If you are new to parenting or starting your own family soon, it’s important to know how to look out for your newborn. Aside from the little trinkets of joy from seeing them smile, laugh and coo for the first time, there are many things that you need to monitor.
One of the important things to monitor is if your baby is pooping regularly. Regular pooping means that your baby is taking in enough food and digesting normally. And the absence of stools will only mean constipation, which is a great concern in infants.
Parents should take note of the bowel-emptying schedules of their babies. For instance, mothers who exclusively breastfed their infants can find that their babies poop after every meal. The type of stool that breastfed babies pass are somewhat pasty.
Hence, the stool consistency is your key, whether your baby is constipated or not. According to one of the professors of pediatrics at Stanford University School of Medicine, “It is extremely rare for an exclusively breastfed baby to be constipated.”
As for formula-fed babies, their stool is a bit firmer, as if it’s like peanut butter. And if you think it’s harder than that, it can be a sign of constipation. Keep in mind that infants one to two months of age can have several bowel movements in a day. And this is a normal occurrence.
Your clue to finding out if your baby is constipated is not the number of bowel movements, but how hard the stool is.
It’s better to consult your pediatrician first if you suspect constipation. If your baby is under four months old, only give breast milk or formula milk. Do not give any pediatric electrolyte solution, water or juice for your baby for you might deprive them with the essential nutrients they highly need.
As for babies who are four months older, giving them a few ounces of water a day is okay. Nevertheless, the best action you should do is schedule a doctor’s consultation above anything else.
The Reasons Why Constipation Occurs in Infants
Even though it’s rare for a baby to get constipated, it can happen. Needless to say, formula-fed babies are more likely to get constipated, compared to breast-fed ones.
Some reasons for constipation is if your baby has milk-protein allergy or intolerance. The dairy diets of lactating mothers can also be passed on to the breast milk that might cause such issues. Any kinds of dairy can also promote constipation to babies, such as cheese and yogurt.
Common Sense Constipation Relief for Newborns
Many parents, especially mothers often wonder what to give babies for constipation. For starters, changing the infant’s formula milk or Mom’s diet helps. In addition, break up your baby’s feeding time.
You can try several small feedings frequently offered throughout the day. This way, your baby’s digestive system will not be overwhelmed by too much at once.
If changing the diet will not relieve constipation, your pediatrician might suggest rectal stimulation. Your doctor may recommend you try rectal stimulation using a rectal thermometer or cotton swab gently. This process will help produce bowel movements to ease the passage of stool. Another method for newborn constipation relief is the use of a glycerin suppository. This can help pass out stool, usually within an hour.
As such, you should only use laxatives, suppositories and stool softeners recommended by the doctor. These methods can be habit-forming. Meaning to say, using laxatives and suppositories at an early stage will make your baby dependent on them. They won’t be able to establish normal bowel movements.
That’s why you should administer laxatives to your infant with extra caution. One simple way is to massage your baby’s tummy and moving your baby’s legs in a bicycling motion, so that it will help things moving inside.
Your baby will become uncomfortable due to constipation. Hence, a nice soak in a warm bath can help significantly. Giving your baby a warm bath will relax the stomach muscles, while soothing the pain of excess gas.
You can also add a chamomile teabag in the bath to add a level of relaxation. With this, passing of bowel movement will be easier for your child.
Now that you are aware about simple methods for constipation relief for newborns, it’s important to always know the signs, like red faced grunting of your baby when attempting to poop, drawing-up of the legs and any signs of discomfort.
It’s also helpful to keep a baby journal. This journal should contain information about how much you are feeding to your baby on a daily basis, and the number of wet diaper changes. Such information will help you understand the bowel movement patterns of your child.
And as parents, you can do many things to prevent constipation. Remember that newborns are quite sensitive, not just to their environment, but also to what they eat and drink. This can be a challenging task, especially for first-time mothers. Don’t forget that there are many complications that constipation can bring if not treated immediately. Nonetheless, when you observe that your baby is constipated; finding a way to relieve it is your top most priority.