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

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).

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).

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

This post is also available in: Français

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