Baby Poop: Constipation

Once you have a baby poop becomes a fairly common topic of conversation between you and your spouse, you and your parent friends, you and your child’s pediatrician. We are always checking diapers, examining the contents, fretting about too much or not enough poop. Suddenly this topic that was rarely, if ever, discussed is now ever present.

One of the most common worries when it comes to your baby’s bowel movements, or in this case, lack there of, is constipation. Constipation is common in babies when solid foods are introduced. As their bodies adjust to digesting the new foods they can easily become backed up. Some babies require higher amounts of fiber in their diets to keep them regular and can’t handle low fiber foods such as bananas and potatoes. While others will be fine and go their whole babyhood without any constipation trouble.

When your baby is constipated it can be very worrisome for the parent. When a baby gets too constipated it can be uncomfortable, and even painful, as they try to move their bowels. Watching your little one strain and cry as they try to poop is definitely not fun. There are a few things you can do to help your little one get things moving along.

  • Sometimes giving your little one prunes or pears will help things along.
  • Prune juice and pear juice can also help.
  • Gently massaging your baby’s tummy, below the belly button, can help.
  • Exercise can stimulate the bowels. There are a couple of exercises that often help including moving their legs in a bicycle motion while they are lying on their back or holding them in a standing position and letting them bounce.
  • Applying some vasoline around their anus can be helpful as they try to pass harder stool.
  • Inserting a rectal thermometer for a minute if often helpful to get things moving.
  • If nothing seems to help you should call your child’s pediatrician as they may recommend using a suppository to help relieve your baby’s constipation.

Be sure to contact your child’s pediatrician immediately if your newborn is constipated or if constipation persists in your 6 month+ baby for more than 3 days.

If constipation is a persistent problem for your baby it will be important to ensure their diet is rich in fiber. Giving them a serving of prunes or pears everyday can help keep them regular. Offering a small amount of water in a sippy cup to a 6 month+ baby can be helpful as well, but be sure to consult your doctor first.

Once babies beginning moving around on their own constipation often becomes less of an issue as the exercise they get every day helps keep things moving. With little ones who aren’t yet mobile be sure to do daily exercises with them, like the bicycle legs and bouncing to help them stay regular.

I’ve been dealing with a lot of constipation issue with Anna. She has a very sensitive system and doesn’t tolerant low fiber foods at all. In fact, I even had to call the pediatrician today since she had gone 4 days without a bowel movement and was definitely suffering. Luckily I was able to help her pass some of the backed up stool and she is feeling quite a bit better. I guess we’ll have to continue skipping the bananas (too bad since she LOVES them) and stick with pears and prunes.

Constipation is no picnic, but luckily, in most cases, with a little help your baby will get things moving and be happy again before too long.

What tricks did you find worked for your little one when they were constipated? Were there any foods in particular that you had to avoid giving them? Any foods that always seemed to help keep them regular?

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4 comments on “Baby Poop: Constipation

  1. Speaking as the mom of a kid with chronic constipation (and as someone who has had to administer an enema way too many times), your suggestions are bang on.
    The other thing I would say is if the constipation seems to be chronic and you’ve started them on cereal, try changing up the type of cereal you’re using. We found V did better on oat based cereal rather than rice.
    If your baby is formula fed, then switching the formula to a soy brand can sometimes help as well.

  2. Thanks for the tips, Jenn. We had to stop giving Anna cereal all together because every kind backed her up, I’m going to wait and reintroduce when she is old enough and proficient enough to eat regular cereal. Anna’s constipation has been ridiculous I’m hoping it isn’t a chronic problem.

  3. Perhaps food with high fiber content and are okay for babies to eat can solve the problem of constipation. All the same i thank you for your tips. After how old can we give babies some fresh water to drink?

  4. It may be rough initially, but curbing excessive milk intake is the healthiest intervention
    you can provide for your child. Infant formula is, in most cases,
    not necessary and cannot (given medical research findings) be considered an
    alternative that is in any way preferable to human milk.
    Online message boards, Mom’s groups…I’ve even overheard it
    as a topic of discussion between parents at one of my son’s gym classes.

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