Constipation in Babies
Symptoms and Remedies

Constipation in babies - is my baby constipated, and if so, what should I do about it? As long as their stool is soft and easy to pass, there is no medical harm for a baby to go between 4 or 5 days between bowel movements.

It certainly doesn't indicate that they are constipated. It can be difficult at times to tell whether your child is really constipated.

What can cause constipation?

Unripe bananas

White rice. Choose brown rice, which contains both bran and germ.

White bread. Choose whole-grain instead of white bread.

Rice cereal can cause constipation in children. 

If a child is eating rice cereal and is constipated, you may want to switch him or her to oatmeal or barley cereal.

Signs of constipation

When a baby is constipated, it may arch its back, draw its legs up toward sit abdomen, cry and strain.

Although patterns of defecation do vary in children, if your child has less than one bowel movement every three to four days and has hard bowel movements, he or she is probably constipated.

  • Constipation causes a baby to strain more

  • Stool is often times hard like pebbles

  • Constipation can cause painful cramps

  • A child's stomach can swell up with gas that is trapped by slow moving stool

You should talk to your doctor if your baby

  • Has a hard time having a bowel movement

  • Has hard stools

  • Has bloody or black stools

  • Seems uncomfortable

  • Doesn't have a BM at least once every five days (unless the child’s only nourishment is 
    breast milk, in which case up to 7 days can be normal)

Constipation Treatment for Babies

Increasing physical activity can help to alleviate constipation. If the baby is not yet crawling, play "bicycle" with your baby's legs.

For babies not yet on solid food

If you are bottle feeding, try a different brand of formula. If the child’s only source of nutrition is breast milk, it is valuable trace minerals.

Remember that most babies with less than frequent BMs are not truly constipated. If their stool is still soft, it is likely that nothing needs to be done

For babies that eat solid food

If the baby is old enough to eat strained foods, fruits and vegetables are a great choice for helping with constipation. These contain fiber, which helps to keep the stool moist and bulked up.

Do not do the following

Unless directed to do so by a doctor, do not give a baby the following for constipation:

  • Enemas
  • Laxatives
  • Suppositories
  • Prescription or over-the-counter medicine

These can be dangerous, and there are simply better ways to remedy constipation in babies.

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