Drink Some Fruit Juice
Fruit juice is also effective for relieving constipation because some contain the sweetener sorbitol, which can function as a laxative.
If your baby is at least 6 months old, you can offer 2 to 4 ounces of fruit juice. This includes 100-percent apple juice, prune juice, or pear juice in addition to regular feedings.
What Causes Constipation In Babies
Dehydration: if your babys not getting enough fluids this can result in drier stools.
An underlying illness: a change in your babys poos could be a sign your baby is unwell, but as always, its best to talk to your GP if youre in any way concerned.
Diet changes: Some babies may get constipated when they first move onto infant formula as their little digestive system learns to adjust to new things.
A reaction to a certain formula formula-fed babies, in general, dont poo as often, so theres no need to worry if its been a few days. Talk to your GP if youre concerned as they may recommend trying a different kind of formula. Specific hydrolysed formulas contain protein that is broken down into smaller pieces, so are easier for babies to digest.
Remedies To Try At Home
There are several remedies you can try at home to manage your childâs constipation:
- Make sure your child is getting enough fluids. Most kids need about 3 to 4 glasses of water every day.
- Add more fiber into your childâs diet. Make sure theyre eating enough fruits, grains and vegetables. Fiber keeps things moving.
- Make sure your child isnât overdoing fast food and junk food. They slow down digestion.
- Limit sodas and tea. They have lots of caffeine in them.
- Get your child into the habit of regular bowel movements. Have them try for at least 10 minutes two times a day. After a meal is a good time.
If these things donât seem to do the trick, talk to your childâs doctor about using a mild, child-friendly laxative or stool softener.
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Seattle Children’s Urgent Care Locations
If your childâs illness or injury is life-threatening, call 911.
Signs And Symptoms Of Baby Constipation
The most obvious sign of constipation in infants: a simple lack of stool. Bowel patterns can vary based on age and consumption of formula or solids, however, so this symptom can be difficult to observe or understand.
Pediatric research suggests that upwards of four defecations per day can be normal in newborns. In general, however, infants up to three months old have, on average, 2.9 bowel movements per day. In later infancy, this decreases to an average of 1.8 defecations each day.
Babies who go more than five days without passing stool may be constipated. A sudden change in bowel patterns may also indicate constipation, especially if babies who previously passed stool daily suddenly go several days without doing so.
Other warning signs of constipation in babies include:
Hard, pellet-like stools
Its normal for babies to pass stool infrequently or even to strain a bit during bowel movements . In either situation, however, stools should be soft. Grainy or seedy textures are perfectly normal. If stool becomes hard or resembles pellets, constipation may be to blame.
Excessive straining during bowel movements
Some straining is to be expected during infant bowel movements, especially among newborns. Weak abdominal muscles can make it difficult for them to pass stool, causing them to strain as a result.
Passing blood in stool
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Is Your Newborn Puppy Constipated
You may believe that your newborn puppy is constipated if they are straining while trying to pass feces or if they are lazy and overweight. This is because active puppies have a healthier bowel movement.
Diarrhea and constipation have similar symptoms. To determine whether the newborn puppy actually has constipation, it is important to be sure. You can check by using a thermometer:
- Use a lubricant jelly, petroleum jelly or Vaseline to lubricate the thermometer
- Place the thermometer 1 or 2 inches inside the puppys rectum, and examine the stool that sticks to the thermometer when it is taken out. If the stool is hard, that means that the newborn puppy is constipated, and if it is soft, it may indicate diarrhea.
Does My Child Need To See A Doctor
Constipation is common. Often it will pass without intervention, or with the help of the strategies listed above. If you are worried that your baby has constipation, is uncomfortable or is in pain, their doctor can assess them and recommend baby-safe strategies. There are medical treatments for constipation that your doctor may consider, based on your babys circumstances.
If your baby was previously treated for constipation but still struggles to poo, it is important to go back to your doctor for a review. There are several treatments they can try.
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How To Treat Constipation At Home
Try these tips to help babies who have difficulty passing poos:
- If your baby has infant formula, always measure the water first before adding the formula powder this helps ensure that the ratio of water-to-formula is correct.
- If your baby is old enough to drink water, offer extra drinks .
- Gently rub their stomach to help stimulate the bowel your baby might also feel better with gentle massage to help manage the pain of constipation.
- A warm bath can help calm and settle your baby and relieve discomfort.
If your baby is older than 6 months, add some extra fruit and vegetables to their diet to boost their fibre intake.
If your child is older than 9 months, adding stewed prunes or apricots to their meal may help. They can have up to 3 tablespoons, 3 times a week. Cereal that has bran may also help mild constipation. Older babies can try prune juice diluted with water . Start slowly, with 10 millilitres. Increase as needed until they can do a soft poo.
How Can I Tell If My Baby Is Constipated
It seems like my baby has trouble passing his poop. His face usually turns red and sometimes he grunts or makes other noises. He has BMs regularly, but I’m still concerned. Could he be constipated? Keisha
It’s normal for infants to strain when they’re having a bowel movement . Pooping is more of a challenge for them because they are lying flat, so don’t have gravity to help move things along.
At first, breastfed babies tend go more often than formula-fed babies because breast milk is more easily digested. At around 36 weeks of age, though, breastfed babies may start having fewer bowel movements, sometimes only one or two a week. Formula-fed babies usually continue to have daily BMs.
Your little one probably isn’t constipated if the stool is soft, no matter how often the bowel movements happen or if your baby strains to pass them.
Babies who cry when having a bowel movement or have hard or pebble-like poop might be constipated. In that case, talk to your doctor, who may recommend giving your baby a little extra water or a small amount of 100% fruit juice to soften hard poop. Never give your baby laxatives, suppositories, or enemas unless your doctor tells you to do so.
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How Often Should Formula
Whilst it might take time to get used to your baby’s bowel movements, generally if your baby is under 8 weeks old and has not done a poo for 2 to 3 days, talk to your midwife, health visitor or GP. At this stage, your baby should be gaining weight and have plenty of wet and dirty nappies.
Too much formula can make your baby constipated and leave them dehydrated because the formula is too thick.
What To Watch For
Its 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 babys 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 hes on breast milk or formula, Dr. Morton says. This usually has to do with the baby not getting enough to eat.
Dont give your baby medicines for constipation unless they are advised or prescribed by a doctor.
If your baby is fed with breast milk:
If your baby is fed with formula:
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How To Help Your Constipated Baby
It can be very stressful watching your little one struggle to poo. Heres a few things you can do to help your baby5.
- Make sure they have plenty to drinkIf youre breastfeeding, offer plenty of feeds. If youre formula-feeding, check youre using the right amount of powder. Formula-fed babies can also have drinks of cooled, boiled water between feeds.
- Try baby massageTry rubbing their tummy in a clockwise direction using smooth, circular motions. Or lay your baby on their back and gently move their legs in a cycling motion.
- Run a nice warm bathNot only is this very relaxing for an unsettled baby, the warmth can be very effective at soothing an achy tummy. Make sure its not too hot, or it could have the opposite effect. Below 38oC is ideal.
- Offer some fruitIf your baby is over six months old, fruits like apples, pears or prunes can help get things on the move.
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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
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When To See The Doctor
Constipation isnât usually something to worry about in children, but it can sometimes be a sign of a more serious condition. If your childâs constipation lasts for more than 2 weeks, something else may be going on. Make an appointment with your pediatrician if you see:
If your childâs constipation is severe, your pediatrician may want to do some tests to figure out whatâs causing the problem. They may want to try:
- Abdominal X-ray. This is a normal X-ray to check for blockage. It is most commonly used to diagnose constipation.
- Barium enema X-ray. The bowels are coated with a dye so that any problems in the rectum, the colon or the small intestine will clearly be seen on an X-ray. This is not commonly performed.
- Rectal biopsy. A very small tissue sample is taken to check for abnormal nerve cells in the rectum. There is rarely a need for this procedure.
Remember, there are many reasons your child may experience occasional constipation. Itâs usually nothing to worry about. With a few adjustments, your child should be back to normal again in no time.
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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Signs Of A Constipated Baby
But if you have any concern that you may be dealing with a constipated baby, here are signs to watch out for:
- Less frequent bowel movements than usual
- Signs of straining or discomfort when pushing
- A firm belly thats painful to the touch
- Very fussy and spitting up more frequently
- Refusal to eat
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How Long Can Your Baby Go Without Doing A Poo
The frequency and consistency of your babyâs bowel movements can vary from day to day, and every baby is different.A baby who is consuming formula may fill anything up to five nappies a day when newborn, which can decrease to once a day after a few months.Breastfed babies may poo after every feed in the first few weeks, then after about six weeks things may get less predictable: Although your breastfed baby may average two or three bowel movements a day, he or she could also sometime go for as long as 7 to 10 days without a poo, but still not be constipated.Keep in mind that sometimes a baby can be straining or crying while trying to do a poo, but still not be constipated. If your baby grunts or gets a little red-faced in the process of passing what turns out to be a soft, perfectly normal stool, this is just because he or she has not yet learned to properly relax the pelvic floor muscles to let the poo out.In this case, holding your babyâs legs up and bending them at the knees may help.
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Add More Fiber Foods To Childs Diet
Fiber softens the stools by drawing water into them, making them bulkier and easier to pass. Fiber foods for older babies are bran cereals, graham crackers, whole-grain bread and crackers, and high-fiber vegetables such as peas, broccoli, and beans. Supplementing is a good way to increase your childs fiber intake without causing additional gas or bloating. We recommend Sunfiber or Regular Girl, which blends invisibly into your childs favorite foods including cereals, yogurt, juice, and pancakes without changing the texture, taste, or aroma. Your child wont even have to know its in there!
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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.
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How To Help When Your Newborn Baby Is Constipated
One of the hurdles any new parent might face is baby constipation, but what should you do if you suspect your newborn is constipated?
Dr. Jane Sneed, a pediatrician at The Childrens Clinic in Jonesboro, Arkansas, who has been practicing since 1993, told TODAY Parents that constipation is extremely common in babies.
I would estimate 50 to 75 percent of infants have issues during their first year of life with some form of constipation arising from dietary issues following a stomach bug with diarrhea or from stress, like going out of town and having a significant schedule change, Sneed said. She added that some experts expand the diagnosis to include infrequent stooling only two to three per week or excessive straining for more than ten minutes. Regardless of the definition, the result is the same an unhappy baby.