You probably never imagined you would spend much time thinking about someone else’s poop. But since bringing your baby home, you’ve probably thought about your baby’s bowel movements more often than you’d care to admit. Questions about how it should look, how often it should happen and is it normal are common concerns for new parents.
But what happens when you feel like your baby isn’t going enough?
How can you tell if your baby is constipated?
If you have noticed any of the following symptoms, you might have a constipated baby on your hands.
- Hard, dry stool
- More than three days since the last stool
- Trouble passing
- Firm belly
- Less than three bowel movements per week
- Irritability, crying, or discomfort while trying to pass stool
- Spitting up more than usual
Why is your baby getting constipated?
Babies who are only drinking breast milk are unlikely to have constipation because the stool remains soft.
However, once you start switching to formula and solids, you are more likely to get a constipated baby. That’s because the proteins in formulas are slightly different and cause the stool to become harder.
Illness is another reason you could be dealing with baby constipation. When babies get sick, they don’t eat or drink normally which can cause their delicate digestive systems to get off track, often leading to constipation.
If your baby was born premature, he might also have some difficulty with constipation. Some premature babies don’t develop the GI tract fully causing food to move more slowly through their digestive system.
Also, watch out for dehydration. When your baby is dehydrated, his body starts to redirect the fluid from whatever he drinks into the more vital systems, leaving the stool to become dry and hard.
Here are some remedies to provide your baby constipation relief
Change Mom’s Diet
Though exclusively breastfed babies don’t get constipation very often, it can still happen. If that’s the case, you might want to consider changing up your diet. Your little one might be sensitive to something you’re eating. Keep a food diary and make a note if removing something seems to help.
Formulas based on whey or soy could be irritating your baby’s digestive system. He might be allergic to some of the proteins found in the formula which causes the constipation and discomfort.
Switching to another brand may help relieve the symptoms because the milk proteins aren’t the same. Some of them have proteins that are already partially hydrolyzed or chopped down, making them easier to digest. Talk to your pediatrician to discuss which formula is best for your baby’s tummy.
Get Off the BRAT Diet
If you have made the switch to solids, you are likely giving your baby some of the BRAT diet. This includes bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast. Often parents will give these foods to their baby to soothe an upset tummy. However, they can cause him to get backed up. These foods are low in fiber, causing the stool to harden.
Fruit juice is an option if your baby isn’t on solids yet. If your baby is under four months, try an ounce of prune, apple-prune, or grape juice to help relieve symptoms of constipation. Don’t forget to dilute the juice with water! Though it varies, your baby’s bowels should be moving in 12-24 hours. For some, it might only take a few minutes!
A warm bath can help your baby’s muscles relax to get things moving again.
If the bath didn’t do the trick, try a soft massage on the baby’s tummy when drying him off. Gently massage the belly in a circular motion near the navel, slowly moving away from the center of the belly. This stimulates the bowels and encourages the system to pass the stool.
Movement and exercise can help stimulate your baby’s digestive system, causing a natural contraction of the intestinal muscles. To get those muscles contracting, lay your baby down on his back and start to move his legs in a half-bent position, as though he is riding a bike.
If your baby is older than six months, try Mommy’s Bliss Constipation Ease. This supplement can help relieve symptoms of constipation. The gentle ingredients like prune juice, organic fennel, and organic dandelion help soften the stools while easing discomfort and bloating.