Babies generally stay constipated if they are feeding on formula milk. Breastfed babies have less possibilities of constipation since it has the perfect balance of fat and proteins.. If your baby gets cranky and irritated or looks uncomfortable, then check on your baby as it can be a sign of constipation. Although there is no set rule for babies to pass stool, yet if you feel that the count has gone down, especially after a change in the baby’s diet, this could be due to constipation. Your new born baby is constipated if he/she is passing solid stool less than once in about 2-3 days. It also means that the baby is not eating properly. For babies who have started solid diet, the symptoms of constipation are-
- Abdominal pain
- Hard abdomen
- Difficulty in passing the stool
- Hard Stool
Constipation might be caused due to lack of fluid intake. At times the formula milk is not prepared with right water proportion, which may result in constipation. Also when the baby is not getting the right amount of fibre intake like cereals, wholegrain, fruits or vegetables, he might be constipated. Constipation problem can also be genetic. It is better to breastfeed your baby than giving him / her formula feed, as breast milk is light and easy to digest. Formula feeds should be used or changed after consulting the doctor.
HOW CAN YOU HELP THE BABY-
• Warm Bath- a relaxing good warm bath can help the baby get rid of pain due to constipation. The relaxation might help the baby to pass the stool easily. While giving them a bath, massage gently on their tummy.
• Fruit Puree or Juice- constipation is generally caused due to lack of fluid intake. Fruit juice or puree can help the baby get rid of constipation. Apple or pears are effective fruits for constipated babies below four months.
• Fibre Intake- when babies are above four months, try giving them foods with high fiber content like, cereals, fruits, beans etc.
• Water- Give your infant fluids especially in the form of water.
• Prefer Breast milk over formula milk.
• Leg Exercises- Try bicycling your baby’s leg as it may help the stool to move down. Limit foods that can cause constipation, low food fibre like white rice, bread, bananas and junk food. If the baby crawls, encourage the same.
The diet of the baby should be checked and followed according to the needs. Proper diet of the baby can prevent the problem of constipation. If the change in diet does not help the baby from getting rid of constipation, then consult your doctor for medicines. Use suppositories or enemas after consulting your doctor because the stool passes without infant’s effort, and infants can become habitual to the use of enemas so it is generally used as a last resort if the baby is constipated for many days.
Always visit your doctor if you find blood in stool or the baby loses control over bowel movements or has fever. Do not ignore the constipation problem of the baby, if the stool gets old, it gets hard and it becomes painful for the baby to pass it. The baby might get irritated and cranky and may cry a lot, but do not lose your patience or tolerance level and try to understand your baby and help him/her get rid of this problem. With your help and attention, you can provide relief to your baby.