Complete Baby Constipation Guide with Best Home Remedies, Signs & Symptoms
How to Help Your Baby Through Constipation: Zulily’s Guide to Caring for a Constipated Baby
When it comes to a new baby, many things are unpredictable. Baby’s poop is no different. Baby poop is impacted by a number of things: age, type of feeding, digestion patterns, and activity. Each baby will poop on a different schedule and one things is for sure- each baby has a few surprise poops at the most imperfect time, like when you are about to leave the house or in the middle of a photo shoot. If it seems like your baby is not pooping regularly, is struggling with bowel movements, or has irregular stool you may wonder if your baby is constipated. While constipation is not a frequent problem, it can be distressing for the parents and the baby when it does happen.
How Often do babies poop?
The frequency of your baby’s poop varies greatly. For babies that are primarily breastfed, they may poop every couple of days up or may go up to a week between bowel movements. For babies that are primarily fed formula, they pass stool more frequently, sometimes even multiple times a day. As babies grow and they start to take in more solid foods, the frequency pooping changes again with new textures and food types.
Signs of Constipation in Babies
If you think your baby might be constipated, there are a few things you can watch for.
Frequency of stool movement:
As previously discussed, the frequency of a baby’s stool can vary greatly. However, if nothing has changed with your baby’s food intake and other activity, and the frequency of stool changes noticeably, your baby may be experiencing constipation. For many families this means a decrease in the frequency, alerting the parents that there may be problem with constipation.
Consistency of baby poop:
If your baby’s poop is hard and/or in the shape of small pellets, this can indicate a difficulty of passing stool. If your baby’s poop is extremely running and watery, like diarrhea, it could indicate that the majority of stool is not passing through.
Baby pain and body:
If you notice that your baby is straining and crying, he may be having discomfort with baby constipation. You may also notice your baby has a hard belly from the stool not passing through. Another body sign is if you notice any bright red blood, which could indicate strain around the anus. Some babies arch their backs and cry when in pain, which can be alarming. If you notice your baby displaying pain, and notice a change in the frequency or consistency, this can let you know the baby is struggling to pass stool and may be constipated.
Relieving Baby Constipation
If your baby is experiencing constipation, there are a few things you can try to help move things along. You do not want to jump to any medical interventions such as laxatives or suppositories for relieving constipation in newborns without the advice and guidance from your doctor. From home, you can monitor, apply home remedies relief methods, and monitor for changes.
Give Your Baby Warm Baths
Warm baths are soothing for the body in many ways. For babies who are constipated, a warm bath can help release tension and muscles and allow the stool to pass through.
Change Baby’s Milk Intake
Breastfed baby constipation can come from elements in the mom’s milk. One of the common irritants is dairy. If you are breastfeeding and your baby is experiencing constipation, you can try eliminating dairy or other foods that can hinder digestion.
Newborn constipation for formula-fed babies can be related to the elements in the formula he is drinking. You may need to switch formula types in order to provide something your baby can better digest.
Change in Infant Food
If your baby is eating solids, you want to increase the fiber intake. Fibrous foods include apples, pears, prunes, cherries, and grains like oatmeal. According to Nationwide Children’s Hospital, you can also try adding 2-4 oz of fibrous fruit juice if your baby is not taking solids or purees yet.
If your baby has a hard stomach from constipation, a gentle stomach massage around the naval can help to stimulate the muscles and promote digestion movement.
Movement “Running Legs”
Moving your baby’s feet and legs in a running motion can be a helpful way to connect with your baby, have fun, and get your baby’s body moving in an exercise that can help a constipated baby to poop. If you run or exercise, you might have the same experience so it makes sense. If it helps, our family uses a song: “Running legs, running legs (baby’s name) has those running legs. Running legs running legs run run run baby run.”
When to See a Doctor About Baby Constipation
If you are concerned about your baby’s constipation, it is never a bad idea to let your pediatrician know. If your baby is having noticeable blood in the stool, is continually fussy, or seems to be in pain from the inability to poop, talk with your pediatrician about other treatment possibilities. In most cases, time and interventions help baby get back to normal pooping. In very rare occasions, an underlying condition could be a factor.
No matter the cause of your child’s discomfort, it can be exhausting and emotional to parent a baby that does not feel good. As you take care of your baby, do your best to not get too stressed and take some time for yourself to breath too!