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Baby’s Constipation: Everything You Need To Know

Baby’s Constipation: Everything You Need To Know
  (Toa Heftiba / unsplash)

Did your baby poop yesterday, today, or even the last three days? You might be surprised to learn that constipation is something a few babies go through, but it frequently happens in this age group. It is hard for the parents of the babies because they don't know what to do about it, and it tends to be quite uncomfortable for the baby since they may require a few newborn baby girl clothes changes, too. The following information should give you plenty of help in dealing with it effectively and finding a quick solution.

What Is Baby’s Constipation?

Baby constipation is when the feces (poop) in your baby's intestines become hard and dry. This can make it harder for your baby to pass stools. Constipation isn't normal for babies, as they usually have soft, formed stools that are easy to wash. If you notice that your baby has hard, dry stools and is struggling to poop, this could be a sign of constipation or something more serious.

Frequent feeds may help prevent baby constipation because they encourage the muscles in the bowel wall to push out food faster than usual. 

Signs and Symptoms of Constipation

  • Infrequent stools that are painful or hard to pass, 
  • Crying and straining during bowel movements, 
  • Blood in the stool and abdominal pain or swelling.
  • She seems uncomfortable after feeding.
  • Your baby refuses nappy changes.
  • Rectal prolapse, where part of her intestines protrudes outside her body through the anus (this is usually seen as a bulge). If this happens, you must get help right away!

Causes of Baby’s Constipation

Poor diet

Babies who eat too many refined carbohydrates (including white bread and pasta) and not enough dietary fiber may have constipation.

Anal sphincter dysfunction (ASD)

This is a condition in which the muscles around the anus are weak, causing stool to leak out before it's ready to come out. In severe cases, ASD can cause fecal incontinence (inability to control bowel movements). It's more common in babies than adults because their anal sphincters aren't fully developed at birth.

Inadequate fiber intake

Eating foods rich in fiber, such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains, makes stools soft and easy to pass. If a child is constipated all the time or seems unable to go to the bathroom regularly (more than once a day), this could be a sign of something serious such as Hirschsprung's disease.

Early introduction of solid foods

Solids should not be introduced until your baby is four months old and only one food at a time. In addition, you should wait until your baby can sit up with support before offering pureed foods because it will be easier for them to keep these new foods down once they have been swallowed.

Solutions to Baby’s Constipation

Balanced diet

For babies six months old and older, feed them a balanced diet that includes fruits, vegetables, meat, and dairy products (such as yogurt). As your child ages, they may also need to drink more water—up to eight cups daily for an adult male.

Massages

You can also try baby massage: gently rub your baby's tummy in circular motions as if you are giving them an abdominal massage. This helps stimulate the colon, moving waste faster through the body. Be sure not to press hard enough on the stomach area that it causes discomfort for your newborn. 

Breastfeeding

If your infant seems uncomfortable after eating, consider breastfeeding more frequently until they have passed stool. 

Fresh fruits

Gradually feed your baby fresh fruits and vegetables like bananas, applesauce, and plums.

Some babies refuse solids after having been fed breast milk exclusively for several weeks, so don't worry if this happens—keep offering them solids every few days until they accept them!

What Not to Do When Your Baby Is Constipating

Pushing too hard

Sure, your baby has trouble passing stool, but don't use suppositories or enemas to force her to poop. This can make things worse and cause hemorrhoids in the future.

Self-medication

Don't use laxatives or other medications that a doctor doesn't prescribe to treat constipation in babies, as they may cause dangerous side effects for the baby's health.

Final Words

It's important to note that baby constipation isn't a medical condition. It is something that can be easily remedied, though, by making small, gentle changes to your child's diet. So, observe your children and pay attention to the signs and symptoms of constipation. If you notice these changes in your baby, then they probably need a little help getting things moving – so don't be too nervous; call your pediatrician right away.

Alex Smith

Alex Smith, author

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