Constipation is frustrating and painful for adults. Just imagine what it would be like for babies. Knowing how to get rid of newborn constipation is of grave importance.
To keep your angels at peace, we have covered the following areas regarding constipation in babies:
- What is newborn constipation?
- Causes of newborn constipation
- Symptoms of newborn constipation
- Newborn constipation treatment
- Home remedies for newborn constipation
What is newborn constipation?
If your baby doesn’t have any bowel movement every 5 to 10 days or maybe he is having a hard time making bowel movements, then he is definitely going through baby constipation. If your baby is passing hard stool instead of easy to pass soft stool, seems uneasy, or is passing stools that are bloody or black, then you need to see a doctor. It sure isn’t easy to see your little angel crying and suffering due to constipation. To cure constipation, the remedies applied to adults are different from those applied to infants.
Causes of newborn constipation
To prevent and treat constipation, it is important to know what causes constipation in babies? Here are some of the common causes:
- Breastfed babies have a tendency of becoming constipated upon the introduction of solid food as their little tummies are not used to processing it.
- Formula milk
- Milk protein intolerance
- Diet low in fiber
- The breastfeeding mother consuming a lot of dairy products
- Foods like breads, cereals, bananas, and white potatoes
Little changes in the baby’s diet can help bring relief from constipation and keep the bowel moving.
Symptoms of newborn constipation
Checking on the signs and symptoms of the constipated baby is important. Here are some of the indicators of infant constipation:
- Dry and pellet like poo
- Crying or discomfort before passing stool
- Making painful faces and arching the back before passing stool
- Less than 3 bowel movements in a week
- Intense abdominal pain
- Dry black, grey or dark colored stool
- Too much straining
- Distended stomach
These are sure signs of constipation and in case you notice blood in your baby’s stool, then he may be suffering from chronic constipation which requires immediate attention of the doctor.
Newborn constipation treatment
Usually a change in mother’s diet or formula can help to treat a constipated baby. Solid food which is one of the most common causes of infant constipation can also serve as a cure. Fruit juice and water accompanied by broccoli and pear can be helpful.
However, if changes in diet isn’t working, you need to see a pediatrician who might ask you to do the following:
- Rectal stimulation: his is done by the help of rectal thermometer or cotton swab. It helps to stimulate bowel movements in a few minutes.
- Glycerin suppositories: When dietary changes don’t do the trick, glycerin suppository can be an effective remedy. You just have to gently put infant glycerin suppository in the anus of your baby. It works by lubricating the stool. It will take your baby an hour to poop. This can only be used occasionally after talking to the doctor.
- Miralax: it is a tasteless powder that just needs to be stirred in a drink. It contains lactulose and natural vegetable laxative that cures constipation.
Make sure you don’t use enemas, mineral oil or stimulant laxatives to treat baby constipation.
13 Best ways to get rid of newborn constipation
Here are the 13 ways to get rid for infant constipation that can both prevent and treat constipation in babies:
1. Keep your baby well hydrated
Keeping your baby properly hydrated is the key to prevent constipation in infants as not drinking enough is the main cause of constipation. In case your child is not taking in enough liquid through his formula, keep giving him water in between his feeding’s.
Exercise can be source of constipation relief for infants. Here are two ways you can help your baby exercise:
- Hold your baby in your arms in a squat position. How are you going to do that? When you carry your newborn in your forearm like a bunny, just lift his legs a bit to make squat position. This position is ideal for building more pressure on the kid’s rectum and help him to poop.
- Lay your baby on his back. Lift up his legs half way through in a bent position. Then make the legs of the baby slowly move in a paddling motion like they would when they cycle. This can be a fun exercise for your child as it aids in loosing up the intestines and helping the infant defecate.
3. Sugar Solution
Giving your baby sugar solution is another infant way to get rid of constipation. It is a pretty simple, easy and safe method for your baby. Boil some water and allow it to cool. Then all you have to do is combine half a teaspoon of sugar in one ounce of water. Pour this solution in your baby’s feeder and feed him with it. You can also add it to the formula milk. It is highly recommended to use brown sugar rather than white.
4. Stomach Massage
Massaging your baby’s tummy can be really helpful for a constipated baby. Use our fingertips to gently massage the tummy in a clockwise motion. Also massage the area around the navel in circular motion. It cancels out all the tension in the baby’s stomach and provides him relief from symptoms of constipation.
5. Prune Juice
Prune juice for constipation is an effective remedy for newborns to get rid of constipation. The amount of prune juice added to your newborn’s bottle of formula you will depend on his age.
- In case your child is less than 4 months, take 4 oz of breast or formula milk and add one tablespoon of prune juice to it. Give it to your child twice a day, which is sufficient to make your little one’s bowels move.
- In case your child is older than 4 months, take 4 oz of breast or formula milk and add 1 oz of prune juice. Give it to your angel twice a day.
6. Baby Warm Bath
Warm bath is a good way of relaxing the muscles of your baby’s tummy which eventually helps to fight off constipation. Take some warm water and soak your baby in it. When you dry him up, massage your baby gently. If you don’t want to soak him in warm water, you can simply place a warm face cloth on your baby’s stomach. It will work as a warm compress and relieve constipation and its symptoms.
7. Mint leaves
Take a hand full of anise leaves and fresh mint leaves. Take 2 cups of water and boil it. Add the leaves to the boiling water and allow it to cool to room temperature. Strain the solution and give it to your baby to get rid of constipation.
8. Lubrication to Anus
When your baby is constipated and straining too hard to pass the stool, he might feel uncomfortable. A good way of easing this discomfort is by lubricating your baby’s anus, which often gets scratched while passing the stool by using water based lubricant.
As an alternative you can also massage around the anus when you change his diaper. It helps the baby to poop.
9. Dark Corn Syrup
Still wondering what to give a baby for constipation? You can also give your baby some dark corn syrup to alleviate constipation worries.
- Take 4 ounces of water and boil it properly.
- Allow the water to cool and add a teaspoon of dark corn syrup.
- Give your little one this solution twice a day
Make sure you don’t give this to your child if you are already feeding him with sugar solution.
10. Castor Oil
Castor oil is an age old, tried and tested remedy used for relieving constipated infants. Dip the stalk of betel leaf in castor oil. Insert it in the baby’s rectum.
In case your child is older than 2 years, you can take a glass of milk and add a teaspoon of castor oil to it. You can change the quantity of castor oil according the child’s age.
11. Herbal Teas
Herbal teas are not only good for adults, but also your little babies when it comes to constipation. Herbal teas help to facilitate digestion return the bowel movements back to normal.
- To prepare peppermint tea, heat some water till its warm.
- Add peppermint teabag to the warm water and leave it for 5 minutes.
- Fill 1 ounce of the bottle with this tea and give it to your baby.
Similarly, you can also make ginger tea and chamomile tea for you constipated kid.
12. Milk and honey
This is another superb combo for treating constipated babies. You just have to take a glass of milk and add 3 teaspoons of honey. Mix it properly by shaking the bottle and give it to your baby the first thing in the morning. It will allow your little one to easily pass stool.
Of course your baby cannot chew on the raisins. You need to immerse 5 to 6 raisins in water and keep it soaked overnight. Crush the next morning. Strain the solution and pour it into your baby’s feeder. This will return bowel movement back to normal.
These remedies and treatment can prove useful for getting rid of newborn constipation. However, remaining vigilant is important. If you notice some serious symptoms like vomiting, rectal bleeding or swollen abdomen that hints towards bowel blockage, then don’t take it lightly. Immediately go see a doctor.
Frequently Asked Questions
What tells me that my baby is actually constipated?
If your newborn passes dry and hard stool and sometimes with blood, then he is constipated. The blood is because the hardness of the stool causes the lining of the anus to be broken as it passes. On the other hand, if your baby passes runny stool once a week, then that’s no constipation.
Is baby constipation caused by breast feeding?
No, breast feeding is usually not the cause of baby constipation. Breast milk is actually very natural and helps in easy digestion. Breast-fed babies rarely get constipated. However, it is true that they may not pass stool for several days continuously. Baby constipation is determined by checking how hard the stool is rather than how frequently the baby poops.
Does the iron in formula feeds cause baby constipation?
No, presence of iron in formula feeds is actually good for your baby. Bottle fed babies have lesser liquid poop compared to breastfed babies. However, that is not because of the presence of iron. Formula milk is simply more difficult for the baby to digest. Your baby might get constipated because of formula feed. That doesn’t meand you opt for a formula that doesn’t contain iron because iron is also very important for the baby.
I have noticed that whenever my baby poops, he seems really distressed. Does that mean he is constipated?
There is nothing wrong with that and no that doesn’t necessarily mean your baby is constipated. They are just squirming around or making straining expressions when poop because that’s how they get their bowels to move. You don’t have to take that as a sign of constipation until you find hard stool. Just try to think for a moment, what is it going to be like if you had to pass stool while you lie on your back.
What are the ways i could help my baby poop when constipated and ease the pain for my little angel?
In case your baby is facing too much trouble in passing the stool, you can do the following:
- Make the legs of the baby move in a motion as if riding a bicycle.
- Massage the baby’s stomach in a clockwise motion.
- Give our baby a warm bath that is going relax her enough to pass the stool easily.
- Give your baby cooled boiled water between the feeds.
- A small glycerine suppository works well for newborn constipation.