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Constipation in babies

Constipation in babies
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Last Updated: 11 February 2020

We are sure that all of you know this already, but just in case we will mention that constipation is a condition where a person has difficulties with emptying the bowels. Even if the frequency of bowel movements varies from one person to another, we believe it is free to say that constipation isn’t an uncommon issue for adults. Many people have experienced it at least once. There are a lot of reasons why an adult person gets constipated, and while some can be serious, the most common causes are poor diet and lack of exercise.

Things are looking a bit differently when we are talking about constipation in babies. Within 24 – 48 hours after birth, babies are supposed to pass the first stool, called meconium, and the color is kind of greenish. After it turns into a runny yellow stool and your kid will be dirtying diapers at least three times per day during the first weeks. However, as the digestive system starts getting used to doing what it is supposed to, you may notice changes in your baby’s bowel movement. While some babies continue emptying the bowels daily, others will poop every few days. This is pretty standard, and we will not characterize it as baby constipation.

Constipation in babies is not common, but when it happens, it presents a concern for parents. We feel that it is useful to say that in the majority of cases, there isn’t anything to worry about when a baby gets constipated. But we do understand that it is better to get informed and give yourself peace of mind. That’s why we will talk about how long can a baby go without pooping what is causing baby constipation, how to recognize the constipation symptoms, and what can be constipation relief.

WHAT ARE CAUSES OF BABY CONSTIPATION?

So while young babies don’t get constipated so often, constipation in kids that are a bit older is an issue, both parents and doctors often encounter. Usually, it starts happening when you introduce solid food to kids. Here are the most common causes of children constipation.

CAUSES OF NEWBORN CONSTIPATION

Keep in mind that constipation in breastfeeding baby isn’t very likely. Breast milk is very easily digestible, so if your newborn is exclusively breastfed, chances are they will not experience constipation before they start eating solid food. If it nevertheless occurs, the reasons may be:

What are causes of baby constipation
  • You aren’t giving enough liquid to your baby
  • Something causes them to be stressed
  • Sickness – stomach bug will cause vomiting and diarrhea at first, which can result in constipation in days to follow.
  • In rare cases, underlying medical conditions

However, it is useful to know that formula-fed newborns are more likely to get constipated. It is still rare, but formula can harden poop much more than breast milk. Lactose intolerance can also cause baby constipation. If this is the case, you should give to a baby milk-based formula, or consume dairy if you are breastfeeding.

CAUSES OF INFANT CONSTIPATION

Similarly to newborns, infants also rarely get constipated. Around six months, when they begin to eat other food following a doctor’s recommendation, infants can get constipated. Few foods can cause constipation:

  • Bananas
  • Rice cereal
  • Cow’s milk
  • Lack of fiber in the diet

If you aren’t giving any of this to you, kid, maybe you should look for the reason in the previous section. In very rare cases, a more severe health issue such as cystic fibrosis or hypothyroidism can cause problems with bowel movements.

CAUSES OF TODDLER CONSTIPATION

While some toddlers go to the toilet every day, others may not go for a number two in days. Parents are often overwhelmed with panic when they realize that their precious babies didn’t poop for 2 – 3 or even more days, but usually, there isn’t anything to worry about. Let’s take a look at the most common causes of toddler constipation.

  • Diet high in processed foods, sweets, dairy
  • Lack of fruit, vegetables, whole grains
  • Holding it in
  • Refusing to go to the toilet because of pain
  • Changes in routine
  • Lack of exercise
  • Sickness – stomach bug, cold
  • Certain medication
  • In rare cases medical conditions like cerebral palsy or problems with intestines, anus and so on

CAUSES OF KIDS CONSTIPATION

In older kids, constipation is a relatively common issue, and it is rarely a sign of something serious. The usual reasons are:

  • Diet. Kids who eat processed and junk food, a lot of sweets, white bread, meat, and so on are likely to suffer from constipation frequently.
  • Medicines that are used for iron deficiency or antidepressants often cause a problem
  • Some kids don’t go to the bathroom even if they feel the need because they don’t want to use a public toilet, or to go to the toilet in someone else’s house because they are shy
  • Stress
  • Some kids develop Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) which can be triggered by greasy or spicy food

SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF BABY CONSTIPATION

INFREQUENT BOWEL MOVEMENTS

If children have less than three bowel movements per week, it can be considered as constipation. In this case, kids will often have stomach pain as well. Also if kids are telling you that they have a feeling that not all stool has passed it probably means they are constipated

Sings and symptoms of baby constipation

STRAINING

Straining can be normal for babies because it isn’t simple to pass the stool when you are lying down. But if you notice straining in older children who are already potty trained or if it happens too often and nothing comes out, it is likely a sign that a child is constipated. You have to think about baby constipation remedies.

BLOOD IN BABY STOOL

Straining can cause anal fissures, and that is the main reason why you suddenly notice blood in the baby’s feces. It usually looks like a red streak outside of poop. When this happens, the first thing you should think of is constipation and look for ways for baby constipation relief.

HARD BELLY

If your child’s belly feels hard and distended, you should consult a pediatrician. Most likely, the kid is constipated or has accumulated gas in the case of bloated baby belly, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.

REFUSING TO EAT

A constipated kid will probably have a stomach ache, and won’t feel hungry without being able to explain why she or he doesn’t want to eat. So if you notice that your child, who typically eats everything around suddenly, refuses to eat, it wouldn’t hurt to pay attention to their bowel movements.

HOME REMEDIES FOR BABY CONSTIPATION

Home remedies for baby constipation

EXERCISES

You know how when you start exercising your whole body gets worked up and often you have to go to the toilet after a good run? Well, it’s the same with babies or children. Inactivity slows down the bowels. But when the situation is that babies can’t even crawl still, you have to help them exercise, and this can be an excellent baby constipation treatment. You can move the baby’s legs to simulate cycling, and this can speed the bowels serve as newborn constipation relief.

MASSAGE

Another way to help your kid is to make a baby constipation massage. There are several ways how you can gently massage your baby’s belly.

  • Make clockwise circular movements around the abdomen with your finger
  • Go with fingers around the belly button
  • Hold the feet and knees together and push towards the belly
  • Go from ribs to under the umbilicus with the tip of your finger

WARM BATH

A warm bath can be kids constipation quick relief since hot water can relax the abdominal muscles, and things will start moving again. You can also give a massage after a bath.

CHANGE FORMULA

It is essential to know that breast milk is best baby food.If you are not breastfeeding and the baby gets constipated, it can be of the formula you are using. Some formulas are milk-based, and your kids might be allergic or intolerant to milk protein. In this case, changing the formula can be constipation relief for kids. You can consider using organic baby formula since it is more digestible than standard formulas.

CHANGE MOM’S DIET

Maybe there is something that you eat that is causing baby constipation. If the kid is intolerant to milk protein, then it can be cheese milk or other dairy products that are part of your diet. Try changing your diet and see if this is working as constipation relief.

FRUIT JUICE

Juice, from apple or prune, plays an essential role in diet for constipated child. Of course, it is not recommended to give it to newborns, but once they turn two months, they can have small amounts. Bowels receive more liquid to digest the sugar which ultimately also dissolves the poop.

WHEN DO YOU HAVE TO VISIT A DOCTOR?

When do you have to visit a doctor

If your child, who usually has regular bowel movements, didn’t poop in two days, and there are some worrisome signs, you should consult a pediatrician. Signs that you have to pay attention to are blood in the stool, irritability, and stomach pain.

A doctor will probably advise you to try some of the home remedies for constipation. If nothing of those works, then they will examine the baby and prescribe best baby probiotics or laxatives to help the child. The doctor may advise you to have the best baby first aid kit at home as well.

CONCLUSION

Even if, in most cases, baby constipation isn’t something that should cause parents to panic, it is annoying and painful. That’s why it is useful to be informed about all the ways of helping your child. We, at top-mom.com, are always happy when we can offer you new and exciting texts. We hope to see you again soon. In the meantime, we would like to hear back from you. Do you have some ideas on how to deal with baby constipation that proved to be useful, but we didn’t mention them here?

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