Seattle Children’s Urgent Care Locations
If your childâs illness or injury is life-threatening, call 911.
When To Worry About Your Baby
Severe, high-pitched, inconsolable crying is a different story than the grunting and groaning that most babies do. If your child has this type of reaction, get them checked out by their pediatrician as soon as possible. Also, call the doctor if you see blood or their poop is white, black, or hard, pellet-like stools.
When Is Infant Constipation A Sign Of Something Serious
While constipation is not typically a cause for serious concern for a newborn, there are a few instances that may require professional advice and intervention.
Intestinal muscles working poorly
Intestinal muscles not contracting correctly could cause a newborn to be chronically constipated something which would have to be urgently investigated by your newborns medical team.
Another instance would be a digestive system blockage. For example, your baby ate something they werent supposed to, or the feces has become so hard that it is not moving in the intestines and causing a blockage. This would need immediate medical attention.
An underlying rare and serious condition
Constipation can be caused by rare conditions such as Hirschsprungs disease, hypothyroidism or cystic fibrosis. In addition to constipation your newborn will show other chronic symptoms of vomiting and weakness.
Dont panic cases are few and far between but if in any doubt, seek professional medical advice.
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When Is Baby Constipation A Sign Of Something Serious
After the first couple of weeks, babies usually settle into a pretty good pooping routine. For bottle-fed babies, that schedule is one to two times a day. Breastfed babies may actually skip a day or so in between bowel movements. In fact, by 1 month of age, they sometimes go a week without having a stool!
What If The Baby Is Passing Gas But Not Stool
You may notice that your baby is still passing gas but isnt pooping…this probably isnt cause for concern. Some babies just get gassy in between poops without being constipated. In most cases, a babys gas and constipation will resolve on their own. Remember, a babys digestive system is brand new…so its still getting the hang of how to function.
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Is My Baby Constipated
Your baby is constipated if they have a hard belly and they havent done a poo for longer than whats normal for them. The poo might be hard and painful for your baby to pass when it does come out, there could be blood in their stools, and they may also lose their appetite. Generally, your baby will not be very happy and they may well cry or strain when trying to go to the toilet.
Wondering if your baby is constipated if passing gas? Not necessarily. Babies can pass wind quite often, so passing gas might therefore just be part of their usual bowel movements. Look for any of the other symptoms mentioned above as well as the gas to see if they are actually constipated. If youre concerned your baby isnt putting gaining weight correctly, take a look at the average weight for babies aged 0 to 12 months.
Constipation can become dangerous for your baby if left untreated for a long time. If your baby is constipated and isnt gaining weight or shows any other unusual symptoms then visit your GP or call 111.
Texture: What Stool Texture/consistency Is Normal
There isnt a normal consistency for poop. Each babys individual digestive system and current diet will affect the texture. In general:
- Formula-fed babies have soft, mushy stools.
- Breastfed babies or babies fed formulas that have prebiotics can have loose, seedy stools.
- Babies eating solid foods will have more solid stools.
- Hard, dry, pellet-like stools are a common sign of constipation.
- Watery stools lasting for 24 hours could be diarrhea, and you should contact your babys doctor.
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How Often Should Baby Poop
To figure out if your child has a bout of baby constipation, its helpful to know how often babies tend to produce stool. From newborn to 3 months, a breastfed baby might have anywhere from 5 to 40 bowel movements a weekan average of 2.9 a day. Since breastfed babies absorb so much of the milk, some infants could go up to three or four days, or maybe even a week, without pooping. But as long as when they do its soft, pain free and blood free, thats fine, Santo Domingo says. Their formula-fed counterparts can have anywhere from 5 to 28 a week, or about two a day.
As infants age, breastfed and formula-fed babies start to have about the same number of poopsso from 3 to 6 months, that means about two to four bowel movements a day, and at 6 to 12 months, both formula-fed and breastfed babies will go down to 5 to 28 bowel movements a week, or about 1.8 a day. Keep in mind, these are just averages. If an infant doesnt have a bowel movement every single day, were not that concerned, Santo Domingo says. What were more concerned with is whether its hard when it does come outthat would lead us more toward thinking its baby constipation.
What Makes Your 5 Month Old Constipated
Several factors can lead to constipation among babies. Here are the most common causes:
- Formula milk It is more likely to cause constipation among babies when compared to breast milk. Due to formula milk, the stool will get hard, bulky and firm, making bowel movements painful and sometimes even impossible.
- Solid foods When solid foods are introduced, there is a great possibility for your baby to develop constipation. Giving your baby foods which are low in fibers can lead to constipation as well.
- Dehydration If you are not giving your baby the necessary amount of water a day, your baby can get easily constipated, especially when solid food is introduced or when you feed your baby with formula milk.
- A disease or medical condition Food poisoning, food allergy or metabolic disorders can lead to constipation among babies.
Rarely, constipation in 5 months old babies results from congenital conditions such as spina bifida, cystic fibrosis, Hirschsprungs disease, etc.
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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.
Home Remedies For Curing Constipation In Infants
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Constipation is an irritating and painful condition not only for the adults, but for the babies as well. Its very difficult to see your little one suffering and crying from this ailment. Introduction of solid food in babys diet, milk-protein intolerance or allergy, consumption of dairy products in large quantities by a breast-feeding mom, formula milk, and dehydration are some of the main reasons that lead to constipation. Distended stomach, intense abdominal pain, discomfort or crying before passing stool, dry and pellet-like poo, and less than 3 bowel movements per week are some signs that indicate that your ward is constipated. You cant employ the same remedies for adults and infants to cure constipation, as some remedies which are used for grown-ups may have adverse effect on the health of your tot. Before opting for any home treatment, its crucial to consider the age of the child.
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Is It Normal For A Newborn To Struggle To Poop
It is normal for a newborn to struggle to poop. For most babies, the first time they poop is after they are born, and while you and I can do it pretty much effortlessly, they still have to learn the process.
It does take some coordination of relaxing some muscles while tensing other muscles, and your baby wont be a natural at first.
Many babies will turn red and grunt when they poop, even when they are not constipated. Do not worry, it is normal.
What Drinks Will Make You Poop Right Away
Youre probably hoping that there is one magic elixir to make all of your problems go away. And, sure, were about to rattle off a few possibilities but youll have to experiment to see what combination works best for you. In general, though, youre going to want to quite literally hydrate the shit out of yourself.
Heres a fun visual to fuel your night terrors for the foreseeable future. Have you ever tried to slide down a waterslide when you and/or the slide were dry? Its a non-starter. Now, imagine your poo is you and the slide is your body. The more water you drink, the easier your stool will slide down and out. If youre pregnant and cant even keep water down, try the following tricks that have worked for some pregnant women.
If you can eat peanut butter, do. The paste will dry your mouth and help you take in some important sips of water. Also, try using iced water with a straw and some tangy Tazo passion tea it helps many women keep down sips of water better. In general, doctors have noticed carbonated water with citrus flavors seem to stay down better than a glass of plain old water. But if youre experiencing morning sickness, try to let the water stand so the carbonated drink can go a little flat. Otherwise, it may make you even more nauseous. So, yeah, theres basically no winning with morning sickness.
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What To Watch For
It’s important to note that babies’ poop schedules can swing on both sides of the spectrum. Some exclusively breastfed babies poop after every meal others have been known to hold out for a week or longer, Dr. Shu says.
“Consistency is key to defining constipation in breastfed babies. Rather than liquidy, seedy, pasty stools, the constipated baby’s stool will be more like little clay balls,” says Jane Morton, M.D., a clinical professor of pediatrics at Stanford University School of Medicine, “though it is extremely rare for an exclusively breastfed baby to be constipated.”
Formula-fed babies can be all over the map, too. And when solid foods enter the picture, parents should be prepared for the frequency, form, and color to change again. But as a frame of reference, babies 0 to 4 months of age poop on average three to four times a day, and after the introduction of solid foods, that reduces to approximately one bowel movement per day.
Parents often suspect constipation when there is a prolonged absence of poop. This can definitely be a sign of constipation. If a baby is not having at least several bright, yellow poops on Day 5 of life, something could be wrong, regardless of whether he’s on breast milk or formula, Dr. Morton says. This usually has to do with the baby not getting enough to eat.
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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Baby Constipation Remedies And Relief:
- Change formula. Starting a new formula may resolve constipation. Some infants have softer stools when they drink formula from concentrate versus powder-based . Ask your babys doctor for guidance.
- Slightly dilute the mix. Your babys poops may improve when you add a tablespoon of organic adult prune juice or one ounce of water into the formula, once or twice a day .
- Give a bottle of water. If the weather is very hot and your baby is showing signs of dehydration, depending on your baby’s age, you can give a few extra ounces of waterjust be sure to check in with your doctor before offering water.
- Open the door. Babies trying to poop often have a hard time squeezing the stomach muscles and relaxing the rectumat the same time. They accidentally tighten the anuswhen they should be easing itand consequently, they strain to push the poop out the door! To relax your babys anus, bicycle her legs and gently press her knees down to her stomach, a few times. If this fails, you might insert a Vaseline-greased thermometer or cotton swabjust one-half to one inchinto the anus. Babies usually respond by bearing down to push the object outoften pushing the poop out at the same time.
- Change up solid foods. White foods bind a baby up. But, certain fruits and veggies like broccoli, plums, prunes, prune juice or fresh aloe juice can help get pooping back on a regular schedule.
Note: Never give honey or corn syrup as a laxative, before the first birthday.