Constipation is something that happens to nearly everyone at some time in life, but it’s especially common among babies and toddlers. It is very important to monitor a little one’s bowel movements because they are good indicators of a child’s overall health. The color, texture, and consistency of a baby’s poop can actually help parents and pediatricians diagnose minor issues before they become big problems.
Here’s what parents should know about baby constipation, including what causes constipation in babies and how to relieve constipation in babies quickly. Armed with this knowledge, parents can help their babies feel more comfortable, relaxed, and happy.
There are few possible answers to the question of what causes constipation in babies, including the introduction of solid foods and certain types of formula. Babies that are dehydrated are more likely to become constipated. Also, certain types of illnesses and conditions, such as hypothyroidism and food allergies, can cause babies to have trouble releasing regular bowel movements.
Every baby’s body is different, as some babies pass a bowel movement after practically every feeding and others only have bowel movements every day or two. Once solid food is introduced, bowel movements should occur at least once daily. It is rare for babies who drink an all-liquid diet to be constipated until solid foods are eaten, unless there is a reaction to formula. Signs of baby constipation include fewer bowel movements than usual and also hard or dry stools that appear difficult to pass.
Constipation that is causing a baby significant discomfort for more than 24 hours may warrant a call to a pediatrician for a checkup. This is especially true for babies only a few months old or who are losing weight, producing blood in their stool, aren’t eating, or aren’t reacting to at-home remedies.
To relieve symptoms of constipation, gas, and tummy discomfort, PediaCare’s Gas Drops are recommended for babies between 0-36 months. For formula-fed babies, it may be necessary to try a different formula instead and see how the bowel movements change. Other at-home remedies for baby constipation involve adding a ¼ teaspoon of dark corn syrup to formula or adding some prune juice to formula or breast milk. Pear juice and apple juice are also good options to give babies who are constipated.
Exercise isn’t just great for physical development and mental stimulation; it’s also effective in relieving constipation. Encourage babies to crawl or pump the legs while lying down to get the digestive system working. It may also help to gently massage the baby’s abdomen just below the belly button. Parents may be able to feel a firmness on the lower left side and maintain pressure there to help relieve constipation. A warm bath may help soothe the discomfort of constipation in babies and stimulate a bowel movement as well.
In this parental guide to gas relief, PediaCare provides resources for parents seeking answers for their child's special circumstances. Medicine made for kids, helps getting better easier!