About Baby Constipation
Constipation in babies is a common phenomenon and newborn babies are more prone to constipation. On the part of parents, it is important to know that the pooping schedule of the babies can swing both sides, i.e. the child will either excrete after every meal and in some case will retain the excreta for even 1 week. It depends upon the physical health of the child and the diet the baby is on. Though constipation is rare in children on liquid diets, but it occurs in some cases.
In breastfeed babies, it is the consistency of the stools, which plays a crucial role in defining constipation. Rather than the speedy and pasty stools, the stools of a constipated baby would look more like small clay balls; asserts Dr. Jane Morton, M.D professor of pediatrics at the Stanford University of Medicine.
According to Dr. Morton, if the baby is not pooping even on the fifth day in a row, this variably is a sign of constipation. Irrespective of whether the baby is on formula or breast milk diet, if the baby does not excrete bright yellow stool (not the dark green and brown), then this is a case of baby constipation. He also relates the cause of the baby not getting enough food.
However, the frequency of excretions cannot be taken as the sole clues of constipation. If the baby is pooping hard or is facing difficulty in pooping, then this is also termed as constipation. Also, if the baby is making straining faces, and has a tight or tense belly which looks swollen, then it indicates towards baby constipation.
Causes of Baby Constipation or Constipation in Small Children
According to Dr. Morton, babies or children on liquid diet rarely get constipated, but yes, there are chances that a child on a liquid diet can face some pooping issues. For instance, if the baby is facing some milk intolerance issues or an allergy from milk, then the baby can get constipation. Most of the times, a diet which specifically contains milk based formula causes baby constipation, especially if the dairy product inclusion in mother`s diet is passed on through to breast milk. This also gets carried on to other types of dairy products which the mother consumes, especially food items like yoghurt and cheese.
When the baby is 6 months old, the pediatricians suggest the parents to give small quantities of easy digestible food items to get the excretion of the child in flow. This means what the baby consumes actually determines what gets out of his body. So, in simple words, what a child eats or is given to eat is primarily the cause of baby constipation.
Home Remedies to Treat Baby Constipation
If, as a parent, you are noticing some disruptions in the pooping schedule of your baby or if your child is constipated, you can try these home remedies to render the baby some relief from constipation:
Switching the Milk helps in Relieving Baby Constipation: If the baby is specifically breastfed, then as a mother, you can try bringing some changes to your diet because what you eat passes on through the breast milk to the child, which can cause the baby constipation. Changing the mother's diet can help in relieving the baby constipation.
Solid Foods Can Ease Baby Constipation: It is true that solid food in the diet of babies can cause constipation; however, it is also true that few solid foods can help in clearing constipation. Try adding these high fibered foods in your baby's diet to relieve baby constipation:
- Skinless apples
Increase Fluid Intake helps in Relieving Baby Constipation: Water and milk are two requisites for keeping the bowel movements of the baby in flow. You can enhance your baby's fluid intake by adding prune and pear juice to the baby's diet, which will speed up the contractions of the colon and eventually help in proper bowel movement. If the juice is slightly sweet, you can also dilute it with a cup of water.
Exercises to Alleviate Baby Constipation: If the child is active, then it is helpful in relieving constipation as any type of movements of the child help in the contraction and relaxation of muscles, which in turn help in regulation of bowel movements. Even if the child is not walking, but is making other movements, such as leg bicycles etc. in place of walking, then these are also helpful in relieving baby constipation.
Massage to get rid of Baby Constipation: A very gentle massage given on the baby's stomach and lower abdomen area stimulates the bowel movements and helps in getting rid of baby constipation. If baby child is suffering from constipation, then do this massage 4 to 5 times a day until the child gets a bowel movement.
What to Do When Home Remedies Fail in Relieving Baby Constipation?
Bringing up some changes in the diet of child and mother along with some other home remedies generally brings relief to the constipation of the baby, but even after all these remedies, the child is facing tough time in excreting the wastage of the body, then there are some other methods to ease the baby constipation and they are:
Rectum Stimulation for Treating Baby Constipation: Use a rectal thermometer or a cotton swab and gently press on the rectum of the child. The stimulation in this region produces a very quick bowel movement and relieves the baby constipation.
Glycerin Suppository for Treating Baby Constipation: This is used when the baby is having difficulty in passing stool due to a rectal rectum tear and red blood can be seen in the stools passed by the child. Then in such cases, glycerin suppository is used for easing the movement of bowel. You can purchase this over the counter and use the technique at home; however, if you are using it for the first time, get in touch with a doctor or an experienced person who has done it before.
Laxatives for Treating Baby Constipation: Laxatives help in easing up the constipation in babies and can be purchased over the counter. Laxatives, which are made from malt-barley, extract and psyllium powder help in softening up the child's stool, which helps in the bowel movement.
Talk To Your Doctor
If there prevails any sort of confusion within, you should approach your pediatrician unhesitatingly. In most of the cases, the child's constipation will clear by using just 2-3 natural home remedies. However, in cases where the baby constipation persists, then it is important to get in touch with the child's doctor who might prescribe some medications to relieve the constipation and the accompanying uneasiness in the child.