Q: Evening Dr. Please I want you to tell me what to do. My baby is five months and three weeks and two of her teeth are coming out but the problem is she has not been defecating very well since the upcoming of the teeth. What should I do, Doctor. I am scared and she was eating very well A: Babies start teething at different times. On the average, most children start teething at 6 months. Some start earlier than 4 months (as early as 2 months) and some others may wait up to a year or even after, to start the journey. Some children are even born with one or two teeth. These are called natal teeth. Some children also develop their own teeth within the first four weeks of life. These are called neonatal teeth. Natal and neonatal teeth can cause problems with feeding and may even be swallowed. The pediatric dentist will decide whether to remove them or leave them alone based on factors like whether the teeth are loose, excess etc. So, your child is well within the expected time to develop teeth.
Now as to not defecating….you didn’t note whether your baby is being exclusively breastfed or not. If your baby is exclusively breast fed (as he should be from birth to 6 months of age), the baby can sometimes go days without defecation and is due to the fact that practically all the nutrients in breast milk are completely absorbed during each feed, such that there is little or nothing to excrete. However, it is expected that when baby does poop, the faeces should still be soft in consistency as opposed to hard, dry, pellet-like stool as occurs in constipation. If the stool is hard with exclusive breast feeding (?), please visit your baby’s pediatrician.
Formula fed babies, on the other hand, suffer from constipation because it is more difficult for a baby to digest formula than breast milk.
If your baby is dehydrated, perhaps from not taking enough fluids as may occur if she has a cold and is refusing feeds due to difficulty with breathing when feeding, ‘constipation’ may also occur. Other causes include food allergies and/or introduction of complementary fees as the body learns to handle these foods.
If your baby is on exclusive breast-feeding, passing out dry, hard stools is unlikely. For formula feeds, try to give your baby more water and be sure that you are adding the right amount of formula to make the baby’s meals. If this continues, please see your baby’s doctor.
Have a great weekend, everyone 😀