Caring for a newborn is rewarding but can also be as wild, draining, and as worrisome as they say.
You’ll be stressed for all types of shit, including when they don’t pass one for a long time (pardon the pun).
It’s alarming to see them straining to pass motion. Seeing them crying while struggling to poop is enough to get any new parents worried, which is pretty understandable.
But don’t worry about it too much. It’s perfectly normal for them to get constipated every now and then.
Some can go for days or even more than a week without pooping and they will still be fine.
But there are certain signs to look and worry for if your baby hasn’t done any bowel movements for a long time.
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How Can I Tell If My Baby is Constipated?
Here are common symptoms to look out for in a constipated infant:
- Less bowel movement
Your baby may have fewer bowel motions than normal if they are constipated.
Formula-fed babies might go 3 or more days without passing a stool!
- Dry, hard stools
Constipated infants may have dry pellet-like stools that are challenging to pass.
- Straining to pass motion
Your little one might struggle while having a bowel movement.
They might start groaning and getting upset and they might even cry when passing motion.
They might also take longer than usual to push out and pass stool.
- Bloated belly
Your baby might also be gassy and appear to have a bloated belly
- Excessive crying
Constipation can make newborns uncomfortable and be in pain at times, causing them to become fussier than usual.
- Blood in stool
This can happen if your baby has passed an abnormally large stool, big enough to create a tear or tiny fissure around the anus.
Which can lead to a bloody stool.
Baby Constipation: What’s Normal and What’s Not?
Knowing how frequently your baby typically passes stool might help you determine whether they are constipated or not.
A breastfed baby’s bowel movements during the first three months could range from 5 to 40 per week.
Some can go up to three, four, or even a week without pooping because they absorb so much of the milk they consume.
But according to a Johns Hopkins healthcare expert, as long as their stool is soft and their bowel movement is painless and blood-free, they should be fine.
From 6 to 12 months, both breastfed and formula-fed newborns will undergo an average of two bowel movements per day.
Remember that these figures are just average numbers and can vary widely.
Causes of Infant Constipation
Constipation in babies can be caused by the following:
A change in diet, such as switching to solid food (doing baby-led weaning) can cause constipation.
Or changing your baby’s formula milk or switching from breastmilk to formula, might also result in constipation.
- Low Fluid Intake
Consuming insufficient fluids can cause stools to be dry and harder to pass, causing constipation.
A baby that’s not feeling well will probably eat or drink less, which can lead to infant constipation.
- Lack of physical activity
Constipation may be more common in young children who are not physically active.
- Medical conditions
Illnesses including Hirschsprung’s disease and an underactive thyroid gland can both contribute to constipation.
If you’re breastfeeding and taking high-dose iron supplements or certain pain medications, you can pass that to your baby, which can lead to constipation.
Premature babies tend to have underdeveloped digestive systems, which can impact the processing of food in their bodies, which leads to constipation.
10 Ways on How to Help a Constipated Baby
Here are several infant constipation reliefs and remedies and ways how to make your baby poop:
- Gently massage the abdomen
Do the following massages to your newborn to relieve them of their constipation:
- Gently massaging your baby’s abdomen in a clockwise direction
- Stroking downwards from their rib cage past the belly button
- Holding their knees and feet together and gently pushing them toward their belly
- Do leg exercises
Lift your little ones’ legs and make them do cycling motions in the air.
- Try a warm bath
A warm bath may help relax your baby and stimulate their bowels.
Just make sure to always prepare for them to poop when bathing them!
- Change your diet
Breastfeeding can pass food to your baby that can cause them to become constipated.
So be wary of your diet and cut out items such as dairy.
This might require some trial and error but better just to try it out and see if it will have any effect on your baby.
If your baby is formula-fed, you may try out a different kind of formula milk, provided that you’ve consulted it with your pediatrician.
- Offer high-fiber foods and fruits
If your baby is eating solid foods, offer them high-fiber foods, such as pureed prunes, pears, and peas, to help stimulate the bowels.
You can also include apples, whole grains, peaches, and plums in their diet.
- Encourage fluid intake
Young infants do not require additional drinks because your breast milk or milk formula serves as their main source of hydration.
However, a tiny amount of extra liquid may be helpful for babies who are constipated.
When a baby is over 2-4 months old and constipated, pediatricians may suggest a modest amount of water or, very rarely, fruit juice to be added to your baby’s diet.
- Taking a rectal temperature
Taking a baby’s rectal temperature using a clean, lubricated thermometer may help them pass motion when they are constipated.
It’s vital to avoid using this strategy frequently because it can aggravate your infant’s constipation.
Your baby may begin to associate pooping with discomfort, which would make them fuss or scream more when doing so.
Talk to your doctor first before using this technique to help your baby poop.
- Gripe water/ gas drops
Although gripe water and gas drop treatments are usually regarded as safe for babies, there is little proof that they are effective in treating infant constipation.
However, a lot of parents claim that the former helps to relieve colic and other stomach issues and the latter does wonders for getting rid of gassy problems in their infants.
Just remember to always consult with your doctor before trying these on your baby.
This has become more and more popular recently.
Many parents vouch for infant-safe stomach and probiotic drops that can help balance the healthy and harmful bacteria in their baby’s digestive tract.
Some studies also suggest that using probiotics as a preventative measure may aid newborns with certain types of digestive issues. However, the evidence for this isn’t conclusive.
Just take note to consult your pediatrician before giving your baby any over-the-counter or prescription medications for constipation.
If your baby’s constipation persists or they are experiencing other symptoms, such as abdominal pain or vomiting, it is important to speak with a healthcare provider for proper diagnosis and treatment.
If none of the above home remedies for constipation are working, your doctor might recommend over-the-counter medications or other treatments such as laxatives, enemas, or suppositories, to help alleviate your baby’s constipation.
When To Worry/ Call the Doctor
Better call or visit your doctor should these things happen to your baby:
- Getting weaker
- Excessive crying for 3 days or more
- Your baby is younger than 2 months
- Belly is bloated
- Stomach pain – crying and pulling their legs up to their stomach
- Home remedies are not working
- A significant amount of blood in their stool or diaper
FAQ on Constipation Relief for Infants
How can I stimulate my baby to poop?
You can stimulate your baby to poop by giving them a belly massage, doing leg exercises, giving them a warm bath, changing yours and their diet (if applicable), etc.
Takeaway: How to Help a Constipated Baby Poop
Constipation in babies is fairly common, so don’t panic or assume you did something wrong.
Just try out first the mentioned home constipation remedies above before calling or visiting your doctor.
I hope your baby will be able to poop painlessly using the above-mentioned infant constipation reliefs and remedies here!
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