As a parent, you likely observe your baby’s every laugh, and hiccup & cry for insights into their well-being. However, certain signs of a problem may be a bit more challenging to notice.
Bowel movements undergo considerable changes throughout your baby’s life. From time to time, these changes may signal that your baby is experiencing constipation. While it’s relatively rare in babies, infrequent pooping can cause confusion. To assist you, Dr. Khanjan Shah who provides the best pediatric care in Ahmedabad has explored a brief guide outlining the signs of constipation in babies and home remedies to address it. Keep reading to learn more!
What Is Baby Constipation?
While each baby is unique, and there’s a wide range of what’s considered normal in terms of bowel movements, many babies will poop after each feeding in the initial weeks of life.
After approximately 3 to 6 weeks of age, some breastfed babies might poop less frequently, even as infrequently as once a week. Breast milk generates almost no solid waste that needs elimination from the digestive system. Formula-fed babies typically have daily or every-other-day bowel movements.
In terms of texture, your baby’s stools should be soft, resembling peanut butter, under normal and regular circumstances. If your baby experiences hard, dry bowel movements that are challenging or painful to pass, he or she may be constipated. Additionally, constipated babies may have less frequent bowel movements than what’s typical for them.
How can you express that your baby is experiencing constipation?
If you find yourself worried about your baby’s irregular bowel movements, seek the answer to the following question:
- Is he or she fussier than usual?
- Is he or she experiencing increased spitting up?
- Is he or she having notably fewer bowel movements than usual?
- Are her stools harder than usual, and/or do they contain blood?
- Does he or she strain for more than 10 minutes when trying to poop without producing anything?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, there’s a possibility that your baby may be dealing with constipation.
What leads to constipation in babies?
Constipation in babies is primarily caused by their diet. Consider discussing the following potential reasons for your baby’s constipation with your pediatrician:
- Changing feeding methods: Transitioning from breastfeeding to infant formula, or vice versa, can lead to constipation.
- New baby formula: Some babies may have sensitive intestines, reacting to specific formula brands or preparation types.
- Dairy or soy allergy: Babies with milk allergies may experience constipation, excessive gas, and discomfort, necessitating evaluation by a doctor.
- Introduction of solid foods: When babies start consuming baby food, changes in poop color, texture, smell, and frequency may occur as their digestive systems adapt to new nutrients.
- Iron supplement: Iron-containing vitamins can result in hard, black-green pellets in stools, requiring dietary adjustments or treatments for infants on iron drops.
- Dehydration: Insufficient fluid intake can lead to dry and hard stools. Check for signs of dehydration, such as a dry and sticky mouth, decreased urination, and concentrated, smelly urine.
- Illness: During illness, changes in eating and drinking patterns can contribute to constipation in babies.
Effective Home Remedies for Baby Constipation by Best Pediatric Care in Ahmedabad:
Constipation is a common issue in babies and can be effectively treated using natural remedies. Consider the following safe methods:
- Offer a small amount of fruit juice: If your baby is at least one month old, providing a small amount of 100% apple or pear juice can help loosen stool. Opt for organic juice if possible. Get a consultation from the child specialist who provides the best pediatric care in Ahmedabad giving you a piece of advice on the child’s diet. They also offer dietary advice on ensuring sufficient fiber intake through fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
- Alter your baby’s formula: Changing to a different formula can help relieve constipation. Some infants experience softer stools with concentrate-based formula compared to powder-based, and vice versa.
- Give a bit of water: Depending on your baby’s age, offering 2 to 4 ounces of water might be helpful. Contact to best child hospital in Ahmedabad which provides the best pediatric care in Ahmedabad before introducing water.
- Provide a gentle massage: Conduct a bowel-moving massage by using your fingertips to draw an oval beneath your baby’s belly button. Move your fingers in a clockwise direction to follow the digestive tract. Alternatively, walk your fingertips diagonally to create an X across your baby’s belly.
- Try the thermometer trick: If other methods fail, you can insert a Vaseline-greased thermometer (or a cotton swab) one-half to one inch into your baby’s anus. This procedure is generally not painful, and babies often respond by pushing the object out, sometimes accompanied by passing stool.
Avoid the following remedies:
- Never give mineral oil, stimulant laxatives, or enemas to infants.
- Avoid offering honey or corn syrup as laxatives before your baby’s first birthday.
- Always consult your pediatrician before trying any remedy, even if your baby is over 12 months old.
What if your baby is expelling gas but not having a bowel movement?
Observing your baby passing gas without pooping may not be a cause for concern. Some babies experience gas between bowel movements without being constipated. In most instances, a baby’s gas and constipation tend to resolve naturally. Keep in mind that a baby’s digestive system is still developing, and it takes time for it to learn how to function.
When to Contact the Healthcare Provider?
Reach out to the hospital for children in Ahmedabad that provides the best pediatric care in Ahmedabad if you observe any of the following:
- Your baby appears irritable and experiences stomach pain, as indicated by pulling their legs up to their stomach and crying.
- Your baby encounters constipation, accompanied by vomiting, a bloated appearance in the belly, or signs of gas.
- Blood is noticed in their stool.
- Constipation persists without improvement despite treatment.
Bear in mind that your child may encounter difficulty, especially if they are scared or anxious about bowel movements. Maintaining a calm and relaxed manner is the most effective approach to assist your child in coping with constipation. Employ encouragement, reassurance, and praise to demonstrate to your child that using the toilet is not a stressful experience.
The treatment of constipation may take several months to resolve, even with the use of prescribed laxatives. It is crucial to persist until your child’s constipation is resolved and continue implementing preventive measures to prevent its recurrence.