Constipation is a condition in which there is difficulty in emptying the bowels, usually associated with hardened faeces.
Constipation in Babies
Your baby might be constipated if his or her poop is dry and crumbly and doing a poop seems to cause him or her much pain. It is rare for breastfed babies and possible for formula fed ones in general. In babies under six months, their doing a poop depends on what they are fed. Breast fed ones might poo up to five times a day.
Causes for Constipation in Babies
Formula Milk – formula milk can be harder to digest than breast milk causing the stool to be firm and bulky.
Introducing Solids – babies often become constipated when they start solids, as their body learns to manage new food. Low fibre foods and less fluids may cause constipation.
Dehydration – If the baby is not getting enough fluids, she may become dehydrated and cause dry hard poop that is difficult to pass.
Illness – sometimes constipation can be a symptom of a food allergy, food poisoning or a problem with the way the body absorbs food.
Foods that Cause Constipation in Babies
Formula Food – these contain ingredients that are difficult to digest and complex proteins which harden the poop and therefore cause constipation.
Rice – rice and porridge are the first solid foods used by mothers. But some children may find it difficult to digest.
Carrot – steamed carrots tend to solidify the poop making it difficult for babies to excrete.
Raw Banana – giving unripe bananas may cause gastric problems and the baby may feel constipated.
Apple – steamed apple should be avoided as it contains the protein pectin which hardens the stool.
Cheese – cheese is low in fibre and can cause constipation.
White bread – it is made from processed grain which is low in fibre and causes constipation.
Yoghurt – it has a binding effect on food and therefore may cause constipation.
Symptoms of Constipation in Babies
- Crying and discomfort, irritability or pain before doing a poo.
- Dry hard poop that he/she has trouble passing.
- Fewer than three bowel movements a week.
- Foul smelling wild and poo.
- Loss of appetite.
- A hard belly.
11 Foods that Fight Constipation in Kids
Prunes are rich in fibres and a great source of multivitamins. It can be soaked overnight and given to babies as the first thing in the morning or as a juice, for constipation relief. This aids smooth bowel movements.
These contain both soluble and insoluble fibres which help in digestion and smooth bowel movements in babies.
It contains fibre and can be boiled and given to the babies with some seasoning or can be given the puree of boiled peas as well.
These can be given raw or in the form of juice. These can be soaked overnight in water and then given to babies.
Oatmeal provides the much needed fibre present in food and prevents stool from hardening.
It is rich in fibre and vitamin C. These two aid proper digestion and relieve constipation. Babies can be given a few drops of fresh pear juice to cure constipation.
Small florets of broccoli can be steamed and given as finger food to babies. It eases the excretion process.
Sweet potato unlike other tubers helps in relieving constipation and provides nutrients and carbohydrates for the growing babies.
These are rich in antioxidants and are a great food for babies and toddlers.
Whole Grain Bread
This unlike white bread has good fibre which helps to cure constipation.
It has fibre and heart healthy fats. It can be mashed and given to babies in a little quantity to relieve constipation.
When To See A Doctor?
- The baby hasn’t done a poo for seven days.
- The baby has a fever, vomiting, blood in her poo.
- Needed to give laxative more than a few times a year.
- Constipation not cured even after providing laxatives.
- Diet is irregular or inadequate.
Treatment for Constipation in Babies
Regular Toilet Habits
The parent should teach the child to respond to his or her body’s urge to poop and inculcate in him/ her the habit to sit regularly for a proper and healthy bowel movement.
Giving laxatives if the baby is constipated may help him or her to pass the hard poop without pain. Prune juice is a natural laxative that works in children or liquid paraffin oil which softens and lubricated the poo.