What Causes Constipation in Babies and How to Relief

If you’re a parent, you probably watch your child’s every laugh, hiccup, and cry for cues about their health. Some signs of a problem, on the other hand, can be more difficult to detect. Bowel movements, for example, will change dramatically throughout your baby’s life. Those changes may occasionally indicate that your baby is constipated.

Constipation in babies is a common problem. A constipated baby has infrequent bowel movements or hard, dry stools.
Common causes include early toilet training and changes in diet. Fortunately, most cases of constipation in babies are temporary.
Encouraging your child to make simple dietary changes such as eating more fiber-rich fruits and vegetables and drinking more water can go a long way toward alleviating constipation.

Continue reading to learn about what causes constipation in babies symptoms, causes, treatment, and more.

Symptoms of Constipation in Babies

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A baby who only consumes breast milk may not have bowel movements on a daily basis. Almost all of the nutrients are frequently absorbed. This is quite common. In fact, babies who only consume breast milk are almost never constipated. Formula-fed babies, on the other hand, may have three or four bowel movements per day, or once every few days.

Nonetheless, normal bowel movement patterns in healthy babies vary greatly and are greatly influenced by the type of milk, whether solids have been introduced, and what specific foods are consumed. Understanding the symptoms of constipation can assist you in detecting a potential problem before it becomes a major issue.

  • Infrequent stools that are difficult to pass
  • Straining more than normal to have a bowel movement
  • Stools formed like small, hard small pebbles, stools that are soft and mushy; stools that are wide and large
  • Liquid stool (like diarrhea) that may be passing around solid stool that stays inside
  • Abdomen (belly) swollen with gas
  • Painful cramps 

What Cause Constipation in Babies

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Constipation most commonly occurs when waste or stool moves too slowly through the digestive tract, causing the stool to become hard and dry. When a baby is around 6 months old, pediatricians frequently give parents the go-ahead to introduce a variety of foods. The type of poop your baby produces is largely determined by what he or she eats. Constipation can be caused by a variety of foods. Pediatricians usually suggest starting with your ABCs: applesauce, bananas, and cereal. Too much of any of these, especially rice cereal, can lead to health problems. When you begin introducing table foods, it may become even more difficult to identify the source of constipation.

Many factors can contribute to constipation in children, including:

  1. Withholding. Your child may ignore the urge to have a bowel movement because he or she is afraid of the toilet or does not want to interrupt play. Some children withhold when they are away from home because they are uneasy using public restrooms. Withholding can also be caused by painful bowel movements caused by large, hard stools. If pooping hurts, your child may try to avoid repeating the distressing experience.
  2. Toilet training issues. If you start toilet training too soon, your child may rebel and refuse to use the toilet. If toilet training becomes a battle of wills, a voluntary decision to ignore the urge to poop can quickly turn into an involuntary habit that is difficult to change.
  3. Allergy to cow’s milk. Constipation can occur as a result of a cow’s milk allergy or from consuming too many dairy products (cheese and cow’s milk).
  4. Routine changes. Changes in your child’s routine, such as travel, hot weather, or stress, can all have an impact on bowel function. Children are also more prone to constipation when they first begin school outside the home.
  5. Dietary changes. Constipation can be caused by a lack of fiber-rich fruits and vegetables, as well as a lack of fluid in your child’s diet. When children transition from an all-liquid diet to one that includes solid foods, they are more likely to become constipated.

How to Treat Constipation in Babies

Change in Formula or Mom’s Diet

A change in formula or in Mom’s diet may aid in the treatment of constipation in formula-fed and breastfed babies, respectively. Solid foods, which are frequently the cause of constipation, can also be the cure. Several fruits and vegetables, such as pear and broccoli, can help you get back on track, as can fruit juice and water. If a diet change isn’t working, consult your pediatrician before attempting other treatments. The doctor may recommend rectal stimulation with a cotton swab or a rectal thermometer. This usually results in a bowel movement within a few minutes of stimulation.

RELATED: 5 Best Milk Formula For Your Little One’s Nourishment In Malaysia

Dietary changes

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Offer your baby a small amount of water or a daily serving of 100 percent apple, prune, or pear juice in addition to usual feedings. These juices contain sorbitol, a sweetener that acts as a laxative. Start with 2 to 4 ounces (about 60 to 120 milliliters), and experiment to determine whether your baby needs more or less. If your baby is eating solid foods, try pureed peas or prunes, which contain more fiber than other fruits and vegetables. Offer whole wheat, barley, or multigrain cereals, which contain more fiber than rice cereal.

RELATED: The Best 5 Organic Baby Food In Malaysia

Encourage exercise

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Leg bicycle for baby

Movement speeds up digestion, which can help move things through the body more quickly. If your child isn’t walking yet, leg bicycles may be helpful. Gentle stomach and lower-abdomen massages may stimulate the bowels to pass a bowel movement. Do several massages throughout the day, until your child has a bowel movement.

Consult your pediatrician.

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If you are unsure or concerned at any point, contact your child’s paediatrician. In almost all cases, your child’s constipation will resolve on its own or with the assistance of a natural treatment or two. If those strategies do not work, consulting with your doctor for advice or suggestions can be beneficial. Your doctor will also be able to assist you in recognising other signs and symptoms (such as fever) that may indicate a larger problem that requires medical treatment.

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