Are you worried about your baby being constipated? Do you see a change in his/her bowel movements? Find out here what causes constipation in babies and what you can do to ensure your baby poops with ease.
It is important to know what will be considered as constipation in babies. Bowel movements in babies will change a lot over a course of time. Breastfed babies may not have bowel movement every day because most of the nutrients are completely absorbed. Formula-fed babies may have 3 to 4 bowel movements a day. This varies from one baby to another because it depends on what your baby eats and drinks, how active they are and how quickly they digest food. So, it isn’t always something you did that caused constipation in your little one.
In general, if your baby goes more than a few days without a bowel movement, then it is considered constipation. However, frequency is not the only way to determine that your baby is constipated. If he/she is having difficulty in pooping and his/her poop is hard, it may lead to small streaks of blood to appear in the stools because of the anal walls being stretched. This is a sure sign of constipation. Your baby might also refuse to eat when constipated.
What might be causing constipation?
For a baby on an all-liquid diet, it is very rare to have constipation unless the baby is having difficulty digesting the nutrients present in the milk. In which case, consult your doctor to help aid your baby’s bowel movements.
At around 6 months, solid foods are introduced in a baby’s diet. This can fluctuate your baby’s bowel movements and also cause changes in the form and colour of the poop. The type of food that you introduce to your baby matters. Generally, you might start with a cereal or a fruit like banana. It is necessary for you to understand your baby’s eating habits and how he/she reacts to different foods. He/she might digest the cereal easily, but may not be able to digest the banana because, up until this point, his/her tummy was not used to digesting anything other than milk.
How to treat constipation?
Gently rub your baby’s tummy, making circles in clockwise direction. Take care not to press too hard. A massage will soothe him/her and help her stomach muscles relax.
If your baby has started crawling, encourage him/her to crawl around more. If your baby is still too small, then try moving his/her legs around like he/she is riding a bicycle, while he/she is lying on his/her back.
Even if your baby’s primary source of nutrition is liquid-based, that is milk, you still need to provide your baby with water. Especially if they are constipated, make sure to increase the water intake by half a cup to flush the bowels.
4. Changing the formula
If your baby is formula fed, try changing the formula powder used after consulting your doctor. It might be so that your baby is sensitive to certain ingredients present in the formula.
5. High-fiber diet
If you have started giving your baby solid foods, then consider adding ones that are high in fiber, such as skinless apples, pears and peaches. These are known to help bowel movements occur more frequently.
6. Warm bath
The warm water will help your baby relax if he/she is feeling agitated, allowing his/her body to let go off what he/she is holding in.
Try seeking medical attention if you feel none of the above techniques worked. Your baby will be prescribed with some over-the-counter medicine.