What Can I Give A Newborn Baby For Constipation

How To Tell If Your Baby Is Constipated

Signs Your Newborn is Constipated

Newborn bowel movements vary from one baby to another depending upon their milk intake and body. Some babies pass stool many times a day while some can hold the stuff in for as long as 3 days. If you are breastfeeding, you may notice a frequent newborn bowel movement as compared to that of a fully formula-fed baby.

Your newborn is constipated if

  • He hasnt had a bowel movement for 3 days or more.
  • Even if he has passed stool, the stool is dry and harder than normal and the baby finds it difficult to pass it. You may find your baby making disgruntled faces while passing stool.
  • Sometimes after days of dry spell, you notice a watery stool and may confuse it with diarrhea. It is actually one of the symptoms of constipation in newborns, i.e., liquid stool seeps out of the blockage in the small intestines and end up in the diaper.

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Dangers Of Infant Constipation

Parents should always remember warning signs related to constipation for which they should seek immediate medical treatment for their infant, including: abdominal distension and/or tenderness, rectal bleeding, and vomiting bile or blood.

If constipation issues are severe or start early in the neonatal period it could be a sign of a more serious problem, like Hirschsprung disease, anatomic anomalies, hypothyroidism, and cystic fibrosis, Hahn said. Your pediatrician is your best resource to help decide if your baby needs any tests or imaging studies to evaluate the constipation.

How To Prevent Baby Constipation

As for preventing infant constipation, unfortunately theres a lot you can proactively do. Prevention really comes down to recognizing the warning signs, and trying to stay on top of them, Santo Domingo says. Of course, monitoring babys diet for foods that cause constipation, giving them a diverse assortment of fibrous fruits and veggies and keeping them hydrated may help.

About the experts:

Trina Blythe, MD, is a BJC Medical Group pediatrician at Progress West Hospital in OFallon, Missouri. She received her medical degree from Albany Medical Center in New York.

Lisa Santo Domingo, DNP, MSN, is a pediatric nurse practitioner and medical director of Johns Hopkins Hospitals Pediatric Chronic Constipation Clinic. She received her doctor of nursing degree at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland.

Please note: The Bump and the materials and information it contains are not intended to, and do not constitute, medical or other health advice or diagnosis and should not be used as such. You should always consult with a qualified physician or health professional about your specific circumstances.

Please note: The Bump and the materials and information it contains are not intended to, and do not constitute, medical or other health advice or diagnosis and should not be used as such. You should always consult with a qualified physician or health professional about your specific circumstances.

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How Can You Tell If A Newborn Is Constipated

Sneed shared that parents experiencing newborn constipation may see different signs.

Parents may encounter Infant Dyschezia where their babies scream excessively and strain for ten minutes, only to produce loose stools, she said. These infants have not figured out how to simultaneously relax their pelvic floor and push stool out at the same time.

Another recognizable instance of constipation is when foods are introduced into the diet. To avoid constipation problems, Sneed recommends giving babies foods higher in fiber.

This age group should receive a recommended five grams of fiber daily, she said. The best fiber-rich foods are peas and prunes, which have two grams of fiber per serving, and whole wheat, barley or mixed grain baby cereals, which have one to two grams of fiber per serving. The worst options are rice cereal and bananas.

Why The Frequency Of Stools Change

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A decrease in the number of times your baby poops doesn’t necessarily mean he is constipated.

A decrease in the frequency of bowel motions is often noticeable around 4 weeks of age, particularly when a baby is breastfed. As your baby’s digestive system matures his body is better able to digest and absorb the many nutrients in milk and as a result there in less waste .

It is around this time that a mother’s breast milk supply settles to meet her baby’s needs, so this also results is less poop.

A reduction in the number of of bowel motions of a formula fed baby may also be seen around this age. However, it generally less obvious than changes seen in fully breastfed infants.

Other time where a change in the amount and how often a baby poops, may occur as a result of changes in diet. A sudden change in the frequency of bowel motions is commonly seen when…

  • A baby is switched from breast milk to formula.
  • The type of formula is changed.
  • A baby first starts to eat solid foods.
  • The amount of solid foods is increased.
  • When a baby is first introduced to regular cow’s milk.

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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.

What Can I Give A Constipated Baby

If youre wondering how to help a baby with constipation, depending on whether theyre breast fed, bottle fed or weaning, there are a few things you can give them in order to ease the symptoms10.

  • Offer solely breastfed babies plenty of feeds to keep them hydrated.
  • If your baby is formula fed, offer them small amounts of water in between their regular feeds.
  • Once theyve started weaning, offer your baby a variety of fruits and vegetables to get plenty of fibre into their system.

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Baby Massages To Relieve Constipation

Giving your baby a tummy massage can be an easy and practical way to ease their discomfort. It may help to stimulate their digestive system and get rid of trapped wind.

When giving your baby a tummy massage for constipation, be sure to:

  • Work in a clockwise direction.
  • Avoid the ribcage and make sure all strokes are on their tummy.
  • Lighten the pressure when you stroke over their bladder.

An easy and relaxing massage technique which might help relieve baby constipation is to gently use your fingertips to stroke a large, circular motion around their tummy to soothe them9.

When To Call Your Doctor Or Seek Medical Advice

How can I help my infant with constipation?

If youre worried about your baby, you should contact your health visitor, GP, or public health nurse, especially if5:

  • Your baby’s constipation started from birth or within their first few weeks of life.

  • Your baby has not passed their meconium within 48 hours after birth.

  • Your baby isnt improving

  • Your baby has blood in their poo

  • Your baby has other symptoms such as vomiting, weight loss or tiredness

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Make Sure Theyre Drinking Enough

If youre breastfeeding, continue to offer lots of feeds6. If your little one is formula-fed, try offering them sips of cooled, boiled tap water between their feeds, particularly if its hot weather10. For babies who have started weaning, offer sips of water from a free-flow cup at the end of your babys meals10.

Which Option Is Better For Colic

Anyone caring for a baby with colic will likely be keen to try anything that might ease the babys discomfort.

Several users of parent-to-parent forums have recommended both gripe water and gas drops as remedies for colic. However, no scientific evidence shows either of them to work. As such, it is up to the caregiver to decide whether to try either remedy and see which, if either, works best for the child.

If a babys symptoms seem to stem more from gas pain, then gas drops might be more effective. If a baby appears in more general discomfort, gripe water might be the better option. However, there is no guarantee that either will make a difference.

Caregivers should remember that there is always a possibility their child could react negatively to any new remedy.

Gripe water products can contain many different ingredients. Be sure to check the label of gripe water to see what it contains. Do not use products that contain alcohol.

Also, some gripe water ingredients remain untested in babies. Ask a doctor to be sure ingredients are safe for a baby before using them.

A new, untried remedy could also cause an allergic reaction. Caregivers should learn the signs that might indicate an infant is having an allergic reaction. If a caregiver suspects an allergic reaction, they should stop using the medicine immediately and seek advice from a doctor.

Signs of an allergic reaction include:

  • a rash
  • swelling on the face, neck, or tongue
  • vomiting

White noise or womb noise

Try a pacifier

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When To Treat Infant Constipation

Most babies are not truly constipated unless they experience all of the following…

  • Firm, dry pebbly stools.
  • No bowel motions for 2-3 days for formula fed babies or 7-10 days for breastfed babies* and
  • Strains and cries while having a bowel motion.

Unless your little one has a problem with all three, he’s probably not constipated and you needn’t do anything. If your baby is constipated, treatment may be necessary. We suggest you start with ‘natural remedies’ first.

*It is rare for a fully breastfed baby to become constipated prior to starting solids. 7-10 days without a bowel movement can be very normal where a baby is only offered breast milk. Breast milk is the perfect food for babies and very little is left to waste. Breast milk also has a natural laxative effect that helps protect your baby against constipation.

Causes Of Infant Constipation

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It is often frustrating for parents to try to understand the causes of their childs constipation. Although some parents understand the role that too much cows milk, a diet low in fiber, and not drinking enough fluids have in contributing to constipation, they may have other children with the same diet who arent constipated.

In addition to your childs eating habits, the other main factor that contributes to constipation is infrequent bowel movements. This can occur after a child has had a large, hard, and painful bowel movement. Because they may associate going to the bathroom with pain after this experience, they will try to hold their stools.

This creates a vicious cycle. Bowel movements are painful, so the child holds them in, causing stools to be even larger and harder, which causes more pain when they finally pass. Another common cause of constipation and infrequent stools is having a bad experience with potty training.

Although rare, there are some medical causes of constipation, such as Hirschsprungs disease, cystic fibrosis, and hypothyroidism. Constipation is also often found in children with special needs, such as spina bifida, Down syndrome, and cerebral palsy, and it can be a side effect of many medications.

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How Long Can A 1 Week Old Go Without Pooping

Constipation. Your newborn should have a bowel movement at least once a day during the first month. If they dont, call your doctor, as the baby may not be eating enough. After that, a formula-fed infant should have one at least one a day, but breastfed infants can go several days or even a week without one.

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How To Treat Your Childs Constipation

If you think your child may be constipated, take them to a GP. The treatment for constipation depends on your childs age.

The longer your child is constipated, the more difficult it can be for them to get back to normal, so make sure you get help early.

Laxatives are often recommended for children who are eating solid foods, alongside diet and lifestyle changes.

It may take several months for the treatments to work, but keep trying until they do. Remember that laxative treatment may make your childs overflow soiling worse before it gets better.

Once your childs constipation has been dealt with, its important to stop it coming back. A GP may advise that your child keeps taking laxatives for a while to make sure their poo stays soft enough to push out regularly.

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Do Probiotics For Baby Constipation Work

If youve tried the above changes, and still your baby experiences constipation, you may want to consider giving your child a probiotic.

Babies may have an imbalance in their gut bacteria that affects their GI tract. This in turn can cause constipation. Taking a probiotic for infants can reduce the onset of GI conditions, thus reducing the risk for constipation and acid reflux.

How To Help When Your Newborn Baby Is Constipated

3 ways to help a 3 month old baby with constipation

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.

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