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How to Make a Baby Poop When Constipated
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Every mother will face this; one minute your baby is eating well and pooping as he should, the next, he’s having very few to no bowel movements and having a hard time the few times he manages to poop.
Constipation in babies can be a little hard to pinpoint, especially if your baby has a fairly spaced-out pooping schedule. However, there are few things that will help you identify if what your baby is facing is constipation.
Breastfed and Fomula-fed Babies Pooping Frequency
Newborn babies that are breastfed will have more bowel movements, and you can expect to see between 5 to 12 bowel movements daily. However, as they grow, their pooping reduces, and from 3 to 6 weeks, this frequency reduces to once a week.
Formula-fed babies, on the other hand, will poop up to four times a day but could take a break of up to four days without pooping.
Signs of Constipation in Your Baby
Seeing as both breastfed and formula-fed babies could go days, even a week or two without stooling, it can get a little confusing for a worried parent to tell if all is well.
If you’re ever confused, here are some clear signs that will tell if your baby is constipated:
1) He will strain to poop and you will notice this by the arching motion he makes with his back.
2) He cries when pooping.
3) His stool comes out in a clay-like consistency or as small, hard pellets.
4) He will have a distended belly that is hard to the touch.
5) He has little or no appetite.
6) His stool comes out blood-stained.
What Causes Constipation in Babies
Breastfed babies have fewer cases of constipation as the breastmilk is very easy to digest. However, every so often, breastfed babies will experience constipation and for different reasons.
Common causes of constipation in babies include stress, illnesses that bring about diarrhea or vomiting causing dehydration, or certain abnormalities in the digestive tract.
Other causes include:
- Your baby not getting enough fluid.
- Getting him started on solids.
- Being sensitive to a particular formula. Babies who are allergic or sensitive to a formula will exhibit symptoms like frequent spit-ups, fussiness, stomach pain, rash, crying, and difficulties sleeping.
- Fear of pain.
- Certain foods in your own diet like dairy that get passed yo your baby.
How to Make a Baby Poop When You Have Ascertained He is Constipated
You can usually get your baby pooping regularly again without necessarily making a visit to the pediatrician. Most times, a few simple techniques and/or some changes in their diet is usually enough to remedy the situation.
Here are some of these techniques:
1) Run a Warm Bath
Running a warm bath is one of the easiest and quickest remedies you can adopt to correct this situation and that’s because it will help relax your babies abdominal muscles.
Alternatively, putting his buttocks in a warm bath will help relax his sphincter muscle to help the poop along.
2) Give Extra Water Between Meals
Since constipation is caused by inadequate fluid intake, giving your baby more water will soften the stool.
You should increase his water intake while feeding and also give him a bottle of water between feeds.
3) Give Fruit Juice
Giving a little fruit juice is also very effective for softening your his stool. Pediatricians recommend giving 100% natural prune or apple juice from 2 to 4 months old.
Just mix one part juice to three parts water before giving or mix a teaspoon of this juice into his formula no more than once a day.
4) Massage His Stomach
Giving your baby’s stomach a light massage using one or more of your fingers can help move the stool along the path it should go.
5) Change in Diet
If your baby is already In solids, then a dietary change should help. You might want to include a few fruits and vegetables like skinless apples, broccoli, plum, pureed prunes, or peaches.
An extra serving of fruits an vegetables will ensure he gets all the fiber he needs to help soften his stool.
6) Exercise His Muscles
Exercise helps with constipation and since your baby can’t do this for himself, you can help him out by moving his legs slowly in a circular motion, more like he’s riding a bicycle.
7) Use a Rectal Thermometer
Pediatricians also recommend using a rectal thermometer to help stimulate bowel movement.
The thermometer is lubricated using coconut oil or petroleum jelly to make for an easy use. You also lubricate your baby’s bottom, insert the thermometer about a quarter deep and then turned a few times.
However, it is recommended you use this method occasionally so your baby doesn’t come to associate pooping with pain which could bring more bouts of constipation.
When to See a Doctor
You should see a pediatrician if you notice any of these:
- Blood-tinged stool
- If your baby appears clearly irritated.
- If he experiences abdominal pain.
- If there are no improvements from treatments given.