I calmly tell them “we’re going to go to the toilet now”, gently unlatch them, and hold them by their thighs over a potty / toilet / sink. I always try to hold their body as close as possible to mine to transition as smoothly as possible between the feed and toileting.
We did this much more proactively with our second, than our first. With our first, we succumbed to the message that babies are just naturally fussy, especially at nighttime. I clearly remember finding the evenings so difficult, as he was soooo fussy. With our second, we thought, let’s give this a try and see if it works. Lo and behold, the majority of fussiness was actually a need to poo and offering the toilet resolved the fussiness instantly.
This worked so magically during the day that we actually started using it at night, as well. We breast-sleep, but I would hazard that mammas who get up to feed could do this as well. The main indicators were (and continue to be) multiple wakings in quick succession, or lots of movement during a feed. When I noticed this happening, I would follow the same method as above – communicate what was about to happen, take them to the toilet, and then resume feeding. Lights remain off, and the atmosphere remains calm and cuddly. However! An unexpected bonus is that, 9/10 (with a newborn up to about 4 months, when they become that little bit more alert), whilst walking Baby back to bed, he would fall asleep again!
Once my baby stopped pooing overnight, and became more alert, I stopped doing this for a while as I was finding it a little hard to get up through the night. However, we started doing it again around about 10-12 months, and haven’t stopped as it seems to lessen subsequent nighttime wakings and Baby wakes up with a dry nappy. Now that he is older, I can take him once or twice at the beginning of the night, say up to 1am, and then he will stay dry the rest of the night.
I still use this method with my “baby” now that he is a definite toddler… after every breastfeed and meal, we go to the potty or toilet. To be honest, if he doesn’t wee, it’s my sign that he’s dehydrated. That’s how definite this catch is!
Thanks Andrea! Hope this information is helpful.
No problem, and thank you!!
Appreciate you sharing your story and all the tips that you found most important. Looks like you are rock’n it!