Constipation in babies

Preventing constipation in babies is something that most parents will encounter. Constipation can be a relatively common problem for babies. There are several clues to watch for in determining if your baby is constipated.

 

How can I tell if my baby is constipated?

First, consider what’s normal for your baby. She may have a bowel movement after every feeding, or she may wait a day or more in between. Your baby’s individual pattern depends on what she eats and drinks, how active she is, and how quickly she digests food.

If your baby drinks formula or eats solid food, she’ll probably have a regular bowel movement at least once a day. If your baby is breastfed, there’s no “normal” number or schedule – only what’s typical for your baby. It’s not unheard of for breastfed babies to have one bowel movement a week.

After a while, you’ll be tuned in to your baby’s unique habits. If you’re concerned that your baby may be constipated, watch for these signs:

  • Less frequent bowel movements than usual, especially if your baby hasn’t had one for three or more days and is obviously uncomfortable when she does
  • Hard, dry stools that are difficult for her to pass – no matter how frequently

 

Why is my baby getting constipated?

There are several possible causes:

Solid food. Don’t be surprised if your baby becomes mildly constipated as he eats more solid food. That’s often because rice cereal – a common first food – is low in fiber. Constipation can also happen when you wean your baby from breast milk because this sometimes leads to dehydration.

Formula. Babies who breastfeed exclusively are rarely constipated. Breast milk has the perfect balance of fat and protein, so it produces stools that are almost always soft – even if your baby hasn’t had one for several days.

If your baby is on formula, it’s possible that something in his formula is making him constipated. It’s not uncommon for the protein component in different formulas to cause constipation. Ask your baby’s doctor about switching brands.

(Despite what you may have heard, the amount of iron in formula doesn’t cause constipation.)

Dehydration. If your baby becomes dehydrated, his system will respond by absorbing more fluid from whatever he eats or drinks – and also from the waste in his bowels. The result is hard, dry stools that are difficult to pass.

Illness or a medical condition. Although it’s uncommon, constipation can be caused by an underlying medical condition such as hypothyroidism, botulism, and certain food allergies and metabolic disorders. Rarely, constipation is caused by Hirschsprung’s disease, a condition caused by a birth defect that prevents a baby’s gut from functioning properly.

 

Read more: http://www.babycenter.com/0_constipation-in-babies_79.bc

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