Baby Constipation


Constipation in babies is not uncommon and most often it is taken care of with home remedies. Learn the common signs, causes and treatment for baby constipation.

Last Updated: Oct 22, 2020 11:29 GMT

Baby Constipation
Baby Constipation

Constipation in babies is not uncommon and most often it is taken care of with home remedies. Learn the common signs, causes, and treatment for constipation in babies.

What is constipation in babies?

Constipation in babies refers to the condition in which a baby hasnt passed a motion for a few days, say, more than three consecutive days. It can also point to babys difficulty in passing stools, such as hard stools or a streak of blood along with stools.

What are the symptoms of constipation in babies?
As a parent, we are accustomed to observe every little thing that our little ones do. We know exactly when they sleep when they feed and also when they poop. When there is a change in their toilet routine from normal, you would be the first person to act the detective. Look out for the following signs and symptoms of constipation if you suspect one in your baby:

  • Your baby hasnt pooped for two, three or more number of days.
  • Your babys stools are so hard that you can sense the difficulty during toileting.
  • Your baby shows visible signs of difficulty in pooping like straining, pain or discomfort.
  • Some babies may begin to show signs of fear or aversion when they have to poop.
  • You spot a streak of blood in your babys stools.
  • Your babys abdomen area feels tight or hard when touched.
  • Your baby refuses to take feed or feels full sooner.
  • Your baby doesnt seem as active as usual.
It isnt necessary that all of these symptoms are present in your baby when he has constipation. For instance, he may poop at the routine time of the day but suffers hard stools. In this case, even though the frequency of bowel movement is normal, considering the nature of his stools, he needs to be treated for constipation.
What causes constipation in babies?

Constipation in babies is directly linked to what they eat, their hydration level and their physiological functioning. Here are the common reasons which can cause constipation in babies:

  • Formula-fed babies are more likely to constipate than breastfed babies. Breast milk contains nutrients which are easily digested and absorbed by the body. It is not uncommon for breast feeding babies to not pass stools for a few days. Formula-fed babies, on the other hand, pass stools a few times in a day or at least once in a day. Formulas of some brands may include ingredients which may indirectly lead to constipation over time.
  • Change in the diet can change the digestive patterns in babies. If your baby has recently started on solids, it may take a while for his/her digestive system to adapt to the new types of foods.
  • A diet which does not include foods rich in fiber, like more of rice cereals, is likely to induce constipation. More so, if the fluid intake is reduced (as in while weaning), the required amount of liquids needed for digestion might not be met.
  • Dehydration is one of the most direct causes of constipation. Your baby might not be having sufficient water along with solids, or there could be other health conditions which could be causing dehydration. For instance, if your baby is recovering from diarrhea or fever, it may take a while before the routine toileting becomes normal.
  • If your baby recently started to have cows milk, you may want to check if your baby isnt lactose intolerant or having difficulty in digesting milk proteins.
  • Rarely, certain foods can cause allergies in your baby, leading to constipation.
How to treat constipation in babies?

Constipation in babies is not a serious problem, in most cases. A slight change in diet and feeding patterns can give relief. Here are some helpful options to try:

  • If your baby is on exclusive formula feeding, speak to your doctor if you need to change the brand.
  • If your baby is on solids, slowly add oatmeals, pears, and apricots, one at a time. Bigger babies can be allowed to take fruit juices that can reduce constipation. For an infant, check with your doctor if you can introduce prune juice, to relieve constipation.
  • Try gentle exercise type movements with your baby. Making your baby lie down on her back and moving her legs like riding a bicycle is one of the best stimulations to set her bowel movements right.
  • Massaging your babys tummy with your fingers in a circular motion can, as well, induce bowel movement.
  • Make sure you consult your doctor before you use over-the-counter drugs or laxatives for your baby.
When should you consult your pediatrician?

While constipation in babies is not a serious medical condition, you must not take it to light under certain circumstances. Report to your doctor if you encounter the following:
1. Home remedies do not seem to alleviate the condition even after trying for a few days.
2. Blood with stools.

3. If you suspect other medical conditions or food allergies.


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