It surprises new parents how often they can converse about baby poop or bowel movements. Babies will experience between five and 40 bowel movements per week, meaning diaper duty is an active job.
It is also normal for babies to go days without a single bowel movement, which makes it difficult to know if a baby is constipated. Many new parents panic when their little one doesn't produce a diaper load at least once daily, but panic is not always necessary.
When Do Babies Suffer Constipation?
Most babies will only experience constipation once they eat solid food. The dietary change can present a challenge to their young system. However, newborns may also experience constipation.
If your baby passes infrequent bowel movements with hard or bloody stools, take them to the doctor. A pediatrician can help you determine the cause of constipation.
You can offer water or fruit juice to relieve constipation in older babies. 100% apple, prune, or pear juice usually contains the sweetener sorbitol, which acts as a laxative. You can also provide high-fiber foods like pureed peas and rice cereal.
What Can Cause Baby Constipation?
In rare occurrences, a baby may experience constipation because of nerve damage or improper nerve development. A baby may lack nerves going through the intestines, causing the problem.
More commonly, babies will experience constipation because of diet. Common causes include:
- Recent dietary changes
- Low-fiber diets
- Excessive amounts of dairy (yogurt, milk, and cheese)
Also, foods often used to treat digestive issues like diarrhea can cause constipation; for example, applesauce, bananas, and bread. If your baby presents with constipation, it is best to talk to their pediatrician about remedies or treatments.
What Are the Signs & Symptoms
It is challenging to diagnose constipation in infants because they cannot vocalize or explain their symptoms. Parents must be mindful when changing their babies and keep track of bowel movements.
While your little one cannot explain their feelings, you may notice signs of constipation. Common signs and symptoms include:
- Straining more than average during bowel movements
- Fewer stools than usual
- Bloated abdomen
- Painful cramps
- Change in stool appearance (hard and round or loose and watery)
Your little one may cry more often, especially after meals. Most cases of infant constipation will resolve on their own.
How Long Can Constipation Last?
Most bouts of constipation in babies should only last one or two days. Contact a doctor if your little one has been experiencing the problem for longer than a few days. Also, if your baby passes a bloody stool, take them to the emergency room for treatment.
Remember, too, that it is normal for a baby to produce only a few bowel movements per week. Breastfed babies frequently go without a bowel movement for several days because their systems absorb most of the milk.
Remedies for Baby Constipation
You can find several potential remedies for baby constipation with a quick search online. Several plausible options for home treatment include:
- Warm baths
- High-fiber foods
- Fruit juice
You can also try using a supplement that supports regular bowel movements. Wellements Organic Constipation Support is for occasional constipation relief in babies six months and older.
If none of the above remedy options work for your baby, contact their pediatrician or another medical professional. Prolonged constipation can be dangerous for the baby.
Constipation in infants is normal, and it is often the result of dietary changes. If your baby experiences a severe bout of constipation that does not pass quickly, contact their pediatrician for advice.