How To Help A Constipated Baby Or Toddler
Constipation doesnt just make your little one miserable. It can get worse when left untreated, making it even harder for your child to pass stool. So if you suspect constipation is the cause of her discomfort, take quick steps to get things moving again with these tips for baby and toddler constipation relief.
Pay attention to the calendar, too. You should call the doctor if your newborn formula-fed baby has passed less than one stool a day or if your older baby or toddler hasnt had a bowel movement for four or five days.
Constipation is rarely an issue for exclusively breastfed babies, but if your little one seems to be going longer than normal without a poop and youre concerned, theres no harm in checking in with the doc.
You should call the doctor, too, if your baby or toddlers constipation is accompanied by abdominal pain or vomiting, theres blood in her stool, or at-home measures to get things going arent working.
When To Seek Help
Very rarely, constipation can be a sign of an underlying health problem. If a baby under 6 weeks is constipated, you will need an assessment by a doctor to exclude an underlying condition.
Take your baby to a doctor, or seek help from a midwife or child health nurse if:
- your babys poo is dry and crumbly or like pellets, or they seem to have pain and discomfort when doing a poo
- your baby is constipated and they are gaining weight slowly
- they have blood in their poo
You can also read more about constipation in children.
When Should You Contact Your Babys Healthcare Provider
You may be asking yourself âWhen should I worry about my babyâs constipation?â There are certain signs and symptoms to look out for that can indicate more urgent medical care may be required. If you notice the following, contact your babyâs healthcare provider right away so your little one can get checked out:
Blood in your babyâs poop.
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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.
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
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What Is Infant Dyschezia
Most parents of newborn babies have seen their child go through this stage. Your baby goes from having several effortless poopy diapers a day to straining and screaming only to pass a soft bowel movement. This apparently painful pooping is technically called infant dyschezia.
The problem is that your baby has an uncontrolled stooling reflex and the muscles by the anus do not relax at the proper time so your baby pushes hard with the diaphragm and the belly muscles, while holding the anus tightly closed, and it looks like your baby is very constipated because they will do this over and over again without results. But eventually, the muscles are overtaken by the baby’s effort. They relax, and the poop flows.
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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Should You See A Doctor About Constipation In Children
You should take your child to the GP if your child:
- needs a laxative more than a few times a year
- has constipation that doesnt get better after you give them a laxative
- hasnt done a poo for seven days
- poos in their pants without meaning to
- has constipation and also fever, vomiting, blood in their poo or weight loss
- has painful cracks in the skin around their anus
- has constipation and youre worried they arent eating or drinking enough.
Natural Remedies For Constipation In Infants
1. Stomach Massage
Gently massage the stomach of your baby, in a clockwise direction with the help of your fingertips. Massage around the naval as well, in an outward, spherical motion. It will eradicate the tension out of your babys tummy and give him/her relief from the symptoms of constipation.
- Keep your infant on his/her back. Hold his/her legs in a ½ bent position. Gently move babys legs in such a way, as if s/he paddling a bicycle. Do it at a steady pace. Leg bicycling is a great fun for your child and loosens up the intestines.
- Carry your newborn baby around in a squat position. Elevate his/her little legs in a way that s/he is squatting on your forearm like a bunny or frog. It will exert a little pressure on the kids rectum and help him/her to defecate.
3. Sugar Solution
Mix ½ teaspoon of sugar in an ounce of water. Give this solution to your baby three times a day before feeding him/her formula food. Instead of white sugar, it is recommended to use brown sugar for preparing this solution.
Note- Utilize cooled boiled water for this remedy.
4. Prune Juice
Add diluted prune juice to newborns bottle of formula. It will help him/her get rid of constipation.
- If your child is older than 4 months, mix 4 oz of breast or formula milk with 1 oz of prune juice. Give it twice a day.
- If your little one is less than 4 months, just a tablespoon of prune juice in 4 oz of breast or formula milk, two times a day is enough to regulate the bowel movement.
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Contact Doctor During Office Hours
- Leaking stool
- Suppository or enema was needed to get the stool out
- Infrequent stools do not get better after changes to diet. Exception: normal if breastfed infant more than 1 month old and stools are not painful.
- Stool softeners are being used and have not been discussed with your doctor
- Toilet training is in progress
- Painful stools occur 3 or more times after changes to diet
- Constipation is a frequent problem
- You have other questions or concerns
How Often Should A Breastfed Baby Poop
Breastfed babies may go several days between bowel movements since the digestible content of breastmilk is extremely high they use and digest most of it. For this reason, it can take several days for your baby to build up enough waste to need to poop.
So, once or twice a week might be the norm for a breastfed newborn and this low frequency will continue until weaning onto solids.
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Get Help With Lubrication
A dab of petroleum jelly applied around the anal opening could help stool slide out more easily. For babies, applying a lubricated rectal thermometer could stimulate the muscles used to get bowel movements going.
Constipation is a common childhood ailment, so theres a good chance your baby or toddler will deal with a bout of it at some point. Thankfully, the issue tends to be easy to fix with at home measures.
From the What to Expect editorial team and Heidi Murkoff, author of What to Expect When You’re Expecting. What to Expect follows strict reporting guidelines and uses only credible sources, such as peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions and highly respected health organizations. Learn how we keep our content accurate and up-to-date by reading our medical review and editorial policy.
How To Deal With Baby Constipation
This article was co-authored by Laura Marusinec, MD. Dr. Marusinec is a board certified Pediatrician at the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, where she is on the Clinical Practice Council. She received her M.D. from the Medical College of Wisconsin School of Medicine in 1995 and completed her residency at the Medical College of Wisconsin in Pediatrics in 1998. She is a member of the American Medical Writers Association and the Society for Pediatric Urgent Care.There are 9 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page.wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. In this case, 100% of readers who voted found the article helpful, earning it our reader-approved status. This article has been viewed 314,484 times.
If youre a parent with a baby, you probably often look to your babys diapers as one measure of her health.XResearch source When your baby poops regularly, its a sign that she is getting enough to eat. But if your baby isnt pooping regularly or is having trouble pooping, she may be constipated. By confirming a case of constipation, relieving it, and then taking steps to prevent it again, you can deal with a babys constipation.
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What Do I Do If My Baby Poops In The Bath
If a child poops in the tub, drain the water, remove the stool, and clean with soap and water. Rinse and start the bath over. If the issue continues, look at the comfort of the toilet or the childs schedule and make appropriate changes.
How To Help Your Newborn Poop Easier
There are several things you can do to help your newborn have an easier time when passing a poop. Remember that even pooping is a learned process many new babies struggle to put the steps of straining, pushing, relaxing together at first.
Here are five ways to help your baby poop easier, with details highlighted below:
In addition, the following, which can help your newborn poop instantly can also be used ongoing to aid digestion and help baby poop easier:
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Can Switching From Breast Milk To Formula Cause Constipation
If youve recently switched to formula after exclusively breastfeeding your baby, you may notice changes in your babys poop. Its not uncommon for it to become harder or change color.
You may also notice an increase in gas, particularly if your baby is transitioning to using a bottle. Every baby is different though, and you may not notice much of a change.
Looking at supermarket formula displays can be enough to set your head spinning.
First, there are three different forms of formula you can choose from:
Then, within these forms, they may be:
- milk-based formulas
- specialty formulas, like organic options
Some formulas advertise themselves as easier to digest.
This can be because they are homogenized, which means theyre processed in a way that breaks down molecules for easier absorption. Or they may be made with ingredients designed to be easier on the digestive system.
For many parents, the answer lies in asking fellow parents and caregivers about their experiences with formula and researching the ingredients to find one that feels right.
How To Relieve Baby Constipation Quickly
Natural remedies are a great way to relieve your babys constipation, so you dont necessarily have to visit the doctor:
1. Extra water: If youre making up a bottle, add about one ounce of extra water to every feed so the baby is always getting extra fluid, says Dr Gerlis. For hot summer days this is especially important.
2. A warm bath: A warm bath may help relax your baby and ease constipation. Follow the bath with movement and massage suggested below whilst your baby is on the changing mat, and that might also do the trick. Just make sure you have a nappy or muslin handy!
3. Change of diet: If your baby has already been weaned then eating pureed apricots, peaches, pear, plums or prunes might relieve constipation. Try this easy recipe for blueberry puree to get started. Likewise you could give them a small amount of apple or prune juice diluted 50 percent with water if they are over 3 months.
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How To Help A Baby Poop During Constipation
It is a magical feeling and there are no words to explain how your baby feels after you have helped them poop during constipation. As a mother or caregiver, you should know what to do in order to help a baby poop during constipation.
Below, we have highlighted a few tested and trusted points that you should master to help your baby poop when they are constipated. Make them a continuous routine, and you will notice the great bond it will create between you and your baby.
3 Ways to Help a Baby Poop During Constipation
1. Bicycle Movement Therapy: The bicycle movement therapy is a tested and trusted way to help your baby poop during constipation. It involves a simple routine of gently moving your babys legs in a circular motion as if you are helping them ride an invisible bicycle. The movements which babys love, will help stimulate movements around their bowel area and your baby is likely to poop in the process.
2. Tummy Massage: As a mother or caregiver, there is no doubt that you already know how relieving a massage can be. Well, your baby needs one also when they are battling constipation, and you want to help them poop. You should gently massage their stomach and lower abdomen area to stimulate movements and ease the inflated stomach. This will enable the baby to experience a good level of ease around that area and help the baby poop during constipation.