With new parenthood often comes a new focus on poop! Is that color normal? How often should baby be pooping? Is this consistency okay? How do I get this poop stain out? Another big question that parents ask, what happens when there is NO poop?? Constipation is miserable for anyone, but seeing your little one uncomfortable can be heartbreaking.
As babies go through various changes, the frequency, consistency, color, and smell of poop can all change drastically…and vary from baby to baby. So how do you even know if your baby is constipated? While frequency is an important factor, what matter most is actually how difficult it is for your baby to poop. If he is only pooping twice a week, but the stools are soft and pass easily, he probably isn’t constipated.
Look for these signs when determining constipation:
- your baby has a hard time going or seems uncomfortable
- he has hard stools
- he doesn’t poop at least once every 5-10 days
As always, if you aren’t sure or feel that something is amiss, call your pediatrician!
So what causes constipation?
More often than not, a change in diet can be at the root of constipation.
Shifting from breastmilk to formula or introducing cow’s milk can trigger constipation. If your baby has a dairy allergy or intolerance she could end up constipated from milk based formula or dairy in mom’s diet. If you suspect a dairy allergy or intolerance is responsible for baby’s constipation consult your pediatrician and ask for recommendations.
When your baby starts solids the change can throw off her digestive system. Be sure to start with foods that are easy to digest and avoid only feeding her foods that can cause constipation. The BRAT diet is one that is used to combat diarrhea, so feeding your baby too much of these foods can actually cause constipation: Bananas, Rice, Applesauce, Toast.
Make sure to incorporate plenty of high fiber foods into her diet.
Dehydration can result in hard stools that are difficult to pass. Monitor your baby’s liquid intake and be sure to provide plenty of formula or breast milk to meet his nutritional needs. If your baby is 4 months+ and you think adding an ounce our two of water per day might help, ask your pediatrician for recommendations & best practices.
If your little one has recently been feeling under the weather and is constipated, chances are she’s probably not eating or drinking as much as usual, which can throw off her system.
Supplements that are high in iron or certain pain medications can cause constipation. Your doctor will know if baby’s medicine could be to blame.
Tips for Relieving Constipation
- A warm bath – this can relax your baby’s stomach muscles, helping him to more comfortably pass stools. Just watch out for that code brown!
- A gentle tummy massage – softly stroke your baby’s belly in a clockwise direction, following the path of digestion to help get things moving.
- Bicycle his legs – lay your baby on his back and gently move his legs and hips in a bicycle motion.
- High fiber foods – if your baby has started solids, try increasing her fiber intake with foods such as spinach, pears, plums, peaches and peas.
- Constipation Ease – try this safe and effective, all-natural supplement that gently alleviates occasional constipation. It contains prune juice to help ease constipation and organic fennel and organic dandelion extract to relieve stomach discomfort and bloating.