For a baby, when it comes to bowel movements there is no normal number or schedule. Your baby may wait a day or two between bowel movements or your baby may pass a stool after every feeding. The baby’s pattern depends on what is consumed, how active the baby is, and how quickly he/she is able to digest the food and get rid of the waste. You will be able to understand your baby’s habits.
There are a couple of clues to look for if you are concerned that your baby may be constipated. One of the clues is that your baby has less frequent bowel movements then normal, especially if it has been three days or more and it is obvious that he/she is uncomfortable when they are passing a stool. Second, if the stool is hard, no matter how frequent, the baby maybe constipated.
Also stool that is very liquid may be evidence of constipation. Don’t just assume that it is diarrhea. The liquid can slip through the blockage in the lower intestine and into your child’s diaper.
A parent may wonder what would cause their baby to become constipated. First off is the use of formulas. Babies that are breastfed are rarely constipated. Breast milk has a perfect balance of fat and protein, so the the stool that is produced is almost always normal. If your baby is uses a formula it is possible that something in the formula made the baby constipated. In this case you should consult your baby’s doctor about switching brands.
As your baby grows older he/she is introduced to solid foods. It is common for a baby to become mildly constipated as the body gets used to intaking solid foods. The reason for this is that rice meal, usually the first food given during this time, is low in fiber.
A baby maybe become constipated if it isn’t getting enough fluid. The baby will become dehydrated the baby’s system will respond by absorbing more fluid from what is consumed. The end resut is hard, dry bowel movements that are difficult to pass. Increase the amount of fluid your baby drinks. to help keep soft stools.
Lastly a baby may experience constipation if he/she has a medical condition or illness. It is rare, but constipation can be caused by an underlying medical condtion such as food allergies, hypothyroidism, and some metabolic disorders. If your baby passes hard and painful stools you will probably want to have your baby checked out by a doctor.
There are a few things that you can try to treat your baby’s constipation. First, exercise is very important. If your baby can crawl encourage him/her to do a few laps. If not, trying pumping your baby’s legs while on its back, gently moving the legs forwaard in a circular motion, like riding a bicycle.
You can also massage your baby’s belly. Apply gentle but firm pressure with your fingertips three finger widths below the navel. Press until you feel a firmness. Maintain the gentle pressure for about three minutes.
If you use baby formula ask the doctor about switching to a different brand. Some babies become less constipated on soy formulas. Also, sometimes adding to the formula a teaspoon of corn syrup helps.
If you have started to introduce solid foods, you may want to switch from rice cereal to barley or oat cereal. You also could add pureed fruits to her regular cereal one your baby is ready for these foods. Before you introduce a food to a baby you should read to make sure it is the right time.
Once the baby is eating a variety of solid foods try to cut down on the foods that constipate more such as rice, bananas, and cooked carrots. Try mixing the cereal with a little bit of apple or prune juice or pureed prunes, apricots, or pears to help loosen the bowel movements.
It is important to talk to your baby’s doctor about treatment options. You can ask about using an over the counter stool softener, but never give your baby one with a doctor’s approval. The doctor maybe able to give more ideas or alternatives to help your baby’s constipation.
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