How to Help Your Little One Be Rid of Infant Constipation
For any parent, there’s nothing worse than watching her infant endure the pain of any disease, especially if it’s something as pain-inducing as infant constipation. This type of constipation is characterized by hard stool that often take the shape of little pellets and balls. Besides this apparent symptom, parents are quick to notice and be alarmed by them because their baby would often cry out in pain every time they move their bowels. The baby would also have a tendency to contract his buttocks or arch his back, which is a clear indication of difficulty in passing stool.
It’s also important to keep in mind that if you have been breastfeeding your baby, know that it could cause them to pass less stool and at a much slower rate because of it. This is partly due to the fact that there is no substitute to breast milk when it comes to providing all the nutrition that your little one needs. Of course, anything that’s good for it is bound to be absorbed vigorously by the body, and breast milk is no exception. This may cause your infant to pass stool slower, which shouldn’t at all cause you to worry. Additionally, even though you are feeding nothing but breast milk to your baby, constipation isn’t all that common a condition for such scenarios. You also have to remember that the rate of bowel movements among infants vary a lot. Some can pass faster while others, simply put, have a slower but otherwise healthy gut.
Symptoms of Infant Constipation
The most common signs, besides hard stools, that your infant could be suffering from constipation are the following:
- If your baby suddenly undergoes a drastic change in his rate of bowel movement. If your baby doesn’t pass stool for more than 5 days, for instance, then he’s likely suffering from constipation.
- Your baby is wincing and straining in pain frequently.
- If you notice that your baby’s belly is firmer than usual and if touching it causes him any form of discomfort, this is a sign of constipation as well.
- Lack of desire to take in food.
- In worst-case scenarios, rectal bleeding may occur, which should be reported to your baby’s doctor as soon as possible.
Causes of Infant Constipation
Listed below are the most common causes of this condition:
- Formula-fed babies are more susceptible to constipation, as certain brands have a tendency to harden their poop.
- If you’ve recently a new food, formula or to start solids on baby to your little one then symptoms of constipation began to appear, then it could be the culprit.
- Another cause that is often overlooked is allergy. If, for instance, your baby is lactose intolerant or has a milk allergy, then your baby has a much higher risk of contracting constipation.
- If you yourself have been drinking milk and other dairy products like cheese and yogurt, know that they could be constipation factor if you are breastfeeding your baby. Always remember that whatever you eat always find its way in the milk that you are feeding your child.
- Certain baby foods, like bananas and rice cereals, have been found to cause constipation as well.
Tips for Relieving Instant Constipation
What’s good is that there are a lot of tips that you can apply to help your little one get over his abdominal ordeal. Keeping these in mind could also go a long way in shielding your baby from infant constipation in the long run.
- Mind the amount of water that he drinks daily
Most parents overlook the importance of hydrating their babies just because they are already taking in nothing but liquids (breast milk or formula) every day. If your baby appears to be showing signs of constipation, one of the most readily available ways for you to help regulate his bowel movement is to give him about 3-4 ounces of water after his daily feeding times.
- If you are bottle-feeding your baby, you may want to have a closer look at the formula that you are feeding him. Ask your doctor if it could be linked to your baby’s constipation and if a change of brand is required.
- Fruit juices are also an option that you should try. Of course, natural juices like prune and apple are preferable (better if you can go for the ones with non-absorbable sugar). These types of fruits have been proven to aid in digestion; prune is even known as a great laxative. Equally better is the fact that babies don’t take long to develop a liking for them because of their sweet and succulent tastes. 1-2 ounces of juice after he has been fed would suffice.
- If you’ve been breastfeeding your infant, know that you should also be mindful of the foods and drinks that you consume. Eating more fruits and vegetables and hydrating yourself could also greatly aid in ensuring that you are producing nothing less than the best breast milk for your baby.
- Feeding him the Three P’s of fruits, namely mashed pears, peaches, and plums, could also help prevent constipation. This is because they have very high amounts of fiber.
- Infant exercises also go a long way in helping relieve constipation. For instance, the most efficient exercise for constipation is one that involves having your baby “pedal” an invisible bike. By lifting his legs and moving them in the manner that is similar to peddling a bike, you can actually help relieve the pain and pressure in his abdomen. Bowel movement is tied to the amount of physical activity that we do as well, after all. Taking the time to massage his tummy is also a proven method that can reduce the symptoms of constipation. However, you have to be extra gentle when doing so.
- Using a rectal thermometer to take his temperature could bring about a positive effect in stimulating his bowel movements. Gently insert a sterilized rectal thermometer in his bottom and wriggle carefully it as you take it out after getting his temperature.
As you can see, it’s not at all hard to treat constipation and shouldn’t at all cause you to be overly anxious about your baby’s condition. With rapid response and minding these pointers, it wouldn’t take long for these symptoms to subside and be avoided in the future.