Infant Constipation

January 15, 2018 | by Jelin T.

All babies are different, so their pooping habits are no exception, but it is important to know when they are normal and when you should consider talking to your pediatrician about it. Some might have frequent bowel movements and poop after being breastfed while others might take days and not necessarily be constipated. When you do think it might be an issue you should consider the following.

Breastfed babies depending on age have different bowel movement patterns. A normal well fed baby should produce stool more than once a day, but because breast milk is so nutritious for the baby, sometimes a week might go by without him pooping. They gather all the nutrients to make themselves grow faster and stronger and not leave anything behind. Monitor if this happens constantly and if the baby seems to have pain or you seem concerned about it and always ask for a professional’s help before you use over the counter laxatives that might instead harm your baby.

To understand constipation you must know that it is not only the frequency, but also if it is difficult for your baby to poop. If every 4 to 5 days, the stool is soft and easy to pass, most likely, your baby is doing fine.

Check for alarm signs such as hard stools, the presence of blood or blackish colored stool or seems uncomfortable or in pain. If the belly is firm and taut, this could also indicate constipation. Gases and pressure will make the belly seem full or even stiff. Babies who are constipated will refuse to eat and are quick to be full.

What are some remedies that will relief your baby when in pain?

Formula fed babies tend to have more problems than breastfed babies because it will make the stool more firm so consider changing the formula or your diet if you are breastfeeding. Babies are very sensitive of what you eat. Include broccoli, peaches, pears and prunes in your diet.

Apple or pear juice draws fluid into the intestines and helps stools loosen up. Use one ounce of these juices for every month of life, for example, if your baby is 3 months old, he should get 3 ounces. Just remember it is only used once a day.

If your baby is already eating solid foods you might try the same ingredients in his diet that will help his bowel movements run smoothly.

Hydration is key to keep your baby’s stool frequency normal. The best to combat a swollen belly are water and milk, so be sure to keep him hydrated.

Try to give your baby belly massages that will stimulate bowel movements. Also include exercises such as leg bicycle movements to promote digestion.

If dietary changes and exercise don’t work, you may use rectal stimulation. Using a thermometer or a cotton swap will help imitate the need to poop and will relieve the symptoms.

Glycerin suppositories are useful when the belly of your baby is firm and tight. They can be purchased over the counter and are safe to use. Before using them, be sure to read the instructions thoroughly and ask your pediatrician if it is the first time you are using it.

Always speak to your doctor about concerns you have about your baby. It is hard for them to tell you what they are feeling so you should always monitor their habits and how they respond to dietary changes.

References:

  • https://www.healthline.com/health/childrens-health/remedies-for-baby-constipation#other-options
  • https://www.webmd.com/parenting/baby/baby-constipation
  • https://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/baby/diapers-clothing/Pages/Infant-Constipation.aspx
  • https://www.parents.com/baby/health/constipation/constipation-in-babies-signs-causes-and-cures/
  • picture source: https://pixabay.com/

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