Things You Should Not Do When A Baby Is Constipated
- Dont give prune juice to infants under six months of age it contains a natural bowel irritant, even when diluted.
- Dont add any form of sugar, malt extract or rice cereal to formula it will not help the constipation.
- Dont introduce solids before four to six months of age its not recommended as a way to treat constipation.
Are Probiotics Such As Yogurt Safe To Use For Infant Constipation
Probiotics include gut-friendly live microorganisms that help maintain a healthy gut environment. Research suggests that regular consumption of probiotics may improve stool frequency . Probiotic sources, such as yogurt and soy milk, are usually recommended for children older than 12 months. You may consult a doctor if you wish to try probiotics for babies younger than 12 months. You may read more about probiotics for babies here.
Constipation is a common occurrence in babies. If you are baby is feeding well and not in any pain or discomfort, you need not worry about constipation. The bowel movements of infants may change as per their age and diet. However, do not hesitate to take your pediatricians opinion. See a doctor soon if constipation is accompanied by other potential indicators of underlying problems, such as blood in the stools, vomiting, and poor appetite.
Causes Of Baby Constipation
Constipation is rare in babies who are breastfed.
It most commonly occurs in infants who are feeding on formula, or who are transitioning to solid food.
In rare cases, constipation may develop from medications or certain health issues, such as:
- Hirschsprung disease, an abnormal development of nerve cells that affects the function of muscles in the large intestine
- Spinal cord issues
- Abnormal development of the anus
- Inability to properly absorb nutrients
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What Are The Signs Of Constipation
The most important sign of constipation is that the poo is hard and dry or crumbly and it looks like marbles. Other signs of constipation in babies are:
- Your baby is crying and looks uncomfortable before doing a poo.
- The poo or wind smells bad.
- Your baby isnt eating as much.
- Your baby has a hard belly.
If the poo is very hard, it can sometimes cause small tears to form around your babys anus . These little tears can bleed and can cause your baby more pain and discomfort.
Q What About Formula Fed Babies
Formula fed babies, or babies who have some formula alongside breastfeeding, are likely to be the same as breastfed babies for the first week or so. Then after the initial newborn period, they usually become more regular. Their stools are more formed than a breastfed babies, but it should still be easy to pass.
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Symptoms Of Constipation In A Breasted Baby
How can you tell if your babys constipated? Its important to note that the frequency of bowel movements isnt always an accurate indication of constipation. Neither is seeing your baby grunt or strain while having a movement.
Many babies look like theyre pushing when theyre having a bowel movement. That may be because babies use their abdominal muscles to help them pass stool. They also spend a lot of time on their backs, and without gravity to help them, they may have to work a little more to move their bowels.
Better indications of constipation in a breastfed baby are:
- firm, tight, distended belly
What Is A Natural Laxative For A Child
Children can benefit from prune juice, which is a mild, natural laxative. Ice poles can be made with prune juice frozen in place of apple, apricot, or cranberry juice. Prune juice can also be mixed with other juices, such as apple, apricot, or cranberry. You should consume at least three servings of vegetables per day.
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What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Infant Constipation
The following signs may indicate your baby is constipated:
Your baby has hard bowel movements that look like round, ball-shaped pellets
Your baby may arch her back or cry when having difficulty passing a bowel movement. Keep in mind that itâs common for infants to strain when poopingâafter all your baby will most likely be pooping while lying on her back, which isnât that easy to do. If your baby passes a soft bowel movement after straining, she is probably not constipated
Your baby’s bowel movements are happening less frequently than normal.
Signs Of Constipation In Children
- saying that it hurts when doing a poo
- showing signs of holding on such as crossing legs, running around, crying or refusing to sit on the toilet
- complaining of tummy pain
- Encourage your child to exercise more.
- Establish a regular toilet routine. Bowel training requires motivation and encouragement. Use a star chart system of rewards to help your child to go and sit on the toilet. This will help your child get used to doing a bowel movement at a similar time each day.
- Discuss the school toilets with the teachers if this is a problem.
- Limit the use of laxatives. They should not be used more than once or twice. They dont solve the underlying problem and may change the way your childs bowels work.
- Use laxatives that increase bulk and fibre in the gut, if you do use them.
- Try to solve the problem quickly the longer your child remains constipated, the worse it may become and the longer it may take to treat.
- See a doctor if constipation is a long-term problem.
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What Is The Treatment For Constipation In A Baby
The following lifestyle changes may help treat constipation in babies .
Baby Constipation Home Remedies
For baby constipation relief, you can try giving infants under 6 months with hard bowel movements some waterabout one ounce. Heard of giving apple or prune juice for baby constipation? Babies 6 to 12 months can have two to four ounces of apple, pear or prune juice a day until their stools soften. The sugars in juice basically bring water into the bowel to help soften the bowel movement, Santo Domingo says.
You may have been told that using a rectal thermometer can help offer some infant constipation relief, but Santo Domingo doesnt recommend any kind of rectal stimulation as a remedy. You always run the risk of perforation, especially given that that area could be irritated, she says.
She also discourages giving baby mineral oil or Karo syrup for baby constipation. Weve found that it doesnt help. Karo syrup doesnt soften the stoolit just coats it to make it easier to pass, but youre still passing a large stool. And with mineral oil, there have been some reports of aspiration.
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How To Treat Baby Constipation
A change in formula or in Mom’s diet could help combat constipation in formula-fed and breastfed babies, respectively. Solid foods, which are often the cause of constipation, can also be the cure, Dr. Shu says. Several kinds of fruits and veggies, such as pears and broccoli, can get things back on track, along with fruit juice and water.
When a change in diet isn’t doing the trick, talk to your pediatrician before employing other methods. The doctor might suggest rectal stimulation with the use of a cotton swab or rectal thermometer. This usually produces a bowel movement within several minutes of stimulation, Dr. Shu says.
Evaluation And Treatment Of Constipation In Infants And Children
WENDY S. BIGGS, M.D., and WILLIAM H. DERY, M.D., Michigan State University College of Human Medicine, East Lansing, Michigan
Am Fam Physician. 2006 Feb 1 73:469-477.
Constipation in children usually is functional and the result of stool retention. However, family physicians must be alert for red flags that may indicate the presence of an uncommon but serious organic cause of constipation, such as Hirschsprungs disease , pseudoobstruction, spinal cord abnormality, hypothyroidism, diabetes insipidus, cystic fibrosis, gluten enteropathy, or congenital anorectal malformation. Treatment of functional constipation involves disimpaction using oral or rectal medication. Polyethylene glycol is effective and well tolerated, but a number of alternatives are available. After disimpaction, a maintenance program may be required for months to years because relapse of functional constipation is common. Maintenance medications include mineral oil, lactulose, milk of magnesia, polyethylene glycol powder, and sorbitol. Education of the family and, when possible, the child is instrumental in improving functional constipation. Behavioral education improves response to treatment biofeedback training does not. Because cows milk may promote constipation in some children, a trial of withholding milk may be considered. Adding fiber to the diet may improve constipation. Despite treatment, only 50 to 70 percent of children with functional constipation demonstrate long-term improvement.
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Clay Like / Hard Poop
When I first came across this with our son I was really surprised to see it- but afterward, it made total sense why he was so bound up!
Clay-like and hard poop is typically seen with formula-fed babies. This is because formula takes longer, and is more difficult to digest than breastmilk.
Breastmilk will give your babys poop a runnier- more seedy consistency. Whereas formula will not.
If your baby is formula-fed, you may want to consider switching it to another brand. We did this and we noticed results pretty quickly.
What Is Constipation In Babies
To understand baby constipation, itâs important to know what stools are like for infants. Although every baby is different, and thereâs a broad range of whatâs considered normal when it comes to pooping, many babies will poop after each feeding in the first weeks of life. Then, after about 3 to 6 weeks of age, some breastfed babies will poop less often, even as little as once a week. That’s because breast milk creates almost no solid waste that has to be eliminated from the digestive system. Formula-fed babies tend to poop once a day or once every other day.
In terms of consistency, your babyâs stools should be soft, like peanut butter, when everything is normal and regular. Your baby may be constipated if she experiences hard, dry bowel movements, which can be difficult or even painful to pass. And, if your babyâs constipated, her bowel movements may be more infrequent than whatâs typical or normal for your baby.
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Seattle Children’s Urgent Care Locations
If your childâs illness or injury is life-threatening, call 911.
Q When Is It Normal For Breastfed Babies To Stop Pooing As Often
Any age from about three weeks and over, but more commonly from six weeks, breastfed babies may start to space out their poos even as much as a week or more apart. This can seem alarming, but in a healthy baby, its usually nothing to worry about and doesn’t usually suggest that your infant is constipated.
The poo, when it comes, will be soft and easy to pass because of the way the gastro-colic reflex has changed. This is the reflex that is stimulated by food going into the top of the digestive tract causing a reflex action at the other end and its very sensitive in a newborn. So its quite normal for a new baby to poo virtually every time he feeds.
As your baby gets a bit older, that reflex is nothing like as sensitive, and they can hang on to their poo, storing it in the lower bowel for some time. This is why you sometimes get a very large amount of poo when your baby does finally go!
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Constipation In Breastfed Babies: Symptoms Causes And Treatment
Breast milk is easy for babies to digest. In fact, its considered a natural laxative. So its rare for babies who are breastfed exclusively to have constipation.
But that doesnt mean it cant happen.
Every baby poops on a different schedule even ones who only are fed breast milk. Read on to learn more about constipation in babies, including symptoms, causes, and how to treat it.
Causes Of Constipation In Breastfed Babies
For the most part, breastfed babies dont experience constipation until solid foods are introduced, around the time theyre 6 months old. Some foods that may be constipating include:
- Rice cereal. Rice is binding, meaning it absorbs water in the gut, making stool hard to pass. Consider switching to oatmeal or barley cereal if your baby show signs of constipation.
- Cows milk. This is usually introduced at about a year.
- Bananas. This fruit is another common culprit of constipation in babies. You can try feeding it to your baby pureed with some water or 100-percent fruit juice mixed in.
- A low-fiber diet. White pastas and breads are low-fiber foods. Without enough fiber, it may be harder for your baby to pass stools.
Other things that might produce constipation include:
- Not giving your child enough liquids. Always try to breastfeed your baby before offering solids. Liquid will help your baby pass their stools more easily.
- Stress. Travel, heat, a move these can all be stressful to a baby and cause constipation.
- Sickness. Stomach bugs can cause vomiting and diarrhea, which can lead to dehydration and constipation. Even something like a common cold can decrease your childs appetite and, because of nasal congestion, make it uncomfortable for them to nurse. Less liquid means more chance for constipation.
- Medical condition. A medical issue, such as having an abnormality in the digestive tract, may cause constipation, although this is rare.
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Change Your Diet If Your Baby Is Breastfed
If you breastfeed your baby, then your diet may lead to constipation. Your baby may be sensitive to something you are eating. Although it is uncommon, it may cause constipation. Therefore, you can consider readjusting your diet.
You can also feed your baby with a different formula until constipation clears.
What Are The Signs Of A Babys Constipation
The primary symptom of a babys constipation is hard and dry stools, which usually appear as individual lumps in the diaper. The baby may also show the following signs .
- Strain while passing stool evident from babys facial expressions
- Bloated belly due to gas accumulation
- Release of abdominal gas while passing stools
Severe constipation is less common and may lead to the following symptoms.
- Fecal impaction
The reduced frequency of pooping may not always be an accurate indicator of constipation in babies, unlike constipation in children. Instead, focus on deviation from the usual pattern of pooping and the texture of the stools. Each infant has different pooping patterns, which are best known to the parents. If you notice changes in the babys pooping routine or diaper changes along with hard, lumpy stool, your baby may be constipated.
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Preventing Constipation In Babies
As crunchy parents, were always interested in prevention rather than correcting the problem after its already here.
One of the best ways to reduce the chances of constipation is to make sure your baby is getting enough water!
They have to stay hydrated- just like you!
Whether its through breastfeeding, formula, or actually drinking water once theyre old enough for it.
Other important ways to prevent constipation like I already mentioned are exercise, a good diet, and probiotics.
If youre proactive about it, you can greatly reduce the likelihood your babys plumbing gets clogged up!
Whats the longest your baby has gone without pooping and what did you do to get them pooping again? Tell us what you did- wed love to hear it!
Hi there! We’re Kelly and Greg!