Parents often worry when their baby has abnormal stools, either too liquid or conversely too hard, and worse still, when the child does not evacuate or only a few feces. But it is common for a newborn to be constipated, sometimes due to simply not having suitable milk. When should you be worried? What to do in case of constipation in an infant? The answers to your questions.
Why is my baby constipated?
Your child has not had a bowel movement for a few days, which worries you? Know above all that a child can be constipated for several reasons: his colon may take a little longer to function correctly, and his breast milk may not suit him. This could be a serious concern if newborn not pooping but passing gas. His diet, during food diversification, may also have some fiber or cellulose deficiencies, or quite simply: your baby is stressed. Your child may also be holding himself back. Indeed, in the event of an anal lesion or a slight dysfunction, your toddler may not have as many stools as usual for fear of pain. Do not hesitate to talk to your doctor to ask his opinion. After examining him, he can determine the reasons for his constipation and adjust his diet if necessary.
When should you consult?
So-called “functional” constipation is, above all, linked to the child’s diet. So, if your baby is bottle-fed, wait three or four days before seeing your pediatrician. It is a little different if your child is breastfed because breast milk is better suited to the transit of babies. In this case, you can wait four or five days before worrying.
Indeed, some babies who take the breast may not have a bowel movement since they have nothing to expel, which is entirely normal. Generally, from birth in the maternity ward, breastfed children have stools on average every day, every two, or even every three days. Therefore, from the 4th day, it will be necessary to consult if you feed him at the breast.
Another difference between breastfed and bottle-fed babies is the color and texture of the stool. For the former, they are usually yellowish, while for the latter, the chairs will be rather pasty and brownish. On the other hand, if you notice that your child’s stools are clear and have spots of blood, often due to a small crack (if the child is very constipated and pushes hard), talk about it. To your doctor.
Also, try to notice the symptoms that you think are associated with his constipation: if the stools are irregular, discolored, and dry and the child cries regularly, or you feel relieved when you put him on his stomach, this is a sign he has stomach pains.
Finally, although it is a source of great concern for parents, constipation is not considered a pathology in children. It is even quite common in toddlers. There is, therefore, no reason to worry, but it is necessary to monitor the evolution. On the other hand, if the baby has more severe symptoms such as vomiting in addition to constipation, weight loss, or if he loses his reflexes… consult your doctor quickly.
My child is constipated; how can I relieve it?
If breastfeeding your child, start by drinking more water and fresh orange juice, which will effectively activate the evacuation process.
If your toddler is bottle-feeding, wait to hear your doctor’s decision. If the milk is not suitable, for example, you have to change it and adapt it according to the baby’s needs.
For older children, also adapt their diet: avoid giving them too much bread or pasta because starchy foods promote constipation. Instead, prepare meals for them with more vegetables (preferably cooked), fruits, and grains. Another tip to be adopted in moderation because of the high magnesium and calcium content which is not recommended for toddlers: add a little Hépar water to their bottle to relieve the baby. Finally, if necessary, your pediatrician can also administer suppositories…
Mistakes not to make
Do not panic, and above all, avoid enemas or any attempt to introduce a suppository without the doctor’s advice. Worse still, some parents use much more aggressive methods by putting on a thermometer in the hope of provoking a natural reflex to facilitate bowel movement. But that would only make the pain worse, risking the passage of causing anal fissures. Check out more at parenting education.
Whatever the situation, call your doctor or pediatrician as soon as you have any doubts.