When my baby didn’t poop for days, I was worried. I am sure there would be moms, who get/ got worried for the same mentioned. Lets see how to tackle constipation in babies.
If the baby is just on breastfeed, she can poop for about 7 times a day or doesn’t poop at all for up to 14 days. It’s considered completely normal, make sure the baby has 3-4 wet diapers a day though!! This is because the breast milk is used up fast due to the high metabolic rate and results in urine only, no poop.
How to know if my baby is constipated?
You can say your baby is constipated, if your baby
- Does not pass stool for 3 or more days
- Passes hard, dry stools one or more times a day
- Has abdominal pain and is struggling to pass stools
Causes of constipation in babies:
- Introduction to solid foods
It is not unlike for the babies to suffer from constipation when introduced to semi solids or solids. The reason for constipation during this phase is the transition, which means, a change within the digestive system.
Milk is easier to digest for the tiny systems than the solids like rice, fruits etc. Thus it is common for your baby to suffer (not necessarily, in all cases) from constipation during this period.
Some food items like bananas, apples and white bread can also lead to constipation. The thing you need to make sure is that your baby is well hydrated to avoid worsening the situation.
- Introduction to whole milk from breast-feed or formula milk
Even introduction to whole milk/ cow’s milk may result in constipation, as it is difficult to digest than the formula milk or breast milk.
Like in adults, dehydration also may cause constipation in babies. Have you read this earlier post of mine: Is Your Baby’s Daily Water Intake Enough?
- Formula feeding
Breastfed babies tend to suffer less from constipation as breast milk is very well balanced in carbohydrates and proteins. This means the total consumed volume of breast milk might get absorbed in babies. Thus, at times even if the baby misses the bowel movements for a few days, say for 7 to 10 days, it is considered normal in majority of the cases though consultation with your doctor is preferred.
The situation is different in formula fed babies as formula milk contains proteins that may not be digested by the baby and thus may lead to constipation/ hard stools.
Other causes of constipation may be diseases or abnormal conditions in which the baby’s digestive system fails to function normally. Some medicines, for example, iron tonics, are also known to cause constipation.
5 Ways to tackle constipation in babies:
If you know the cause of constipation in your baby, you can treat it in a better way. So, first look for the cause that makes your baby constipated. If you are unable to figure out the reason, let your baby’s doctor do that job.
Some of the natural ways to relieve constipation includes the intake of fruits and fruit juices, which are very effective as they are rich source of fiber and water.
If the baby is on solids and suffer from constipation, these measures can be taken.
#1. Give warm water to the baby at regular intervals , 1-2 tsp one time is more than enough
To treat constipated baby, it is always recommended to keep the baby well hydrated with fluids and to offer enough water (Make sure not to give excess liquids to the babies which may result in low intake of f
#2. Boil raisins in water and strain it out, this water can be given too
#3. Give papaya to the baby if he/ she is 6 months +
#4. Make oats a part of his / her food intake. The rich fibre in it helps here
#5. Give fruits / fruit juices of all fruits starting with the letter P
Fruits, especially starting with the letter “P”, for e.g. prunes, papaya, pears, and plums are believed to help tackling the issue. Dilute fruit juices with cooled boiled water before giving to your baby.
- Please refrain from giving various herbal oils (or oils like castor oil) to baby to relieve her from constipation
- Avoid giving kerala bananas or sweet potatoes as they could trigger constipation