- Kids Health
How to treat constipation in newborn babies
Infant babies and Constipation
As a mother of a 2-year old, I have dealt with constipation in babies many times and have treated it at home quite succesfully. During the process of treating my son's constipation, I have learnt a lot about constipation, its causes and treatments, regulating bowel movements by reading a lot, researching online and talking to doctors. Many newborn babies usually have their first bowel movement within 24 hours after they are born. Newborn babies will pass a thick greenish black like stool called meconium in the first 24 to 36 hours after they are born. After the first few days, the poop will be yellowish-orange in color and grainy in composition. If the baby does not have a bowel movement in like 3 or more days, or if there is any blood in the stool, the baby may be constipated. Consult your doctor right away to treat constipation in your infant baby.
As the baby grows older, you know the pattern of their bowel movements and can detect any future constipation. If you notice the stool to be very dry and hard like pebble during a bowel movement, your baby may be constipated. If your baby has infrequent bowel movements like once in 2 or 3 days or if the baby grunts or strains a lot during bowel movement, it does not necessarily mean they are constipated. The grunting and struggling would go away after the baby stretches and loosens the anus muscles and has had many bowel movements. The consistency and number of stools varies from baby to baby. Some may have 3 or 5 stools a day or one bowel movement after every feeding. Some may have stools once every two days.
How to detect baby constipation
1. For newborn babies, stools less than once a day with straining and difficulty to pass can be a sign of constipation.
2. Babies who pass dry, hard pebble like stools and pain during a bowel movement.
3. Some babies pull their legs up on abdomen when passing stool, even do grunting and it will turn babies face into red.
4. Abdominal discomfort along with hard and infrequent stools.
How to treat constipation in newborn babies
Massage oils for babies:
1. You can try giving one ounce of diluted prune juice once daily to treat your baby's constipation. Always consult with your pediatrician first.
2. You can give foods that are high in fiber such as prunes, apricots, pears, peaches, peas and plums.
3. Sometimes juices like apple and prune juice is helpful to relieve constipation in your infant.
4. Tummy baby massage: You can massage your baby's stomach by placing your hands at babys belly button and massage in a circular motion. You should continue if the baby enjoys the massage and is comfortable and relaxed. This will help the baby have a happy bowel movement.
5. Warm bath: Sometimes a warm bath can make the baby relaxed and help the stool to pass more easily. After you bath the baby, apply some baby oil or cream like vaseline around the outside of the baby's anus. Always ask your baby's doctor first before applying.
6. Bicycle exercise: You can place your baby on its back and hold the legs and turn them in a quick cycling motion.
7. Do not forget to give a couple of ounces of warm water to your baby. Always consult with your pediatrician as some may disagree with this method.
Possible causes of constipation in babies
1. Introduction of solid foods: Babies may get constipated when they start eating solid foods. This is because their diet is majorly composed of rice cereal, which is low in fiber.
2. Diets low in fiber.
3. Foods such as banana, applesauce, potato and cereals may cause constipation.
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