Constipation in infants

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Constipation is an abnormal pattern of bowel movements in which stools are passed less frequently than usual and are often harder than usual. Everyone has a different normal pattern. For example, some children have bowel movements only once every 2-4 days. It is normal for breast-fed babies to have large, soft bowel movements without pain up to 7 days apart. Others have bowel movements 2-4 times daily. However, a child is constipated whenever his/her pattern slows down noticeably.

Causes
Very rarely, disease causes constipation. In this case the problem usually begins in the early weeks of life. In most children, there is no disease but once constipation begins, it tends to continue. Some of the factors that may contribute to the onset of constipation are:

1. Formula.
Babies who breastfeed exclusively are rarely constipated. If your baby is on formula, it's possible that something in her formula is making her constipated. Ask your baby's doctor about switching brands.

2. The introduction of solids.
Don't be surprised if your baby becomes mildly constipated as she steps up to solid food. That's often because rice cereal, usually the first food given during this transition period, is low in fiber.

3. Dehydration.
If your baby isn't getting enough fluid, she'll become dehydrated and her system will respond by absorbing more fluid from whatever she eats or drinks — and from the waste in her bowels, as well. The result is hard, dry bowel movements that are difficult to pass.

Prevention
1. Make sure that your child's diet contains adequate fluids and high-fibre foods that act as natural laxatives (Fruit juices, fruits, particularly prunes, vegetables and salads, cereals).

2. If over 2 months old, give diluted fruit juices, such as prune juice twice a day.

3. If over 4 months old, add strained foods with high fibre content, such as cereals, apricots, prunes, peaches, pears, plums, beans, peas, or spinach twice daily.

4. Decrease consumption of constipating foods, such as milk, ice cream, cheese and cooked carrots.

5. Do not give your baby an enema or suppository (medicine in the rectum) unless advised by your doctor.

6. When your child is old enough (about 2 to 3 years old) help him/her establish regular bowel habits. Have your child spend a few minutes on the toilet or the "potty" once or twice daily immediately after meals. The position should be comfortable with knees up. For a small child using the toilet a footrest will be necessary so the legs don't hang down and the knees are up in a crouched position. Such a position eases bowel movement.

Sources:
1. Baby Center
2. NUH Kids

16 comments:

Chris AKA Just a MOM on January 28, 2010 at 11:32 PM said...

Great Article on Constipation, below are some other things your can do when dealing with Constipation In Babies
* Lie your baby down and move her legs as if she was riding a bicycle. Don’t do it too fast, but keep it at a good pace
* Try rubbing your hands in a clockwise motion on her tummy
* Start a nice warm bath to relax your baby, sometimes this relaxes their whole body which leaves them in a comfortable state to have a bowel movement.

John Liew on March 9, 2015 at 3:30 PM said...

My LO is now 4 years old and since last month till now also hardly can settle her 'big business'. Been feeding her with prunes and fruits also still same, hardly can solve her constipation problem. My MIL said that we shud feed her with milk powder which contain Prebiotics, according to her Prebiotics is very good for consipation treatment. Anyone here know which formula milk is best for constipated babies that have high level of Prebiotics??

xxjohndoexx2020 said...

I have nvr heard about a milk formula that contains prebiotics as you know all milk formulas can make kids more vigilant and their brain will work well together but i nvr heard of a formula that will help ease kid's constipation
i know without sufficient water may cause constipation
some of the good habits i train my kids to prevent constipation is to force them to drink lots of water and consume lots of fibre and no food with high levels of sugar

Ted on March 11, 2015 at 11:27 AM said...

Now, there are many milk powders in supermarket that contains Prebiotic, and one of them is Mamil fr Dumex.
Maybe u can give a try on Mamil for your child to relief their constipation problem which i was currently doing so..
My MIL share this to me where she heard fr frens that the formula helps in child constipation and asked me to try for a week. This was my child's 3rd can of formula and he was very happy with it.

Yen Hou Fu on March 12, 2015 at 10:27 AM said...

i think give him take more fruit is veli important!

Yen Hou Fu on March 12, 2015 at 10:28 AM said...

I think more fruit is more important than anything

Hannahmimi said...

As a responsible parents, u shud be careful when choosing the right milk formula for your toddlers. I think its better to go for those branded ones as usually they come with right formula which will help in child constipation. Dont ever try to save money on milk formula and choose those cheap alternatives as it will affect ur LO!

KLMUM said...

U cant just decide on any formulas instantly and concluding whether it's suitable for your LO or not. Its best that give it a try for maybe at least a week, usually it's easy to get sample packets from big supermarkets. This way u will know whether the formula is suitable or not.

Boombee Gooi on June 28, 2015 at 1:08 PM said...

using mamil.its a great formula you will see the constipation settle down soon. i've used mamil before this to my daughter cause she feel so hurt when she's pooing. after used mamil, her constipation had prevented. since that, i've trust mamil and will keep on mamil.

Stevie G on June 29, 2015 at 12:48 PM said...

i don't think so. i don't think mamil was the best formula to prevent constipation. there a lot of brand out there. why mamil was the best? and i think mamil quiet expensive compared to others brand. maybe u can't try out other brand

Amber Raj on June 29, 2015 at 5:49 PM said...

i suggest apple juice. apple juice mixed with water. give to your kid as much of that as they will take on a regular basis to increase liquids. so not as a one time cure but as an addition on a daily basis to increase fluids and soften the stools. maybe it works

Anonymous said...

Are you sure the baby is constipated? I ask because it's really not unusual for breastfed babies to go a few days without pooping, and it shouldn't be a cause for concern. If the baby seems colicky or uncomfortable, there could be a variety of causes

John Doe on June 30, 2015 at 3:33 PM said...

mamil was good because it contained much good bacteria which is good for kids. mamil also contained prebiotics that helps maintain a good intestinal environment. it also contained softner stool which can promotes good bowel movements. the main reason, mamil had no sugar.

Anonymous said...

i would recommend either Nan Gold HA cause its easier for them to digest or Novalac which is good as anti-constipation. i think both of these would be a good formula to put on and try out. however Nan is heaps cheaper!

Anonymous said...

Every milk formula has their own speciality and benefits. It's all about self preference and which one will suit your LO more. As for me, i'm using Mamil for preventing baby constipation and i find it pretty good because its basically sugarless which make it healthier for my DD. not good to have sweety milk powder.

Mum Like on May 24, 2017 at 6:01 PM said...

For a first time mum, these tips are very helpful. As of the matter of the toddler formula, it is better to prepare it properly with the right amount of water and make sure that your child's regularly hydrated to avoid being constipated.

 

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