When To See Your Doctor About Your Baby’s Constipation
While constipation is usually nothing to worry about, its good to get your baby back to their bouncing, happy selves as soon as you can. If you have any concerns, talk to your Health Visitor or GP, especially if your baby6:
Is not improving
Is regularly constipated or bloated
Has blood in their poo
Has suddenly lost weight
Other Causes Of Constipation In Babies
Food is usually the cause of baby constipation. However dehydration, especially in hot weather, can be an important contributory factor.
But in some cases, constipation can be a symptom of a more serious underlying disease.If your baby isn’t gaining weight or shows any other unusual symptoms, seek the advice of a doctor.
Is Your 6 Week Old Baby Constipated Find Out How To Treat It
Is your 6 week old baby constipated? Has it been a few days since theyve had a bowel movement? Does it seem like your baby is struggling when having a bowel movement? Or can it be that your babys digestion is changing as a part of getting older and now they just poop less often?
It can be hard to tell at this age. When my Little One was constipated it was hard to watch her struggle. I wanted to do everything I could to help her, and I pretty much did.
In this article well talk about signs that your baby might be constipated and some methods that I, along with other moms, have used to treat constipation.
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How To Tell If Baby Is Constipated
When baby constipation is wreaking its havoc, babys poop comes out in hard balls. We often use the Bristol Stool Scale, which shows the range of stool textures from one to seven: One is rabbit-like, pellet-shaped poop, and seven is pure liquid, Santo Domingo says. We define constipated stool as anything that falls into levels one through three, with three looking like a collection of grapes or corn on the cob.
Sometimes you might see some blood on the outside of the stoolthis can happen when a constipated baby passes stool large enough to create a tiny fissure around the anus. If youre seeing a significant amount of blood, though, thats a sign of something else going on besides infant constipation that should be checked out by a doctor as soon as possible.
Baby constipation can cause a child to be irritable and fussy, refuse food and push away the bottle. Toddlers who can walk may start going to a corner and squatting or hiding, or tip-toeing. The most prevalent cue is when a child starts tip-toeing, Santo Domingo says. Its like an instinct they have, feeling that the straighter their body, the better theyll be able to withhold pooping, which may be painful or scary for constipated children. Even babies who are able to pull themselves to stand will try to straighten out as much as possible when theyre dealing with infant constipation.
What To Expect At Your Office Visit
Your child’s provider will perform a physical exam. This may include a rectal exam.
The provider may ask you questions about your child’s diet, symptoms, and bowel habits.
The following tests may help find the cause of constipation:
- Blood tests such as a complete blood count
- X-rays of the abdomen
The provider may recommend the use of stool softeners or laxatives. If stools are impacted, glycerin suppositories or saline enemas may be recommended also.
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Causes Of Constipation In Babies
- formula is too strong if your baby is bottle-fed, make sure the formula is made up correctly, so that there is not too much formula powder for the amount of water
- using a different formula changes to the milk formula
- not enough drinks in warm weather, bottle-fed infants require extra fluid such as cooled, boiled water between formula feeds. Breastfed infants may require more frequent feeds
- solids that are not right for the baby use the correct solid foods for the age of your baby. Be aware that excessive use of legumes and high fibre cereals are not appropriate for young infants
- difficulty passing poo sometimes a hard poo can cause a little tear or crack in the skin around the anus and this can hurt the baby. The baby seems to know that it hurts to do poo and so holds on. Then the poo becomes even harder and will be more painful to pass.
Check You Are Making Formula Correctly
If your baby is on formula milk, you should follow the instructions on the package carefully. Making the mixture too thick by putting in more than the recommended amount of powder can lead to constipation and other medical problems.
There are different brands of formula milk on the market, and they are basically of equal quality. Its often best to stick to the same brand, because different formulas may require different dilutions.
However, some babies get on better with different milks, so if you have problems it may be worth carefully switching to a different brand. Some formula milks even contain prebiotics food substances which help to grow the number of friendly bacteria in the baby’s intestines and these may help to reduce the risk of constipation.
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Constipation In The Bottle Fed Baby
Bottle fed babies frequently suffer from constipation because formula milk is harder for a baby to digest and the baby has a limited supply of fluid .
A baby who receives only formula milk will typically have fewer bowel movements than a breastfed child. Their stools will be thicker and have a different, more greenish colour.
How To Treat Your Child’s Constipation
If you think your child may be constipated, take them to a GP. The treatment for constipation depends on your child’s age.
The longer your child is constipated, the more difficult it can be for them to get back to normal, so make sure you get help early.
Laxatives are often recommended for children who are eating solid foods, alongside diet and lifestyle changes.
It may take several months for the treatments to work, but keep trying until they do. Remember that laxative treatment may make your child’s overflow soiling worse before it gets better.
Once your child’s constipation has been dealt with, it’s important to stop it coming back. A GP may advise that your child keeps taking laxatives for a while to make sure their poo stays soft enough to push out regularly.
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Diagnosing Constipation In Babies
Doctors can often determine constipation based on information parents provide about the frequency, color, and constituency of stools. Typically, constipation is not seen as a diagnosable condition in and of itself, but rather, as a sign of other concerns, such as dietary issues, medication use, or underlying medical problems.
Bowel Movement In Babies Over Four Months Old
Once a baby starts on transition foods or solids , the frequency of bowel movements and the consistency and appearance of their stools will depend on the food they eat. Your babys stools will begin to look a bit more like ordinary stools in consistency and smell.
Once your baby starts eating solid food, the pattern in bowel movements will change. Your infant may have movements several times a day or as infrequently as once every two to three days.
At this point, some babies may get slightly constipated. This is because the intestines have to get used to the new composition of the nutrients and may need a higher fluid intake to deal with some foods, such as fibrous root vegetables like carrots.
Once a babys food consists of more solid food, constipation may be caused by dehydration.
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How To Treat Constipation
If you notice your baby is showing signs of constipation youll want to visit your pediatrician. There are multiple ways you can treat constipation, but always follow doctors order.
Here are some ways your pediatrician might recommend treating your babys constipation:
If these options dont work your pediatrician might recommend a few other remedies which involve laxatives and/or stimulation. Always speak to your pediatrician before using any of the following products.
- Wellements Baby Move is an organic non-harsh laxative to help with occasional baby constipation. It contains organic prunes and prebiotics which is safe for infants.
- Pedia-Lax is a glycerin suppository, which is recommended over using enemas or mineral oil by the Mayo Clinic.
- Rectal stimulation with the tip of a thermometer or Q-tip can help stimulate the movement of stool to pass.
Why Do Babies Get Constipated
So what causes infant constipation? Really, it could be due to a number of factors, from foods theyre eating to passing illnesses to family history. Here, we break down the possible reasons behind baby constipation.
Diet More often than not, a change in diet is the likely culprit causing baby constipationwhether its because youre shifting from breast milk to formula, transitioning baby to cows milk or introducing solid foods. The introduction of cows milk proteinand an allergy or intolerance to itis probably the largest contributor to baby constipation, says Santo Domingo. When baby has a cows milk protein intolerance , his or her immune system sees the milk protein as something bad it needs to fight off . This negative reaction to the protein is what leads to a constipated baby with an upset stomach and other intestinal problems. But the good news is that most babies will grow out of it50 percent of infants who have CMPI regain tolerance by age 1, and more than 75 percent will be back on track by age 3.
Illness When babys not feeling well, he or shes probably not eating or drinking as much as usual, which can throw his or her system out of whack and result in infant constipation.
Certain medications High-dose iron supplements or narcotic pain medication can lead to baby constipation. Your doctor can let you know if babys medicine could be to blame.
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When To Contact A Medical Professional
- An infant goes 3 days without a stool and is vomiting or irritable
Also call your child’s provider if:
- An infant younger than 2 months is constipated
- Non-breastfeeding infants go 3 days without having a bowel movement
- A child is holding back bowel movements to resist toilet training
- There is blood in the stools
How Long Can Your Baby Go Without Pooping
The frequency of your babyâs bowel movements can vary from day to day, and every baby is different. A baby who is consuming formula tends to poop at least once per day, but itâs possible for her not to poop for a day or two without necessarily being constipated.In the early weeks, breastfed babies may poop more often since breast milk is easily digested, but at around 3 to 6 weeks old breastfed babies may start having fewer bowel movements, with as little as one or two per week, but still not be constipated.
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Breastfed Babies And Constipation
Breastfed babies rarely get constipated because breast milk contains a natural laxative. They tend to have yellow-coloured seedy poos that are often quite soft.
Newborn breastfed babies may poo after every feed. Older breastfed babies may go up to a week without pooing. This is not constipation if the poo is soft.
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.
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What Is Baby Constipation
Constipation is a condition where stools become firmer and harder so that they can no longer be easily passed out of the body. Your baby may be troubled or in pain when they need to empty their bowels, and the bowels will not be emptied as often as usual.
When a baby first becomes constipated, it can be the start of a vicious cycle. This is because your baby may find it painful to pass the large hard stools that have gathered in the intestine. Cracks around the anus may appear. These may start to bleed and cause more pain.
To avoid the pain, your baby may subconsciously start holding back stools, which makes the stool stay longer in the large intestine. As a result, your babys body will absorb more water from the stools making them even harder. This can cause your baby to remain constipated.
A baby who is constipated often has colic pains , because the large amount of stool in the intestines makes the intestines dilate and more actively try to clear out their contents. In some cases, the child may not want to eat and may even retch a little.
Why Is My Infant Constipated
There are many different causes of constipation in babies, depending on their age, dietary habits, and general health. The most common cause is mild dehydration, which can usually be remedied by consuming more water and juices. Infants under four months old who drink breast milk rarely become constipated,
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Treatments For Constipation In Babies
Prune and pear juice are age-old recommendations for helping babies pass stool when theyre constipated. The sorbitol in these types of juices act as a mild laxative. These should be offered in addition to regular feedings but not as a replacement.
After babies have begun eating solids, pureed prunes or peas can help with constipation, as they contain more fiber than other types of produce. Replacing rice cereal with oatmeal may also help, as can the occasional use of water.
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.
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Treating Constipation In Babies
- If your baby is bottle-fed, check the formula tin to make sure the formula is being made correctly. Always measure the water first and then add formula powder.
- Offer extra drinks of water.
- Gentle tummy massage can help.
- A warm bath may help the babys muscles to relax .
- Give only medication prescribed by your doctor.
What To Do When Your Infant Is Constipated
July 31, 2019 By Lisa Chan
Infants may go forextended periods of time without passing stool, so it can be pretty hard totell if theyre constipated.
A baby may show somesigns of constipation such as hard pellets of stool, a hard belly, lack ofappetite, and long periods of crying or straining while trying to have a bowelmovement.
Pediatricians will often recommend you trying out a few home remedies first to see if constipation resolves on its own.
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Bowel Movement In Babies Up To Six Months Old
The number of bowel movements a young baby has varies considerably and what is normal may range from a bowel movement several times a day to as little as once a week. In rare cases, there can be up to three weeks between bowel movements.
Breastfed babies usually have frequent bowel movements until they are two to three months old. Their stools are typically yellow. However they may go for days without opening their bowels.
A young baby should only be given a laxative if he or she is bothered by the long intervals between bowel movements or appears to have difficulty or pain passing stools. Its best to check with your GP or health visitor before giving a baby a laxative.
When To Visit A Doctor
Constipation is rarely caused by a serious condition, but if your tamariki hasnt improved after a few days, or youre worried, call PlunketLine or visit your doctor.
If the constipation lasts a long time or keeps coming back, talk to your doctor – they may prescribe a medicine to help soften the poos.
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How To Soothe The Baby
When a baby briefly cries out in their sleep, they often settle on their own. Picking them up may wake them up, disrupting their sleep.
If the crying continues, try talking softly to the baby or rubbing their back or stomach. This can help shift them into a different stage of sleep and help them stop crying.
Breastfed babies who nurse in their sleep may find comfort from nursing. Caregivers should decide whether or not the baby is likely to awaken from nursing and assess whether they are willing to risk waking the baby.
It can also be helpful to simply observe the babys sleep pattern. Some babies let out a soft cry as they fall deeply into sleep, or immediately before waking. Identifying the babys typical sleep pattern can help caregivers assess the cause of crying.
Some babies might cry in their sleep when they are sick or teething, but pain that causes crying will usually wake the baby. Caregivers can talk to a pediatrician about how to ease the babys pain.
Although we do not yet know when nightmares start, a caregiver who thinks that they hear their baby having a nightmare can soothe them by talking calmly to them or rubbing their back. Babies who are still breastfed may also find comfort from nursing.
If a baby wakes up after having had a nightmare, comfort them and follow a soothing sleep ritual to get them back to sleep. Older babies and toddlers may need reassurance that the nightmare was not real.