How to help a constipated baby

Postnatal, Your questions

To better understand serious signs and symptoms, consult the entry on this topic: The symptoms of a real constipation problem in a newborn.

Updated article on March 15, 2021

How do you help a constipated baby? In this entry, I will provide you tips for breast and bottle fed babies.

For breastfed babies (even if infrequently)

  • For babies under 6 months, ensure that the baby drinks enough and that their growth curves are normal (for weight and height).
  • Breastfeed more. No need to give water to a baby under 6 months. The milk contains enough water.
  • The mother can increase their consumption of dietary fibres.
  • The mother can decrease their consumption of dairy products.
  • Massage the baby’s stomach clockwise in order to help them pass gas and stool. You then massage the intestine from one end to the exit. The massage helps intestinal transit.
  • If the baby is eating, increase fibres (ex. whole grains, vegetables, fruits, juice or prune purée).
  • Add drops of the probiotic of the Reuteri strain to the consumption of milk and solids according to the baby’s age.
  • If the baby is older, avoid excess cow’s milk (over 9 months).
  • As needed, if very little improvement: Lax-a-day, lactulose or other as recommended by the doctor (mineral oil is contraindicated before the age of one year).

A bottle fed baby

  • For babies under 6 months, ensure that the baby drinks enough and that their growth curves are normal (for weight and height).
  • First, consult with your health professional to check if the milk formula used is right for your baby and change it for one that is easier to digest if necessary.
  • Respect the manufacturer’s recipe when preparing it to add the proper amount of water to the mix (avoid errors or misunderstandings).
  • Normally, commercial milk formulas for newborns contain enough water in the mix. This is why you can give water to your baby after 6 months. If you give them water before, never before 3 weeks to avoid choking them and water should be boiled up to 4 months.
  • If the baby is eating, increase fibres (ex. Whole grains, vegetables, fruits, juice or prune purée).
  • Add drops of the probiotic of the Reuteri strain to the consumption of milk and solids according to the baby’s age.
  • If the baby is older, avoid excess cow’s milk (over 9 months).
  • As needed, if very little improvement: Lax-a-day, lactulose or other as recommended by the doctor (mineral oil is contraindicated before the age of one year).

Avoid…

  • Entering a thermometer in the anus to “stimulate” the baby to pass their stool. If you do this, you are not helping your baby understand how to push themselves and you create a dependency. They will wait to be stimulated to pass their stool. Also, a baby moves a lot and doing this could injure them.
  • Using glycerin suppositories or laxatives without having consulted a doctor or pharmacist.

When should I consult for a constipated baby?

  • They cry constantly, and they have not passed stool for several days despite making efforts.
  • There is blood in the stool.
  • The stool is small hard balls.
  • The baby’s weight is not increasing sufficiently (unsatisfactory growth curves).

Since constipation is something concerned parents ask a lot of questions about, I hope this entry has helped you better recognise true constipation and to act early on to prevent associated complications.

Talk soon,

Marie
The Baby Expert

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How to help a constipated baby

Par Marie Fortier Temps de lecture: 2 min
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