Parents love to watch their baby’s moments of laugh, cry, and hiccup to have a clue about their health. Not all signs of a problem in babies are easy to get. Bowel movements are a perfect example of changing habits over an entire lifetime. While 4 or more bowel movements a week are considered Okay, any less than that may be a sign of constipation in babies.
Signs and Symptoms of Constipation in Babies
Babies, generally, don’t have a bowel movement every single day as long as they only consume breast milk. Their bodies successfully absorb all the nutrients found in breast milk. Therefore, babies rarely get constipation.
In contrast, around 3 to 4 bowel movements every day are common in formula-fed babies. In fact, even 1 bowel movement is quite normal in such babies. Signs of constipation in babies are crucial to understanding to detect the potential issue and resolve it in time.
The following are some common signs of constipation in babies:
1. Occasional bowel movements
In babies, the number of bowel movements fluctuates as you add new foods to their diet. If you experience missing bowel movements for 2 to 3 days, typically after a recent diet change, and then see a hard stool, it could be a sign of constipation.
You need to know that constipation is not defined by just infrequent bowel movements but by their consistency as well. Thus, a hard stool after a few days of missing bowel movements refers to constipation.
2. Strains during a bowel movement
Another sign of constipation in babies, which you need to carefully observe, is if your baby is straining during a bowel movement. Constipated babies, sometimes, have a hard and clay-like stool, which is difficult to pass.
Babies may have to push/strain more than usual to pass the stool and they may cry during a bowel movement.
3. Tight stomach
A tight belly could be another sign of constipation in babies, which further causes bloating and creates pressure in their stomach, making it look stiff.
4. Blood in the stool
As a hard stool is common in constipation, you may observe a red streak of blood in your baby’s stool. This usually occurs when they push very hard to pass the stool. It may cause tiny tears across the walls of the anus and lead to a bright red streak of blood in the stool.
Home Remedies for Constipation in Babies
Once you notice the above signs and symptoms of constipation in your baby, try the following simplest home-based remedies to relieve the symptoms:
1. Switch the milk
If you are breastfeeding your baby who just got constipated, maybe you need to change your diet. The baby could be sensitive to something that you are eating, which is a rare case.
Feeding bottle milk can benefit your baby – at least until constipation goes away.
2. Feed solid foods
While some solid foods may cause constipation in babies, others are known to improve it. In case you have recently started feeding solid foods to your baby, consider including a few fiber-rich foods, such as broccoli, peaches, prunes, skinless apples, pears, etc.
Among other fiber-rich foods are oats, barley, and quinoa while crackers, whole-grain bread, and bran cereals add bulk to stool and help prevent/relieve constipation.
Breast-fed babies may not have bowel movements for a few days, as the entire nutrients in the breast milk are absorbed by their bodies. In case you notice symptoms of constipation in your baby, talk with a pediatrician about the concern. In the meantime, try some home remedies to relieve the symptoms.