How To Treat It
A change in formula or in Mom’s diet could help combat constipation in formula and breastfed babies, respectively. Solid foods, which are often the cause of constipation, can also be the cure, Dr. Shu says. Several kinds of fruits and veggies, such as pears and broccoli, can get things back on track, along with fruit juice and water.
When a change in diet isn’t doing the trick, talk to your pediatrician before employing other methods. The doctor might suggest rectal stimulation with the use of a cotton swab or rectal thermometer. This usually produces a bowel movement within several minutes of stimulation, Dr. Shu says. Another possible is a glycerin suppository. If it works, it could take about an hour to produce a poop, Dr. Shu says. Other suggestions may include Miralax, a tasteless powder you can mix into a drink senna, a natural vegetable laxative and lactulose, a synthetic sugar used for treating constipation.
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.
How Can I Treat Newborn Constipation
Constipation can be a hard cycle to break, but when the poop gets tough, the tough gets going! Here’s how you can get rid of the constipation in newborn babies:
- If you have introduced bottle, make sure the formula milk is luke warm when you feed your baby. Breast-milk already has the perfect temperature.
- Hold your newborn’s feet and move them gently as if s/he is riding a bicycle. The pressure between his/her thighs and tummy may trigger the bowel movement.
- Massage the tiny belly gently in circular motion, ideally with some warm baby oil .
- Measure three-fingers’ width down the newborn navel area. Gently press it till you feel a firm spot/ mass. Continue pressing it for a couple of minutes, then release. Your baby may fart and/or pass stool after this.
- Brown sugar works great to relieve newborn constipation . Whether your baby is newborn or is few months old, dissolve some brown sugar in one ounce of water and give it to him/her through a dropper .
- Glycerin Suppository is the 100% proven way to get the poo moving! I tried it with my newborn . It is inserted in the rectum and within half an hour a bulk of stool is out! However, only use it if you have tried all the things stated above. If you make a habit of giving a suppository every time your baby is constipated, the tiny body will get used to it.
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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.
Breastfed Babies And Constipation
Breastfed babies rarely get constipated because breast milk contains a natural laxative. They tend to have yellow-coloured seedy poos that are often quite soft.
Newborn breastfed babies may poo after every feed. Older breastfed babies may go up to a week without pooing. This is not constipation if the poo is soft.
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Causes Of Constipation In Children
Constipation happens for several reasons.
It can happen when children hold poos in. They might hold poo in because they:
- are too busy playing
- have pain when they do a poo and theyre afraid to go to the toilet
- dont want to use the toilets at preschool or school.
Constipation might also happen because children:
- arent eating enough fibre
- have been sick and have been eating and drinking less.
These situations can all lead to a build-up of poo in the bowel. When this happens, the poo gets too big or hard to push out easily.
There are some underlying medical conditions that might cause constipation in children, but these arent common.
Constipation Treatments For Babies
Younger infants and newborns with constipation should be carefully evaluated by their pediatrician. Poor feeding can lead to dehydration and constipation, so an evaluation of your infant’s feeding habits and weight is important. Infants who are exclusively breastfed rarely become constipated.
Remember, infrequent bowel movements do not mean constipation if your child’s stools are soft when they finally pass. It’s possible that your little one is using every bit of what they ingest to support growth, and they simply don’t have anything left over to produce waste.
The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests giving babies a small amount of apple or pear juice to loosen the stool and relieve constipation. They advise parents to offer 1 ounce for every month of life up to 4 months of age. Some pediatricians also suggest giving 1 to 2 teaspoons of corn syrup per day.
Always talk to your child’s pediatrician before taking any action to treat constipation, especially in young babies. Once your baby has progressed to solids, giving them more vegetables and fruits may help with constipation.
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Breastfeeding Formula And Solids
Pooping frequency depends in part on what your baby is eating.
If your baby is only being breastfed they may not poop every day. This is because their body can use up almost all the components of breast milk for nutrition and there is very little left that needs to be eliminated. After the first 6 weeks or so they can go even a week or two without a poop.
If your baby is formula-fed they might have up to four poops a day or just one every few days.
Once your baby starts eating solid food, its a whole new game! Youll soon learn which foods might give your baby gassiness without pooping and which their digestive system seems to poop out almost too quickly.
Color Of The Newborn Baby Poo:
It may be quite okay for your newborn to dirty a diaper almost 8-10 times a day in his initial days. This frequency will reduce once the newborn body is freed from miconium . This is the reason why the newborn baby stools are of dark green/ black color in the early days and are quite sticky. Frequent breastfeeding or bottlefeeding will result in frequent stool-passing, and the stool would start turning brown. After that, once the tummy is all clear, the baby starts to pass yellow/ mustard stools.
If your baby is gassy or has colic due to stomach ache, do this: Iron a soft cotton cloth to make it warm, fold it, and then gently pad it on your newborn’s stomach. Make sure the cloth is not too hot. The gasses will release in the form of farts and burps. And what a delightful sound that is! )
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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
White noise or womb noise
Try a pacifier
Signs That Your Baby Is Constipated
Youve noticed that your babys tummy isnt following the schedule that you got used to. Could it be constipation? Here are the signs that could confirm your suspicions:
- You notice that they cry or fuss while theyre trying to have a hard bowel movement.
- The poop, when it does come, is like hard pellets.
- You notice streaks of red blood in the hard poop.
While its not easy for a baby on a liquid diet to become constipated, trouble can start when you start introducing your baby to solid foods at around 6 months. Heres why:
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Is My Baby’s Poop Normal
What’s normal for baby poop depends on whether you’re breastfeeding or formula-feeding. If your baby is breastfed, her bowel movements will often be mustard-like in color and consistency, sometimes loose, even watery, and sometimes seedy, mushy or curdy.
If she’s formula-fed, the stool will usually be soft but better formed than a breastfed baby’s, and anywhere from pale yellow to yellowish brown, light brown or brownish green.
Solid Foods That Cause Constipation
Once solid foods are introduced into your baby’s diet, their poop is going to change. More formed food usually means more formed poop, Dr. Shu says. Also, the intestines are maturing now, so they can compact things and hold on to them longer. And because the body is taking longer to process the food, you’ll likely see one less poopy diaper a day.
Food can be both friend and foe. For starters, certain foods could be making it harder for your baby poop. Consider the ABCsor applesauce, bananas, and cereal, Dr. Morton says. Too much of any of these, especially cereal, could cause constipation in your baby. Also, keep an eye on dairy products that are popular first foods for babies, such as cheese and yogurt. Low-fiber foodsincluding white rice, white bread, and pastacan also bind babies up.
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Color: What Colors Of Stool Are Normal
A wide range of colors can be considered normal- from bright green to yellow to dark brown. Just like the texture of poop, the color of stool depends on a babys diet and their particular digestive system. When babies start eating solid foods, you might see purple in their poop after blueberries or red after beets.
If your baby has black, tarry, red-streaked, or white colored poop, call your babys doctor.
The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests asking yourself the following questions:
- Is my baby really fussy?
- Is my baby spitting up more than usual?
- Is my baby having a lot more or fewer poops than before?
- Are my babys stools unusually hard, or do they have blood related to hard stools?
- Does my baby strain for more than 10 minutes without success?
If your baby shows these signs, they may be constipated. Call your babys doctor to report these signs and ask what you can do to help your baby.
Taking A Rectal Temperature
When a baby is constipated, taking the babys rectal temperature with a clean, lubricated thermometer may help them pass stool.
It is important not to use this method very often, as it can make constipation worse. The baby may start not wanting to pass a bowel movement without help, or they may begin to associate having a bowel movement with discomfort, leading them to fuss or cry more during the process.
Anyone who feels as though they often need to use this method to help the baby have a bowel movement should talk to the babys doctor.
As infants may go for extended periods without a bowel movement, it can be hard to tell if they are constipated. Signs that indicate constipation in a baby include:
- infrequent stools that are not soft in consistency
- clay-like stool consistency
- long periods of straining or crying while trying to have a bowel movement
- streaks of red blood in the stool
- lack of appetite
- a hard belly
Signs of constipation in babies vary depending on their age and diet. A normal bowel movement before a baby begins eating solid food should be very soft, almost like the consistency of peanut butter or even looser.
Hard baby stool prior to solid food is the most obvious indication of constipation in babies.
At first, breastfed babies may pass stool often since breast milk is easy to digest. However, once a baby is between 3 and 6 weeks old, they may only pass a large, soft stool once a week and sometimes even less.
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