Help! Tons of Iron = Constipated angry baby

My baby girl just got discharged from the NICU about a week ago on iron added premie formula AND vitamin drops with added iron. She rarely poops (like maybe once every 24-36 hours). It was not quite this infrequent in the NICU and she definitely wasn't screaming bloody murder through a good chunk of it. She's just so miserable and I feel like a total failure as a mom.

We're trying some gas drops which seems to help for an hour or two with the fussiness, but she still isn't increasing bowel movement. I've left voicemails for the nurse at her pediatrician's office but they're terrible about returning calls with any timeliness.

I'm hoping someone might have some non-medication ideas to offer her some relief in the meantime. Suggestions and thoughts are much appreciated!

3 Replies

  • Hi and welcome to Share. Congrats on your sweet girl graduating from the NICU. I'm sorry to hear she's having such a hard time. First of all... you're not a failure. It's hard to always know what the right thing is to do to help our babies. The fact that you're here seeking support and advice tells me your baby girl is very lucky to have you.
    Now... to your question. All that iron is hard on the tummy. I'm not a nurse, but I am the mom to 4 children (my twins were born at 25 weeks). Her pooping schedule doesn't sound unusual at all. If I'm reading this correctly she's pooping every day to day and a half. That's normal. However her crying so intensely doesn't seem right. Is she crying, as she's pooping? If yes, that's concerning. If she's crying for extended periods of time and seems mostly inconsolable she may be experiencing colic or tummy upset from her food. My one preemie had to be switched from NeoSure to Alumentum formula, when she wasn't having breast milk. The neosure was too hard on her tummy and she cried for long periods of time. As soon as we stopped that formula and put her on the Alumentum she was like a new baby.
    And in regards to your pediatrician's office not being responsive I would tell them you're not happy with their lack of response, especially given your baby spent time in the NICU. If they still seem to be less than supportive I would explore finding a new practice if you can do that. Their lack of response is not something you should have to deal with.

    Good luck and hang in there Momma!
  • Hi and thanks for sharing your experience. This sounds really stressful! I don't have direct experience with your specific situation, but when my 25-weeker came home, she didn't poop for an entire week and I was absolutely frantic. It turned out to be an adjustment from her NICU feeding regimen to only breast milk, but it took some time working with NICU pediatrician, our regular pediatrician, a feeding therapist, and a lactation consultant to figure that out. And of course, I blamed myself and felt like it was one more way that I had failed as a mom ever since the premature birth. It took me a long time to realize how destructive that was, for my own emotional recovery and even for my ability to bond with my daughter. So, for starters, you are NOT a failure of a mom. If anything, your NICU experience and everything that will follow is a testament to what an amazing, resilient, loving warrior mom you are. And I'm sure you and your daughter have already overcome plenty of obstacles, and this will be no exception. Don't be afraid to pester the nurse, the pediatrician, and your former NICU doctors to help you figure this out. I'll be thinking of you and your precious baby girl!
  • Hello and welcome to Share. I don't have any experience with this, but i just wanted to let you know I am thinking of you. I hope things have improved for your little one.