When To Worry About Baby Constipation:
When should you be concerned? The best rule is to call your babys doctor if more than three days pass without a poop. Call even sooner if your baby has a weak cry, weak suck, or is acting ill.
If constipation is persistent or your baby is acting weak or ill, the doctor may want to check for three rare diseases that can masquerade as constipation:
Have questions about a Happiest Baby product? Our consultants would be happy to help! Connect with us at .
Disclaimer: The information on our site is NOT medical advice for any specific person or condition. It is only meant as general information. If you have any medical questions and concerns about your child or yourself, please contact your health provider.
How Can I Help My Constipated Baby
It can be hard to know what to do when our babies become constipated. And it seems everyone is a subject expert when it comes to matters relating to poo.
Most people are generous and willing to offer suggestions about what could be helpful. The truth is though, most parents have a pretty good understanding of what they can do, and have tried all the usual strategies to relieve their babys constipation.
Symptoms Of Constipation In Newborns
As with anything concerning newborns, sometimes it can be tough to figure out what is going on. Keep in mind that every childs bowel routine is different. One baby might have a bowel movement after every feeding, but another might have only one per day, and sometimes might even skip a day for no apparent reason.
1. Appearance of the Stool
Newborn constipation often shows up as a very uncomfortable baby who is not passing stools, even when she tries to do so. When stool is passed, it is likely dry and hard, and might cause discomfort for the child. If your child hasnt had a bowel movement in three or four days and seems to be uncomfortable, constipation might be the culprit.
2. Child Behaviors That Show Discomfort
Beyond the dry and hard stools, your baby will have other ways to show you that shes uncomfortable. A child who fusses, cries or even screams when passing the stools is a sure sign of a child who is constipated. Very young infants might pull their legs up to their chest repeatedly, as though they were trying to rid themselves of something. They might fight against being swaddled, fuss and cry for no apparent reason and they might even refuse milk or food.
When to Call the Doctor
If you notice that your child is passing stools that contain mucus or blood, dont try out any home remedies instead, head for the doctors office right away.
Recommended Reading: What Do You Need For A Newborn Baby
Symptoms Of Constipation In Cats
Constipation is characterized by infrequent stools or stools that are difficult to pass. Most cats will poop about every 24-36 hours. If your cat is pooping less frequently and having some difficulty, she may be constipated.
While there is some normal variation, if its been more than 48-72 hours without a bowel movement, you should contact your vet.
The main signs of constipation in cats are:
- Dry, hard stools
Normally, the poop is a rich brown color and should look well-formed. A healthy stool has enough moisture that litter will stick to it, says Dr. Liz Bales, VMD. Cats with constipation may have very dry, hard stools. You may find these stools outside the litter box, because the discomfort of trying to pass stool can cause cats to leave the litter box before theyre actually finished.
- Crying or straining in the litter box, or avoiding it altogether
Other signs of discomfort can be vocalizing or straining when using the litter box or going in and out multiple times before using it. Your cat may strain but not be able to poop at all. Showing discomfort in the litter box can also be a sign of serious urinary tract issues, so you should contact a vet if you see these signs.
Constipation is really a symptom of other issues, so you may also see signs of the underlying cause. These may include:
- Walking stiffly
If youre seeing any of these symptoms, with or without constipation, you should discuss them with your cats vet.
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
You May Like: Can You Give A Newborn Gripe Water
Does Switching Formulas Help Or Make Things Worse
After choosing a formula, you might decide that youd like to change to another one. Is this a good idea?
Switching your babys formula may make a difference in their poop, since their sensitivity to some of the ingredients in the original formula may have led to their constipation.
However, changing formula styles or brands can also make things worse, especially if you do it too often.
In other words, its not a good plan to give your baby one formula for 1 or 2 days, then changing to another formula right away when you see that theyre constipated. Instead, try giving baby a few weeks to adjust to any newly introduced formula.
In some cases, though, changing formulas might be wise. Even so, its best to speak with your childs pediatrician first.
Reasons to consider changing formulas can include:
- food allergies
- extreme fussiness
- a need for more iron in a babys diet, as determined by a doctor
- weakness or fatigue
- bloody stools
Especially if your child is showing signs of allergies or wheat or dairy aversions, changing to a brand with different ingredients may make digestion easier.
Its never a good idea to create your own homemade formula, however. Your childs doctor can help you find an approved formula if your little one needs something special.
For many babies, a simple home remedy or two is all youll need to relieve constipation.
For an older baby, you can consider a dietary change.
For younger babies, you can try the following:
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.
Recommended Reading: How To Tell If My Newborn Has Colic
How To Treat Newborn Constipation
Fortunately, there are many ways to help relieve the discomfort and get things moving again. Here are a few home remedies that are proven to help:
Sometimes a baby might have severe constipation that doesnt clear up with any home remedies in that case, the doctor might need to intervene to help your child pass stools. This might include medications or other remedies that you cant try at home.
The following video has even more information on how to treat newborn constipation:
Increase Exercise And Enrichment
Exercise can help promote normal movement of the intestines, which helps treat and prevent constipation. Encourage your cat to be more active with things like cat toys, cat trees, window seats, and more playtime with you. Exercise will also help provide enrichment and reduce your cats anxiety, and it will help with weight loss.
Recommended Reading: What Items Do You Need For A Newborn Baby
What Not To Do For Your Constipated Baby
- Give laxatives, suppositories or enemas unless youve been advised to do so by a health professional.
- Sit them on the toilet or a potty believing this will help. Toilet training is a developmental stage in the toddler years and requires a complex sequence of nervous system maturity.
- Compare their bowel habits with other babies. Every little person is an individual and there are too many factors which play a role in bowel habits and frequency.
- Make too many changes to their milk or solid food intake. Lots of changes at one time can have a negative effect and the baby may start having very loose poos.
- Massage their tummy very firmly. A babys gut is still immature and easily damaged through rough handling. Always be gentle.
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.
Recommended Reading: What Is The Best Body Wash For Newborns
Signs And Symptoms Of Constipation In Babies
Look out for two or three of these symptoms1:
- Poos that are small, hard and pellet- like or large, hard and difficult to push out.
- Less than three poos a week.
- Foul-smelling wind and poo.
- Excessive gas.
- Straining and crying when pooing .
- A tummy that is firm to the touch .
- A poor appetite .
- Your baby is irritable and tearful.
- You baby seems low on energy.
Still unsure? Head over to our Baby Symptom Checker. If you have any concerns about your babys symptoms, speak to your health visitor.
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.
Recommended Reading: What Do I Need For My Newborn Baby
Causes Of Newborn Constipation
The most common cause is a change in the diet. Infants who are moving from breast milk to formula might suffer from the problem, as do children who are just starting to eat solid foods. Sometimes a baby might even develop constipation when you introduce a new food, such as a new vegetable or meats.
Other causes might include dehydration if your baby is not getting enough liquid, her stools will not be soft enough to pass.
Medical conditions or certain illnesses can also lead to constipation in newborns. This is uncommon in a healthy baby.
When To Call The Doctor
- Your baby is irritable and seems to be having abdominal pain.
- You see blood in your baby’s stool.
- Your baby’s constipation does not improve with current treatment.
If you have any questions or concerns, call your baby’s doctor at ___________________.
HH-I-14 7/84, Revised 3/14 Copyright 1984, Nationwide Children’s Hospital
Also Check: What You Ll Need For A Newborn
What Causes Constipation In Babies
Constipation in babies is primarily caused by diet. Here are some things you might want to discuss with your pediatrician:
- Baby Formula: The intestines of some babies just seem sensitive to a particular brand of formula .
- Dairy or Soy Allergy: Babies that have a milk allergy can experience constipation, excessive gas and other discomforts. A doctor can determine if your baby has a dairy or soy allergy.
- Change in Diet: Sometimes when babies are given the green light for baby food they can struggle with regularity. Many first-time foods are very starchy and if he isnt getting enough water this can lead to poop troubles. Check with your pediatrician on the best first foods to help avoid constipation and how much water he needs in a day.
- Iron Supplement: Vitamins with iron can make poops into hard little black-green colored pellets.
- Dehydration: If a baby is not getting enough to drink, stools can get drier and harder. Its super easy to check for this problem: The inside of the mouth will get dry and sticky your baby will pee fewer than six times a day the urine will become much more yellow and a bit smelly.
Add More Litter Boxes
Cats can be quite particular about their litter boxes. If they dont like the location of a litter box or even the type of box or litter, they may not use it as much, which can lead to constipation. You should have at least one more litter box than you have cats, and there should be at least one litter box on every floor of your home. You may need to experiment with different types of boxes and litter to find what your cat likes.
Read Also: How Many Diapers Do You Need For Newborn