Babies & ToddlersKids

Five signs your baby might be constipated

By being aware of the signs of constipation and taking steps to prevent and treat it, you can help keep your baby healthy and comfortable.

Babies can’t always tell us what’s wrong, and constipation is no exception. As a parent, it’s essential to be aware of the signs of constipation in your little one so you can provide them with relief.

Here are five signs to watch out for, along with the causes and cures.

Sign 1: Infrequent bowel movements

Infrequent bowel movements are among the most common signs of constipation in babies. While every baby’s bowel movements are different, if your baby hasn’t had a bowel movement in three or more days, it’s a good indication that they’re constipated. Remember that breastfed babies may have less frequent bowel movements than formula-fed babies, but they should still be having them regularly.

Sign 2: Hard, dry stools

Another sign of constipation is hard, dry stools. If your baby’s stools are difficult to pass and look like small, hard pebbles, it’s a clear indication of constipation. Straining or crying during bowel movements is also a sign of discomfort.

Sign 3: Abdominal discomfort

Constipation can cause abdominal discomfort in babies. If your baby seems in pain, is fussy or crying during bowel movements, or has a hard, distended belly, they may be constipated. You may also notice them arching their back or pulling up their legs to relieve the discomfort.

Sign 4: Loss of appetite

Constipation can cause your baby to feel full and lose their appetite. If your baby refuses to eat or eats less than usual, it could be a sign that they’re constipated. They may also seem less interested in breastfeeding or formula feeding.

Sign 5: Blood in stool

In severe cases, constipation can cause small amounts of blood to appear in your baby’s stool. This happens because the hard, dry stool can cause small tears in the delicate skin around the anus. If you notice blood in your baby’s stool, it’s important to contact your paediatrician right away.

Causes and treatment

There are several reasons why babies can become constipated. It can be due to a change in diet, dehydration, or even a lack of physical activity. Sometimes, it may be a sign of an underlying medical condition. If you’re concerned about your baby’s constipation, consulting with your paediatrician is always best.

To relieve your baby’s constipation, there are several things you can do. For example, you can try massaging your baby’s belly clockwise or placing a warm compress on their tummy. A warm bath can also help to relax their muscles and promote bowel movements.

If your baby is formula-fed, try giving them a different type of formula or diluting it with water. You can also offer them a small amount of prune juice mixed with water. You can try adjusting your diet for breastfed babies to include more fibre-rich foods.

It’s important to ensure your baby gets enough fluids, especially if they’re constipated. Offer them small sips of water throughout the day, or breastfeed or formula-feed more frequently.

Your paediatrician may sometimes recommend a stool softener or laxative to help relieve your baby’s constipation. It’s important to follow your doctor’s instructions carefully and not to give your baby any medication without first consulting with them.

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