Constipation in your baby is so hard (literally!). But what causes constipation and how can you battle it? Read more to find out!
What is constipation?
Constipation is when your baby has difficulty passing stools. The stool is typically very hard, dry, and pebble-like.
What causes constipation?
Formula fed babies are more likely to become constipated, but it can happen to breastfed babies too. A change in your baby’s diet, such as switching to formula, supplementing with formula, or starting solids can trigger constipation. Sometimes, a food sensitivity or intolerance can cause constipation, too.
5 signs your baby is constipated
- Hard, pebble-like stools.
- Straining – and nothing is in the diaper.
- Change in bowel habits.
Going days without pooping can be normal – if it’s your baby’s norm or if your baby is primarily breastfed. But if this is a change for your baby (ex. your baby is usually a once a day pooper and now hasn’t pooped in a few days), your baby could be constipated.
- Pain and belly bloating.
Back up of poop will cause your baby’s belly to bloat. You should contact your provider as in some rare cases, this could be a sign of something more serious than constipation.
- Blood streaks/anal fissures.
Straining and hard, wide stools can cause breaks in the skin around the anus (anal fissure) and cause bleeding. The blood will look like streaks in your baby’s stool.
If you see any blood in your baby’s diaper at any time, contact your provider ASAP.
5 ways to battle constipation
- Prune or pear juice
These juices help move along the digestive tract and bring water into the lower intestine, softening and encouraging stool. Infants can have small amounts (2 tsp or so) of prune or pear juice daily with the okay from your provider to regulate stooling. The juice can be added into bottles or syringe fed.
If your baby is around 6 months of age, *ask your provider about adding more water into your baby’s diet. Water is absorbed in the digestive tract and can help soften stool, encouraging bowel movements.
- High fiber foods
FIBER!! Consistent fiber will help regulate your baby’s stooling when baby is old enough to have solid foods. Some great examples of high fiber foods are (assuming your baby does not have an allergy): Beans, Broccoli, Berries, Avocado. Cauliflower, Spinach.
- Flax, chia and hemp seeds
It may be a good idea to avoid BRAT foods (bananas, rice, applesauce, toast) temporarily as these foods are binders and can make constipation worse. (Puffs, too!)
- Glycerin suppository* (*with go ahead from your provider)
Ask your provider about usage and dosing of a glycerin suppository. This gel-like medication is inserted into the rectum with lubricant to help baby poop (expect a blow out!). If you’re looking for something natural (assuming no allergy), coconut oil is a good option.
- Gentle laxatives* (*with go ahead from your provider)
In some cases, a small dose of a laxative such as Miralax can help your baby’s bowel habits regulate. ALWAYS check with your provider before giving your baby any sort of medication, especially a laxative.
If you suspect that your baby’s formula may be contributing to constipation, check out Dr. Bridget Young’s Formula Class (The Baby Formula Expert) to learn how to choose the best formula for your baby. Use code BUMBLE for a discount.
Have more questions? Schedule a text or video chat consult with Kate, Lauren or Natalie (NICU RNs) and they can help answer any questions that you have!
**This post is educational and not meant to take the place of your provider. Bumblebaby makes a small commission on some of the items listed above