As you probably already know, one of the main topics for parents is their baby’s poop. Parents are often concerned if their child is pooping enough. A child who’s on baby formula will usually poop at least once per day, but sometimes there might be no bowel movements for a day or two. On the other hand, breastfed babies’ bowel movement depends on age. Your child should poop at least once a day if it is eating enough. However, some breastfed babies might poop only once a week since their body is focused on using every single atom of food for something good.
Newborns need to work hard to make poop, so having fewer bowel movements is not necessarily alarming, even if you notice that your baby is red in the face or if it cries. Infants need to try hard when they poop and you will notice that quite fast. You can just imagine how hard it would be if you were pooping while lying on your back.
Signs of Infant Constipation
It can be really hard to tell if your child is constipated because infants can go for extended periods without pooping. Here are a few general rules that might indicate constipation in your child:
- No appetite
- A hard belly
- Soft, infrequent stools
- Blood in the stool
- Crying or straining while pooping
- Hard pellets of stool
- Stool with a consistency of clay
Baby constipation causes all of these symptoms, but it doesn’t perfectly indicate that your baby has the condition. Signs will be different in each baby, depending on the baby’s diet and age. Normal poop for a baby that doesn’t eat solids yet is usually very soft, something like peanut butter or sometimes even looser. This is why a hard baby stool is a good indication of the condition and a good side for you to start searching for an infant constipation remedy method.
Breast milk is easy to digest and breastfed babies may poop often because of this. However, when your baby is between 3 and 6 weeks old, it may start passing soft and large stool at least once a week – sometimes this may happen even less frequently.
You should know that your child will poop more often if you’re providing it with baby formula. The formula-fed babies usually poop at least once a day, or every other day in some cases. However, you shouldn’t be worried if your formula-fed baby is not having a bowel movement even for a longer period.
A baby will be much more likely to experience constipation once you start introducing solids to your baby’s diet. Also, if you introduce cow’s milk to your child’s diet, you can expect your child to experience constipation due to the properties of cow’s milk.
Baby Constipation Remedies at Home
Exercise is probably considered the best infant constipation remedy. This is because exercise stimulates the baby’s bowel, the same as with adults. However, constipation may happen even before your baby can walk, or even crawl. Your job as a parent is to help your child to exercise to relieve that annoying constipation.
You can mimic the motion of riding a bicycle by gently moving your baby’s legs while they are lying on their back. This may relieve constipation and will help with most of the problems that baby constipation causes.
A warm bath is another great way to help your baby with constipation. A warm bath will relax the abdominal muscles of your baby and will probably stop straining. Also, it usually relieves some of the discomforts your baby may be experiencing.
Dietary changes may help constipation in many ways, but this will depend on your child’s diet and age.
A woman can eliminate certain foods from her diet while she’s breastfeeding a baby. For example, dairy is something you can completely remove. Keep in mind that identifying the dietary changes you need to take may take some trial and error and that some changes in the diet may be won’t have any effect on your baby’s constipation.
If your baby is taking a formula and has constipation problems, you should try giving it a different kind of formula. However, don’t switch to a dairy-free or gentle formula before you consult with your pediatrician first. If a change does not act like an infant constipation remedy, trying out new formulas probably won’t help either.
Consider introducing foods that contain a lot of fiber if your infant has already started to eat solid foods. Many vegetables and fruits stimulate the bowl since they usually contain high fiber content. Here are some high fiber foods you can introduce to your baby:
- Skinless Apples
Proper hydration is crucial if your child is experiencing constipation. Young kids usually get their hydration from formula or breast milk, so they don’t need supplemental liquids. However, since baby constipation causes dehydration, babies with the condition will benefit if you give them small amounts of liquid.
Consult with your pediatrician to be sure you can add something in your baby’s diet. But, pediatricians will sometimes recommend adding a fruit juice, or even a small amount of water, to your baby’s diet if it is constipated.
Massage is always a good way to relieve constipation. There are a few ways you can massage your baby, so take a look at some:
- Use your fingertip to make circular, clockwise motions on the stomach
- Walk your fingers in a clockwise pattern around the naval
- Hold your baby’s feet and knees together and push the feet gently toward the belly
- Use the edge of a finger to stroke from the rib cage down past the belly button
Fruity Juice is good for your baby’s diet. You can start giving 100% apple or prune juice to your baby once it turns 2-4 months. Of course, it has to be a small amount. These juices may help in constipation treatment.
Pediatricians usually recommend 60-120ml of fruit juice when you’re first starting introducing juices. Keep in mind that your baby will have difficulties with digesting the sugar in the juice. You will provide your baby with more liquid when you start with juices, so expect a bit soften stool. Keep in mind that you shouldn’t be giving fruit juice to your baby without consulting with your pediatrician first.
If none of the methods above work, you can try taking the baby’s rectal temperature. Of course, you will need a lubricated and clean baby rectal thermometer for this. This will probably help your baby to pass stool, but there are a few downsides to this method.
Keep in mind that you should not use this method too often – your baby’s constipation condition might get worse than it is at the moment. Your child might start pooping only if you’re there to help or it can start associating pooping with discomfort. This will lead to a lot more crying during the process, and you certainly don’t want that.
Of course, don’t try doing this method before consulting with your baby’s pediatrician.
There are a few other techniques that might treat your child’s constipation is nothing mentioned above works. You can use these methods at home too, but it is recommended to consult with your pediatrician first before you try anything on your hand.
A glycerin suppository may help your baby to poop if you noticed anal tears previously after a hard stool. You can purchase these suppositories over the counter. If your child is younger than 2, consider consulting with your pediatrician to make sure you’re using the suppository correctly. You can try using it on your hand too after carefully reading instructions and if your child is older than 2.
Consider laxatives as your last resort if your baby is older than 6 months. There are laxatives made of psyllium powder or malt-barley extract that has shown as really good when it comes to softening the child’s stool. However, they are not recommended for babies, so you should always talk to your doctor if you have any plans to give your child laxatives.
When Should You Visit a Doctor?
You should consult with your pediatrician if your child didn’t poop for more than a day or two if other symptoms are present, such as:
- The baby looks irritable
- You think your child is experiencing abdominal pain
- Blood in the stool
- Baby’s constipation not getting any better after you taking steps to treat it
Usually, your pediatrician will recommend trying some of the home remedies too at the beginning. After a careful examination, if home remedies are not working, your doctor may prescribe medications. However, this happens very rarely and doctors usually won’t give medication to kids.
Never give any medication to your child without consulting with a doctor first. Ideally, you won’t be giving any medication at all.
Baby Planet Overview
Experiencing constipation is hard for your babies, but also for you as a parent too. However, some remedies help with this problem, and usually, they will have at least some positive effects. Keep in mind that you will have to be there with your child through this condition, so make sure you have knowledge of the topic and learn how you can help.
Make sure you always consult with your baby’s pediatrician to get the best advice on how to treat your baby’s constipation. Never give any medication to your child without consulting with a pediatrician first, and try using safe methods to help your kid.
- Constipation in Children, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov