Watching your babies growth and development everyday is for the most part fun. But there are some unpleasant things you have to deal with as well. One of them is baby constipation. Depending on what your child is eating, your baby may have a regular pooping pattern.
Some babies poop after every meal while others may take as long as a week. Generally, it is rare for babies who are breast fed to constipate. Babies who are fed formula food may poop on average 3 to 4 times a day. When solid food is introduced, this generally reduces to about once a day. If your baby is having trouble pooping, constipation can be a likely cause.
A constipated baby will be in a lot of distress causing distress to you (as a parent as well). Therefore it is important that you are aware of the signs of constipation in babies so you can take appropriate action to relieve it. In this post, we take a look at the causes for constipation in babies and examine some baby constipation remedies that can help resolve the problem.
Signs to Watch Out For in a Constipated Baby
Baby constipation signals include:
- Less frequent bowel movements and difficulty when passing
- Hard dry stools or streaks of blood in the stools on account of the strain in the anal walls
- Absence of at least several bright yellow (not dark brown or green) poops after 5 days.
- A constipated baby may make straining faces when attempting to poop and the stomach muscles will feel hard and painful to the touch.
- A constipated baby may refuse to eat.
Reasons for Constipation
Baby constipation usually arises when there is a transition from breast milk to other foods.
Solid Food: Mild constipation is likely to happen when your baby moves from breast milk to solid foods. This is because there is some level of dehydration in the baby in the absence of milk and the solid food is low in fiber.
Formula Food: Formula has the tendency to firm up the stools and if your baby has a natural intolerance for milk-protein foods, he can end up constipated as well. You can try switching brands or talk to your doctor if that helps.
Illness: Sometimes an underlying health condition such as hypothyroidism can cause constipation. Speak to your doctor to rule out any illness.
Baby Constipation Remedies
If you suspect constipation, there are a few baby constipation remedies you can try out.
1. Increase Water Intake : Try to give your baby at least a quarter cup of water after the feed to help flush the bowels properly.
2. Offer Some Fruit Juice: Pear, apple or prune juices work well to relieve infant constipation. Initially start off with a quarter cup of juice and then increase it gradually.
3. Offer High fiber Foods: Include foods like apricots, pears, prunes, peaches, and plums to help avoid baby constipation.
4. Avoid Certain Foods: Avoid foods such as bananas, rice cereal, and applesauce as these foods are known to further aggravate constipation.
5. Exercise your baby: A little exercise can improve your baby’s bowel movements. With your baby on his back, lift his legs and move it up and down in a circular motion, like how you would pedal a bicycle. This will reduce the pressure on the abdomen and make things easier.
6. Try a different Brand: Babies react differently to formula fed food. Try switching formula brands to see which ones suit your baby the best.
7. Massage the Tummy: Sometimes a gently tummy massage can help relieve infant constipation. With your baby on his back, place your hand at the belly bottom and massage in circles in a clockwise motion. Apply gentle but firm pressure and massage for about 3 minutes.
8. Give a Warm Bath: A warm bath can soothe and relax a constipated baby and help him poop comfortably. When you are patting the baby dry, you can also give him a tummy massage.
If all these measures don’t help relieve baby constipation, its time to speak to your doctor. The doctor may recommend a glycerin suppository if the constipation is severe, but don’t give this on a regular basis as the baby may become dependent on it for passing stools.