There’s nothing cuter than when your baby begins to sprout those first few baby teeth, even if that new smile comes with a whole lot of drool. But as those little white bumps start erupting through their gums, you might notice that your baby isn't producing the same amount of poop-filled diapers. Is this a coincidence, or does drooling make a baby constipated? (It does seems like they're losing an awful lot of fluids.)
Not necessarily, pediatrician Dr. Robert A. Saul, M.D., FAAP, tells Romper in an email. “The body regulates fluid management well and drooling by and large does not affect the fluid in the GI tract,” says Dr. Saul. That said, although it’s unlikely that your baby can become constipated strictly from incessant salivation, there are instances when it could cause your baby to get clogged up.
“Teething can cause babies to feed less, and if they have severe pain and are really refusing to feed, they can get dehydrated, which can cause constipation,” pediatrician Dr. Alison Mitzner M.D. tells Romper in an email.
“So even though it’s rare, excessive drooling can cause constipation."
That’s when it’s important to understand exactly how constipation in babies work, so you can help get things moving again.
“Constipation in babies is more often than not due to the need for more liquid, such as milk or water, or juice in the diet,” says Dr. Saul. Constipation isn’t just about how often your baby poops, but what the consistency of that poop is like and whether or not your baby is straining to produce it.
“Skipping days is not unusual — it’s hard stools or small balls that indicate constipation more than several days in between stools does," says Dr. Saul. Even if your baby is grunting while making a BM doesn’t mean that they’re constipated.
If you’re worried that your drool-worthy baby is releasing too much saliva, you can always speak with your child’s pediatrician about it. You can increase the amount of liquid they’re getting, too. “You can give your child more milk or water, but don’t overdo plain water if there are weight gain concerns,” advises Dr. Saul. Other than that, just know that drooling and teething go hand-in-hand as your child meets yet another developmental milestone. And in the meantime, just enjoy your deliciously drooling baby and those gorgeously gummy smiles while you can get them.
Dr. Alison Mitzner, M.D., a pediatrician
Dr. Robert A. Saul, M.D., FAAP, FACMG, a pediatrician and professor of pediatrics at Prisma Health Children’s Hospital-Upstate and the University of South Carolina School of Medicine – Greenville