The Signs of Constipation in Babies
Despite all the silly jokes in radio comedies and TV sitcoms, baby constipation could hardly be described as a pleasant phenomenon. Constipation is no fun for anyone at all - especially not for a baby, who is in pain, and certainly not for the parents, who may not know the reason for their child’s distress and have no idea how to soothe their baby.
So what causes constipation in babies, and how do we deal with it?
The Signs of Constipation in Babies
Please note that most babies strain a little when they pass a bowel movement, even if they are breastfed. In fact, that is often your signal that you will soon have to change the next nappy! Also remember that if your baby is not passing stools too often, but seems relaxed when they do and the stools are not too hard or dry, this may simply be their pattern in the meantime. Obviously, if you are worried, you should never be too shy to ask your health care professional for advice.
Usually the most common time for a baby to suffer from constipation is soon after solids are introduced. That being said, here is a list of the signs of a constipated baby:
If your newborn baby is passing solid stools less than once a day, this could technically be termed constipation. At the same time, if your baby seems to be suffering constant pain around making bowel movements, even if they are more frequent, or the stools seem very hard and dry, you should consult with your health care professional.
If your baby is older, look out for stomach aches and irritability.
Stomach pains that only seem to go away once the baby has passed a bowel movement
A hard abdomen that only softens after a bowel movement
Are your baby’s stools more reminiscent of those passed by a rabbit, i.e. very hard, dry, and deep brown?
Does your baby have bloody stools, caused by fissures in the rectum, created from the effort involved in passing such hard faeces? Please note that a small cut or tear in the anus can actually cause constipation. The baby feels pain when trying to pass a bowel movement, and this may cause them to associate defecation with pain. For this reason, the baby will “hold on” the next time. This will lead to even more constipation, making the situation even worse.
If, indeed, your baby is constipated, you should not simply give them syrup of figs or any other laxative and hope it goes away. You must consult with your health care professional to find out the best and safest way to treat this problem without making any rash decisions or using any “old wives remedies.”
That being said, there are certain preventative measures that you can take to avoid the development of constipation in a baby. These measures depend on whether you are talking about newborn constipation in a newborn or in an older baby.
To begin with, as mentioned above, newborn constipation is quite rare, especially if your baby is breastfed. It is more likely to occur, if anything, among formula-fed babies. However, in the rare cases that constipation does occur in a breastfed baby, it may possibly be because the baby is not receiving enough milk. If this may be the case, you should consult your doctor or health care professional.
If the baby is formula fed and is suffering constipation, it is very possible that the formula has not been mixed properly. It is possible that there is not enough water and too much powder in the bottle. Here is a list of questions to ask yourself in order to find a possible cause of your baby’s formula constipation.
Perhaps the wrong kind of scoop was used, or it was heaped too highly.
Did you remember to level off the scoop with a knife before putting the formula into the bottle?
Did you mistakenly put the powder into the bottle before the water, which can also create a situation where the proportions of water and powder are wrong?
Have you recently changed the baby’s formula? Did the baby just start with cow’s milk formula? Both of these changes can also cause constipation in a baby.
Recommended constipation treatment and preventative measures for an older infant are as follows:
Add a small amount of bran to your baby’s cereal to add fibre. It is advisable to ask your health care provider before you do so, however, because overdoing it could have the opposite effect!
Some people recommend giving the baby prune juice. Once again, this should only be done in conjunction with medical advice as this could also have the effect of “dynamite and broken bottles” if overdone.
Lack of fluids can be a very basic cause of constipation. Make sure that your baby is drinking enough fluids, especially in the summer or if you live in a hot country.
Look into the solid foods that your baby is eating. How many bananas? How much rice? Maybe you need to cut down on some of these and introduce the baby to more fruits and vegetables instead.
If all else fails, and your baby is really upset, try moving their legs up and down to see if this will “nudge” the solid matter slightly further along the intestine and ease the pain.
Try a gentle tummy massage, rubbing in a clockwise direction.
Another form of constipation relief is a warm bath, which can help the necessary muscles relax. Don’t be upset if the baby ends up passing the stool while in the bath. At least the pain and discomfort will be relieved!
Constipation need not become an obsession or constant worry. After all, many adults will have an odd episode of constipation here and there without it being the sign of serious condition. Obviously, if you are taking all the correct measures but your baby is still chronically constipated, this is a matter that needs to be discussed with your doctor. But if you are providing your baby with a healthy diet and enough fluids, your baby should continue to be healthy and you will not need to worry overly about baby constipation.
Tried and true methods to cure constipation in babies forever! Discover unique tricks and techniques that will soothe infant constipation.
Normally, constipation in babies will cause your baby pain. Your baby’s stools may be hard and dry which makes them difficult to pass. As soon as you see any signs of your child’s stool becoming harder and more firm, this may be the beginning signs of a constipated baby. Stools that are very dry and hard can cause your baby’s rectal wall to tear. If it does you may see blood.
Don’t get worried or nervous if your baby’s first stool is black or dark green and is different than the first days of his/her life. Then you baby will start having regular bowel movements that are lighter in color. Regular bowel movements generally start on day three.
If your baby is breast fed, your babies bowel movements will be quite frequent, however, if by day 4 your baby has still not transitioned to regular bowel movements, you may be experiencing a constipated baby.
Infant Constipation Causes
Constipation in babies can be caused by several things, but 1 of the most common reasons is your baby’s formula. Normally when you take your baby to the doctor for the 1st time, he will tell you to switch formulas, monitor the child and then report back to him.
Other recommendation from Doctors is for babies to drink water each day. This hydrates the baby’s body and promotes regular stools.
Along with drinking water, you can also massage your child’s abdomen.
You would want to begin around the belly button area and rub in outward circles in a clockwise motion. Lotion can be used to soothe the baby and make your circular motions smoother. Depending on how bad the constipation is, you will notice that your baby will enjoy this massage, so you can do this for a couple of minutes and enjoy the time together.
Constipation In babies Treatment
Bottom line is, if it has been a few days and you baby is still showing signs of constipation, you should take the baby to the doctor and have him/her checked out. Be prepared because the doctor will want to know the baby’s feeding schedule, how many wet diapers does your baby use per day and your babies weight.
These answers will help the doctor determine if you have a constipated baby. We all hate doing this,but at times a constipated baby needs help passing his stool.
How you may ask?
By using a glycerin suppository.
Be there to comfort your child while doing this, this can be hard on both parties involved. Above all else, stay strong and be in control. You can do this mom’s.
Constipation in babies can be one of the most common issues a new parent faces.
I remember when my daughter was first born; I wanted everything to be perfect for her. I felt her comfort was the foundation of a low stress, natural development. I did my research before hand and found lots of great information on normal conditions that she might face as a newborn.
I felt I was as ready as I would ever be, but when she wasn’t passing a stool regularly, I didn’t quite know if I should be concerned or if the behavior was something we needed to treat.
After further research, I learned that if there was no stool in three days, I could consider her to have constipation. Constipation in babies can even occur after one day, I learned. It depends on the individual baby, what they eat, drink, and their digestive system.
Over time you will figure out your babies unique habits. You will notice what causes your baby’s constipation. Fewer bowel movements can be common and don’t necessarily indicate a problem, but if your baby seems to be struggling through the process and grunting with obvious strain, you may have a problem.
Gas can cause constipation like symptoms also. It is important to notice whether the stools are dry or very hard. Liquid can pass over hard stools in the lower intestine also.
Breast fed babies are the least likely to develop constipation because a mothers milk is the healthiest this for a babies diet. Exercise and drinking lots of liquid can help easy constipation in babies also. Your doctor can advise you as to the proper amount of water your baby should have on a daily basis for best results.
I you suspect your baby may be suffering from constipation, there are a few things that you can do as a parent to both notice tell tale signs of constipation in babies as well as remedy the situation immediately.
These suggestions are in no way meant to be an adequate substitution for a professional consultation with a pediatrician.
First look for the signs:
Has your little one gone an extended period of time without a bowel movement?
Are they wincing or grunting excessively while attempting to eliminate?
Do they pull up their knees to the chest and/or seem excessively relieved after?
Have you noticed hard, dry stools or pellets recently from your child?
If any of these signs are present, you may wish to go ahead and treat your child for constipation. The steps recommended will not hurt your child or make matters worse in any way, so feel free to do the following.
Exercises for constipation in babies:
Get them moving with exercise. Gentle movement of the legs in a bicycle motion can begin to loosen up the tightness in the intestines and get things moving. Also try a jumperoo or other child’s toy involving leg movement if it is available.
Give your child a gentle massage around the tummy area by starting at the belly button and moving in a circular motion in a clockwise direction. Using a lotion or cream while doing this may help.
Change up your baby’s diet.
Water is the best lubricant to get things flowing again. If your young one scoff’s at non-flavored hydration, mix in a small amount of juice. Fruit juice adds fiber, but can also contain unwanted sugar so we want to be aware to avoid access.
Fruit is also a great tool for alleviating constipation in babies. If your baby is eating solid foods, you may want to try pears or prunes. The farmers market is the best place to find high quality fruits and vegetable because they have the best chance of being organic. Organics are always preferred.
Avoid apples, bananas and rice cereal as they can add to the problem.
Puree the fruits if needed to liquefy.
In most cases these simple steps can be taken to get things moving properly. Breast fed babies are least likely to become constipated and a diet consisting of processed foods are the most likely to cause constipation in babies.
Preventing constipation in babies is something that most parents will encounter. Constipation can be a relatively common problem. There are several clues to watch for in determining if your baby is constipated. Hard, dry stools accompanied with pain and crying are usually a good indication of constipation. A baby’s bowel movement schedule is often difficult to determine, but nevertheless watch for less frequent bowel movements.
Causes of Infant Constipation:
If your infant is taking formula, sometimes an ingredient in the formula may be responsible for causing the constipation. Breast-fed babies are rarely constipated.
Dehydration can also cause constipation. Make sure your baby stays hydrated.
If you suspect that formula may be the culprit, you can add a teaspoon off Karo corn syrup to the their formula. The corn syrup may help to soften the stools. For infants that have transitioned to solid foods (five months or older), use foods that are high in fiber. Good examples are prunes, peaches, and plums.
You can also try giving them a warm bath. Baths are often a great way to relax your little one. Sometimes hard stools will pass easier when they are relaxed.
Another popular method to prevent constipation in babies can be done through massage. To do this, gently massage your infants belly by placing your hand about two inches below the navel. Apply gentle pressure for approximately four minutes. You can also try gently putting the their knees towards the belly to provide pressure.
If all the above techniques have failed, consult your baby’s pediatrician. Inquire about other treatment options such as over the counter stool softeners. Make sure you consult the doctor before giving your baby any of these products. You may want to also talk to the doctor about changing the Infants diet.
Preventing constipation in babies can be frustrating, but these tried and true methods have assisted many generations of parents.