Infant Constipation: Causes, Symptoms And Remedies

Many parents worry about their baby not pooping enough, not because handling poop is some parenting sport, but constipation can make your infant really uncomfortable and fussy, no parent wants that. Seeing your baby helpless and uncomfortable can be really heartbreaking, so how can you tell when your infant is constipated, signs to look out for and remedies?

READ ALSO: 5 Ways To Prevent Constipation in Toddlers

What Is Infant Constipation? 

Constipation in infants occur when they have difficulty passing stools or they have hard stools. Passing stools may also be accompanied with pain or your infant may be unable to have a bowel movement even after straining for 10 minutes .

Constipation In Breastfed And  Formula Fed Babies

Constipation is rarely a problem with breastfed babies because breastmilk is almost completely digested and utilized for baby’s nourishment, this leaves very little “leftovers” as waste that could possibly amount to constipation.

Formula fed babies on the other hand tend to be constipated more frequently because formula is not as easily digested or readily absorbed by a baby’s body.

However, breastfed babies when introduced to solid foods may become truly constipated from time to time

READ ALSO: Your Baby’s Poo: What’s OK And What Is Not With Photos

Causes Of Infant Constipation 

  • Introduction of solid foods can cause breastfed babies to have bouts of constipation.
  • Low fibre diets when solids are introduced.
  • Diets of excessive dairy products (yoghurt, cheese, milk).
  • Foods like bananas, rice, toast, and pasta may contribute or cause constipation, simply because they are binding foods.

Signs Of Infant Constipation

Babies normally strain to poop; this is no sign that your child is constipated but there are other ways to determine if your child is having a hard time pooping. See below;

  • If your baby is overly cranky or irritable, he may be constipated.
  • The most obvious sign could be if your baby is having excessively less frequent bowel movements .
  • Your baby’s stools may be  unusually hard, blood stained and dry.
  • if your baby strains more than 10 minutes without any luck passing poop, he is constipated.
  • Belly pain and bloating.
  • Traces of liquid or stool in your child’s underwear.
  • Pain when passing stools.

READ ALSO: 5 Strange Things That Babies Do But Are Normal

Things You Can Do To Relieve Infant Constipation 

Tummy Massage: Gently massage and rub baby’s tummy in clockwise direction. Place your hands at baby’s navel and massage in circular motion, moving your hands out and away from the navel.

Bicycle Legs: Lie your baby on his back and lightly hold his tiny legs in half-bent position. Gentle begin to move your baby’s legs as if riding a bicycle. Alternate this with tummy massage.

A Warm Bath: Some experts suggest a warm bath could help loosen up hard poop and cause a bowel movement,,while drying your baby’s body, give a tummy massage.

Give Pear Or Apple Juice: According to a post adapted from a 2012 publication of American Academy of Pediatrics,

“After the first month of life, if you think your baby is constipated, you can try giving him or her a little apple or pear juice.

The sugars in these fruit juices aren’t digested very well, so they draw fluid into the intestines and help loosen stool.

As a rule of thumb, you can give 1 ounce a day for every month of life up to about 4 months (a 3-month-old baby would get 3 ounces)…

Once your infant is taking solids you can try vegetables and fruits, especially that.

If these dietary changes don’t help, it’s time to call your child’s pediatrician”.

Never resort to treating your child of constipation if you are not sure that he is constipated and for emphasis, if home remedies do not improve your child’s constipation, seek advice from your pediatrician.

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