CONSTIPATION IN INFANTS: HOW TO CURB IT
It’s really very worrisome when baby stops or has trouble pooping. You get all worked especially when you’ve been expecting for some days and still ”No show”.
It’s important to note that bowel habits are unique from person to person and there is a wide range of “normal”. Also, there is always a change in bowel habits during the period of transition from only liquids to solid diet.
There are signs to watch out for before finalizing that your baby is constipated and they include:
– Pooping reduces to less than 3 times weekly
– Large poops difficult to pass (usually comes with discomfort and pain)
– Small dry and pellet like stools
– Baby releases gas more often than normal
– A poor appetite that reduces after the pooping
WHY DO BABIES GET CONSTIPATED?
Constipation in infants could be caused by different factors; either the type of food or because of a particular illness.
Factors like diet, certain medications, prematurity and illnesses leads to constipation in Infants.
Exclusively formula-fed babies are much more likely to have trouble from constipation. Formula can firm up poop much more than breast milk can.
– DIET: The introduction of cow’s milk protein—and an allergy or intolerance to it—is probably the largest contributor to baby constipation. Almost always, a shift or change from liquid to solid foods, from breast milk to formula, or from transitioning to cows milk is the major cause of constipation in babies. When a child’s body sees milk protein as an enemy to fight against due to allergy, this also leads to constipation.
– CERTAIN MEDICATIONS: High dose of iron supplements could lead to constipation. Make sure you are following your doctors prescription strictly.
– ILLNESS: When the baby is down with illness, it affects the way they eat and drink. This could throw things out of proportion and cause constipation.
– PREMATURITY: Premature babies tend to have more trouble with infant constipation than full-term babies. Since their digestive systems aren’t fully developed yet, food moves slower through the GI track and isn’t properly processed, which leads to dry, hard stools.
– FAMILY HISTORY : Certain issues like Hirschsprung’s disease, cystic fibrosis, chronic constipation and celiac disease (which often can’t be diagnosed in children until they’re closer to age 3) can all also increase the likelihood of baby constipation.
HOW OFTEN SHOULD MY BABY POOP?
To figure out if your child has a bout of baby constipation, it’s helpful to know how often babies tend to produce stool. From newborn to 3 months, a breastfed baby might have anywhere from 5 to 40 bowel movements a week (3-4 daily). At 6 to 12 months, both formula-fed and breastfed babies will go down to 5 to 28 bowel movements a week
Frequency sometimes might not be the right clue for suspecting constipation but if it is hard to pass.
HOW DO I COMBAT CONSTIPATION?
No parent likes to see their child in discomfort, especially the one that comes with constipation. So here are some remedies to handle constipation:
– To arrest/prevent constipation, for babies from 6-12 months who are constipated, you can give apple or prune juice (2-4 ounces), sometimes, you might have to eliminate cows milk.
– Also, a change in diet for the mom or change in formula could help improve on constipation and increase water intake.
For babies eating solids, you can also offer certain foods to combat baby constipation. Try feeding:
– barley or oatmeal cereals,
– chia seeds,
– yoghurt, and
– most vegetables.
If you’re worried about constipation, you should eliminate banana and rice as both are binding agents.
As for preventing constipation, there is really little/ or nothing you can do. Make sure you consult with a pediatrician and dietitian before trying a baby constipation remedy.