Among the wonders of motherhood is simply how much you grow to appreciate poop– your child’s, that is. A leading issue is constipation. While your child may feel unpleasant, constipation is rarely a sign of a serious problem and there are lots of things you can do to help.
When Your Baby Can’t Go
Babies develop rapidly, and the frequency of their bowel movements can change accordingly. How to inform when your child is constipated, and what to do.
Signs of Constipation
- Your baby’s cranky and sobbing, and draws his legs up when he passes stools.
- Bowel movements are hard, compact and sometimes big.
- There’s a little bit of blood in his diaper (hard stool can tear the rectal wall a bit as it passes).
Causes of Constipation and How to Treat It
In babies, the most common culprit is a dietary change, such as changing from breast milk to formula, switching solutions or beginning solids. Presenting something brand-new can typically be rough on a baby’s digestive system.
- Deal additional liquids. If your baby’s less than 6 months old, ask your pediatrician whether you can provide him a little plain water. Older babies can have two to four ounces of water daily. If he’s still constipated after a couple of days, try offering him a mix that’s half water and half fruit juice, such as apple, pear or prune.
- Consider altering solutions. If your baby’s on formula, ask your doctor about changing to another type that might be more intestine-friendly.
- Serve fiber-rich foods. A container a day of peas, beans, apricots, prunes, peaches or pears can help stave off constipation, as can barley cereal. If your child is eating finger foods, use whole-grain cereals, peas, beans, or small cubes of fig, prune, peach, pear or plum.
- Cut back on “binding” foods. Rice cereal, applesauce, bananas and cheese can make your child even more constipated.
- Add a natural laxative. Ask your doctor about including a percentage of malt extract, corn syrup or flax oil to formula, breast milk or foods your child consumes.
- Get physical. Bike his legs while he’s on his back, and if he’s prepared for it, provide him more space and time to crawl, cruise or walk. It’s not clear why motion helps, but it does!
- Relieve the passage. Over the counter glycerin suppositories can help your child pass difficult stools with less strain. Ask your doctor if they’re a good idea for your child.
Treating Toddlers and Children
If your child goes a few days without a bowel movement, and then passes a hard, dry stool with pain or difficulty, chances are she’s constipated. The most typical cause of constipation is not getting sufficient liquids or fiber. For toddlers and young children, it may be stress from beginning potty training. A child who’s nervous or not ready to potty train might withhold defecation since she doesn’t want to enter the potty, and withholding makes stools harder and more difficult to squeeze out.
First things first: constipation is a common concern for babies, especially at specific developmental times, such as presenting solid foods or transitioning to whole milk from formula or breast milk … so do not panic. That said, it is necessary to develop a baby poop “baseline” to spot a problem.
Modification his diet
Similar to babies, provide your child more liquids and high-fiber foods. Stick to plain water or a mixture that’s half water, half fruit juice (apple, pear or prune). And offer your child a lot of fruits, veggies, beans and whole-grain cereals. (You can also ask your pediatrician about adding a percentage of malt extract, corn syrup or flax oil to your child’s food or drink.
Teach your potty-trainee to listen and respond to his bowel signals
To discourage the withholding of defecation, look for signs that your child has to go– some kids press versus a wall, wiggle in their seats or sit on their heels when the urge strikes. Gently direct your child to the bathroom or, if he isn’t completely trained, put him in a diaper and reassure him that he’ll feel much better when he’s ended up. Little kids are especially oblivious to their bathroom signals. Advise him that it is essential to stop what he’s doing and go to the bathroom whenever he feels the desire.
Go back to diapers
If your child continues to withhold during potty training, consider putting him back in diapers. You can try again in a few months.
When to See a Doctor
Contact your doctor if your child’s constipation is severe or is accompanied by stomach distention, bad appetite or failure to put on weight.
Constipation prevails in young kids, specifically if they’re transitioning from one type of diet to another, or from diapers to the potty. It’s rarely a severe problem, however due to the fact that constipation can lead to a cycle of painful stools and withholding, you’ll want to treat it early. More fluids and fiber and diet adjustments must work. If bathroom training is to blame, try providing more reassurance to keep your child from holding back his defecation, or switch back to diapers up until he’s all set.