No one thinks about poop more than a new parent. From the day your little one is born, you’re examining dirty diapers, looking for evidence that your baby’s digestion is off to a good start. You get over the ick-factor real fast. So, when your infant or child goes a few days without a bowel movement, it can seem concerning. But is it? Fact is, constipation is common in babies and kids, and you can usually ease it without a panicked call to the pediatrician.
Know the Signs of Constipation
Fussiness While Passing Gas or Stool
If your baby gets red in the face or cries while making a bowel movement, that’s a sign of discomfort. You might see him arch his back. These are clues that your little one’s stool is too hard to pass easily.
If what’s in your baby’s diaper looks more rabbit poop—small, hard balls—than softer, more formed stool, your little one is constipated.
Going Less Frequently
It’s normal for your baby to not go every day. In fact, it can be normal to skip several days. Some babies make a BM every four to five days. But if it’s been longer than that, your baby may have digestive issues.
A Hard Belly
You know how your stomach feels when you’re not going regularly. Your baby’s feels like that, too: firm, tight, and possibly swollen. That’s because constipation causes gases to get trapped inside your little one’s belly.
Seeing streaks of red in your little one’s diaper can be scary, but don’t panic. If your baby was straining to poop, she may have caused an anal fissure, a tiny tear in this delicate tissue. It’s the cause of blood in stool in 90 percent of cases. (Of course, if you spot blood, it’s always worth a call to the pediatrician.)
Offer Gentle Relief
If you do notice any of the signs above, here’s how to move things along:
Run a Bath
In mild cases, sometimes a bath is enough to get baby going again. The warm water helps relax stomach and anal muscles, making it easier for your baby to pass hard stool.
If constipation is a chronic issue, talk to your pediatrician about transitioning to something easier on the tummy. Ongoing constipation can signal a sensitivity to certain ingredients in the formula.
Add Fibrous Foods
If your little one has started solids, try pureed prunes. The fruit is well known for its constipation-relieving abilities. Also worth offering: pears, peaches, broccoli, and beans. You can also dilute prune juice with water and give it in a bottle—ask your physician about this option.
Try an Herbal Supplement
Skip the harsh laxatives or suppositories and try a liquid solution made from herbal ingredients. Mommy’s Bliss Baby Constipation Ease is made with prune juice and belly-soothing dandelion and fennel. The combo promotes regular bowel movements in babies six months and older. For kids four years and up, try Mommy’s Bliss Kids Constipation Ease, which also contains prebiotics and probiotics to support gut health.
Exercise can help move gas and stimulate bowels. For young babies, a gentle belly massage in a clockwise motion can do the job. Bicycling baby’s legs can also help release uncomfortable gas. For older kids, exercise (running, playing sports, and dance all count!) can also help with digestion, pushing food through the intestines.
Pop a Probiotic
Sometimes constipation can be an ongoing issue. If your toddler resists veggies and fruits, you might consider a fiber supplement such as Mommy’s Bliss Kids Fiber Gummies. These tasty, orange-flavored chews contain prebiotics and probiotics to gently support regular bowel movements and ease constipation. Kids love them because they taste like a treat, but they’re formulated without artificial colors and flavors.
Bottom line: Poop happens, but when it doesn’t, there’s no need to panic. There are many gentle ways to support your little one’s digestive health and offer the relief they need.