Everything about Constipation in Infants that you need to know
Even infants can become victims of constipation - very few parents know about it. Since the stools of the infant are not so easily discernable, parents might overlook the problem. But if the infant is continuously crying and touching its stomach repeatedly, then parents must get an indication that this might be a case of infantile constipation.
Here we answer some FAQs that parents have about constipation in infants.
What is the healthy frequency for bowel movements in infants?
Truthfully speaking, there is nothing such as a healthy frequency for bowel movements in infants. Babies might have one or more bowel movement a day, or one a week, and still be considered healthy. If the baby is not showing any other signs of uneasiness and the bowel movements are soft and watery when they eventually come out on their own, then the baby is having healthy bowel movements and is not constipated. One way to check out is to lightly feel on the baby's abdomen in the colon area. If there is any undue hardness in that part of the abdomen, then it might mean retention of stools. Baby stools are usually soft, but retained stools will harden. In that case, you might seek medical advice.
Does replacing breastfeeding with formula cause constipation in infants? If yes, why?
It is true that breastfeeding will never cause constipation in infants. So, it is highly advisable that you continue breastfeeding as long as it is possible to you. The moment breast milk is replaced or supplemented with formula foods, there are chances that constipation might occur. Some babies have lactose intolerance, and they might get constipated with regular milk-based formulas. You can solve the situation by replacing the milk-based formulas with other mediums, such as the soy-based formulas. Sometimes, even changes of climate can bring about constipation. So, you must keep a close check on your child's bowel movements when traveling.
What do I do when my baby gets constipated?
You will first need to check whether your baby is really constipated or not. That is because babies can go even up to one week or more without a bowel movement and that could be still non-problematic. Touching the baby's tummy in the method explained in # 1 helps. But if not, you will need to seek medical attention. The doctor might suggest a suppository to cleanout the colon. However, you must refrain from using the suppository yourself. The best way is to always breastfeed the baby if he or she is getting constipated easily.
How to avoid constipation in children as they are learning new foods?
This is a very important question. When children are weaning off the breast milk and are learning new foods, constipation does become an issue. The best way out is to introduce new foods one at a time. Initially, bring in one food a week and see how the child adjusts to it. Then bring on another. After some time, you can introduce two new foods a week, and go on increasing the quantity likewise. Also, make sure that the fiber content through vegetables is always present in the child's diet after the breastfeeding has stopped completely. Only protein-rich foods might cause constipation in them.